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Window Seat: Winter

21/11/2021 at 7:07 AM

India is truly a land of contradictions. While there is a prediction that some North Indian states may suffer the harshest winter in years, we at Central Odisha are actually eagerly looking forward to a cool winter. Even the quilts tucked inside trunks and boxes are waiting to be taken out- dried under the soft sun and used. Everybody at this part of the country is ruing the fact that the world is warming up. My mother says, in her times winter used to arrive much earlier around Durga Puja. Now we are celebrating KartickPurnima- and there is no trace of the bone numbing cold, which should have been here.

Winter in our part of the country has its own charm. The mellow sun in the morning feels like a shawl that you would like to warp around you. The evenings almost invite you to snuggle under the quilt- but not before one partakes bellyful of pakoda- the spiced fritters. Incidentally pakoda originated in Indian sub-continent.  

Winter and Tea

India drinks her tea (or chai) in myriad ways. From the Noon Chai in J&K to Nilgiri Tea down south, from smoked tea in NE to Nathwada chai in Gujarat- we have various kinds and concoctions of tea. In Bengal and Assam- putting milk in tea is sacrilege. In Hindi heartland it is the main ingredient.

Whatever be the kind, type and ingredient- winter is the best time of savour tea. A hot cup of tea in winter- is the best thing that can happen. Remember the scene from railway platform scene in Dil se! A rainy winter night, MonishaKoirala with her wet brush painted innocence and a Sharukh Khan trying to offer her a glass (not cup) of tea!

Thankfully our engagement with tea has changed drastically over time. When I was a kid- (I was born in 1961) tea was kind of adult drink. Kids only get to drink it occasionally- like when somebody has fever or has an examination and has to study late into night or if it too cold. Now it is ok to allow even toddler to have tea.

How times have changed- for the better, for lovers of tea!

MannuBhandari

MannuBhandari, one of the pioneers of the Hindi NayiKahaani Movement, which started in 1950s passed away on 15 November. In her novels and short stories, Bhandariportrayed women under a new light, as independent and intellectual individuals. She highlighted the struggles and difficulties women constantly encountered. Female characters in her stories are portrayed as strong, independent individuals, breaking old habits and emerging and creating an image of ‘a new woman’.

Bhandari’s first novel, Ek Inch Muskaan, was published in 1961. It was co-authored with her husband, the writer and editor RajendraYadav.

Besides short stories and novels, she wrote several plays and screen plays and also fiction for children.Many of her novels and short stories have been made into successful plays and feature films. Rajnigandha and Swami directed by BasuChatterjee, werebased on her story YahiSachHai and novel titled Swami. Her second novel AapKaBunty was made into a film titled SamaykiDhara by Sisir Mishra. Bhandari subsequently sued the filmmakers, Kala Vikas Pictures Pvt Ltd, on the grounds that the adaptation distorted her novel and violated Section 57 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. The judgment in this case, wasa landmark decision in Indian copyright law that clarified the scope of an author’s moral rights under Indian copyright law. The Court held in favour of Bhandari, but she and the producers ultimately settled out of court.

I recently translated one of her short stories titledMukti (liberation) that portrays the life of a housewife who relentlessly serves her husband.

Happy Winter!

Now comes the time, when we have to take that important decision of life every morning: should I take a bath or not.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.

He can be reached at mrinalchatterjeeiimc@gmail.com

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