Poems, Stories, Prose | The Best from Contributing Creative Writers on WBRi Kolkata Radio Magazine

Rock City ( Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama) United States

apipoj

One fine summer morning we drove up the hills of Tennessee to reach Lookout Mountain, the most popular attraction of Chattanooga. Once atop the mountain, we were also in Georgia; geographically, Lookout Mountain belonged to Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama and to see all these three states and four more, we first reached Rock City.


Sherlock Holmes in Switzerland

zukydc

The whole world is talking about Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes-A Game of Shadows and I am particularly raving about the most charming Dr.Watson (Jude Law). The film is said to be based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Final Problem’ and after watching the film I fondly remembered my trip to Meiringen. 


Nolen Gur – Redefining Sweetness, The Classic Bengali Way!

Nolen Gur / Patali Gur on Sale in Kolkata

Bengali Sweets on Sale at a Kolkata Mishtir Dokan

Calcutta, Jan 5, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) If you are a true-blue Bong with a typically sweet tooth and there is a nip in the air, it must be your favorite time of the year. The scents of ‘Nolen Gur’, that delectable and delicious variety of jaggery which is available only during the winter months (like all good things in life, it cannot be found any time one likes!) must already have reached your discerning nostrils. We love our ‘mishti doi’-s, ‘rosogolla’-s and ‘korapak-er sandesh’-es, but ‘nolen gur’ seems to add an extra dimension to the range and taste (slurp!) of sweets in the city. Indeed, ‘nolen gur’ sweets are much more than just another variety of tasty food items gracing the plates of the discerning Bengalis in winter; they have become intermingled with the way of our lives.

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

For those of you who are not quite aware of the origins of ‘nolen gur’ (the romanticism of which is somewhat lost in its alternative name – ‘notun gur’), it is obtained from the sap of palm trees, which is secreted mainly during the Bengali months of ‘Aghrahayan’ and ‘Poush’ (roughly, from November to January). The manner in which ‘nolen gur’ is collected and prepared has its fair share of charm, beauty and indeed, adventure as well. Traders tie earthen pots right at the top of palm trees at night and they are left there till morning. At the crack of dawn, the pots, now filled with palm sap, are brought down. The collected juices are now boiled and treated to prepare different varieties of ‘nolen gur’. ‘Jhola gur’, the thick and sinfully sweet member of the ‘nolen’ fraternity, is created by boiling the sap for a relatively short period of time. Boil it longer and you will get the solid and equally (if not more!) tasty ‘Patali gur’, which, in turn, is designed into different forms before being sold in the markets. Of course, the palm juices, in their raw form, enjoy high customer demand levels too.

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Moving on from the technical (some might even call it mundane!) details, let us now turn our attentions to the varieties of sweets, with ‘nolen gur’ as one of their principal ingredients, that add to the attractions of sweet shops by their gracious presence during the months of winter. Many swear by the ‘gurer kanchagolla’-s, ‘taalshaansh’-es and ‘gurer kalakaand’-s that are available during this period. During January, in particular, certain shops boast of having more than 50 varieties of ‘nolen gur’ sweets in their stock. How one wishes we could taste all of them!

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Customers, however, need to be careful while buying ‘nolen gur’ products from sweet stores. A bad tasting experience with sub-standard sweets can rob much (nay, all!) of the charm of a person’s desired date with ‘nolen gur’ sweets. Thankfully, there is no dearth of shops in our city, which serve ‘nolen gur’ sweets of the finest quality.

Balaram Mallick Radharam Bengali Mallick Sweet Shop in Kolkata

While stores like KC Das and Bhim Nag have taken it upon themselves to ensure that their customers are never denied the chance to enjoy the ‘nolen gur’ items that they so crave for, the Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick store can be considered to be some sort of a pioneer as far as bringing top quality ‘nolen gur’ sweets to the markets too.

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

Nolen Gur, Poira Gur, Jhola Gur, Patali Gur etc. on Sale in Kolkata

It’s all very well to purchase ‘nolen gur’ delicacies from sweet stores, but, if you want to feel the true traditional and old-world charm of this incredibly magical genre of edibles, you simply have to buy the ‘nolen poira gur’ from the roaming salesmen (and ladies!), who visit houses with clay jars, filled to the brim with the liquid variety of this highly addictive potion. In fact, the sight of these vendors, carrying two heavy earthen pots of ‘gur’, hanging from either end of sticks that are carefully balanced on their shoulders, fills all Bongs who love their sweet dishes with an intense craving to taste ‘nolen gur’ products (that too, on an ASAP basis!).

Bengali Sweets in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Bengali Sweets in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

‘Nolen gur’ weaves its magic in the typical Bengali households as well. The appearance of this brand of jaggery in the markets sparks off a flurry of activities among the female members of practically all Bengali families, who become busy in creating the (slurp..again!) ethereal ‘patishapta’-s, ‘puli pithey’-s, ‘nolen gurer payesh’, ‘gokul pithey’-s and a wide variety of other ‘nolen gur’ sweets – each of them more tasty than the other (or so it seems, really!). ‘Narkel naru’-s (which, when translated to English, become the extremely prosaic and dull-sounding ‘coconut dumplings’!) are another variety of ‘nolen gur’ delicacies that have found considerable favour among us Bengalis from the times of yore. Indeed, what is childhood if one has not tried to steal fistfuls of these ‘naru’-s from shelves (in their own homes!) and got caught in the process (by mothers, grandmothers, aunts and the like)? These experiences indeed contribute a great deal in the process via which a person grows from being a ‘resident of Kolkata’ to a ‘Bong’, in the real sense of the term.

There are plenty in store for those who wish to try out some non-conventional ‘nolen gur’ sweets as well. A new category of so-called ‘fusion sweets’ are generally available in shops during the winter months, which present a heady mix of the traditional taste of ‘nolen gur’ and other, more contemporary, ingredients and designs. Try out ‘nolen gurer rosogolla’-s or ‘nolen gurer icecreams’ and you will know what these ‘fusion sweets’ are all about. ‘Nolen gur’-filled chocolate sweets also deserve an honourable mention in this category.

Adding to the enormous popularity of ‘nolen gur’ products is the fact that, this brand of jaggery is available in the markets at wholesale prices, which are, of course, much lower than what the prices would have been if we had to buy it from individual retailers. The consistently high customer demand levels also help shopowners supply delicious ‘nolen gur’ sweets to buyers at relatively low prices. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that even if the prices of ‘nolen gur’ were slightly higher, that would have, in no way, diminished the attractions of these delicacies in the eyes of the average Bengalis, who are known for their love for tasty sweets.

Christmas has come and gone and we have had our fair share of yummy cakes. New year celebrations are also done and dusted and we have indulged our taste buds on that occasion as well. But hey, don’t these cakes, tutti-fruttis and western-style desserts pale into relative insignificance when we detect that unmistakable golden brownish tinge of ‘nolen gur’ in the sweets, ‘pithey’-s and ‘puli’-s that are presented in front of us by our loving mothers and grandmothers (sorry to all guys, but you do not even come close to matching your better halves in preparing these traditional Bengali sweets!)? After all, even literary stalwarts like Sukumar Ray have proclaimed, ages ago, that, while there are many tasty items available to us Bongs, the fact remains: ‘Kintu shobar chaite bhalo/Pauruti aar jhola gur’!

Phew! All this writing about delicious ‘nolen gur’ items has made me hungry again. Let me raid the refrigerator and hopefully I’ll find a bowl of sumptuous, finger-licking ‘notun gurer payesh’, made by my mom (who else?). Pray for me...


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গ্রামের নাম অকালপোষ - তাপসকিরণ রায় | Gramer Naam Akalposh - A Short Story by Tapas Kiran Ray - WBRi Online Bengali Magazine

The Bengali short story "Gramer Naam Akalposh" is perhaps of special interest to children, tweans and teens, writes the author Tapas Kiran Roy. Roy is writing for a couple of years now and he has been published across various online Bengali magazines including Ichchamati, Joydhak, Diala Kochikancha, Banglalive, Tilottama Bangla, Madhukari, Parabaas and our own WBRi Online Bengali Magazine. The author can be reached at tkray1950 [at] gmail [dot] com. This Bengali story (Bangla Golpo) is reproduced in Unicode Bengali font.

You can send your stories, poems and creative writing for publication in our online magazine section by e-mail to submissions [at] washingtonbanglaradio [dot] com.


গ্রামের নাম অকালপোষ

তাপসকিরণ রায়


আমি আর আমার মাসতুত দাদা পৌঁছালাম অকালপোষ গ্রামে।

গ্রীষ্মের অবকাশ ছিলো।আমি ক্লাশ ফাইব,খোকনদা ক্লাশ সেভেনে পড়ে।আগে থেকেই সব ঠিক ছিলো।আমি কালনায় খোকনদার  বাড়ি,মানে,বড় মাসির বাড়ি যাবো।তারপর সেখন থেকে যাবো ছোট মাসির চাকরির স্থলে--অকালপোষ গ্রামে।

গরমের ছুটি পড়ে গেলেও আমরা যাবো বলে ছোট মাসি চার পাঁচ দিন থেকে গেলেন সেখানে।

যথা সময় দুজনে দুই সাইড ব্যাগ আর এক ঝোলায় খাবার জল,গামছা এসব গুটিয়ে পৌঁছালাম গ্রাম অকালপোষে ...



কাল্টু, আমার কুকুর - তাপসকিরণ রায় | My Dog Kaltu - A Bangla Short Story by Tapas Kiran Ray - WBRi Bangla Online Magazine

The Bengali short story "Kaltu - Amar Kukur" (My Dog Kaltu) is written with teenagers in mind, writes the author Tapas Kiran Roy. Roy is writing for a couple of years now and he has been published across various online Bengali magazines including Ichchamati, Joydhak, Diala Kochikancha, Banglalive, Tilottama Bangla, Madhukari, Parabaas and our own WBRi Online Bengali Magazine. The author can be reached at tkray1950 [at] gmail [dot] com. This Bengali story (Bangla Golpo) is reproduced in Unicode Bengali font.

You can send your stories, poems and creative writing for publication in our online magazine section by e-mail to submissions [at] washingtonbanglaradio [dot] com.



কাল্টু, আমার কুকুর

তাপস কিরণ রায়

শিক্ষকতা করতাম উড়িষ্যার মালকানগিরি নামক এক জাগায়।দন্ডকবন প্রকল্পের ভিতরেই বাঙালী বসতির বেশ কিছু গ্রাম ছিলো এখানে।জাগাটা কোরাপুট জেলার মালকানগিরি নামক স্থানে অবস্থিত।স্থানীয় অঞ্চলের নাম পটারু।বহু বছর আগে থেকে এ নাম চলে আসছে--স্থানীয়  আদিবাসীদের দেওয়া নাম।



PALKI The Rolls Royce of ancient India | WBRi Online Magazine

WBRi Online Bangla Magazine is the leading original Bengali internet e-zine of the USA with over 10,000 web-site visitors per day. Send your stories, poems, travelogues and creative writing etc. for publication and instant global visibility to submissions@washingtonbanglaradio.com


Line art drawing of palanquin.

Image via Wikipedia

WBRi On-Line Magazine Presents

PALKI

Kolkata, Dec 30, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) The soft hum of hun-huna, the immortal song of the road still echoes in the remotest of the Indian villages with palanquins or palkis, as they are known in India, still being used for the purpose of transportation in such parts. In fact the word “palanquin” has been borrowed from the Sanskrit word “palyanka” meaning a couch. These quaint vehicles have a really long history to relate since they have remained a witness to eons of tradition, heritage and evolution. Though the earliest mention of the palki can be traced back to the Ramayana (250 BC), the exact time of their origin is not known.

Palkis have long been associated with the rich, the royal and the powerful, especially so in India where these were the only means of travel for rajas, maharajas and the feudal lords in the absence of modern transport systems. From simple to ornate, the palkis came in many variants and the richness in their décor, it is said, reflected the power and richness of the one travelling in it. Mostly carried on the shoulders by the slaves or dasas, these palkis tell a tale of social and economic dichotomy prevalent in ancient India.



Yeh Hai Delhi Meri Jaan - Commemorating 100 Years of India's Capital

By Nirendra Dev

Nirendra Narayan Dev

Editor's Note: Nirendra Narayan Dev (nirendev1 [at] gmail [dot] com), an acclaimed political journalist, is a special correspondent of The Statesman, New Delhi and author of the books Ayodhya : Battle For Peace, The Talking Guns North East India and Godhra A Journey To Mayhem. Nirendra was born and brought up in India's northeast and his father served with paramilitary force Assam Rifles. His blog is at bestofindiarestofindia.blogspot.com.

We have previously had an opportunity of talking to the author and have posted the audio recording of the interview.

Nirendra is also a fiction writer; his short stories published on Washington Bangla Radio Online Magazine include The Pawns’, ‘Arms of Comfort’, ‘The Guiding Sun, Soothing Moon’ , Patrons of a Letter Box and An Anniversary Night’.

Delhi completed 100 years of designating itself as the capital city of India on December 12, 2011. It was on December 12, 1911 that Delhi was proclaimed as the new capital of the country.

The city has emerged as one of the megapolis with the second largest population in the country. It has a long history including a history as the capital of several ancient empires. According to historians, the earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya Period in 300 BC.

In felicitating the citizens on the occasion of 101st (one hundred and first) birthday of Delhi, the Speaker of Indian Parliament’s lower house, Meira Kumar rightly said that the city today boasts of world class infrastructures and many heritage buildings.



ভুতের বিয়ের বাসর - তাপস কিরণ রায় | Bhooter Biyer Bashor Bengali Children's Poem by Tapas Kiran Ray: WBRi Online Bengali Magazine

The Bengali children's poem "Bhooter Biyer Bashor" is an attempt at entertaining kids, writes the author Tapas Kiran Roy. Roy is writing for a couple of years now and he has been published across various online Bengali magazines including Ichchamati, Joydhak, Diala Kochikancha, Banglalive, Tilottama Bangla, Madhukari, Parabaas and our own WBRi Online Bengali Magazine. The author can be reached at tkray1950 [at] gmail [dot] com. This Bengali poem (Bangla Kobita) is reproduced in Unicode Bangla font.

You can send your stories, poems and creative writing for publication in our online magazine section by e-mail to submissions [at] washingtonbanglaradio [dot] com.



ভুতের বিয়ের বাসর

তাপস কিরণ রায়


হঠাৎ শুনি রাত বারটায়
শঙ্খ,উলুর ধ্বনি হলো,
ঘুমের মোধ্যে ঘুমটা আমার
কেমন যেন ভেঙেই গেলো!

শুনতে পেলাম হোই হোই রবে
বসেছে বিয়ের বাসর,
কৌতূহলী মনটা নিয়ে
দেখতে গেলাম আসর।




রবীন্দ্র সংগীত শিল্পির ভুল - A Mistake by a Rabindra Sangeet Singer

রবীন্দ্র সংগীত শিল্পির ভুল

রতন লাল বসু

মূল প্রশ্নটা দিয়ে শুরু করা যাকঃ কোনো বিখ্যাত রবীন্দ্র সংগীত শিল্পি কি কখনো গান করতে গিয়ে কোনো ভুল শব্দ ব্যবহার করেছেন? আমি প্রথম যুগ থেকে শুরু করে শ্রীকান্ত আচার্য-স্বাগতালক্ষ্মীদের সময় পর্যন্ত সব বিখ্যাত শিল্পিদের গান শুনেছি। মাত্র একটা ক্ষেত্রে এরকম ভুল পেয়েছি।



Exploiting the web: A style of Moditva

By Nirendra Dev

Nirendra Narayan Dev

Editor's Note: Nirendra Narayan Dev (nirendev1 [at] gmail [dot] com), an acclaimed political journalist, is a special correspondent of The Statesman, New Delhi and author of the books Ayodhya : Battle For Peace, The Talking Guns North East India and Godhra A Journey To Mayhem. Nirendra was born and brought up in India's northeast and his father served with paramilitary force Assam Rifles. His blog is at bestofindiarestofindia.blogspot.com.

We have previously had an opportunity of talking to the author and have posted the audio recording of the interview.

Nirendra is also a fiction writer; his short stories published on Washington Bangla Radio Online Magazine include The Pawns’, ‘Arms of Comfort’, ‘The Guiding Sun, Soothing Moon’ , Patrons of a Letter Box and An Anniversary Night’.

Out of many facets, this one aspect of the beleaguered Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is also worth debating. One would fail in the duty if this vital facet of Narendra Modi’s personal story is not highlighted. It is his love for the razor-sharp new technology, the Information Technologies. Years back when Modi was first sworn in as the Gujarat chief minister on October 11, 2001 replacing an embattled party old-war horse Keshubhai Patel, there was a small piece of story ran by PTI wire service. It spoke about Modi’s swearing in being live covered by his personal website. The IT knowledge of Indians was not yet to the mark as it is now. I was temporarily stationed at PTI’s Chandigarh office for a short while. In fact, the moment the news story about website reached our desk at Chandigarh there was a modest debate on the merits of such a news report. Little wonder, Modi had kept himself low-profile but his incisive knowledge and more importantly the use of IT revolution was perhaps second to none. In later years too, this interest only sustained. It would not be out of place to mention that the ‘computer-mediated communication’ or the internet has a profound impact on his life and career and he too has tried to make use of it --- both as a tool to promote one’s personal image and also as a key system for governance. I often tell friends that had not the train inferno taken place, the little known township of Godhra had the potential of making news in IT revolution, a point I had highlighted rather eloquently in my first book, ‘Godhra – A Journey to Mayhem’.



Songjiang (Shanghai, China) The Traditional City

209m0sh

It was love at first sight with Songjiang, a stylish city, just about an hours drive from Shanghai. Full of fresh air and with loads of attractions tucked away in every nook and corner, this was an ideal place for visitors who would like to spend the weekends on day trips.


Ikra (Russian Caviar)

263j69h

Ikra or the Russian caviar is culled from the sturgeon as it moves to fresh water to spawn in adjoining rivers, from its habitat in the Caspian Sea. The most prized ikra are Beluga, Ossietra, and Sevruga, in descending order of quality — and demand! Not surprisingly, it’s also fabulously expensive as the best caviar is from sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. 


Taj Mahal (Agra, India) The Epitome of Love

krafk

Under the Mughal Rule during the 16th and the 17th century, Agra was the capital of India and since the first half of the seventeenth century it has been the home to the most fascinating monument of the world which till date reign supreme; the Taj Mahal.


সন্তান - তাপসকিরণ রায় | Santan - A Bengali Short Story by Tapashkiran Ray - WBRi Online Bengali Magazine

The Bengali short story "Santan" is written with young adults in mind by Tapaskiran Roy. Roy is writing for a couple of years now and he has been published across various online Bengali magazines including Ichchamati, Joydhak, Diala Kochikancha, Banglalive, Tilottama Bangla, Madhukari, Parabaas etc. The author can be reached at tkray1950 [at] gmail [dot] com. This story is reproduced in Unicode Bangla font.



সন্তান

তাপসকিরণ রায়


রতন কি করবে নিজেই বুঝতে পারে না।ঘরে কালকের খাবার নেই।কালকের দিন চলতে পারলেও পরশ্ব  কি করবে সে!দুটি প্রাণীর খাবার কোত্থেকে যোগার হবে?ও ভাবতে পারে না।



On the shores of the Mediterranean - Alexandria (Egypt)

10h3fau

Magnificently blue-green waters have an instant soothing effect on the mind. In this case the soothe factor came from the visual charm of the vast desert meeting the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea at historic Alexandria.