A scene at Wangoo village in Manipur (NE India)
My submission in response to Majka’s photo challenge ‘From Above: Trees‘. This is a shot taken on the hillock in the outskirts of the village of Wangoo. I had written my thoughts on the trip on an earlier post. The river is the main source of water for the villages along its bank. locally known as turel achouba (the big river), its English name is the Manipur river. It drains off water from the Loktak multi-purpose dam. from this view point, it is the skies, the river and the trees that is striking.
The trees, however, veils the houses on either side of the river – something i appreciated on visiting the village after taking these shots.The river bank ran along the backyards of the cluster of houses on the east. It was approaching evening by then. there were people drawing water, washing utensils and checking on the fishing nets they had laid down earlier in the day.
Peas sprouting from the seed in my flower-pot – life in Delhi
I’m like a seed that I’ve planted
So young and so strong
Needing to be watered
So I’ll grow strong and tall
Friendship is my water
My sun, the warmth of love
I’ll grow and grow and grow and grow
So let us sing!
Oh! let us sing
Let us sing and laugh and dance and shout for joy!
Remembering a stanza of an old hymn from school days back in Imphal: those days of green skirts and green ribbons fidgeting in the summer sun for assemblies only to be reminded by the Sisters of the convent that it was not as hot as in Delhi or Madras and the hushed retorts amongst the girls that she was speaking from the shaded corridor!
Those were the days – Little Flower School, Imphal!
crown flower * calotropis gigantea * angkot
We had the white crown flower growing in the compound but this purple one was a latter addition. The parent plant was a sapling from Meghalaya but ever since then, it has happily stayed on propagating new saplings from its seeds. The pretty flowers can be made into lovely garlands using only the crowns. Like the Spanish cherry (bokul) flowers, the paddy grains and the soaked pea, the crown flower (angkot) makes exquisite garlands.
Natonchabi * Pink baby rose * rosa multiflora
Pretty flowers that happily bloom in clusters and tend to be gregarious rapidly spreading its branches along fences. For some reasons, this pretty flower is not valued and not particularly cultivated but grows more like a wild flower. with an infamous name as natonchabi , the beautiful blossom is quite underrated.
A nongmangkha bush grows at the gate of our house. If I remember right, it is at least twenty years old and has now grown into a nice little bush. In March, the dark green bush becomes tinted with amber colour as it blossoms in abandon attracting bees. The hues of amber, golden yellow, mustard yellow, orange are some of the colours that I have come to associate with March. Read more about it here
hill glory bower * kuthapmanbi
Caught this ovely beauties while walking around the campus of Rajiv Gandhi University in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. It grew wild in bushes everywhere inside the campus. I was drawn by the fragrance which was something like that of the honeysuckle. It had big leaves and the bushes were about five feet tall. The white flowers with deep pink tints in the middle from where the whiskers emerges bloomed in abandon all over the campus. It was a lovely good morning greeting to start the day!
Nobab Ametpa: Pomela Salad, a Manipuri recipe; photo: ©Ingallei
Winter is a time to enjoy the sun and what better way than to enjoy the afternoon with a plate of juicy nobap (pomelo) with the evening sun on your back! Ah yes! Those were idyllic winters spent in the company of friends and family in Manipur.
Pomelo is a citrus fruit readily available in the winter season in Manipur. In the native tongue it is called nobab and is available in two colours – translucent (or white ) and the pink (or red to the native eye). We had two plants in our garden – one of each colour. The fruit is big. An easy way to peel it is to make incision to a depth of about three-fourth of an inch into the fruit and draw slices from the stalk to the head. The incision would cut through the thick cover but would not be enough to cut the inside of the fruit. The next step is to break it open from the head and remove the cover slice by slice. Make sure to remove the soft white insides of the cover before working on the fruit pulp. It tends to lend a slightly bitter taste.
For the garnish, add salt to taste, roasted chillies (one or two), toasted gram/pea flour and toasted pounded perilla seeds. The last two ingredients can be prepared in advance and stored in bottles. Sugar is optional and I usually avoid it as I have a bias for the sweet taste of the fruits matured on the trees. All you need to do is slightly crush the chillies with salt and toss all the ingredients together. And it’s ready!
cutting open the pomelo
shredded pomelo with the garnish: toasted gram/pea flour, toasted & pounded perilla seeds, salt, roasted red chillies
Leibaklei * Indian crocus * rounded galangal; photo ©Rekha Konsam
The leaves have interesting shades of green for most part of the year but when it is bloom time, there are no leaves. the flowers spring from the ground directly without any leaves around, perhaps because of this, it is called leibaklei (literally, a flower of the ground). The flower is fragrant and delicate but because it crops up even on hard ground and is resilient, it is symbolical of perseverance and hence culturally defined as akhang kanbi leibaklei. It is easy to plant and transplant. I find that the best time to photograph them is in the morning when it has just sprung out its petals and when the light is not too strong. By the evening time, the colour becomes faint and the flower wilts
Kusumlei (as it is called in Manipuri) is a special item for the Cheiraoba, the New Year of the Meitei calendar. We usually do not have it in our garden but we started growing some of them some time back. In one of the previous Cheiraoba, my mom had kept some of the dried mature flowers and strewn them in some flower pots in early spring. Lo and Behold! the plant survived and very soon started giving these spritely blossoms of bright yellow and orange flowers on spiky sprigs. Although I have no idea what is so special about this flower that it is an essential part of the New Year offerings to deities, I imagine it is probably the feeling of optimism that this lively flower inspires to embark on a new year ahead full of possibilities
It was evening time. Flocks of birds were preparing to retire for the night. The evening was lively with their chirpings. Nature seemed to be alive with the rejoicing of these birds after a long day. As the birds playfully tweaked around, this lone bird sat on the brick wall with its beak open. I wondered if it was waiting for the spouse. The bird and this picture prompted me to write a few lines impromptu. Read about it at http://ingallei.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/evening-chirpings/
Photographed in the front porch of my home in Manipur in Northeast India. Once again, it would be great if anyone would help identify the name of this bird.