Budhua awoke with a sense of doom. He opened his eyes and looked around. Still lying down, he looked around the small yet neat room that he called his home.
The roof of fresh hay looked very neat, filling the room with a warm cosy smell. Budhua marvelled at his handiwork. The walls are filled with diiferent hooks, on which hung his clothes and other little household things. At one end is a small kitchen that had the chulha, the water pot, some small wood pieces and a few kitchen utensils.
He got up, walked to the door of his house and looked out. Every morning he did this small ritual ... stood at his doorway and looked with pride and satisfaction at the decent patch of land that he had worked so hard to make his own. Small patches of different vegetables looked back at him happily ... the morning dew still fresh on them. Beyond them was a small water body that he had dug himself, that stored and held rain water. Yes, he has done a good job.
Budhua looked around once more before walking down to the small pond for his bath. On returning he offered some flowers to the banyan tree beside his hut and went to sit at the door.
The morning was warm. The birds that wake him early in the morning are all done with their jobs and slowly dissappearing. They won't come out until the evening cool sets in.
Waiting, Budhua felt restless. He was waiting for Moina.
The very thought of Moina made his heart miss a beat, and then beat rather fast to make up.
The most beautiful girl in the village, Moina had not shown any interest in Budhua just as the rest of the girls of the village did not. Living on the outskirts of the village all by himself, he had earned the reputation of a loner. And a good for nothing.
He did not know to deal with people well. Neither was he interested in them. So people let him be. They were not interested in knowing where he lived and what did he did for a living. And as his hut was after a small patch of jungle, nobody ventured there ... thus he lived in peace.
But his peace was disturbed last summer. Just like the rest of the village, he too had gone to have his bath in the river as his pond had dried up. A bunch of giggling girls crossed his path. Budhua knew he was handsome. With a strapping body and shiny black skin and hair, he stood tall over most village lads. Many parents would have wanted to give their daughter to him had they not ignored him as a fool.
But Budhua was no fool. He knew his quiet was his key to a peaceful life. Yet when he saw Moina among that group of girls near the river, he forgot everything. Time stood still for him. All he could remember was the huge dark eyes and the red Palash (Flame of the forest) flowers in her hair. Unlike the other girls, she had not laughed at him. Just looked at him with those huge eyes and then cast them down as she walked away.
It took him full three new moons to be able to talk to her. And to make her talk to him. And then one day he took her to show his hut and land.
"O ma! Eeta tur ghor?!" ( Is this really your house? )
"Haw, tur bhalo laigse?" ( Yes, did you like it?)
"Khuuub". ( Very much. )
One day, when they met at their usual riverside place, Budhua decided that it was time. While the sun painted the sky a fiery red on setting, he asked her " Tui amar shathe ghor baandhbi Moina? " ( Will you set up a home with me Moina? )
"Haw ... kintu amar baap?" ( Yes, but my father? )
"Ami taar shathe kotha koibo!" ( I will talk to him! )
"Na na, age ami koibo, tarpor tui". ( No, I'll speak to him first ).
Today Moina will come to tell him her father's verdict.
While waiting, he thought he will make something for her. No matter what the result is ... she was the one who would have to face the wrath of her father first. She deserved something good.
Budhua got up and went to the mango tree behind his hut. Selecting some good sized stones, he threw them at a couple of mangoes. A good marksman, he got them down in no time.
Going inside, he saw the embers of last night's fire had not yet died. He had forgotten to clean out the chulha in his worries. So threw in the mangoes to roast them a little. He would make Aam Pora Sharbat for Moina.
When the mangoes were cooked, he brought them out, skinned and mashed them well and strained the pulp with some water.
He then added a little salt, gur ( jaggery ) and some more water to it. He had some cumin seeds in a little bottle. Taking a little out, he crushed them on a flat stone and added it to the drink. And then set the bowl to cool on some wet sand kept at the corner.
There ... Moina will have a cool drink after her long walk in the sun.
Budhua again sat near the doorstep and kept gazing at the pond beyond his small green patch. And wondered if he will see Moina ever again. And worried. The sense of doom surrounded him again.
It was not uncommon for a man to like a girl and to want to spend the rest of his life with her.
What troubled him was he had chosen the most beautiful girl in the village.
The Morol's daughter.
Morol, the village head ... the most powerful man in the village.
For the first time in his life, Budhua wondered if he was a fool.
Aam Pora Sharbat ( Roasted Raw Mango Sharbat )
Need : ( I am not giving any measurements here as the taste will vary depending upon how sour , sweet or salty someone likes this sharbat. Ideally it has an equal balance of sweet and salty taste. And I usually make it in the MW and use sugar. )
Roasted and crushed Jeera / Cumin Seeds
How to :
Wrap the mangoes in aluminium foil and roast them in an oven.
Alternatively you can pressure cook or pan boil them in a little water.
Or run them in the Microwave in 60% for 10 mins.
Remove and cool. Then skin and mash them into a fine pulp. You can also run a blender.
Remove into a big sized bowl and add sugar, salt to taste. Add enough water and chill.
Just before serving sprinkle some roasted jeera powder in a glassful.
Why does it have be a hot cuppa always? Go ahead and have a cool cuppa this summer! :-)
This is, for the very first time, my try at writing pure fiction ... spurred by the wonderful event Of Chalks and Chopsticks by Aquadaze co hosted by Sandeepa and Sra.
Off goes my story to Sandeepa who is hosting it this month.
Updated : Sending this to Srivalli's Thanda Mela too.
In the fast flying days, I forgot my blog's 2nd happy baarday. :-(
And did not even complete 200 posts. Not done. No excuses.
See ya'll around folks! TC !