Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Niramish mangsho a.k.a Vegetarian Mutton curry

Trust the Bengalis to come up with a recipe as ironical in its name as Niramish mangsho or Vegetarian Mutton Curry.

It is a mutton curry cooked without garlic and onions and was the preferred recipe to cook meat offered to the gods, usually Kali. The sacrificial goat offered to the goddess is cooked in this way and distributed as a religious food offering or prasad ( though meat in particular is called mahaprasad ).

Thankfully though, the recipe is not religiously restricted to only sacrificial meat and many households continue to prepare this recipe as an alternative to the traditional rich gravied mutton curry. It is a subtle yet delicious way of cooking mutton ( I can only vouch for goat meat though) and definitely worth a try.

Whoever came up with the name surely had a twin in the person who came up with the other super ironical recipe - gach pantha or faux meat ( literally 'tree goat'). The concept of this recipe is kind of the exact opposite. It is unripe jackfruit cooked in a rich onion-garlic gravy. Legend has it that if cooked really well, it mirrors the taste of tender mutton. Well, I have not been fortunate to taste the legendary version but nonetheless it is a wonderful preparation in itself.

In this day and age, while we continue to grow more and more adept at cooking Raviolis, Quiches, or  Thai curries, somewhere these recipes are being lost. They do survive in a few niche restaurants piggybacking on nostalgia, or with a few connoisseurs. However the common Millenial cook of today has perhaps never known the subtle art of cooking these dishes.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Kingfisher

For a long time my parents have been asking me for a painting for their home.
So today morning I woke up early in order to paint. I had already thought of the subject before and as I started to paint, it started to rain..as if to complement the subject.

So here it is..the Kingfisher, or as my parents would refer to it - Māchrangā .

30" x 22"  Watercolours on 120 gsm handmade paper.

Afterthoughts: I need to get some larger brushes and definitely thicker paper for these large paintings, otherwise wet on wet leads to unpredictable contrast during the painting process. This had to be touched up with dry brush on drying.

 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Big Bang Blues - Rebirth Tour

Big Bang Blues, my friends' band,  had for some time been going through a constant change of line-ups due to various circumstances concerning the original musicians. After years, they finally found a stable line-up once again. This was of course to be celebrated.

And what greater way to celebrate than a massive 6 city tour !

So to mark this occasion, I came up with the poster and event banner below and also took the liberty of naming the tour. The poster is also a departure from the earlier vector-art style posters which I used to make for the band in its earlier version. A new style for a reborn band..



Parrot

Wedding gift for two dear friends. October, 2016.

Watercolours on handmade paper - 10.5" x 15"


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?


We were standing outside our office, watching the rains, between our drags and conversations. As we basked in the relief of a much needed cool down of the hell that is also known as summer in these parts of the country, our conversations meandered across several topics. From work, to how the traffic will be later, to the general state of affairs.

Suddenly my eyes fell upon a tree that peered from behind the rows of parked cars. The rains had washed away the thick layer of dust that forever cloaks such trees which are ill-fated enough to be growing within industrial areas (or pretty much any area here). Now it revealed its lush green leaves. The greenery forming the perfect backdrop to the bright yellow flowers that thronged its branches. Flowers, which earlier had been barely visible among the dust laden foliage.

‘What do you call those flowers in Hindi?’ I asked.

Peela phool ’ he replied.

‘No..no..what is the name of that flower? ‘, I repeated, ‘ Like, in Bengali, we call it Kolké, what do you call it in Hindi?’

No one seemed to know.
Of all the five-six odd people, nobody knew.
The flower in question was the Yellow oleander (Cascabela thevetia ).

It struck me as a bit odd. Why is it that nobody knows the name of a fairly common flower?  And by nobody, I mean the common people, the guy/girl next door, not the erudite scholars.

For as much as I can recall, during my childhood days, all of us knew the names of flowers, at least the common ones. I couldn’t help but wonder, do the children these days know? The same smart children, whose parents beam with pride on how their child took to the smart phone like ducks to water. Or are we so divorced from nature that distinguishing between successive models of technology products is valued, while all of nature is clubbed under generic tags. Or is it a more geographical phenomenon? Is it, that in these parts, the race to material worth left nature behind in a state of casual apathy? 

Will the Radhachura ( Copperpod, Peltophorum pterocarpum ) and the Kolké  be forever clubbed under the dismissive Peela phool  tag henceforth ? Will we not stop by to marvel at the flowers on Hailey Road; or will we do so, but never know it is Amaltas ( Golden shower, Cassia fistula ). 









Monday, 9 January 2017

Back from the dead..with a lot of pain in the..

So, it took me a while to get back to this blog, 4 years, to be precise. Don't be fooled by the post below, it is an import  that originally was posted on my parallel art blog.

This blog had almost died, caught between the evil of maintaining a parallel art blog and the greater evil of  Facebook posts being the primary outlet due to the instant feedback mechanism.

It was quite a conscious decision to eliminate the other blog, the art one, and stop using social media for more than mere status and such.

The decision, however, came with its own challenges. More than what I had bargained for, definitely!
It took quite a roundabout route to get everything from Tumblr, where my art blog was, to here. Tumblr doesn't let you import to blogger! Why? Well, go figure. I had to do it through a Wordpress blog ( specifically created for this purpose) by importing Tumblr posts to Wordpress. Then export the posts from Wordpress as XML. But the fun doesn't stop there, Wordpress generates an XML which blogger does not read ( fun, innit? ). Thus, I had to go through a third party web plugin to generate a blogger compatible XML from the Wordpress XML and upload everything here.
Then I find out that Wordpress had not imported ALL my posts from Tumblr ( such excitement, I tell you ) and had to manually drag some posts here.
Now we had two more issues, first - images did not import from Wordpress and second -  to maintain the original chronological order of the posts which did not import, and insert them in the correct timeline here, between the existing posts.
Once again, manual download and re-upload was resorted to for the first issue. For the second, I merged some of the posts, including creating collages of individual image uploads, into a single post which did get imported, to keep a close enough time stamp, and edited some of the posts to mention the time range
( hence, all pencil jam sketch posts merged into a single one mentioning date range of uploads ).

Now you'd think that I would let it rest there, but clearly my closet masochism thought otherwise !
Of course, I had to change my entire template and fiddle with the background. Which in turn led to many iterations for a reasonable blog width to fit my older posts, especially ones with images, and manually editing the image sizes and positions, and line breaks and widths of the accompanying text. All this, while manually rechecking every post after each layout modification. Legacy is a pain!

And that was that, and I think I have finally managed to migrate back ( ghar wapsi, if you will ).

If any of you notice anything wrong with a post layout do let me know ( to err is human and all that). In the meanwhile I shall prepare to get back to writing again..