Ferocious Loo

Ferocious loo*
old man under the neem tree
offers me water

The loo* is a hot, fierce and dry afternoon wind which blows over the northern plains of India. It is known to be absolutely brutal and ruthless. Every year hundreds of men, women, children, birds and animals are killed because of it. If you happen to be in India for vacations during summers, I think you should be absolutely ready for the Loo. Read my post and haiku on Agra, Taj Mahal and Loo, it also talks about a recipe that you can have to prevent the effects of loo.

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Kyoshi Takahama’s ‘A Gold Bug’ – Haiku

Today at Carpe Diem Haiku, Kristjaan published Takahama’s ‘A Gold Bug’

くがね むし
なげうつ やみ の
ふかさ かな

Romaji Version-

kogane-mushi nageutsu yami no fukasa kana

English Version-

a gold bug –
I hurl into the darkness
and feeling the depth of night

After reading Takahama’s haiku, I was reminded of my ancestral home in Agra where I spent my childhood. Agra is a modern city but the parts I lived in was near the Air Force Station and due to some odd reason, we were not provided the luxury of electricity. But it was a delight to live without electricity, we had lanterns, candles, diyas (clay pot candles) and fireflies. As a poet and writer, I can say I had a lovely childhood with no electricity and a home that looked ancient. Of course, places like these gave birth to Haiku tales that I am proud of and one of them is here.

My take on Takahama’s ‘A Gold Bug’-

Last candle flickers
as my room turns black
fireflies glow

Taj Mahal, May and Haiku

The May sun
sears the white tomb of love
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz sweat

I am in Agra and the temperature is close to 46 degree Celsius. My body is craving for something cold; oh my sister just gave me a cup of homemade frozen mango custard. Yummy.

Homemade Frozen Mango Custard

Homemade Frozen Mango Custard

Coming back to summers and Agra, this season is not a very good time to visit the city, it is very hot as strong, dry and hot wind called Loo terrorizes the afternoons. Let me tell you, Loo is lethal for your health and exposure can lead to heatstroke. It is advised to increase the intake of fluids, juices, ORS (Oral Rehydration Solutions) and glucose water.

The best way to avoid Loo is Phalse ka sherbet, just ask for this sherbet (juice) and I am sure you will enjoy it. This cool drink is one of the best ways to tackle the dreaded effects of Loo.

Phalsa Sherbet Recipe (just in case)

This Indian cooler is very popular in India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and it is a very easy drink to prepare.
Ingredients:
Phalsa – 400 grams
Powdered sugar – 2 cups
Rock salt – 1 tsp
Crushed ice
Mint sprigs for garnishing

Method:

  1. Soak the phalsa for 30 minutes.
  2. After soaking the berries become soft. Put the berries in a bowl and add water if need be; crush them with your hands (I hope they are clean, if not, you will anyway get diarrhea).
  3. When you crush the berries, the seeds separate. Push the mixture through a soup strainer.
  4. If the mixture is thick, add water.
  5. Add rock salt, powdered sugar and mix.
  6. Pour the cooler in a tumbler and garnish with a mint sprig.

Enjoy!

Evenings are manageable compared to afternoons. Have fluids, eat light and you will be able to enjoy this wonderful city.

The monuments in Agra are ancient, dark and overwhelming. Apart from the Taj Mahal, you can visit, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah, Sikandra, Fatehpur Sikri, Mankameshwar Temple, Mariam’s Tomb, Keetham Lake and Guru Ka Tal.
Oh and one more thing, people of Agra have terrible road sense or civic sense, they are pathetic, so don’t even think about driving a car in those narrow lanes especially areas like Shahganj. The concept of lane driving is missing, they can take any lane they want. Motorcyclists, rickshaw wallahs, auto wallahs, pedestrians and venders are always in a hurry to reach somewhere, I have no idea where, but they literally, fucking, run you over. So, when you are on the road, keep your eyes and ears open.

I will write more about this city in my next post.

Next up- Petha, Petha and more Petha.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape to Agra

I fancy railway stations, trains, platforms and everything attached to locomotives. Fond memories of childhood days, when my brother and I used to wait for vacations are still fresh. We used to quarrel for the window seat and mum had to intervene with creative solutions.

Today, I relived those memories of the roaring engine, smiling faces on the platform, little kids running and asking for refreshments, families relaxing on the floor, (in India we don’t have enough space in the waiting room, so we make arrangements). Oh how can I forget the venders yelling Chai, Chai  (tea, tea); they have this amazing voice that has become a distinctive characteristic of Indian Railways.

Today, I had this urge to escape from the modern lifestyle that Delhi offers, I felt choked and the best way to release and break free was to head to a new city, and here I am in Agra.

More candid pictures of Agra in my next post.

Memories of Days Gone By

Granny and us look
twinkling stars on night’s canvas
astronomy class.

To the best astronomy class.

Sweet memories, what a superb prompt on Carpe Diem Haiku today. I am sharing with you folks these photographs taken last year of the place where I spent my childhood. Enjoy. All photographs taken by Tarun Mazumdar

Tika Ram Temple, Kheria, Near Air Force Station, Agra, India.