Sunday, November 28, 2010

Auto ride in Delhi

Well keeping my mouth shut has always been a challenge for me. Most of the time it leads to situation where I find uncomfortable and think it would have been better if I would have kept my mouth shut. Last Saturday I felt a bit different.
I reached my uncle’s home in hope of getting tasty food, unfortunately it was locked. I knew I needed to modify the plan for getting the free tasty food. So, I thought of taking auto to my other uncle’s home. I was standing at the junction waiting for auto. One auto came after 20 minutes he asked for Rs 100. Generally I would have bargained but exasperated of waiting I said ok. The driver has to get the CNG filled. There was huge line in front of the gas station. But this driver was smart one he went from the other side talked with guard and persuaded the other auto driver to let him get ahead. I found the driver to be street smart. Then I started asking him questions such as how long he has been driving the auto etc. He told me that he has been driving auto for last 7 years and still he is driving someone else auto. He needed to pay 11,000 per month as rent for auto. Well I started calculating and told him if he would have owned his own auto if he had took the loan from the bank. One thing I noticed about him that he was very cheerful. He did not own much and have to work so hard daily still he was optimistic and content about his life. I told him to open bank account and start with small savings. He tried to explain why he was not able to and only reason I can understand he never had enough to put in bank.
While talking he said I can give you one advice. I was not sure what advice he can give to me. He told to me never be in love, even if you are in love never marry your love but listen to your parents advice. I felt bit taken back. I thought he was judging everyone with same parameters and he is being judgemental and rude. Then he told me his love story and the painful ending where he was dragged to court.
The next thing he told me he had again married and to the girl of his parents choice. He is blessed with two kids. There was a smile on his face when he talked about his family. Today was birthday of his daughter. He was actually on his way to pick his parents from the railways station when I stopped him in the way.
He dropped me before my uncle’s apartment. I took Rs 200 from purse and paid him. I told him to buy some gift for his daughter. There was a big smile on his face. Well I think most of us never are grateful even when we get thousand of rupees transferred in our bank accounts. But his face told me those extra Rs 100 meant a lot to him.
I am not sure that actually we all are running after the money we earn or there is something else we want to run after. It was just a momentary thought I saw my cousin playing and joined him in playing football.
Before sleeping I remembered the auto journey, I thought why this was different from other auto rides. Was it because it told me that loving someone is so bad or we all humans are capable of loving equally or how much Rs 100 can matter to people? May be all but one thing that was the most important if we want we can add happiness to others life whenever where ever we wants, we just need to see a face and think I want to make this person happy. If you don’t believe just close your eyes and think about your loved ones. You will know how to make them happy, for others whom you don’t know start with a smile.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Distribution of Mandhra

With dusk of Wednesday started the painful and tiring journey that concluded in dusk of Thursday. By then I was tired and fatigued. After travelling 2 hours in rush and mayhem filled metro, then travelling 12 hours in cold bus and finally driving 2 hours on hilly circuitous roads. I reached my village on a cold and heavy Thursday morning. I badly needed rest, instead I got the responsibility to manage the dhaam (lunch organized for masses).
Collecting the pattals (the plate made out of taymabal tree leaves, don’t ask me what taymabal is) and other grocery items for the dhaam was just the beginning of tedious day. In good old days we used to enjoy such gatherings as we have to only play and enjoy. But this time as most of my uncles was unavailable. The huge responsibility of the arrangement was to be shared by me and my younger cousin. We both are still na├»ve at the job of dhaam management.
We were surrounded by aroma of different variety of dishes that included the Kali Daal that is hated by my sister, the Peeli Daal that’s nothing except completely yellow, mahani the doctor’s prescription for many aliments, the mouth watering dahi bhala, kheer the sweetener and the most important and the king of all dishes the one and only Mandhra. The Mandhra is the main dish or lifeline of the dhaam.
The Mandhra is served by the most dexterous person in the servers. I have mostly obliged to be waterman, not because it’s the simplest job but it’s the job where you can make mistakes and people won’t mind it. I still remember no one shouted at me when I tripped few drops of water on them, but once I dripped few drops of peeli daal on one uncle, his face went from yellow to dark red in same time as the bikes goes from 0 to 60 in TV advertisements. I usually also take the additional duties of serving the glasses and pattals. With that I have dexterously played the role of cleaner and washer also. The most difficult job in any dhaam is to serve the rice, I had experience certificate of that job also. The serving of the delicacies like Mahani and Daahi bhalla mostly use to fall on my shoulders when my uncles used to get retired hurt.
This time being the most responsible I have to wear many hats and fulfil the duty of waterman, pattal distributor and Mandhra man. I was surprised to know that I was chosen one “the Mandhra man”. It was the biggest responsibility bestowed to me over long time period about 15-20 years. I can say it was bigger than delivering a task to client as you can fool then or being master of contest at the area level contest where you can cleverly make things up. Only the most experienced and well versed servers get chance to ditrbute the Mandhra. It was challenge as I have to deliver the prepared delicacy that was the heart of the dhaam in appropriate and elegant way.
I started very cautiously serving the Mandhra once in all pattals and was moving around to make sure that no one feels scarcity of it. I soon found out everyone wanted it more and more. Then suddenly my eldest uncle came to me pulled me in a corner. He slowly spoke into my ear the words of wisdom - the successful distribution process of Mandhra. The distribution process is different from distribution for all the dishes. He told me all other dishes are to be served twice or thrice but Mandhra is the king it needs to be delivered once and that also in small quantity. Never go and ask second time. Give it second time to the person only if he starts asking for Mandhra again and again.
I followed the words of wisdom while I was serving in the next rounds very religiously never letting the king of dhaam to be dethroned. Keeping my eyes open so I don’t put too much in any pattal and closing my ears so I can neglect the calls for additional Mandhra. After serving around 400 people and cleaning most of the mess.
It was the time to start the journey again. Driving back to home for 2 hours was really tiring. My whole body was paining and aching. For the dinner mom served me the Mandhra in one bowl with rice. I looked closely with discerning eyes.
Like everything that stands out in a group has some thing special in it. So does Mandhra that contains so many dry fruits, the fluidity and taste of Mandhra is increased manifolds by adding ghee to it and most importantly you get to just taste it and not to devour it. These all qualities together make the Mandhra so special. While looking in the bowl full of Mandhra, I understood the importance behind the calculus for distribution of Mandhra.
I got drowsy and my mind started sinking in the world full of great delicacies like Mandhra. Slowly and slowly I dozed off in the dreamland!!