Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The other side of the world: Part 1...ctd

This is how it looks like before houses were built,there are parameter wall to demarcate each lot. the place that we stay used to be like this some 30 or 40 years ago. Next to it is a double storey house under construction, the steel bar will be left jutting out from the roof for future extension, i'm sure about the foundation of the building, whether they consider it or not.

Pukeri or pond with stagnant water and no overflow pipe or discharge, source of water, some who can't afford process water from authority will depends on this for washing, cleaning, bathing..there are even big fish in this pond, but you should know to really clean it otherwise the taste is unimaginable.

Notice how the women dress and how skinny the kids are, except for one family who are a bit wealthy. this is the entrance to Bhod Babu house, there is a gateway at the back leading to his house and other houses. The yellow house on the right side is the dhorji and Ghoro(Bhod Babu's son) house on upper floor. This is the only space which wider and the place where they greet us the first time and say goodbye. There is one water pump for the family here on the left side, imagine they carry the water up and down the house including one pregnant lady..pity

Women usually eat separately from men, where they need to serve their father, husband or uncle first. So here were women from two different world getting to know each other in Bhod Babu's room. We had a visitor that day so many food were served most of it were too sweet for my taste.

View from roof top towards the courtyard overlooking the pond.

Street vendor selling puchka serve with sour gravy that looks similar to budu, I don't dare to try coz he used his bare hand to insert the gravy inside the puchka. Puchka is a hollow fritters (?) made of flour and deep fried. If we think about hygeine and cleanliness then, India (not all) is not the place, people come here for the culture and history and the adventure and mystical as well as colourful landscape

Orange juice mixed with serbuk asam, so refreshing,they normally used 4 oranges to produce one glass of juice. This is in Calcutta town during our shopping spree.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The other side of the world: Part 1

As requested by Simah:

These entry is a glimpse into Benggali culture living in Calcutta based on my own personal experience and not a thorough research.

I think I shall start with the people themselves, we in Malaysia used to call people with turban as Benggali, but actually they are Punjabi(Singh / Kaur) and their origin are from Punjab, a different part of India. Benggali are from Kolkata or Calcutta, situated next to Bangladesh and Nepal.Their language is of course Benggali not Hindi,Tamil or Urdu, different part of India have different unique culture and so does the people, their skin, the language, their food, economic almost everything.

Some of them looks like Nepalese and Malaysian with brown skin tone and women still wearing sari and men in loongy (pelikat).Even though they wear white shirt or sarung it looks pale and greyish due to dusty condition and the water quality.

The place that we stayed was in a village near Bartala (a trading area with port)and I referred it as Chota Masjid Village (chota means small). Calcutta used to be British administration centre and then under Communist, so there are still evidence especially graffiti at shop lots. Bartala is so crowded and far from imagination. You could hardly see this in a movie except for Discovery/ N.Geographic documentary, if there is any. There are people everywhere and the ration is almost 40 people per one car on the street!!The road is in bad condition with no proper drainage and garbage collection point and people pee almost everywhere.

My FIL brother's house (Bhod Babu, Bhod means Big -> so big uncle) is only few minutes from this street and the car need to pass by a narrow road, at first it wasn't a great ride coz I was afraid that it could dive into a pool, there are pool (puker) everywhere in this village. This village is different from what we see in Tamil movie with buffalo walking slowly in a green field, houses with big lawn, but one similarity is one house is filled with 2 or 3 family.

It used to be a green field with puker but when the population increased houses were built closed to each other with 2 floor to accommodate extended family, besides most of the villagers are related.There are houses that separated only by 1 meter gap with no perimeter drain, no gutter and no toilet! Some who could afford might invest on this otherwise go naturel..But we were very lucky, Bhod Babu's house has been extended and upgraded to Malaysian requirement by my FIL, he don't want his menantu too feel kekok and face any difficulty.

Most of the houses are flat roof, the reason is when the son got married he will have to stay in that house and since land is scarce he need to go vertical. These flat roof is also a dry yard with 6 meters colourful sari hung from the rope down the first floor and a playground for kids especially for kite season. I don't know whether you could imagine this but it was surreal and beyond expectation..too far.

They are poor people but with warm heart and good hospitality, only men are allowed to work especially as tailor,helper at dhorji while women have to take care of the house chore. There are many dhorji inside the village but it wasn't a proper shop some are just 3 wall with a curtain to hide their design. Every month they will sell their product at a bigger market where traders from all over India will come. Some women do involves in this trade but they work from home with small amount of wages. Their bedroom is their storage, some even worse, one small room with 3 people from 3 generation living in a dark room which is their only bedroom,living,dining, and work space..there is no mattress only thin matt, I saw this with my own eyes the day I went to say goodbye.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Saying goodbye


THERE'S no use in weeping,
Though we are condemned to part:
There's such a thing as keeping
A remembrance in one's heart:

There's such a thing as dwelling
On the thought ourselves have nurs'd,
And with scorn and courage telling
The world to do its worst.


part of a poem by:
Charlotte Brontte (i'm not good in poetry, so I just cut and paste :-)

It is hard to say goodbye, but I have to let her go, after three years being my companion and now she's leaving, I know she's in a good hand of my own family.
She have been travelling with me from Kedah to Johore,from highway to ferry cruise and she almost carry a dead body when I was panic. Now I kiss her goodbye.

(thanx kinat for the photo)

Monday, August 07, 2006


.."look up to the sky and and all you see is rain, but when the clouds has blown away the sky is blue again.."
Miss Sally (SNC) thought us this song, an oldies with lyrics been modified to suits us..

But when I look up to the sky today after the rain, the sky is still grey and gloomy and hazy. Its been almost two weeks now and there is no improvement, there were times that I keep on blaming Indonesian authority for not doing enough to overcome this problem. Deep down inside I'm worry that if it keep on going like this for more than four times a year, just imagine the long term effect on us especially people with asthma and babies. Maybe this is a test not only for Indonesian who suffered from earthquake, tsunami but also a reminder to us. Maybe there things that are wrong going on ..I don't know, I'm not Nostradamus..but as human being and a Muslim I believe that there is always a reason.

May tomorrow be better so I could see the clear blue sky again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Nothing interesting to share and last week was spent on bed with hair covered with air asam.Hopefully my little one inside is doing fine.Insyaallah. Cobbaaann...