Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | September 8, 2014

Playing with bricks

Auckland Art Gallery is hosting “The Cubic Structural Evolution Project” a hands-on installation by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson for next 6 months. Essentially, the project comprises of thousands of pieces of white Lego bricks on a long table. As a part of the project, the visitors to the Gallery can use these bricks to create whatever structures they feel like using their imagination.

We spent some time playing with these bricks on Sunday and it is quite engaging. The Gallery had a free screening of “The Lego Movie” as well to celebrate Fathers’ day.

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Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | September 1, 2014

Shingara

Even if my wear my colored goggles, the wet and windy never ending winter in Auckland looks pretty horrible. It makes me slow, tired and depressed. I miss home the most during this phase of the year. At least, if not anything else in Kolkata, I could eat “Shingara” when it rained! I miss “Shingara”.
Let me first clarify here, that Shingaras are not Samosas. Samosas are variances and sadly may have beaten the good old Shingara in their global reach. Shingaras have a much thin skin and is rich in potato and are much smaller when compared to Samosas. As far as I am concerned, Shingaras are much more delicious as well.

As I was growing up, I may have tasted Shingaras made by thousands of people. Starting from the ones made by Keya Mishtanna Bhandar in Sodepore, Hindustan Sweets in Tollygunje, sweet shops opposite Durgapur Main Hospital, Kalpana Sweets in Lake Gardens to the ones sold on the sub-urban trains in Bardhhaman/Howrah route, school/college canteens, Daker Lane, Shingaras’ that I have tasted were mostly good. In fact, I don’t even remember even once Shingaras giving me heartburn, which I can guarantee Samosas will give you.

Another excellent piece of Bengali creation that I miss are the “Chops” – i.e. the brothers in arm’s, vegetable and Aloo (potato). I was never very fond of Brinjals or Eggplant and hence, never liked Beguni. However, my dislike for Beguni made my love for the Chops much more. I wonder till date, whilst the Aloo Chop definitely had potatoes in it, whether the Vegetable Chop had anything other vegetables than potatoes and beet root in them. Who cares, as they tasted delicious in whatever form they came, especially the crumbs that lay on the Vegetable Chops skin.

I am sure, in today’s “proper” world, the above patronage will seem like promotion of junk food but in my childhood, these snack made evenings special. And mind you, this is coming from a person who was never fond of eating and still is very conscious about what he eats. Imagine then, what the connoisseurs will tell you.

And I have not even mentioned, Jilipi..

Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | June 9, 2014

Sound of pleasure

This was the time when we used to come to Calcutta from Sodepur by riding the green local trains over the weekend. I was very young. More often than not the trains will be crowded but somehow we could squeeze into some seats. While the train ride and the vistas seen from outside the window were fairly entertaining for a young me, but sometimes some absolutely –out-of-the world things made the journey all the more exciting. Dalimer Hajmi (or Dalim’s digestive pills) was one such addition that made the journey a bit extra-special. Dalim’s Hajmi used to be soft, hairy and relatively large considering it was called a pill. I am not sure what it was made off and why he had sprinkling of some yellow dust on its black, ugly, hairy body, but it tasted amazing. It was tangy and sour. I never had more than one at a time, but then that one gave me immense pleasure.

If pleasure had a sound then it was “ullhus” that time. Don’t ask me to teach you this particular sound, because it came straight out of a young heart. Give me a Dalim Hajmi made in 1980’s, you would have the privilege of “ullhus-ing”.

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