NaBloPoMo Nov.30 ‘My Lunch Box’ranu’s post

Kennebunk Manufacturing Company Fibre Lunch Bo...

Kennebunk Manufacturing Company Fibre Lunch Box Catalog Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had an aluminum lunch box at age 8. My Mom filled it with all sorts of yummy food. Everyday she warned me, “Ranu you must eat what I give you”. I always wanted to ,but I was so shy,thought of someone watching me, stopped me from eating lunch. It happened daily. I’d carry the box to school, make a few attempts to take out the food to eat. The moment I saw someone passing,I’d close the box.

The lunch box came home full. My younger siblings were thrilled to eat the food. Mom never found out. One fine day Mom filled the box with my favorite food. I carefully closed it. I told myself,’today I will eat the food’. When I opened the box,I heard someone calling,”Chaman hurry up, we’ll play a game of hide and seek”.I closed the box and ran out to play. The food was untouched.

Next day Mom packed lunch as usual. I was about to put it in my school bag, suddenly I heard a teeny tiny voice calling me, it was barely audible,at first I didn’t know where it was coming from. To my dismay, I heard the voice coming from my school bag. This can’t be true I thought, how can anyone speak from the bag. I only have my books and lunch box. Surely these are inanimate objects,how can they talk, I was thinking. Soon I heard a gentle tap inside the box. ‘This is weird” I said,I  opened the bag. My lunch box looked at me and said, “Listen, Ranu today you have to eat lunch,or I’ll tell your Mom”.  “Wait a minute I said, you cannot tattle you are not a living thing,you cannot frighten me”.

The school bus was almost at the gate of the school,ready to stop, I suddenly heard the screeching sound of the brake, I opened my eyes and realized , my lunch box wasn’t talking,it was my inner self warning me not to lie to my Mom!

NaBloPoMo “My Mom’s famous Kebab” Ranu’s post

My Mom was a very good cook. Anything she cooked was amazing. We all loved to eat. We seldom asked  how she turned out these delicious meals. I watched  when she cooked.  It looked so easy. I thought I can do this too. The ingredients she used were, slices of beef ,same size potatoes, onions were sliced thin,the tomatoes were thin slices too. In addition she used whole dry peppers,peppercorn and cinnamon sticks,there were whole cloves,salt,yoghurt and oil or clarified butter.

She used a round pot for this amazing dish. She had the ingredients in separate bowls. The layering of these ingredients was carefully done. she put a tablespoon of oil or clarified butter in the pot and spread it evenly. She carefully laid the beef ,followed  by three or four dry red peppers, a few peppercorns, some cloves,salt, and one or two half inch cinnamon sticks. Then  potatoes were layered on top making sure they covered the meat, onions went on top and tomatoes on the top layer. On each layer the oil and the yoghurt mixed with ground ginger,garlic ground cumin and ground coriander was spread as well. If she had some ingredients left, she’d repeat the layering. When everything was neatly in the pot, she put the cover on.

It was put on a charcoal stove, to give it the effect of an oven,she put hot charcoal on the cover. It took about an hour. When the lid was taken off,the aroma made us rush to the dining room. We didn’t need any bells!

NaBloPoMo A most extraordinary day Ranu’s post

My extraordinary day began this morning. I walked 2.2 km, paid my bill , came home and had the pleasure of reading 22 “Speak Easy Entries”, for this week.

There were all kinds of amazing stories. Some were about Grandpa and Grandma, others were different but they were excellent. To me they are all winners. To be able to write so beautifully,takes a lot of dedication. It is an amazing way of expressing oneself and improving.

We all had to vote for three entries we liked the most. I voted for three, I wish I could vote for all of them.

NaBloPoMo Nov.26th Dandelion Ranu’s post


dandelion (Photo credit: sclopit)

Dandelion is called a , ‘Miracle Drug’. It prevents or cures liver disease, hepatitis or jaundice. It acts as a gentle tonic and diuretic to purify blood. It helps to reduce weight, cleanses skin and eliminates acne. it cures various forms of cancer,prevents or controls diabetes mellitus. It has no negative side effects.

It is the top 6 herbs in the  Chinese herbal medicine chest. According to the USDA Bulletin # 8,”Composition of Foods”, (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984) Dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. They are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which vitamin A is created. They are rich in fiber , potassium,iron,calcium , magnesium , phosphorus and are good source of protein.

Vitamin A : important in fighting cancers of epithelial tissue , including mouth and lung.

Potassium rich foods in adequate quantities, helps keep blood pressure down and reduces the risk of strokes.

Fiber fights diabetes,lowers cholesterol,reduces cancer and heart disease risks  and assists in weight loss.

Calcium in high concentrations can build strong bones and also lowers blood pressure.

B vitamins help reduce stress.  “The Dandelion Celebration”–The guide to unexpected Cuisine,is useful for anyone who would like to know this remarkable plant.

I got my information from “leaf Lady”, an article written by Peter Gail.

NaBloPoMo Nov.25 ‘ Red’ Ranu’s post

English: Bangladeshi wedding at Dhaka

English: Bangladeshi wedding at Dhaka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever I think of red,it reminds me of the wedding sari I wore on my wedding day .Everyone else was wearing other colors. It makes me wonder why in our culture red is the color chosen for a bride. Could it be friends and family want the bride to stand out and be noticed.I get mixed feelings about it.

We have traffic lights,red,yellow and green. Red is a warning which in other words,tells us we should stop.Yellow is for caution and green means, freedom to drive on.

Going back to red for a bride in our culture,how does it make sense to dress the bride in red. If red warns us to stop,in case of traffic lights,why is the color red suitable for a bride. In all other cases red means danger,why is it okay for a bride to wear a red sari on her wedding day. I really am puzzled!

NaBloPoMo Nov. 24th Procrastination Ranu’s post

I am Procrastinating by Taking a Procrastinati...

I am Procrastinating by Taking a Procrastination Test: I scored as an Above Average Procrastinator (Photo credit: Tricia Wang 王圣捷)

I read this many times and always loved to repeat it,”Procrastination is the thief of time”.Somewhere in that line I sensed a musical tune. Someone who is over-anxious and always ready to please,a teacher,a colleague or a boss, would say you have lost your mind,how do you hear anything musical, the words clearly tell you what it means. How can you not understand it? But I do, I like the thought of leaving everything for tomorrow.

Here are some things I must do. I haven’t done yet. Everyday I tell myself I have to start writing those Christmas cards. I bought them in October,November is almost on its way out.I am still waiting for a good day. Whether that day will come or not I don’t know.

Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators,they leave everything till the last day. Am I in that group,I hope not?I have to mail my cards,it’s November 24th,exactly one month left for Christmas.If I fail to write them,my friends will not get them on time.I have to start today.

I am told there are three variants of procrastination.You could work on (a) nothing (b) something less important (c) something more important.At this moment getting the cards ready to mail is a priority.Reading Paulo’s latest book will have to wait another few days.It’s on my shelf for at least a year another week won’t make much difference.

It seems I am the kind of procrastinator who works on the small stuff and leaves the big stuff for later e.g leaving Paulo’s book to read later and send the cards now. If I think of mailing and the time it needs to get to its destination,it is more urgent than reading Paulo’s book.

This is when I think  it is a bad habit which needs to be fixed. I hope I can start improving my organisational skills,or else I’ll lose all my friends and Paulo’s latest will keep on collecting dust. O my it was such a chore writing all this!

NaBloPo Mo Nov. 23 “Flies” Ranu’s post


Fly (Photo credit: orangeacid)

Ann Rice’s quote,”To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself”. I think it’s a risk worth taking.At the crack of dawn,the first thing I thought about was,’write about flies’.What I must risk writing about an insect with two transparent wings,how can such a lowly insect grab anyone’s attention. I’ll give it a go and see the response,maybe none or one. If  one blogger  reads it,it is well worth my time.

My elder brother always knew how to make me work. One day he said, ‘There you are Ranu,make me a cup of tea, I am counting,then he’d say one ,before he counted to four’,I’d be up and running  to get that cup of tea,I always thought ,’Good Heavens’ if it reaches ten,all hell would break loose’. I got his tea,as soon as I laid it on the table,plop  a fly dropped in. I said,’Dada don’t drink this,it’s filthy,let me bring another cup’. He smiled spooned out the fly and said,’Don’t say it’s dirty,think it’s a cardamom,I’ll take it out and drink it’. I almost felt nauseous at the thought of drinking a cup of  tea that was made unclean by that wretched fly.I guess  there were going to be more flies in my future,as I was growing up.

I don’t habitually think of flies,but when I see them it makes me cringe. This episode happened on a wayside hut. There used to be a man,who fried fish every day in his little place. I loved them so much I had to have some,whenever I was passing by. One day I stopped by to get some,he wasn’t finished frying,I patiently waited.Suddenly I saw a whole bunch of flies hovering above. I told the man,’look there are flies above can’t you get rid of them’, he looked at me in awe  thinking this woman didn’t see flies,why is she making such a big deal. He laughed and said,’this is nothing, if they overcrowded my frying pan,I’d think of something’. I mumbled to myself,he doesn’t think it’s unhealthy.

A year or two passed before the question of flies came up. I got a   teaching  job in a residential model school. We all ate at the dining hall,myself and sixty kids.  Dining halls in the institutions are nothing to write about,especially when the question of cleanliness and healthy comes up. One morning an announcement was made,’breakfast is served come one come all’. When I was about to sit to have my breakfast, I had the misfortune of seeing flies on my toast. The waiter in trying to save me from spreading butter and jam on my toast,took it as his duty to do it for me. The result when the flies landed on the toast they were trapped by the sticky jam,unable to fly out they lay there. I was so disgusted with this,I took the knife and used it as a spatula to remove the flies. Did I eat the toast,no I did not.At that point I didn’t think I was hungry at all.

I am lucky there are no flies here,it is too cold in winter ,in summer they cannot come in because of the screen. I am happy to write flies are not an issue any more!

Please note: In Bengali ‘Dada’ means older brother.

NaBloPoMo Nov. 22nd muche jawa dinguli amaare je pichhu daake,Ranu’s post,

NaBloPoMo: Glorious Madness

NaBloPoMo: Glorious Madness (Photo credit: cizauskas)

The Day the Laughter Died

The Day the Laughter Died (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For NaBloPoMo: I am translating a Bengali Song.

Bygone days  are calling me.

The memories of my past are colored with

sadness and pleasure.

I remember when I fell in love,

All we thought was our paths

are united now.

We were in a different world,

We talked excessively,

We sang ,we laughed

Nothing bad could come between us.

Now it’s all in the past,

We no longer sing and laugh,

My heart is broken,

All the laughter and excessive

conversation has ended.

Where, at what moment, when

A star has fallen,

Can the sky remember?

Bygone days are calling me back,

the painful memories haunt me

and the pain is difficult to endure.

Translated by Ranu

NaBloPoMo Nov.20 A Story Ranu’s post

Vow of Silence

Vow of Silence (Photo credit: MTSOfan)

This story took place in a world I was beginning to adjust myself.The people here were no different from the ones I came into contact with some years ago.

My siblings and I gradually felt comfortable. We had new schools to go to. There wasn’t much of a contrast,except the teachers’ outfit was one I hadn’t seen before. Immediately I understood this new school was somewhat unfamiliar from the one I attended before.

Each grade was called standard. I was admitted in standard two.My sister wanted to put me in standard three,but the teacher whom we were supposed to call ‘Sister’, declared I was too young for standard three.

My teacher held my hand and announced she’ll take me to my classroom.Along the way she asked me a lot of questions which I happily answered. She was pleased I was able to speak English. The teachers decided to give me a battery of tests.There were some Math. problems,questions in English and I was given a book to read. I finished all the work. The teacher corrected Math. and English. She told me she will take me to a different classroom. I got up and once again held her hand and trudged along. This was a new classroom,the  receiving teacher was happy to see me. In all this time I had no idea why I was put in a different classroom.

I went home making sure not to tell my crooked sister,my classroom had changed,I was afraid I was put in a lower standard,perhaps the tests I did was wrong. My sister told me I was in standard two.I was silent,afraid to tell her I was moved,I thought to a lower level.

Next day we were all lined up to go to our respective classrooms. When the teacher signalled the ones in standard two should follow her,I hopped from the line and I was ready to follow her. When she saw me she remarked, “not you Chaman,you are in standard three.” I was ecstatic,I must have done well in those tests I thought .Well I could not wait to go home and tell my bossy sister I was in standard three. Thus ended my first day at my new school.

NaBloPoMo Nov.19 “Why do we dream” by Ranu

1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe at 39, a...

1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe at 39, a year before his death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think what can I write for NaBloPo Mo daily. I must admit nothing concrete comes to mind. So I did the obvious,I asked my daughter, she gave me some suggestion. I have momentarily shelved it. Last night after the discussion I went to bed.

I had a disturbing dream. I could not figure out why I would have such a dream. I read Freud’s theory of dreams. He calls dreams those poems we tell ourselves at night  in order to experience our unconscious wishes.

Many literary minds are obsessed with dreams.Samuel Coleridge wanted to write a book about dreams.Edgar Allan Poe knew dreams fed his literature,he pushed himself to dream  “dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before”.

Matt Wilson thinks dreams sort through memories which to retain which to lose.

Hartmann focuses on emotional learning that happens in dreams.He says dreaming puts our difficult emotions into pictures.

Others argue dreams have no meaning at all.They are random firings of a brain that doesn’t happen to be conscious at that time.

I read the views of all these people,I am not satisfied. I am thinking there must be a reason why I had that disturbing dream!