I know, during this crucial time of the year I should be sitting beside Virat and help him with his exam’s preparations; and only after that, if time permits, I am allowed to talk about the recent water crisis in Delhi or about the stories of our those three difficult days when there was no water in the house…but no, I am not inspired to write about any difficult time over here, at least not for today.
So let’s start from where I left….
The evening sun was shining beautifully when we reached his school. The gatekeeper laughed and said we arrived much before the time. We were not even allowed entry inside so we parked our car outside his school complex and set off to explore the road ahead.
Surprisingly ever since Virat moved into this school, I make sure that on our each visit his school I carry my camera with me. The village like serenity around his school inspires me; inspire me or may be remind me of my most wonderful time spend at my naani’s house, in a village. Even after 35 long years, I still have crystal clear memories of that time – the beautiful lush green farms, fields of dairy cows and buffaloes, cluster of mud houses, narrow footpath everything was so enchanting, sacred and quiet. Every evening at 7, my naani laid out charpaies for us, over them she spread out the most beautiful hand woven bed sheets, the small pillows (too made by her) were the comfiest. During night frogs kept hopping on our low-lying beds, initially I found it scary then eventually I became habitual. We needed no fans and no lights, just a canopy of stars was enough to lighten our nights and the soft breeze was more than enough to give us comfort of an a.c. There we experienced all which you might have read in story books like getting up to rooster calls or birds songs. Every morning a few roties and a fistful of bajra (pearl millet) is being given to us to give to cows,dogs and to birds. I still remember the taste of lauki sabji that she used to serve us, we used to ate no less than 5 chapaties. All day we used to play with other villager’s kids. Sometimes I quietly slip and play in a forbidden haunted house (just opposite to my naani’s house) where other kids were scared to play. I remember how excited I was, when my nanu took me to pierce my ear and how I cried in pain when it all happened. There every distance was covered by foot or by cycle. Unfortunately we only managed only a few visits there, later they shifted to my mamu’s house in Delhi.
And coming back to the day when we were given the opportunity to explore the area around his school I was unprepared (without the camera). Someone has rightly said
Opportunities can knock your door anytime, so you should always be well prepared
Anyways, as we walked the narrow and uneven footpath side by side or sometime leading the other; happy and content by the free time we had; at times, reminding each other to be careful on the congested road. Large acres of farms on both side of the road – a few were overflowing with produce, a few were bare or just being sown, piles of dung cakes were lined up along the road; scent or smell coming through them has a certain kind of sweetness that doesn’t make you wrinkle your nose in disgust. I couldn’t found any shop around other than a few tea stalls and a one or two shop stocks some gardening tools and seeds. I wished to stop and looked what more is inside but seeing him racing ahead I run to match steps with him. Walking further I noticed a very big and sprawling nursery on left side of the road. Inder wanted a few mango saplings for his school so he went to negotiates with the owner, giving me ample time to look around the nursery. For the first time I saw a huge patch of coriander and fenugreek. I inquired the caretaker, if he has some herbs but he declined. Nothing materialistic happened between him and the owner. We both came out empty handed. I looked ahead of the road which knows no end but we realized we have to return to pick Virat up from his school.
• Vegetables of your choice (I took broccoli, red and yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, spring onion), chopped– 2 bowls *
• Garlic, grated – 5 – 6 pods
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Pasta of your choice, boiled as per packet instructions – 1 bowl *
• Oil – 1 tsp
• Vinegar – 1 tsp
• Soya sauce – a dash
• Honey – 1 tbsp
• Peanuts or walnuts, chopped – 2 tbsp (optional)
In a pan heat one teaspoon of oil add garlic and give it a quick stir. Add the vegetables and give it a quick stir. Add soya sauce, salt, pepper and vinegar. Mix well then add the pasta. Once everything is mixed well switched off the gas add the honey. Serve hot and garnish with peanuts or walnuts.
* You can increase or decrease the quantity of vegetables or pasta as per your own choice.