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Showing posts with label Bhubaneshwar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhubaneshwar. Show all posts

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Winter Vegetables of Odisha : A Recce of the local Haat

I walked into the crowds. The hiatus had been longer than anticipated. The feeling of venturing into alien territory gripped me at first. I stumbled blindly for the first few meters before I started picking out the shapes. Just as the eyes get accustomed to the darkness when one enters a dark room. I found myself seeking out familiar faces in the crowd. Perhaps it mirrored my own need to be recognized. By the old lady who stocked my favorite greens and tried to offload her entire stash on me. Or the man who was sometimes accompanied by his son who happened to be a little older than my own. I failed to spot either of them. Did she find someone as gullible as me ? How is the boy coping up with the online classes ? Questions flocked to me. The answers were nowhere in sight.

Getting back to the local 'haat' after all these weeks felt nothing to like a homecoming. The crowd was thinner than usual. The shops fewer in number. The only thing that had not changed was the freshness of the vegetables. Mostly sourced from the local farmers, the 'haat' had the most glorious winter produce on display. Greens dominated the scene with generous pools of white. Reds, pinks and purples stood out rather conspicuously . The browns were sadly stashed behind or occupied the fringes reflecting our general apathy of these vegetables that are lumped under the category of 'alu', 'kanda' or 'saru'. These fall into the unenviable category of the 'character actors' who prop up the screenplay but remain unsung. Odia cuisine makes ample use of these 'underground' vegetables but at the same time it is not entirely difficult to conjure up an Odia meal without them. Hence they remain unseen. Just like they have been for the most of their lives. 

There is no Odia equivalent of 'Arbi ki subzi' or 'Yam Kulambu'. Neither a 'shakkarkandi halwa' for that matter. For these vegetables add body, texture and even sweetness to numerous dishes like Ghanta, Santula, Dalma and Besara but lose either own identity in the ensuing medley. A rare Khatta or Bhaja is just not enough to redeem their stature. But isn't this unassuming characteristic the very hallmark of Odia cuisine ? This coming together of elements to assume a collective identity that is more than the sum of its individual components is what sets us apart. Don't you agree ?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bhubaneshwar - Driven by Design to Connect with Success!!

Little known fact about Bhubaneshwar ? It was designed by Otto Konigsberger in 1948. Otto Konigsberger ? Who ? He is the same dude who built what is supposed to be one of the best planned cities of modern India. In case you still do not know your history or rather geography, I am referring to Chandigarh. That itself speaks volumes about the planning and design that went into Odisha's capital city.

Well managed traffic in BBSR . Image courtesy - orissapost.com

the city at night . Image courtesy - indiamike.com

Don't get me wrong. I am just referring to the modern city that stands today. The erstwhile princely state of Kalinga on which the city stands today has paralleled historical significance and is well documented in the annals of history. But let us just focus on the thriving and bustling city has been ranked as the best place to do business by the World Bank in 2014 and now is on its way to become one of the first smart cities of India. Another feather in it's cap is that it is also being talked about as the education hub of eastern India what with a plethora engineering colleges,  an IIT, a top notch B-school like XIMB and recently, even AIIMS making this city their base. How is that for some credibility ?

AIIMS Bhubaneshwar . Image courtesy - orissapost.com

As one enters the city via the Biju Pattanaik International Airport, well planned wide roads flanked on both sides by walls that are beautifully decorated with murals give the impression of a city that holds progress close to its heart. But it's culture, even closer. Something about Bhubaneshwar tingles your senses whether it be your first visit to the city or the 100th one. And no, it is not only the aroma of its glorious but unsung cuisine. A whiff of history, a touch of devotion, glimpses of globalization, impeccable infrastructure, the right backing of technology and the willingness to embrace change are some of the factors that define this city.  And it is the amalgamation of everything that makes this city so special.

Blessed by the reigning deity, Lord Jagannaath, this is one city that has immense potential and is one of the next growth hubs. Apart from the thriving education industry, it can launch the next tourism and IT growth waves. TCS recently announced its expansion plan in BBSR with 3000 seats being added to its existing IT workforce. Already a couple of multinationals brands have set up their wares in the city over the last few years and new ones are in the pipeline.

This is one city that offers a great work life balance. The roads are wide and well maintained which ensures minimum traffic woes and since the city is well planned with a centrally located IT hub, it offers one of the shortest commutes among the Indian cities. Weekends are equally refreshing with a couple of great weekend destinations near the city. Puri, Chilika, Konark, Chandrabhaga beach and Deras dam are refreshing options and all of them can be reached in a few hours. And the great roads flanked by a stunning landscape make the drive a truly pleasant experience. I cannot do without mentioning the Puri Konark Marine drive which has been featured among the best drives in India.

Marine Drive . Image courtesy - mayfairhotels.com

For those with a love for history, this 'Temple city' as it popularly known, offers enormous options. The Udaygiri-Khandgiri caves, Dhauligiri, Mukteshwar temple, Lingaraj temple, Rajarani temple, the ruins of Sisupalgarh and the lesser known Yogini temples at Hirapur are example of splendid architecture and the immense historical significance of Kalinga. The government has taken an active interest in maintaining and preserving these sites.

Mukteshwara Temple . Image courtesy - dhrupadetcetera.blogspot.in

The city also offers some great eats and especially famous are the various Chenna sweets which are hard to find in other parts of the country.With so such at one's disposal, it is little wonder that an increasing number of young people are willing to settle in this fast developing city. For now, Bhubaneshwar may lack the glamour of a few other cities but it more than makes up for it by offering a great living environment.

This post is written for Tata Motors's #madeofgreat campaign which focuses on the core values of the brand - Drive, Design and Connect.

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