Bus-stops to Bus-bays

<Country roads take me home…

The wonderful lyrics that we had, like Wendell Berry says in the Agrarian Essays, “ the difference between path and a road is not only the oblivious one. the path is a little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation through experience and familiarity of movement to place. It obeys the natural contours such obstacles it meets goes around.”

Some where the quiet country roads were the same. Before we decided to go global, there were bus-stops and not bus bays, solid stone structures, the roads were narrow and vehicles fewer each giving way for the other. Accidents were also less in number, people walked on the footpath, and crossed the roads comfortable.

The shelter where people awaited the arrival of the bus was the bus-stop. Usually painted either blue or green distemper so that the rain would not get it. inner half of it would have the bus timings written on it, and the other half would have the agrarian wholesale market price of various commodities. Then of course there would be the current campaign run by the government written too.

With advertising boom, people started sticking handbills on these spaces. And now despite the heavy taxing road building has been outsources… to whom…we do not know the RTI applications are not answered. Or if they are the answer given is document not available. What was the procedure for outsourcing, that information is not available too.

However my current concern is the busbays that are created off the so-called main roads, the bus drivers do not enter that space. Bus timings are not mentioned, these bus-bays have become places for advertisements and hooligans to hang out. When I mentioned this, I was told to Google the bus timings.

Potholes, Mercy-these-Bhains undoubtedly rule the roads, I do agree animals have the right of way,So the Jackass on the motarbike gets to zoom through on the pedestrian walks, like the “great Indian mother” on the scooter she is late to pick her child up, so it is okay for to push the elderly woman on the footpath after all the elderly woman does not have to go anywhere, while our diligent mother has to get back to office.Bus stop

How much are we going to abuse our pedestrians? Zebra crossings have become zones, where if you die hit by a vehicle then you know that person who hit was in the wrong. Like the noted Architect and Tedex speaker V.Naresh Narasimhan from Bangalore like to say broader roads, does not mean less congestion. Maybe it is time to hear what Tavleen Mehendrita has to say.

Continue reading “Bus-stops to Bus-bays”

Discovering Date Berries

I am back to my transit home the Indian Railways. This time it is to Ahmadabad.

It is the first time we travelled to Ahmadabad, as we entered the city; it gave an impression of opening the skies and allowing us to fly, instead of the usual claustrophobic urban appearance.

Wide roads, no doubt messy, and busy, but they were definitely more conscious of where they dumped their garbage. As we zoomed through to Gandhinagar, the road side vendors had heaps yellow and red berries; I made a mental note check it out. Somehow I could not really do so.

On our way back there was young boy Abu Bhakar, a Malayalee, who was conducting his first business trip on behalf of his family. They were into trading fresh dates to the Middle East. Apparently these dates came into the market at Gandhigram annually during early monsoon; they would be processed and dried in the Middle East. The boy was pretty excited with this venture he shared the samples with us.

The red berries apparently turn into the deep brown flesh fresh dates that are known as Karjura in kannada, while the yellow ones would be processed into uttute.

On my second trip of course I picked up quarter kilo of each, on eating them raw they were crunchy and mildly sweet, though the yellow one left a mild acrid after taste.

Then came the big question what do I do with it?

Though I scourged the net there seemed no recipe for the date berries… when I remembered a fresh date recipe my mother made though it was a disaster then I thought it might work with as these were berries.

I had a collective of ½ kilo dates, which I soaked in hot water for few minutes and skinned. The acrid after taste reduced after being soaked in hot water and the sweetness enhanced.

dates 2
cooked yellow and red dates with dry nuts and spices.
  • The berries had to be deseeded, which I did.
  • Added in about 1 and half cup of sugar, and left it over night.
  • next morning I picked dates out, measured the sugar syrup left behind, added twice the quantity of water and let it simmer,
  • I then made a powder of:
    • ¼ cup dry coconut scraping.
    • 1 pod cardamom
    • 1 clove
    • Pinch of cinnamon powder
    • ½ cup of assorted nuts like cashew nut, walnut, pistachio’s, and almonds.
  • Fill in the deseeded dates with this mixture and put it back into the sugar syrup.
  • Let it simmer for about 2-3mnts and take it off the fire,

This was really interesting; alternately maybe I should have just chunked it all. Anyway all experiments now  are deferred for another year