Labour, Politics, UK

Tories out: A last minute guide for tactical voting

Last year when the UK delivered its shock verdict in EU membership, I was in Normandy. I had already done my bit, I voted IN through postal ballot, did some Facebook canvassing, slagged off and ridiculed the UKIP buffoons and Cameron’s brochure. I thought that was enough to stay in. It was not. The VOTE LEAVE banners stuck on bushes and little bridges seemed to have a louder voice. This year, after a year of drama and pandemonium, we are yet again heading for another election, apparently to a stronger and stable UK. A day after the results, we’ll be on our way to a France again, where the people overwhelmingly voted for a pro-EU leader, shutting down the threat of a protectionist and nationalist regime. Our visit would be quite symbolic, either going in as equals, with a progressive government in the Westminster working to damage control the Brexit outcome. Or going in as laughing stock, with a government still fooling its people with no deal is better than a bad deal, Brexit means Brexit and all other mouthful nonsense. The 8th June will definitely change the future course of the British politics; it’s just waiting to see if that’s for better or worse.

If you survived this far and not pissed off about another remoaner, and you haven’t much time, read this concise guide that gives you much insight about tactical voting. How to vote the Tories out: a newbies’ guide to tactical voting. You don’t need to know the rest unless you’re still undecided, where this might help you decide why you can’t let the Tories another reign.

The biggest dilemma about this election is whom to vote. On one side, you have Theresa May and her cronies, constantly changing their stance on every single policy, and already showing the horrors of the Thatcher era politics with cuts on every imaginable public service. And there is another party which shouldn’t even be considered a mainline party after the Brexit vote. UKIP lost its relevance, although unfortunately, the supporter base of disillusioned working class hasn’t yet moved back to mainstream parties. It’s to see if 2017 will see the obliteration of UKIP like 2015 was for BNP. On the other side of the spectrum, there is Labour. Or Jeremy Corbyn. Like it or not, he is the face of Labour, and based on where you are and how old you are, you either like Labour because of him, or you won’t vote Labour because of him. It is undeniable, however, that despite the mass walkout of mainstream Labour politicians, Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn has done very well to cut the Tory lead to a minimum. But surveys aren’t accurate. I’m still apprehensive. Then there is SNP, set to win all their seats with bigger margins after Theresa May quashed the call for a second referendum. At times where Labour was expected to rip the Tory bills and arguments apart, they were surprisingly very reserved, and it was SNP did that job. But they don’t have a manifesto for the entire UK, and while you agree with them, and may form coalitions, their interest will only circle around Scottish public, which accounts for only 8% of the population. And about Libdems, seven years after they made the collaboration with the Conservatives, and virtually wiped themselves out of the UK map, their popularity is on the rise again, mainly to urban young voters based on the Brexit renegotiation issue. You have the Green Party as well, but outside Brighton, they only appear to have a niche voter bank, not large enough to swing any seat. And the Women’s equality party. But these parties, although they have a credible agenda, this is not the Election to undercut anti-Tory supports. Who can you trust then? The choice that appears to be available to the general public, not just this time, but for most of the elections, is the best of a bad bunch.

It is hard to support a particular political party these days. This is partly because they moved away from the party hardline and gradually taking a centrist approach. It is quite possible to find that various parties are promising to fulfil your expectations on various sectors, and you end up choosing the party meetings most of them. For the generally capitalist economies, this offers a middle ground for the oppressed middle and lower classes, but from a socialistic point of view, this means that the changes are not drastic enough to ensure that the income gap is decreasing and everybody in the country is offered a minimum level of lifestyle.

The other deterrent of voting is the lack of leadership. Despite all other negatives, Margaret Thatcher was the last credible leader the UK has seen. The PMs after her lacked any kind of leadership. They were suave men, great in appearance and eloquence but that’s how far their skills went. They hardly knew the country or its people outside their boys club spheres, and failed to understand the challenges and hardships faced by the working class. Outside the PM club, Nick Clegg was one such leader who showed great promise, but ended up committing political euthanasia for the Libdems by joining with Tories in 2010. Looking at Theresa May, she often tries to emulate Thatcher but fails miserably. Most of her answers in the PMQ ended up making personal insults to Jeremy Corbyn, or other opposition MPs or members of the public. A leader who shows no respect for the opposition and no empathy for the harsh realities faced by the working class today including most of the public servants, it is unimaginable how people can trust her to be in charge of the country. All she has got is strong words and no actions to follow through. On the other side of the bench we have Jeremy Corbyn. Much has been said about his appearance and leadership qualities, but over the last two years he had shown extreme resilience when he had to withstand challenge from his own party rather than the opposition. Granted he made rushed decisions within the Labour camp, reshuffling shadow cabinet every month or so, but that wasn’t a failure of him, but the Labour MPs who chose to leave the party in tatters rather than stand behind Corbyn. People who think Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the suitable leader, let me remind you the terrible handling of the home office by the now PM, including the UKBA vans and the cuts in police that is to some extent responsible for the failure to intercept recent terrorist attacks. If her track records prove she is a better leader based on void arguments like enough is enough or Brexit means Brexit, then it begs the question of legitimacy of such claims.

So, whom to vote for then? Looking at most or all sociopolitical events happening over last decade, or longer than that, I repeat to myself one simple phrase, “Know your enemy”. The more problems I witness, the more I’m convinced that there’s so much hatred and so much tension between humans, and one root cause is that we are always fighting a shadow war with an imaginary opponent but the real perpetrators always get away unharmed. It does sound like a communist manifesto, but wealth is the main underlying factor in most of the crises faced today — austerity, terrorism, tax evasion, immigration — the list is endless. It is like watching the butterfly effect unfurl in front of your own eyes. Considering the vote is not decided by the 1% of the wealthiest people, but the working class people, the phrase “know your enemy” is actually understanding who they are actually exploited by. The enemy is not the Polish construction worker next door who you think is taking up your jobs, the enemy is not the Muslim neighbourhood that you avoid because it doesn’t feel like Britain there, the enemy is not the disabled person having to prove every week that they are unable to work, nor are the children fleeing their war torn countries waiting in Calais jungle for yet another dangerous attempt to cross the channel. The enemy is not the EU, taking away billions of pounds from you, because you don’t know how much it’s putting back in. The enemy is not the children and people in countries with natural disasters, famine, political unrest because you think all your tax ends up there doing charities. The actual enemy is who led you believe all this red herrings so you are not disgusted by things that are actually robbing you in the daylight. About protecting the interests of the rich, about making Britain a tax haven, about sending away doctors and nurses who’ve been legitimately working here for years by raising the threshold, by cutting pensions and disability benefits yet funding millions for the clowns in Buckingham palace. You must be disgusted learning how imams tell the Muslim communities whether to vote and for whom to vote? I am. But you don’t see it the same way when The Sun, Daily Mail and The Express urges on its front page who you should be voting for! The media who led you believe all the trash deliberately, by Rupert Murdoch & co is our enemy. You don’t really need religious hate preachers in this country, but the media is doing exactly that right in front of your nose. The societies are being divided thanks to media scapegoating. Yet, you choose to spend you hard earned money reading that trash and get agitated that this country is going down. And there are politicians. You’re not disgusted that a PM is saying enough is enough after repeated terrorist attacks, yet she was the person in charge of the home affairs for last six years, cutting police and surveillance numbers. You are worried about letting Syrian refugees in case they are terrorists, yet you don’t flinch when picture of May appears with the king of Saudi Arabia. You still know where most of these terrorist outfits get their funding from, don’t you? You just chose to ignore and rather shout for Burqa ban! You see smug Jeremy Hunt smile sheepishly when he’s asked about the chaotic situation in the NHS, Iain Duncan Smith burst out in cheers when a cut is mentioned, we have a buffoon of a foreign secretary that people should be ashamed of allowing representing Britain to other nation. And that the fox hunting would be brought back doesn’t bother you, nor does Theresa May’s warning about throwing out any human rights laws to prevent terrorism, uncannily idiotic and dangerous as the Muslim ban proposed by the orange faced batshit across the pond. Yet your derision is only directed towards Diane Abbott for getting her figures wrong, and your anger towards Jeremy Corbyn for his supposed IRA link.

So really, you need to think whether you should be more worried about Labour raising tax for people earning more than £80k and the Bolshevik rhetoric suggested by the right wing media, or issues that have been plaguing the country for much longer? Britain needs a new government, a government that puts its people first and treat all as equals. And a government that draws away from US led foreign policy framework about the Middle East and think how the country can constructively contribute to the peace process. Guns didn’t work there, it’s evident now. All it did is bring the enemy home. We need a government that ensures that our public service is protected and public servants are recognised for their amazing service working unreasonable hours for pittance. You need a government that will ensure Brexit happens with a close tie to the Europe, by agreeing free labour movement so the access is not lost to our biggest market rather than grovelling to counties that are undemocratic. You need a fairer society where the minimum wage lets someone have a decent lifestyle unreliable of the food banks, people who earn more are made to pay more tax, closing loopholes that the Tories have been enjoying sharing with their crony pals. Can Theresa May promise all these? Heck no! Can Labour deliver all this? Heck no, but they made the first move by thinking about it. And they say “You’ve actually failed when you stopped trying”. But more importantly, you need to keep the Tories out. So, look at many tactical voting sites and see if your constituency is marginal. If you’re Libdem and Labour is marginal, your best bet is to vote Labour, rather than allow another closely won conservative seat. And above all, VOTE! Make sure you had your voice heard. I still wait to see the day when it will be liable to fines if you didn’t vote. So turn up and don’t moan later.

Here’s one last word of caution though. If you’re thinking voting Libdem where they are close to win and Labour is not in contention. Remember 2010, when you were betrayed by them. So, don’t make an assumption that Tim Farron will side with Labour if there’s a hung parliament. But I’d still think if there was alternative voting available, Labour would be the second choice of Libdem supporters than the Tories. And if you voted Libdems, you have a fair chance of a coalition; voting Labour and losing the seat to Tories will mean another seat will have to be won somewhere to compensate. In either case, make your vote count towards making a difference. It’s your choice, for a better tomorrow…or worse. Just remember, “Know your enemy”. All the best to your future.

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Literature, short story

Three Pumas – a drabble

Thursday 18:15. I was driving on the QE2 bridge, when I noticed three Pumas in the sky. They were heading towards the bridge, and were flying really low. In the rose tinted sky, they looked ominous. I drove on, with bated breath. They were just above the mast!

No missiles split the bridge in two, no cars ahead morphed into Transformers, no sign of Godzillas behind me! Just the dull blade slaps through the window. The choppers went north, and we all headed Kent. I told myself again, life isn’t Dolby Digital!

Must’ve noticed my Batmobile. Gotham is safe again!

Courtesy: Rob Lovesey, The Squadron Helicopters of RAF Benson performing at the RAF Benson Families Day 2011

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French, Literature, short story

Une lettre de rupture

Chère Nicole

Peut-être ce sera la première fois et peut-être la dernière que je t’écris une lettre. Je crois que tu attends une décision après notre tchat ce matin. Et donc cette lettre. Une lettre, parce que si j’essaie de donner une autre forme à mes pensées, peut-être ça va porter un autre sens. Cette fois, et la dernière fois, il faut que je m’explique tant que possible.

Il y a des fois quand je me suis aussi souvenu que je ne sois pas un étant-humain, je ne m’exprime pas, ni parle rien plus de temps, et je reste assis comme une pierre avec un visage indifférent…Tout le monde va penser le même. Alors, j’accepte que c’était une faute…une faute très grave. Si grave que ç’a formé un mur entre nous. Et plusieurs fois, j’ai essayé de le briser. Mais je pense que comme tout mes autres essais, ce n’était pas assez. Je t’ai dite une fois, pour chaque argument je trouve deux ou plusieurs point de vus, et je trouve presqu’impossible à les exprimer quand je ne suis pas convaincu 100% moi-même. Alors, la silence!

Mais c’est aussi vrai qu’il y a des fois quand je ne trouve pas rien comme une réponse…je suis perdu dans mes pensées, en la cherchant. Dans le brouillard. Ce matin, c’était un moment comme ça. Je savais que tu as eu raison, et je cherchais les mots de m’exprimer…mais en vaine. Donc je n’ai pas pu rien dire sauf que la réponse agité, des mots mal formés, mal appliqués. Et tu sais mon combat avec les mots quand on parle. Tu aurait pu déjà trouvé que je raconte clairement quand j’écris quelque chose, mais quant à parler, je reste toujours se mué, surtout quand tu demandais une réponse toute de suite. Avant tout, ce serait une décision sur mon raison d’être.

Eh alors! Je respecte ce que tu as décidé pour l’avenir. Ou plutôt, qu’il n’y aurait plus d’avenir avec toi et moi ensemble si je ne change pas aussitôt. Tes mots résonnent même maintenant dans mes oreilles. Et aussi le son quand tu as jeté ta tasse trop chère contre le mur. Ça, mon amie, ça m’a complètement énervé ce matin. Je ne savais pas quoi faire, ou quoi dire pour te soulager, te calmer. Mais ce moment-là je me souvenais qu’il faut te donner une réponse. Je crois que ce sera mieux pour toi et moi, si notre chemins se séparent. Là, je suis tout à fait d’accord avec toi. Tu vois, il y a les sujets où on est à l’unisson!

Une séparation, parce que pour le lendemain, notre point de vus sont complètements différents. Oui c’est vrai qu’il faut marquer tes pieds sur terre, pour que tu pourras être souvenue, et faire les choses qui te font différente que les autres…Mais moi, je pense que tout ce que l’on fait dans sa vie quotidienne sont également importantes, également spéciales. Peut-être on ne sera pas bien connu, ou on ne fera pas quelque chose de différente que la foule, mais tout ce qu’on fait, ce n’est pas banale. Ou inutile. Pour moi, j’ai les autres espoirs, mais être réussite dans la vie n’appartient pas à cette liste. Pas sûrement comment le monde compte le succès. Mais oui, J’ai envie de se faire beaucoup d’amis. Ou, peut-être voir un nouveau pays. Apprendre jouer un instrument. Hautbois. Violon…pourquoi pas? Peut-être c’est la raison pourquoi je ne suis pas encore prêt pour te marier, et je crois que je ne serai jamais. Je n’aime pas être lâché, et malgré que tu es si libre, je crois que c’est exactement ça que tu veux faire.

Tu disais d’être préparé à tout quitter un beau jour et commencer à vivre pour moi-même. Alors c’était vraiment une bonne proposition. Mais je ne veux pas quitter ma passion qui me fait rêver…je ne peux pas arrêter à écrire…il y a beaucoup de choses qui ont eu lieu ces jours-ci, et travailler dans mon métier, ça me fait penser, m’appliquer. C’est un moyen d’être créatif, pas vendre mon âme…Tu veux me voir réussir dans la vie, mais tu n’es pas prête me donner le temps. Je ne suis pas intelligente comme toi, j’ai besoin d’assez de temps pour me réfléchir changer le chemin de ma vie. Plus tu me pousses, plus je me retire. Et donc, ma chérie, il faut que je m’en aille.

Mais Nicole, n’importe quoi qu’on décide de l’avenir, je te jure une chose — je n’ai jamais pensé mal de toi ni j’aurai jamais. Pour moi, voici une personne telle spéciale, celle, qui les mots ne suffisent pas expliquer. Comme je l’appelle, elle est en fait un ange, une vraie — la plus intelligente, la plus amicale, la plus sensible, la plus souriante, avec un cœur d’or. Quand je suis avec toi, le temps n’arrête jamais — les heures semblent-ils comme les moments, sauf pendant les silences. Avec elle, on se sent en confiance toujours, elle semble une éponge qui absorbe tout et laisse rien sortir. J’avais vraiment de la chance de rencontrer une personne telle spontanée…son esprit vivant, l’indépendance personnifié…c’est toi mon amie.

J’espère que tu trouves succès, bonheur et achèves ceux que tu toujours voulais faire…Et mon amie, j’espère qu’on reste amis, et n’importe où la destinée nous emmènera, à n’importe quelle partie du monde sommes-nous, l’amitié qui reste entre nous, ne s’évanouit pas avec le temps. Parce que d’abord nous étions amis, avant tout ça, pour presque toute ma vie. Peut-être nous sommes frustrés, mais nous partageons aussi les meilleurs moments de nos vies. Ces morceaux de mémoires seront toujours très cher pour moi…trop riches pour les abandonner. Comme je t’ai dite une fois, notre vie est comme les chemins de fer. Un moment deux chemins sont côte à côte, et le prochain, on est tout seul tant qu’un autre chemin nous joindre.

Et moi? Qu’est-ce que je vais faire? Alors être tout seul…c’est la vie. Tu peux me dire le mieux…mauvais plaisanteries et les dames flirteuses. Il y auraient mes livres.

Et une chambre vide. Mais en fait, tu peux y trouver ma télé, ma laptop et mon matelas sur l’étage. Calme et toute en blanche et bleue – comme tu as trouvé la première fois quand tu étais ici. Je vais garder ma chambre exactement comme ça.

Je ne sais pas encore! Mais d’abord il faut qu’on reste amis. Seulement si tu veux la même.

Ton amour fou

Jules


De:      Charbonnier, Nicole
Date:   Mardi le 29 février 2016 22h39
À:     Paget, Jules
Objet:  Rien de plus

Cher Jules

Merci pour ta lettre. C’est original!

J’ai pas rien de temps pour lire tout ça. Mais je peux quand même deviner l’idée générale.

Entre nous, c’est pas mon ambition qui est le problème. C’est ton ego. Un ego plus grand que ton habileté, et plus compliqué par une bite qui est trop courte! Tu as bien compris que j’étais frustrée, mais pas la raison, que tu m’as jamais satisfaite au lit. Et ton insécurité a nous empêchés d’être un couple libre, que j’ai suggéré plusieurs fois. Ça crève ton ego, parler du sexe. C’est pour les gens inférieurs, moins intellectuels, non?

C’est vrai que nous étions amis il y a longtemps, mais franchement je serai ravie de te voir t’en aller. N’attends pas pour moi. C’est génial ton offre de rester amis après la rupture, mais malheureusement je décline. Je te laisserai pas le plaisir de savoir tout ce qui se passe dans ma vie. Je vais trouver qq1. Un peu normale cette fois!

C’est fini. Punkt! Amuse-toi de ta nouvelle liberté. Et bonne chance avec le violon. T’en as besoin.

Nicole.

Ecris-moi une lettre de rupture

Choisis bien tes mots, choisis les justes
Comme un artisan prend
Son temps quand il ajuste…

— Lara Fabian, La Lettre
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Politics, short story, UK

A Remoaner’s Parable for Brexit

A good friend once told me this story:

There was a devout man. He prayed to God every day and thanked him for his existence on earth. He always believed that if he was in any kind of trouble, God will help him out. And so God did. One time when his child had fever, and he prayed and prayed. The next morning his child was cured completely; he even went to school. Or the other time when he ran into debt and after praying to God, he had the dream and found an untouched scratch card lying inside a book, and he won enough money to clear his debts.

One day our devout man was working in his office. It started to rain heavily around the lunch hour. The people thought the rain would stop soon. But it carried on, and the water started to rise. The banks of the river nearby had burst, and a flash flood followed. There was a TV at the pantry area in the corner. In the middle of share price displays, there was a woman on screen with an angelic face, making an announcement that everybody should leave the area straight away. Everyone in the office packed their bags and rushed to leave the building. Everyone but our friend. He started praying, so the disaster would stop. Colleagues tried to dissuade him, but he was firm in his belief. His colleagues thought he was mad, but he knew God will help him.

Half and hour went by. The water is gushing inside the building. The devout man is still asking God to put an end to this awful weather. There was a loud honk outside. A rescue truck is rescuing stranded people to take them up to high ground. Our friend looked out of the window.

“Hey there! Come downstairs, there’s nothing to worry. The water isn’t deep. We got you”
“Thanks, but I’m fine here. God will save us. You should pray as well“
“What nonsense! Come right now, we got other people to rescue and the water is getting higher”
“God will make it all stop. You’ll see. You carry on, help the others“
“You moron!“

And the truck drove away. The man went back to his prayer. Half an hour went by. The ground floor is under a waist deep water. A big siren and flashing lights outside. A fire engine is passing by. It comes to a halt as the fireman noticed the man looking out of the office window.

“Hang in there fella, we’ll get the ladder to you!“
“I don’t need your ladder. The God almighty will soon put an end to this.“
“What a load of rubbish! Get on the ladder now. We can’t stay here long, water will get in the engine“
“You save yourself my friend. God will save me. He always had in the past“
“Good luck to you on that.“

And the fire engine went away. The man was feeling a bit anxious now. Is God not happy with him? Has he done something wrong? “I promise I will pray more, dear God! It’s just the thoughts about work and family distracted me lately. But I will, once again, be your true servant“. He started praying more feverishly. Half an hour…then an hour went by. It’s getting dark, and there is no sign of the rain to stop. The water has come up to the first floor. Our man went to the roof, so god can save him. “Ah I see. He probably wasn’t planning to stop the rain. It must be a boat, like Noah’s, that will save me. I know now why God waited for so long. He wanted the water to rise so he can send the ark“. The man suddenly felt that God hadn’t forsaken him, and he was too blind to see it. He watched out for the boat, but was disturbed by a very loud whirring noise again—

A helicopter is circling over the buildings. Our man is suddenly flooded with shining light from the helicopter. They lowered the rope ladder, to rescue the last few stranded people. A booming voice came from the copter

“ Hello there! Grab the ladder carefully and climb up inside”.

The man thought that wasn’t the way he expected the help to come. And he refused. The pilot explained that he won’t be able to come back and he must escape. But our man refused. There will be a boat soon. The helicopter flew away.

The man started praying again. Minutes went by, then an hour. The water has risen to the roof. He is standing facing the sea of water that engulfed all buildings around. He is suddenly panic-stricken. That God wouldn’t help him this time. He started wondering what sins he had committed that God is annoyed with him. The water is rising fast. It’s up to his ankles, then waist and in a few more minutes he was standing with his chest under water. He held on to the handrails, knowing it’ll all be over in a few minutes. Faces of his wife and son flashed in front of his eyes. And that all his prayers didn’t manage to move God, that was more hurtful. He felt betrayed. With water almost up to his neck, he lets out a desperate howl, “Why dear God did you abandon me? I have always been faithful to you. What have I done wrong? Please help me!“

Suddenly there was a bolt of lightning. And a few more. The dark sky was lit up with electric blue flashes. Then, as our man looked up, silhouette of a man appeared, and the God spoke,

“Fucking idiot, who do you think alerted you of the flood, and sent you the truck, fire engine and the helicopter? I thinks it’s better to have no followers than the blind ones like you!”

He disappeared in the clashing and colliding clouds. The water isn’t rising anymore. The devout man gazed at the sky, awestruck.

“I was right! My lord has saved me again. I saw his face! I’m glad I waited until the very last moment” – he thought.

And then, there was a loud sigh, then out came a big wave, and the man was washed away into nothingness. Even the God had had enough of this delusional moron.


Over 17 million people voted for Brexit out of 46 million electorate. Within the first hour of the shocking morning of the 24th June, it was clear that all the promises and dreams of claiming back the glory land was a farce. The first lifeline was the desperate call for a second referendum. The second, the utter chaos that followed in the Tory and UKIP camp, as their bunch of lies came to light one after another. Then there was the High court and the Supreme Court ruling for giving MPs a vote to trigger Article 50. There were options for a soft Brexit with access to single market and free movement. And then the vote. The final say before it was all over. And it was. Thanks to the deluded 17 million, thanks to the jokers Farage and Boris, thanks to the scheming Daily Mail and Daily Express, and finally thanks to the bloody three-line whip from Corbyn, the fucking show is finally over. There’s no more lifeline; only the grim future with a racist molester as the main ally for UK. Or possibly the only ally left. The road to perdition starts here…
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Film review, media

Watching Nightcrawler: A wake-up call on media morality

Film poster

Poster for the film
Source: Den of geek

Films are a luxury these days, compared to the old times when they were a commodity. Writing a film review is easy now than it has ever been, as we cherish things that have become a rarity, and moreover, if I tried to write a film review when I watched more than one film a day, there wouldn’t have been enough hours in a day. After probably six months since watching a film, during the Christmas period, I watched Gnomeo and Juliet, and De rouille et d’os of Jacques Audiard. Then this weekend my eyes suddenly fell on a DVD while doing the grocery shopping in Morrisons. The blurb on the jacket suggested a gripping story of a freelance cameraman getting sucked into the underbelly of the LA criminal world. It had a promise of a crime thriller where the amateur cameraman uncovered the vicious criminal gangs. He did, but Nightcrawler was by no means a Hollywood good vs evil story. It is a far darker and sinister storyline that probably broke many stereotypes about Hollywood films produced over the years. It was an uncomfortable film to watch, and the effect is still lingering as I type these words.

Nightcrawler was released in 2014 so there is no spoiler alert here. And just reading these words won’t create the effect the film did. In short, Lou Bloom lives a destitute life in downtown LA, living off odd jobs but his hunger to achieve more, drives him to desperately start looking for newer means. One night as he was turned down a job where he sold stolen material, he drove past an accident scene and found a freelance cameraman filming the scene. Lou learns that by becoming a stringer — a freelance cameraman, he could earn easy cash. He buys a camcorder and a police radio scanner. After a few failed attempts, Lou captures someone shot in the neck and sells the footage to a news channel. There he meets Nina, the news editor. Her penchant for serving the story people want to see, mainly concerning affluent white families as victims in central LA neighbourhood areas gave Lou a clear idea what she’s looking for. As Lou starts to find success, his inner drive to do more, and Nina’s unrelenting support violating ethical boundaries of news reporting makes Lou take more risks, become more dangerous and desperate. He hires an assistant, and soon Lou realised that Nina is as desperate for his videos as he is for achieving something in his life. The film climaxes as they reach the scene of a shooting that would become breaking news, Lou hides the part of the tape showing the gunmen so he could film them getting caught another time, in another neighbourhood. After a shootout, one gunman escapes who is later killed by police after a chase that Lou and his assistant catch live, and Lou manages to trick his assistant in believing the gunman was dead. He gets shot and the gunman faces Lou, filming death of his assistant before police shot the gunman. Police later interrogate Lou but couldn’t prove that he hid the information. On the last scene, he’s seen to be running a new business hiring apprentices.

I remember watching Jake Gyllenhaal in October Sky and over the years, I thought he was Hollywood’s male version of Meg Ryan, having a face that never ages. Paired with the looks, he has a boyish voice that never developed into a baritone, like Tobey MaGuire’s. From that aspect, it was difficult to imagine Jake in a role that is so dark, and creepy. But at the end of the film, I was left wondering whether I’ve just watched the best career performance of Jake. He is a tour de force in Nightcrawler, it is not easy to watch, but that relentlessly uncomfortable feeling was Jake’s success. He lived and breathed in that character, emanating a sense of menace. Lou’s mannerisms, especially his business management parlance in almost every possible situation, paired with his obsessive expressions while covering the crime or accident scenes were uncanny, to say the least, and often monstrous. As he soullessly moved towards achieving one reckless feat to the next, his character shows no compassion or remorse for the victims. To him, they were just rungs of the ladder that will take him high up the corporate echelon he so painstakingly prepared himself for but was never allowed a break. He makes you squirm in disgust and enraged in hate. In the film, Jake looked almost emaciated, his bare arms uncharacteristically thin. I found out later that he lived on a diet of kale chips to lose all the weight. This brings to mind another virtuoso performances by Adrien Brody in The Pianist and Christian Bale in The Fighter, where the actors went to great lengths to mould their physique into the character they were portraying. Jake’s gaunt face, unassuming stature made him blend into the background of the film that all his expressions gained a new dimension. Nightcrawler is all about the superlative performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, and it is definitely worth watching just to watch him.

Yet, Nightcrawler is not just about Jake’s performance, it has plenty more to offer. The script is superb. It’s sleek, at times the suspense was too gripping to handle. And that is paired with fantastic night cinematography of LA, especially the long shots overlooking the city, or the crossroads. The film revolved around three central characters, and Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed played their part brilliantly to let Lou Bloom cast his dark spell on the viewers’ minds. Although a film is remembered by the actors’ performances, it’s the less praised behind the scenes work that makes the film successful. For Nightcrawler, this would be the scriptwriter and the director, for taking up a challenging subject. The film could be classified as Noir, with Jake Gyllenhaal as an anti-hero. It did not try to make him appear psychotic, and most of the Hollywood anti-heroes turn up, nor he dies in the end, nor he finds a sudden sense of morality and becomes the good guy in the end. Lou Bloom is a cutthroat optimist, he doesn’t let anything come between him and his success, he is desperate, and in the end, it shows that he gets away with all his unethical demeanour. A negative character not being punished at the end of the story — where does this stand on good vs evil? A non-ideal end made Lou Bloom more realistic, and thus more frightening. The other stereotype that was broken was the relationship between Lou Bloom and Nina. Hollywood hardly shows older women against younger men, unless it was like The Graduate, where the older female seduces the young actor. In Nightcrawler, Lou blackmailed Nina to get her to sleep with him. There is no love blossoming in there air, but just hard transactional relationship — Lou helps Nina keep her job, and he wanted sex in return. There are certain loopholes in the film that might interest the people who like finding gaffes, such as Lou getting away with hiding footage of the shootout from police, and CCTV evidence would easily have proved that he traced the killers and not the other way around. Also, confiscating his laptop would have shown that he searched for the car number plate. Yet, Nightcrawler will be remembered for the unforgettable acting by Jake Gyllenhaal, not the minor gaps in the storyline.

Finally, like moral of a fable comes a moment when you analyse a film with the present context and decide whether the film succeeds in conveying any message to its viewers that are relevant to our society. From this aspect, I’d hail Nightcrawler to have addressed one of the biggest perils of our society — of warped, directed and suggestive media reporting. Funnily enough, I remembered the Family Guy episode where Peter Griffin steals many Nielsen boxes and bargains with news channels how he wanted all the programmes altered. In reality, Nightcrawler is a stark reminder of the way media manipulates the truth, in order to make news sensational. Rene Russo in Nina personifies the uncouth, greedy media houses, where their viewership is fuelled by panic mongering and misinformation. The unfortunate events of Brexit and Donald Trump victory highlight the role right-wing media played in those two cases. In the case of Brexit, we saw Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express wage a hate campaign against the migrants in the UK and against EU governance. The failure of the Leave campaign to deliver any of the promises only outlined the vacuous media bias towards Leave. They worked on people’s fear, and distrust and created an atmosphere of animosity within the country that has split the country for the foreseeable future. The same has happened in the USA as well, and the consequences much grave than Brexit. The willingness to go any lengths to twist the reality is very prominent in Nightcrawler. Although a sane mind doubts whether a news channel could lower themselves that low just to with some TRP, a present appreciation of the current situation only corroborates the message conveyed in the film. It should serve as a wake-up call to the viewers — or the customers of the media that unless the public collectively rejects the sensationalist media reporting, they will resort to more dangerous means, just as Lou Bloom did in the film, and it could do irreparable damage to the fabric of our society.

The thought that, what we watched in Nightcrawler is happening every single day at every single corner of the world, fills the viewer with an uncomfortable feeling. And that is the success of the film — the uneasiness, the queasy feeling that you get in your mouth after the film is over. Nightcrawler will be one of those films that I will be desperate to watch it again, but will never watch it ever, for the unpalatable truths that film makes us face, and we cannot just eject the disc and think — “It’s only a film”!

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Bengali culture, calcutta, France, religion, Travel

Bong Connection 2.0 : Rediscovering Calcutta in Lisieux

As the summer time approached, we were engaged in another holiday search; the destination was as usual France, so it wasn’t too far to drive, and we could enjoy the freedom of going anywhere we wanted, and anytime. We booked a camping site in a small village in Normandy called Le Brévedent. Normandy evokes a lot of familiarities, the most significant of them is, of course, the D-day landing sites. So our choice was made, that D-day beaches will definitely be the place not to miss. The first item sorted on the list, we were gazing through TripAdvisor and Visit Normandy websites to look for other attractions. There were many places to choose from — historic Caen and its patrimony related to William the conqueror, the famous Bayeux tapestry and other museums, the Riviera of Normandy Deauville-Trouville and Honfleur, picturesque small villages in Pays d’Auge region. Amongst all these difficult choices, almost by chance, I came across Basilique St. Thérèse de Lisieux, one of the most important places in France for Catholic pilgrimage. Our penchant for religious architecture made me tentatively put it on our list, although apart from looking at an elegant edifice almost reminiscent of Basilique de sacré-cœur in Montmartre, I had no idea about the place, its significance in Catholicism or what I’ll soon be discovering — an arcane connection between a remote catholic monastery in rural Normandy and me!

Spending most of my youth in Calcutta, the city is in my veins. A place I still call home, the city I’d not replace with any other place. In a world rapidly transforming at a lightning speed, it still didn’t bother me how Calcutta dug its heels in and held on to the character it portrayed for over last 300 years. The rickety facades along the bylanes of north Calcutta leading to an ocherous swathe we call Ganga, the fish markets of Gariahat where you desperately want to look close at the fish but don’t want the mud splatter on your new sandals, the central Calcutta with its confluence of nationalities and religions living in harmony and camaraderie, and to the swank South City shopping mall or affluent Alipore mansions — Calcutta has a vibe about it that I seldom found anywhere else. A perfect example of adopting a multilingual and multicultural personality without banishing its own inherent cultural roots and character, Calcutta is indeed a fatal attraction. And that attraction, or familiarity, is not just limited to India, but across the world. Apart from being known as the pearl of the British Empire in its heydays, and the perceived cultural capital of India, there is one person whose reputation has made the City of joy known to people from far corners of the world, not just amongst the intellectual circles, where most of the renowned Calcuttans belonged. That person is Mother Teresa, who’d soon be canonised as the Saint of the gutters. I don’t believe she cured the unknown Brazilian man long after her death, but she had nevertheless made miracles happen while standing by the poor and distressed population of Calcutta, who we never thought of while pontificating about the cultural richesse of our beloved city. Shadow under the lamp was a term we often used during our school years; Mother Teresa was the light to that darkness in a city where, despite old money from the Raj reigned, there were more and more people in poverty and destitution, especially during the war and after the partition.

It was during searching for her early life that I came across the name of Lisieux. Agnes wanted to be named after St. Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of the missionaries; and through her life she followed the footsteps of Thérèse, devoting her life to the service of thousands, and inspire millions. So as the opportunity came to visit Lisieux drew closer, it was no longer a tourist destination – marvelling at the awe-inspiring architecture of Basilique St. Thérèse de Lisieux, but it was a pilgrimage for me as well, of a different kind, of witnessing the place where the journey began for Thérèse, and therefore for Teresa, one of the greatest ambassadors of the city I always call home.

The surprise didn’t end there. Lisieux highlighted another connection to Calcutta that I never thought existed. Carmel school for girls in Jadavpur is one of many high echelon missionary schools in Calcutta that boasts of excellent educational standards and alumnae. My friends, ex-colleagues, relatives — I knew many Carmelites. In fact, my own cousin is a teacher there, the familiarity is that close. I often heard their alumnae be referred as Carmelites but the term never made me delve further into its origin. Not until I learned that Thérèse joined the Carmelite order in Lisieux, a thirteenth-century order originated from monasteries in Mount Carmel near Haifa. Voilà! It was the Carmelite missionaries who were inspired by the success of the order in Lisieux, and travelled the world and opened new convents. Carmel in Calcutta is one of them. Now, there were two reasons that Lisieux became a must see place, as a place that popularised the Carmel convents across the world, and above all, pay visit to the Basilique St. Thérèse de Lisieux and the shrine of Thérèse, and understand who this young lady was, who made a profound inspiration on young Agnes, beckoning her to come to Bengal. I almost felt a sense of belonging to Lisieux without even being there, through the connections it has with Calcutta.

Our travel to Normandy was a nightmare involving a broken down car, rain, lost day stranded in a hotel with the entire week in jeopardy…so on the second day, when we were told that the car won’t be looked at until another day, our decision was made. With a replacement car, when we crossed the Seine on the bridge of Normandy, our holiday had suddenly become a reality again! The closest resemblance I could think of is when you wait for a cricket match and it rains, the pitch and outfield were all wet and you keep hoping that the match doesn’t get cancelled and after a long wait the sun suddenly makes an appearance, and although curtailed, it’s all ready to go ahead again. We had to shorten out plans to fit all the things we wanted to see in three days rather than four, but Lisieux was only 16km away, and en route the nearest McDonald’s; hence, our plan to visit Lisieux didn’t change.

After our trip to the nearest shopping our first day in Le Brévedent, on our way back to the camping site that I first noticed the Basilica. It was getting dark and the sky was overcast as it only stopped raining a while ago, and I had no clue where we were. But just as I looked around our car, the silhouette suddenly jumped out into our view. In that dim background, on the hill on our left situated the structure I already felt familiar, yet it looked like a surreal dream. There are moments when you see something remarkable and wished you had a camera in hand, and all I had in my hand then was the steering wheel. Yet, that view will be stored in my mind for a long time, if not forever.

Basilique St Thérèse de Lisieux

Basilique St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Two days later, on our way back from historic Caen, we decided to come to Lisieux. The eerie silhouette finally gained its shape, a shape that was familiar yet the size and grandeur was out of proportions from what was seen on a TripAdvisor page. The off white neo-Byzantine edifice was awe-inspiring, just as were the breathtaking intricate designs at the interiors and the crypt. The description of the building stops here as this is not a travelogue, and the rest can be found in any travel guide. On the contrary, it was my attempt to connect the dots in my mind, with a young Albanian nun starting her life of sacrifice and charity, her becoming an inseparable part of the persona of Calcutta, and therefore my existence and identity, and me standing there in the suburbs of a quaint town in Calvados country looking at the shrine of Thérèse, where this all began about 125 years ago. And another set of dots following the footsteps of the Carmelite monks, which would throw me much further back in history, at least 900 years and up to the genesis of Abrahamic faiths thousands of years ago.

And there I was, teleported to the daily life of Thérèse in Alençon, to her life in the monastery in Lisieux…walking along the sections in the crypt detailing Thérèse’s life, it started to cast more light on the early life of Agnes, and a striking similarity between the aspirations of the two women, to serve the most deprived and forlorn strata of the population…

If I ever become a saint, I will surely be one of “darkness.”  I will continually be absent from Heaven–to light the light of those in darkness on earth.” – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

“I love the night as much as the day…I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. Yes, if God answers my desires, my Heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world.” – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

That was the revelation for me. My circle was complete. It became evident that these two extraordinary women took the same trajectory of life, making small changes to people’s lives that led to phenomenal transformations. I felt like Robert Langdon standing in front of the inverted pyramid in Louvre. I was standing at the place that spiritually inspired Agnes to come to Calcutta, the city she gave all her life to, and in turn transfused the traits of her self into the character of Calcutta that I imbibed. My pilgrimage was complete — the answer to “why of all saints, Thérèse de Lisieux?” had been found, as was the answer for who the Carmelite missionaries were.

I think the natural curiosity would set me on the course for the Carmelites monks all the way to Mount Carmel in Israel. But let’s not go that far yet…let’s first wait for a discussion on Palestine!

Disclaimer:


I thought that this post would need a few disclaimers on my motivation for writing this, and here they are…
 
1. Is this religious post?
No, it is about nostalgia with me searching for the influences on Calcutta and its image outside West Bengal.
 
2. Does this make me feel more religious?
I’m as raving an atheist as I ever was. I have a hate-hate relationship with religion where I don’t know religion thinks of me but I’m all in to send it away to somewhere like Azkaban, banished forever from human contact.
 
3. Less religious then?
No, I never was religious to become any LESS religious.
 
4. Why then I still visit religious sites?
Because despite their religious origin, I see them as brilliant examples of architecture and craftsmanship, erected by ordinary men for the extraordinary greed and hunger for power for their rulers. The same applies to my interests in religious texts as well.
 
5. So, do I support Sainthood of Mother Teresa?
Yes and No. No, because her deed didn’t need a convoluted story to establish her miracles. She made miracles happen to the lives she transformed. Perhaps Vatican needs to reassess their policy what they treat as a miracle. Yes, because if she did this for her religion, she deserved the highest acclaim the church could proffer. And her contribution meant actually life changing transformations through care and humility, not phoney cures with lights passing through a photo or any such trash.

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Bengali, Cuisine

কবসা : চটজলদি পোলাও মেড ইজি

বিলেতে আসার পর এখানে খাবার দাবারের চল দেখে খানিকটা ঘাবড়েই গিয়েছিলাম। রাস্তায় রাস্তায় আনাচে কানাচে “ইন্ডিয়ান” খাবারের দোকান, কিছু রেস্তোরাঁ কিছু টেক অ্যাওয়ে, রান্না হয়ে গেলে হয় বাড়িতে পৌঁছে দিয়ে যায়, আর না হলে গিয়ে নিয়ে আসতে হয়। কিছুদিন পর জানলাম যে ইন্ডিয়ান খাবার দোকানগুলো আসলে চালায় বাংলাদেশিরা, তাদের বেশির ভাগের বাড়ি সিলেটে। আর ইন্ডিয়ান খাবার বলে যা চালায় সেগুলো খেতে দারুন হলেও কেমন যেন অন্যরকম। মানে নামে ভারতীয় হলেও স্বাদে নয়। যেমন একদিন ভাবলাম ভিন্ডি ভাজি খাই ভাত ডালের সাথে, তো ভিন্ডি ভাজি যা এলো সেটা হলো গোটা গোটা ঢ্যাঁড়স খানিক পেঁয়াজ শুকনো লঙ্কা দিয়ে ঝোল। যাক এতো বাঙাল রয়েছে ভেবে খানিকটা উৎসাহী হয়ে পড়ে ভাবলাম এরা রেস্তোরাঁয় মুরগি মটন চালালেও নিজেরা নিশ্চই রুই কাতলা ইলিশ পাবদা সাঁটায়। আব্দার করলে খুব সম্ভব আপ্যায়ন করে খাওয়াবে। কিন্তু সে গুড়ে বালি। তারা অতিথিপরায়ণ হলেও তেমন বাঙালি খাবার খায়না, রেস্তোরাঁয় যা হয় সে সবই খায়। ভারতীয় রেস্তোরাঁ যে নেই তা নয়, তবে হাতে গোনা, তার সুলুক সন্ধান না জানলে খুঁজে পাওয়া দুষ্কর। মিল্টন কিনসে থাকার সময় খোলা বাজারে পেতাম ইডলি ধোসা এসব। আর মিল্টন কিনসে থাকার সময়ই দুর্গা পুজোয় ২ পাউন্ড প্রণামী দিয়ে পেট পুরে খিচুড়ি ভোগ বেগুনি আর রাতে পোলাও মাংস সাঁটিয়েছিলাম সে প্রায় ৭ বছর আগে। তারপর খোঁজ পেলাম লন্ডনে ওল্ড হ্যাম, ইস্ট হ্যাম আর নিউ হ্যামের। তামিল, মালয়ালি, পাঞ্জাবি খাবার ইন্ডিয়ান রেস্তোরাঁর মতো দামি নয়, তার সিকি কি আধা খরচে পেট পুরে খাওয়া যায় সেখানে। আর সেই লিস্টে শেষে যোগ হলো আরো দুটো জায়গা। প্রথমটা নিরামিষ, স্বামীনারায়ণ মন্দির লন্ডনে, আমার সাইট থেকে এক মাইল দূরে, আসা যাওয়ার পথে প্রায় প্রতি সপ্তায় ওই পথ দিয়ে যেতে হতো। কম পয়সায় দারুন খাবার, আর তার ওপর বুফে।  গুজরাতি নিরামিষ খাবার খেয়ে মাঝে মধ্যে আমার মতো ঘোর শাক্তও ক্ষনিকের জন্য ভাবতো এরকম খাবার পেলে নিরামিষাশী হয়ে যেতে আপত্তি নেই।  আর অন্যটা হলো সাউথ ইন্ডিয়ান খাবারের দোকান আমার অফিসের থেকে ১০-১৫ মিনিট দুরে।

এদিকে ভারতীয় হবার যা ঝক্কি এখানে, সবাই ভাবে সব ভারতীয়ই সঞ্জীব কাপুর, যে কোনো ইন্ডিয়ান খাবার চাইলেই তারা সেটা বানিয়ে ফেলতে পারবে, আর ভারতীয় খাবার মানেই বিরাট আয়োজন, পাতি পান্তা ভাত আর পেঁয়াজ কুচি ভারতীয় খাবার নয়। আবার গোটা কয় বন্ধু তাদেরকে যদি বলি শুঁটকি মাছ সাথে সাথে তাদের নাক কুঁচকে যায়।  তা সেই ভারতীয় খাবার রান্না করার তাগিদে বানিয়ে ফেললাম বেশ কিছু পদ বিভিন্ন সময়, তাতে আমার সহধর্মিনীর বিশেষ অবদান রয়েছে টেস্টার হিসেবে। সমস্যাটা হলো ভাত বা পোলাও কি বানাবো তাই নিয়ে। বাসমতি চালের পোলাও বেশ ভালোই হয় কিন্তু সেই গোবিন্দভোগ চালের পোলাওয়ের ধারেকাছে আসেনা তা। বিরিয়ানি বানানোর অশেষ ঝক্কি তার ওপর দুশ্চিন্তা রান্না হবে কিনা। বানিয়েছিলাম একদিন, স্লো কুকারে, ভালোই হয়েছিল কিন্তু রান্নার যা ঝামেলা হুট করে বানিয়ে ফেললাম তা নয়, প্রায় সারা দিন লেগে যাবে তোড়জোড় করতে করতে। এই অনেক খোঁজাখুঁজির পর পাওয়া গেলো সমাধান। কবসা। এটা পাকিস্তানী বা সৌদি রান্না, তবে গোটা মধ্য প্রাচ্যেই চল আছে, এর অন্য নাম হল মকবুশ। যে কোনো মাঝারি থেকে ঝাল মাংসের পদের সাথে খাবার জন্যে আইডিয়াল। আর এটা রান্না হতে যা সময় লাগে ভাত রাঁধতেও প্রায় একই সময় লাগে, শুধু প্রাথমিক যোগাড়যন্ত্রটুকু বাড়তি, আর তাও খুবই সামান্য। হলফ করে বলতে পারি যে ডাল আলুভাজার মত কবসাও এমন একটা পদ যেটা আমি বহুবার রেঁধেছি কিন্তু স্বাদে কোন তারতম্য হয়নি।

পাইন নাট

পাইন নাট/চিলগোজা

রান্নার রেসিপির আগে “কিন্তু”টায় আসি। কবসার মূল উপাদানটা পাওয়া হয়তো তেমন সহজ নাও হতে পারে। এখানে নাম পাইন নাট, হিন্দি নাম চিলগোজা। এখানে একটু খুঁজলেই পাওয়া যায় সব বড় সুপারমার্কেটে। পাইন নাট না পেলে আখরোট বা কাঠবাদাম (Almond) ব্যবহার করা যেতে পারে কিন্তু এবেলা বলে রাখি স্বাদ একরকম না হবার দায় আমার রইলো না আর :)।

উপকরণ যা যা লাগবে:
বাসমতি চাল ২ কাপ
চিকেন স্টক কিউব ২ তো বা চিকেন স্টক পেস্ট ২ চামচ
মাঝারি পেঁয়াজ ১ টা
রসুন ৬-৮ কোয়া
পাইন নাট ১/২ কাপ
মাখন ১/২ কাপ
জল ৪-৫ কাপ

প্রণালী

যদি চিকেন স্টক কিউব ব্যবহার করেন তো সেটা গরম জলে আগে থেকে ভিজিয়ে রাখতে হবে পুরোটা গুলে যাওয়া পর্যন্ত। পেঁয়াজ যত মিহি সম্ভব কুচি কুচি করে কেটে নিতে হবে। লম্বা জিরেজিরে নয়, অনেকটা ঝালমুড়ির পেঁয়াজের মত। চাল আগে ধুয়ে নেয়া যেতে পারে কিন্তু তাতে ফোটানোর জন্য জল কম দিতে হবে।  রসুন খোসা ছাড়িয়ে কুচি করে রাখতে হবে। রসুন বাটাও ব্যবহার করা যেতে পারে। আঁচে বড় কড়াই বসিয়ে পুরো মাখনটা গরম করতে হবে। পেঁয়াজ, পাইন নাট আর রসুন মাখনে সাঁতলাতে হবে ৫ মিনিট মত অথবা যতক্ষণ পুরো মিশ্রণটা হাল্কা বাদামী রঙ ধরছে। কড়াইতে পরিমাণমত জল আর চিকেন স্টক দিয়ে আঁচ বাড়িয়ে দিতে হবে জল ফুটতে শুরু হওয়া পর্যন্ত। জল ফুটলে চাল ছেড়ে দিয়ে আঁচ কমিয়ে কড়াই ঢাকা দিয়ে দিতে হবে। ব্যস আর কিছুই করার নেই, শুধু ১০-১৫ মিনিট মাঝে মাঝে চালটা নাড়িয়ে দিতে হবে যাতে তলা ধরে না যায়। চাল সেদ্ধ হয়ে গেলে আর জল মরে এলে কবসা তৈরি। যদি চাল সেদ্ধ হবার আগে জল শুকিয়ে যায় তাহলে কড়াইতে আন্দাজমত গরম জল দিয়ে দিতে হবে। জল প্রথমে বেশি দিলে ভাত গেলে যাবার সম্ভাবনা আছে, তাই শুরুতে একটু কম জল দিলেই ভাল।

কবসা

কবসা

যদি চিকেন স্টক নিজে তৈরী করেন তাহলে কবসায় কিছু মাংসের টুকরোও ছেড়ে দিতে পারেন। আর মাখনের পরিবর্তে মার্জারিন ব্যবহার করতে পারেন যদি মাখনের পরিমান দেখে আঁতকে ওঠেন। কোনো মসলা ছাড়াই কবসা যথেষ্ট সুস্বাদু, তবু মসলার স্বাদ পেতে হলে অল্প জায়ফল জয়ত্রীর গুঁড়ো ছড়িয়ে দিতে পারেন ওপরে। পুরো রান্না হতে লাগবে ২০-২৫ মিনিট বড়জোর, আর পোলাওয়ের পিছনে আদ্ধেক বেলা কাটাতে হবেনা। চটজলদি অন্য ধরণের ভাতের জন্য চেষ্টা করে দেখুন কবসা।

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