My Travel Resolution.
discover hidden myths, taste diverse food and sleep below a sky full of shooting stars and galaxies every night
As the rainy season approached a very old man was digging holes in the ground.

What are you doing? asked the neighbor.

Planting the seeds of mango trees, the old man said.

Think you can eat the fruit? the neighbor uttered contemptuously.

No, I will not live long enough to be able to eat its fruits, but the others would. The other day I thought, all my life, I have enjoyed mangoes planted by others. This is my way of showing them my gratitude. The old man said with a heart of joy.

It is an Indonesian fairy tale that I read by chance that opens the post this week.

Memories of the Mango

It's such a disarming beauty that resides in the simplicity of the phrase "The other day I thought, all my life, I have enjoyed mangoes planted by others." It is a love affair long before I knew what love was. Known for its sweet smell, and even sweeter taste, mangoes are a perfect fruit for a romantic interlude. And there have been few other fruits that have captivated the hearts, minds and tongues of the majority of the world’s population.

The mango, dates back to about 4000 BC that spread from India to Africa, where it made the jump in the tenth century and then to America, in the seventeenth century by the Portuguese, who took it to Brazil.

The fruits bear sin and temptation, from the Apples in the Western world to the Grapes in the Arab World to the Mango in the Indian Subcontinent. But these delicacies also evoke things that are not gastronomic. The apple symbolizes original sin and purity and is both known for its sensuality and innocence. Arabia cannot celebrate wine, woman and song without a few bunches of grapes and mango permeates the art, emotions and culture of India.

Folk songs celebrate all the phases of the life of a mango from the tree in bloom to the first fruits to the green mango to the ripe fruit, full of sweetness. You can make juice, marinate it, dry it, eat it as it is, with the juice that runs down your fingers, or very delicately, diced and covered with milk.

The Tamils ​​call it 'mangay', the Chinese call it 'mangguo', the people of Bengal call it 'aam', those of Karnataka call it 'mavu' and those of Kerala as 'amra'. Summer in Bengal represents the freedom and kites flying in the wind, the buckets of delicious mangoes, the swings on the mango trees and the festival of Jamai Sasthi, the day when the mother-in-law pampers their son-in-laws with loads of mangoes and is also a time that brings the married women back to their parents' house.

In India, it is said, there are only two seasons the rainy season, which quenches the land, and the mango season, which satisfies the palate and the heart of men, where a beautiful gesture of friendship is considered to give a mango basket to who you love. There must be as many types of mangoes in India as there are languages from the perfumed Alphonso to the green Dashehari to the parrot beaked Totapuri to the orange beauty Banaganapalli to the succulent Chausa to the golden skinned Langada, gleaming in their jewel red, yellow and dark green tones with their own distinct aromas.

In India, it is not only a fruit but a symbol of fertility and abundance, love and devotion and some believe that the mango tree can even grant wishes. The tree is believed to be the abode of Kama, the god of love, and the leaves and flowers of the mango are also considered sacred. A string of mango leaves are tied across doorways, as an auspicious symbol on religious occasions, and are included into many of the associated rituals.

The warm color of the flesh becomes the ideal color for elegant silk saris, and the theme of fruit and flower are the recurring motifs in textiles and jewelry, in particular during a wedding feast. Jewelers design intricate ornaments and earrings or necklaces with mango designs. This fruit is very much a part of our festivals and the songs we sing.

During this same time, while cutting some sliced ​​mangoes, I think of how my life is marked by memories associated with their smell and their taste. It's nostalgic reminiscing the good old days when as kids I tried to sneak in and steal the fruit trying to bring them down by throwing stones and climbing on the trunks to shake.

A visit to an orchard was a magical sight as after some time the trees laden with the fruit in vibrant shades of green and yellow was a sight to behold. As strong winds would start blowing we would run from one mango tree to the other collecting fresh mangoes that would keep falling all day. It was just like a mango shower.

Those were moments of priceless ecstasy when over those small and sweet green mangoes, I put a pinch of black salt and chilli powder and ate during my school vacations after stealing some from gardens. After taking a bite of the fruit I had left between the teeth, a few drops of juice would run down the chin and while the clothes would be soiled, I would suck the seeds to make them stay white and I threw the seed on my own garden as I loved to see the purple leaves coming out of the newborn mango tree. And finally, during the months long after the good season, I would taste it as pickles carefully prepared by mom.

Mangoes remind me every step of my life, but also any period that has recently gone through this land. As in a cycle of life that transcends the crisis, hardships, unfinished agendas, mangoes come again from the long and sharp ones to the large and fleshy ones. Despite all the stubbornness, mango is still here that marks our lives with her ​​great taste and makes every garden into a corner of prosperity, at least until the end of summer.

The scent of the mango flowers on the branches, the heightened humidity in the air, along with the sweltering summer heat unite in a symphony of flavours as myths, legends, fragrance and gratitude, is what we taste when we taste a mango.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author
Cumin is a spice that many people use in their dishes, especially in foods that originated from Mediterranean and Southeast Asian regions. Cumin is classified as an earthy, nutty spicy that offer lots of health benefits. Due to this reason, along with being a part of dishes in the main course, cumin is also used as a traditional medicine.

Cumin helps in controlling weight loss, improving blood sugar as well as to control cholesterol. Following are some benefits of cumin:

1. Digestion

As mentioned above, cumin is very useful in boosting your digestion. It helps in enhancing normal digestion system as well as increase protein within the digestive parts. Consume cumin every day on regular basis to have sufficient amount of properties that you need to maintain healthy digestive system. Alternatively, if you want a quicker result, it is also beneficial if you drink cumin juice twice a day, in the morning as you wake up and at night before going to bed.

2. Insomnia

For those who have trouble falling asleep, cumin is beneficial to get you back to sleep. It is richly aromatic and is the ideal anti congestive combination. Therefore, it is both a stimulant and relaxant at the same time. Stress is normally regarded as a factor triggering insomnia. Therefore, the recommendation is to drink cumin tea every night before you go to bed.

3. Common Cold

When it comes to sudden changes of weather, our body deals with lots of issues and the most common one is cold. This health issue happens when our respiratory system breaks down and struggle with the sudden changes from outside. In such cases, you would need cumin in order to help to calm the nerve. In such case, cumin would make a perfect match as it can help in adding lots of vitamin C, which helps in boosting the immune system. Also, it is a natural antioxidant helping you stay away from those infections and toxins. The advice is to drink cumin tea every day, especially when you find symptoms of common cold.

4. Skin Disorders

Our skin has to struggle with lots of problems both from inside and outside. The key here to treat them is to fix them all if you want to have smooth skin, especially when you are facing premature aging problems. You need to stay put if you want to keep your skin young and glowing. The answer to skin problems is using cumin. Also, high amount of vitamin E found in cumin helps to combat free radicals so that you do not have to worry about the problems of wrinkles, ageing, redspot or blemishes. This would help you to have smooth skin as you ever expect. Drink cumin juice on a regular basis. Alternatively, it is also helpful if you use cumin as a mask, applying on your face three times a day.

With very little quantity of cumin we will be able to bring a lot of flavor and aromatize the dish. We can buy it in grain or powder, and it is used in different kinds of rice, in sauces, soups and salads.

Cumin seeds images

Cumin Soup Recipe

Preparation Time: 15-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 carrot, chopped in small cubes
1 tomato
1 red onion, chopped into cubes
1 minced garlic clove
A spoonful of ground cumin
Half a tablespoon of virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 branch of thyme
1 branch of parsley
A teaspoon of vinegar
1 liter of water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of plain yogurt without sugar, or sour cream and a pinch of cumin to serve

Method

Place carrot, garlic, onion, tomato, cumin, thyme and parsley in a pot. Bring to a high heat and let it boil.

When it boils, lower the heat and let it cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Then, remove the bay leaf, thyme and parsley, and take the rest to a processor or blender.

Once processed, we return to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, add a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream and top with a pinch of cumin powder.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author
Calcutta has an ancient history, a city that boasts of an unparalleled gastronomy, complex arts, dances and much more. Let us know, then, one of the most marked and unknown festivities for the traveler, that begins to develop up to 10 months before its celebration. The Durga Puja festival is an explosion of color, joy, and gratitude, surrounding the worship of Durga and her victory over Mahishasura.

The preparations begin months in advance when the artisans begin to draw inspiration for clay idols of Durga. By means of bamboo sticks cut in various shapes and sizes, they manage to make the basic structure of the idols of the goddess and the platform in which the colossal figure will be displayed, but they also use everything they find at hand from plastics to reconverted elements. This is a long and delicate process as there is always the risk that they will break and have to start over again.

In a diligent and methodical way, the craftsmen strive to create exquisite pieces of art. The most qualified perform, with great care with fine clay. The sculptures have a great aesthetic sense and their execution is organized according to the neighborhood associations, which will house the Durga, that is to be worshipped by friends and neighbors. In short, every year the festival translates into hours and hours of endless preparations.

During the weeks of Durga Puja, life seems to stop completely for the entire state of West Bengal, as well as in large enclaves of Bengalis around the world. In Calcutta, this is a period of crowds, colors, and music, where suddenly all flock to the streets.

It is a deeply felt and colorful celebration that blends craftsmanship, artistic flair, and architectural knowledge. A set of terracotta images, statues, and paintings of Durga decorate the streets of the city, placed in special temporary structures in playgrounds, squares, plazas and anywhere there is a free space until the end of the puja.

The pandals made of bamboo and cloth, are laid in open space for the visits of the faithful from morning until late at night. The pandals are the tangible form of worship of the goddess and with the participation of citizens become the true religious art and celebration of the life of this chaotic city.

While some pandals are simple structures, others are often designed as works of art with themes that rely heavily on history, current events, and sometimes pure imagination. The shapes and dimensions of the pandal are at the generosity of its more or less well-off inhabitants, ranging from the most traditional, decorated with woven reeds and covered in straw mats, to those most pretentious, replicating the great architecture terracotta temples or white marble carvings exhibiting virtuously in polystyrene.

In fact, visiting the pandal in recent years, one could say that the Durga Puja is the largest outdoor art show in the world. In the 90s, a large number of architectural models grew on the outer parts of the pandal, but today the architectural motifs also extend to the elaborate interiors, executed by skilled artists, with consistent stylistic elements, carefully executed and signed by the artist himself.

Durga Puja

From the folk to the most eccentric architectural experiments using throw-away, thatched huts to those pointed by the Thai flavor, to the Wizard of Oz, to that naive floors and bright colors, each isolated pandal reinterprets the arrival of Durga in a new context, to imply playfully to its permanent validity.

The themes that inspired pandal and idols are often the distinctive sign of the community, especially in Kolkata, starting from the 1990s. The Puja committees decide on a particular theme, the elements of which are incorporated in the pandal and the idols. Popular themes include ancient civilizations such as the Ancient Egypt or Inca. Contemporary Subjects like the Titanic and Harry Potter also have been the subject of some pandals.

The design and decoration are generally made by local students of art and architecture. The financial resources required for these themes are generally higher than those needed to make figures based on traditional themes. They attract the crowds and are well accepted by visitors. Following the example of Kolkata, the pandal theme has become popular even in neighboring states, particularly in Orissa.

For the most heartfelt celebrations of Bengal, Calcutta becomes the Eastern Rio De Janeiro as tens of millions of visitors immortalize the imaginative staging of typical pandals, from the traditional to the more eccentric, to celebrate the victory of the Goddess, loving mother and ruthless warrior at the same time.

Durga Puja

Durga Puja makes me long for my childhood when we were happy and we had no problems. For a few days, the whole world seems to enter into another dimension where there is only love, peace, solidarity and of course, happy people, or at least, smiling ones. The whole society imposes on us to live these days as an idyllic time in which everything is positive. But above all, the atmosphere was what changed. Everything was more cheerful. The devotional chants sounded on the radio with the smell of the shiuli flower from the parijat tree filling the senses.

I remember more than once waking up in the middle of the night during a weekend trip from Kolkata and finding myself in a bed full of family members, and hearing them still sing and talk and laugh. Thus we have all come out of singing, happy, with the same desire to live.

In the five-day celebration of Durga Puja, in Calcutta the atmosphere lights up somewhere between Christmas and the Carnival with amazing psychedelic neon lights, the race for shopping, the tub in the neighborhood streets to show off new clothes and the least simple as possible, the music at full blast, mass elation, and of course, the pandal-hopping.
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author