Winter meals

 

There is something about winter meals here in Gujarat, I dunno about all the other places but there are so many more options of vegetables available in winters unlike other seasons. If you have to ever visit Gujarat you have to visit it in the winters. The food then is like sigh…. droolworthy, lustworthy and what not!

IMG_20151218_094635

This was last night’s dinner turned into breakfast today morning, I am born in a family that has ancestors in Kutch and the most common food there is Bajra Ka Rotla (Pearl millet bread) this is made by the hand and no rolling pin is used. My mom makes awesome rotla’s and she is quite generous in applying ghee on it and honestly it is so sweet that itΒ can be eaten plain without anything else. Just the ghee and rotla also tastes wonderful especially when its piping hot and served straight from the pan.

 

But then there was Baigan ka bharta (Brinjal subzi) to go along side with green freshly chopped garlic and coriander along with coriander chutney to spice things up a little more! This was simply divine, satisfying and so delicious I still am drooling typing about this! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

 

*The pic was taken by my Redmi NoteΒ Β and I kinda like how it has come out inspite of not using the SLR.

The Miracle

DSC_0582

β€œTo be standing together in a frosty field, looking up into the sky, marvelling at birds and revelling in the natural world around us, was a simple miracle. And I wondered why we were so rarely able to appreciate it.”
― Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Memoir

I read that quote at Cedo centre in Moti Virani in Kutch and it made me stop and think, the world is abundant of things to marvel at and revelling in ain’t it? If you want to that is, if you are able to stop for a moment, pause, breathe, think and let it dawn upon you! How busy have we become in our routines that we have just stopped noticing so many wonderful things around us. Let us endeavour to just give things one moment more, let us soak up things around us, find the joy of small things and I am quite sure they can make us so much more thankful to this world around us! πŸ™‚

Mujo Kutchdo Baare Maas!

Shiyade sorath bhalo…

Unade gujrat..

Chaumase vagad bhalo..

Mujo Kuchdo Bare Maass

~

English Translation of the above :Β 

In winter Sorath(Saurashtra)’s better..

In summer it’s Gujarat

In monsoon it’s Vagad

My Kutch all 12 months..

The above lines are said in praise of my native land, to be fair and honest, I never visited there till two years back, which was my first trip, even after my first trip, which largely involved temples and some over populated tourist places that too in the peak days of Diwali I wasn’t really a fan of the place. I always wondered if poets were just being patriotic to their native place and would have just sung in their own deep love for the place.

I believe in most cases first impression is always the wrong impression, give everything/everyone another chance and so it happened again. In the company of more knowledgable people and getting to know the right places to see and also getting so much information about the land I am pretty much a fan now! I confess this here, today, now!

There is so much to discover in this one district that it amazes me!

Can you imagine how the ocean would look like if all the water from it disappeared??? Well this land was under sea once!

DSC_0543

Wouldn’t the floor look a tad like this??? Those who have done snorkeling or scuba can surely relate!!

DSC_0545

What if you could walk on the ocean floor devoid of all water and discover fossils left right and centre??

DSC_0531

What if you could discover the remains of an extinct volcano and see it for yourself???

DSC_0367

Well, not telling you everything right away, but well if you are intrigued remember Kutch! Any time of the year! πŸ˜€

Ray of Light in Kutch!

DSC_0945

Every day, every moment of this life, I realise how little I know, so many new things just keep on cropping up I cannot quite fathom how will I ever get to know it all! Perhaps, that is too vague a wish to have, but, then life is so intriguing that I cant help but want to know more and more and more, too bad its too short!

Just finished a three day early migration birding trip in my native land, this time in the company of ornithologists, botanists, environmentalists, naturalists, conservation minded and nature loving folks of BCSG (Bird Conservation Society of Gujarat) the experience I hope will stay with me forever and I will not forget so much I learnt about this world of ours in these last three days.

The fact that it was just my second visit to Kutch, my ancestral native land, the so called desert made me feel how occupied I have been in so many trivial things in life where as I had such a great opportunity so nearby to visit a wonderland of information, natural treasures, history and yet I have constantly ignored it. Hopefully this is just the beginning and more forays into this very interesting world will keep on going.

Most importantly, the company you have is of extreme importance. Mr Jugal Kishore Tiwari of CEDO (Centre for Desert and Ocean) is a virtual walking encyclopedia about the land, its history, its ecology, he was our host and guide this time round!! Every question you would ask him would be answered to utmost satisfaction! He also featured in this documentary on Discovery and I would recommend all of you to watch it. For me I am certainly going to visit him again with loads of questions and also to hear his stories and his experiences!

Fascinated and hooked I hope to share a lot of what I learnt in Kutch in the last three days here and also hope I will be frequenting the place and learning more about it myself! πŸ™‚

Like I said I have just seen a ray of light in Kutch! πŸ™‚

DSC_0943

Uttrayan in pictures!

One of the best times to be in Gujarat is during Uttrayan. This festival is celebrated with full gusto by people here.

New folder

One of the most important reason’s this festival is so popular here are the kites! The colours of these kites will fill the skies and there is a mad scramble about to get the kites!

DSC_0124

On the 14th of January the terraces wear a festive look all of a sudden with umbrella’s, tents suddenly being set up on the terrace! Music blares from roof tops and those who don’t fly kites will sit and joke or dance! πŸ˜€

New folder2

There are kids who will throw tantrums, there will be husbands who say their kite got cut coz the lady holding the reel made a technical error, there will be friends who will fly with turns in holding the reel and yes, almost all the terraces are full of ladies as well. This festival is a full blown family affair celebrated by young, old, man, woman and kids all alike! πŸ™‚

2014114155543

And when the whole family is celebrating the festival, can bollywood be behind?! There were all sorts of actors, actresses on kites. Here one of my friend is happy to let Katrina fly away into the sky, poor soul doesn’t realise that elusive women like her should be held on to tightly! Btw, you know even Salman came to Gujarat to fly kites, err… well he came to promote his movie Jai Ho! Smartly or co-incidentally he was seen with Narendra Modi of all people to have the tongues wagging in the media, their pictures grabbing headlines and I felt neither Modi nor Salman would have complained one bit! Both got enough mileage out of the kite flying! :mrgreen:

DSC_0143

I say both of them blew their trumpet to their hearts content, one projected his secular image and the other sought enough attention to keep people aware of the movie he is coming in near future! πŸ˜› Oh and yes, New folder1there were kids too who blew the trumpets with all the wind in their lungs and made life unbearable on the terraces with the unbelievably irritating noise! To cater to kids there was Chota Bheem too to adorn the skies!

Too bad was the fact that I forgot to click a picture of the actual food we had, being busy with kites myself I was late for lunch and by then the presentation was just not possible. However, I do have this one image of ‘Undhiyu’ which is a must eat on this day. Generally the lunch consists of Undhiyu, Poori, Jalebi. Lots of chikki, Til-gud and all sorts of possible goodies you can imagine will be eaten. Its a kind of pot-lunch (actually a full day meal) that everyone brings from their houses to the terrace they all decide to make their base for the day!

DSC_0045

The seasonal subzi ‘Undhiyu’ aside its kites, fun, frolic, food, crackers, hot air balloons, music on the terraces all day long!

DSC_0256

Apparently these days a lot of people also burst a lot of cracker’s and here is one shot I managed to click of it and I loved it and hence I must share it! πŸ˜€

uttrayan1

This year there was an amazing sight in the night, these chinese miniature hot air balloons were left in the air in thousands by all terraces and the night sky was a sight to see… unfortunately I could not capture a picture that would do justice to that sight. It was an ethereal sight, that can only been seen and not captured or described!

DSC_0212

Imagine the night sky illuminated by thousands of such balloon’s!!!!! The vast dark night sky was adorned by thousands of such balloons flying about! Until next year then I guess! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Another visitor from Europe!

DSC_0343

Ruddy Shelduck is another one of those migratory birds that comes to India in October and leaves by April. They were in huge numbers at Vadhvana lake swimming about, flying around, strutting in the sun and enjoying the Indian winters! πŸ™‚

DSC_0355

I guess weary of us human’s they maintained their distance. Flying away every time I was about to reach a vicinity from where I could take a more detailed picture.

DSC_0342

DSC_0364

Usually found in pairs these fellows travel long distances and off they go the moment we near them!

Bronze-winged Jacana

DSC_0080

Whilst on the way to Vadhvana Bird Sanctuary, on the outskirts of Dabhoi village, there are lots of water bodies, quite a few of them shallow and with lots of vegetation. As I drove partly paying attention on the road, partly surveying around for birds, I saw something move on the vegetation!!

It was this fellow!

I didn’t know what species it was right away, I had to get a close up and then ask Shail or put it on Indian Birds to get to know the name! I loved the colours this fellow had! When I actually Wiki’ed this bird up I came across this very interesting fact!!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I am sure all the ladies here will love this fact! πŸ˜€

Bronze Winged Jacanas have a territorial, sex-role reversed system. They are polyandrous, and the females are larger and more brightly colored than their male counterparts. The females compete with each other for harems of males to incubate their clutches of eggs. Each female’s territory encompasses one to four males and their individual territories. The density of breeding territories can be limited by habitat availability and the territorial competition with other females and their harems.

Green Shoots!

DSC_0327

I would like to compare the happenings to India to the above picture. For as long as I can remember I have always run from politics, the idea of India even at times seemed silly when I saw riots, rampant corruption, apathy by political leaders. I even dreaded going into such debates and discussions for I used to find myself drained and depressed in the end, nor did the discussions ever solve anything.

This time though, I see/feel hope, like these green shoots growing in the field above, our country seems to be in a mood to grow a different crop altogether this time. It seems a new breeze is blowing, a breeze of change! For a change we have a party that has given a lot of hope atleast to me!! The journey will be long and a lot of hard work will be required. But as they say that if you sow it right, you will reap it well! πŸ™‚ (okay I just made it) πŸ˜›

Lets hope for a better, greener, prosperous India. The above picture I am sure is the result of the hard work of that man and the green shoots are inspiring hope in him for a lovely harvest soon! πŸ™‚