shubhrachatterji shubhrachatterji

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Historywali  People / Places / Plates / Puppies / tales from the Past. @shuchatterji / @historywali on Twitter

Welcome-home gifts from the window garden, which just keeps giving. There's a lesson to be learnt somewhere in there. Give. Relentlessly.

#TBT Katora cut. They used to call it the Princess Diana cut I'm told. First day of KG1 at Christchurch Girls High School, Jabalpur, second of nine schools I would end up studying at. This is from thirty years ago. History hai.

In my head I'm not at the Dadar flower market but in Srinagar. Lotus blooms floating on the lake. Nip in the air. Hari Parbat in the distance. Mountains all around me. Nun chai. Tsot. Fanciful Friday.

I read this quote on a listicle yesterday, and it struck a chord - "But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begins." - Mitch Albom. Complete truth, of course. Peering through the shadows and highlights and filters of all pictures I post, looking out of most of the words of all stories I write, shadowing me everywhere I go is Maa's story, for it's because she lived hers that I live mine and tell mine. After all, it's her who put the words in my fingers, and the dreams in my head, and the fighter in my knuckles, and the love in my eyes and also the inches on my hips (many have fed me since but it all starts and ends with her mangsho'r jhol), the besura-pan in my singing voice, and most definitely the slight (or so I like to imagine) edge of nuttiness that lets me be me and walk my very own path which is completely different from her very own path. Maa is stronger than I am. I can never be her. But I try. She's way cooler too. And so important. They write about her and interview her on TV and I've been privy to her dinosaur status at work, and yet she comes home every day from the hospital and never lets on the grief, sorrow, struggle, and exhaustion that she encounters. I come home after a shoot and collapse into a heap on my bed for 2 days. She comes home after saving lives and sorts through her saris to pull one out for me to wear to some gig, and makes me wear it too, and sends me off with some perfume and enough food to feed a little army. I love wearing her saris. I wear big big bindis like she now does. I love wearing her jewellery too. And her chappals. The sizes fit just right. She laughs about it. But I think it's because I kinda just want to be her. They say nothing is perfect. I think Mumma is. Flawless. Her handwriting and mine, they are identical. Our birthdays fall on the same day, 28 years apart, and we finish each other's thoughts and sentences. I think my story doesn't just begin with her, but ends with her too. Everything else, and everyone else, is in-between. Here she is, grinning that big grin, years before she taught me how to grin just like that. Lady Chatterji, you're so fabulous uff! <3

Sunrise shoots & my 'let me grouch in peace till 10am' inner-person are always at war with each other. Coffee पिलाओ जल्दी से मैडम को. This calm sunrise won today. These fishing nets. Cheena-Vala. They are what I see whenever someone says 'Kochi'. Do you attach visuals to names of cities? I do. Bombay's image is the spread of glittering buildings I see from the airplane while landing. Delhi is a dusty footpath lined with trees, and cluttered with fallen yellow flowers. Jabalpur, a jeep, I have no idea why. Owerri (where I grew up) is more a smell than an image - the smell of wet earth. Leh is brilliant blue skies. Jaisalmer is a mirage. Bhopal is a garden carpeted with dew-laden blades of grass. Srinagar is a single pressed flower. Banaras is a feeling - tranquility in the middle of chaos, like being underwater, that sound, that gravelly deep hum. These are my places. What do you see when you see a city?

Shooting with this absolute rockstar today. Meet Miss Congeniality, Ganga, whispering secrets into my ear and grass-scented elephant breath too. I'm fully enamoured. :) #ShootingLife #WorkingSundaysFTW #ElephantHugs #OnTheRoad with #Historywali #Kerala #India

Nihari for Breakfast cos you're in Shahjahanabad. So what if it's Summer. I have a stomach of steel. One that comes from drinking un-bottled water wherever I go. I learnt this trick early on in my travels. Let your gut get comfy & familiar with germs. Eat everything. Eat everywhere. The ways of the road. Get your beautiful body used to what you want of it. I lost my poor wee gall bladder at 24 and they told me I won't be able to eat all the 'fatty' things I love. Well. Here I am. Eating the country bit by bit. Fat chunks of it! ;) Coming back to the Nihari of Old Delhi. It's spicier than that of Lucknow. Hyderabadi Nihari is Paaya - Nihari, also not as spicy as the Nihari, nor as spicy as the Paaya of Old Delhi . The reason for the extra spice in the Dilli Nihari is that the Hakeems of Shahjahan recommended that since the waters of the Yamuna were not the best for human consumption, the people of Shahjanabad ought to add more masala to their khana, and loads of fat too. Explains the food of Dilli 6. #EatingIndia with #Historywali #Delhi #Nihari #Food #History #FoodHistory

Kabootars. Dilli 6.

Chingri (Prawn) Malai Curry, my all time favourite from the kitchens of Bengal. Malai here is not cream, instead a twisted pronunciation of Malay, as it so happened that the use of coconut milk in a curry (or otherwise) came to Bengal from South East Asia. Inspired by the Malays! Thanks to mercantile interactions. Are there any other Bengali dishes Coconut Milk is used in? I know of none. #Eating #India with #Historywali #FoodHistory #Food #History #FoodHistoryFriday #Curry

Is it a flower? Is it a snake? It's a Peace Lily! Such a stand-out-er in the window garden. These babies are supposed to be great for purifying the air around them. #WindowGarden #GreenThumbWannabe Posting a plant pic each day this week as a follow-up to Earth Day. Love your plants! Go Green.

Teen Deviyan and plastic flower garlands. Colour, Kitsch, Religion. Can you identify the three goddesses? @sudhagee (my go-to person for Indian Iconography) tells me they are most likely Saraswati in White. Lakshmi in Yellow. And Bhadrakali or Parvati in beautiful black. I love the nose-rings and the maang-teekas. And the eyes! Note that the black deity has big round ones and the other two have fish-shaped eyes (Meenakshi). This is at the Ram Tirth mandir in Amritsar, said to be built on the spot that Valmiki had his hermitage, close to where Sita gave birth to Lav and Kush. Every year, thousands of childless women come here and take a dip in a pond known as the Sita-kund, and pray to be blessed with a child. #OnTheRoad with #Historywali #India #Goddess #History #Mythology #Temples #Iconography #Heritage

Joba. New addition to the window garden. 🌺 Beating #MondayBlues

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