Singphos: The original tea people of Assam

Robert Bruce is the Englishman who is credited with discovery of tea in Assam in the year 1823. But the Singphos, who were the major tribe of Upper Burma and their territory once  extended from Arunachal  into Assam, beyond Jorhat, and covered  large tracts in northern Burma, smirk at this statement. They contend that they had been drinking and using the tea plants in the food seven centuries earlier than 1823. Griffith also noticed that tea leaves were eaten as a vegetable food prepared in mustard oil and garlic. A similar salad recipe in Burma, called ‘Letpet’, promised marital bliss.… Read More »Singphos: The original tea people of Assam

Travels along Morni Hills Road

Morni is a hill station about 55 kilometers away from Chandigarh. Morni in local language is referred to peahen. The name is derived from the name of girl of a local ruler. There were many small princely states all over Shavlik hills. The rulers were mostly Rajput many of whom owed allegiance to Mughals.  Morni hills were ruled by Rajput from Sirmaur which is near Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. The place is situated in Shavlik hills and can be reached through a road from Panchkula. The map of the road is given below: The road is serpentine because hilly area… Read More »Travels along Morni Hills Road

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier, son of a wealthy lawyer,  was a social climber, tax collector and widely held to be the founder of modern chemistry. He was born in 1743 and was put to guillotine in 1794 on the charges of selling the adulterated tobacco which was a luxury and was very costly. It came from colonies in South America established by Europeans and employed black people as captives. He discovered oxygen gas and named it so. Joseph Priestly, English scientist had also discovered this gas but named it “dephlogisticated air“. Both knew that the gas was closely associated with combustion in… Read More »Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Owl on the wall

I regularly go out for morning walks. Since there is no park near, you have to walk cautiously to avoid being hit by speeding vehicles which continuously pass on the road. So the fun of the morning walk is marred but one has to live life compromising since we are not kings. I found the recourse to going out into the chunk of fields which are still intact despite the greedy eyes of the builders for acquiring the piece of land for any price and turn the land into concrete jungle. Secondly, i go to walk into the river bed… Read More »Owl on the wall

Evening Walk

It was Friday and holiday due to the birthday of some leader. I could not get up early in the morning and therefore missed my morning walk. I decided to make up by going out in the evening. The day before there was big wind with heavy showers. It seemed as if there will be much needed respite from sweltering heat. Whenever one goes out for a walk, the oppressive heat engulfs him. It weaves a cocoon around us and tries to suffocate us by imprisoning us in its cocoon. I thought that climate will cool down but it turned… Read More »Evening Walk

Panvel Railway Station

Panvel has a very important strategic location. It is a crucial link between Mumbai and South India. All the trains running on Konkan railways between Kerala and Mumbai and North India pass through Panvel railway station. Trains as important as Rajdhani and Shatabdi are passing through Panvel. It is also the last station of Harbor Railways link between Mumbai and Panvel catering to thousands of travelers everyday. There was a time few years back when only a few services operated on the local line. The train was almost empty till it entered the main Mumbai. Many passengers came sleeping on… Read More »Panvel Railway Station

A shard of water

The scene from the balcony of my apartment in the third floor of the building is breathtaking. It harks me back to my childhood. The place where all these apartments have come up were fields earlier. There were rills with gurgling water running through the path which led us from our home into our land. Now this patch which is remaining reminds me of those times. There are fields in which the cattle graze when the land is fallow. In the rainy season, the cattle roll in the mud and after that go to bath in the pond of water.… Read More »A shard of water

Ants in Assam

Past few days, a great proliferation in the numbers and variety of ants could be seen here. Small ants, black and brown ants. They have made holes in the walls, throwing away their residue of black hue out of the walls. Thousands of them can be seen moving to and fro. They are everywhere: on the walls, clothes, bedsheets. Once an ant went inside my eye. If the lid of any container is even slightly loose, the ants waste no time for going inside. They seem to be on some suicide mission. They drown in the milk, they move gas… Read More »Ants in Assam

Cotton: The fiber that covers us

When Adam, the first man and Eve, the first woman, ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of wisdom, they become conscious about their nudity. They became so embarrassed that when the Father God came to see them, they were hiding behind the trees and God understood that they have violated the condition which was laid down for them to live in the Eden Garden without ever to do anything for their needs. When God commanded them to come out of hiding before Him, they wrapped their sensitive organs with leaves. They were expelled from the Heaven condemned to toil… Read More »Cotton: The fiber that covers us

Malana Village

Today morning, I was watching DD Bharti channel on television. This channel is a repository of invaluable programs. It has a nostalgia attached to it due to its being the only channel which was first seen in Black and White and that too for few hours in the evening. We have grown up with it. It is the government controlled channel. The programs telecast on it are generally those which have recorded long back and relate to us. The faces of the presenters in some old programs send the mind in the old alleys. Anyway, it was telecasting a documentary… Read More »Malana Village