Sunday, May 27, 2018




                         (  KASHMIRIS AND  LOTUS STEMS  OR NADRU  )

The lotus flower comes from a  a freshwater plant ( botanical name Nelumbo Nucifera ) that has been cultivated mainly in South East Asia, Mediterranean and also in some Latin American countries since ages.  In north and northeast areas of the country, it is essentially grown in lakes and ponds. Hindus, Buddhist and Egyptians consider the lotus as a sacred flower. The Mahayana  Buddhists believe that every soul emerges from a lotus flower. The Buddhist Mantra ‘Om mani padme hum’ refers to the ‘jewel in the lotus’ which represents illumination or enlightenment. Buddhists believe that this mantra has great spiritual powers.

 In ancient Egypt, spiritual teachings held that the lotus represented the sun, and therefore is directly linked to the creation and rebirth. This belief was reinforced from the way a lotus flower closes its petals at night and hides underwater but rising again at dawn and opening its petals. The ancient Egyptians believed that the lotus flower gave birth to the sun. The blue lotus, especially, is highly revered in  the Egyptian culture.

Hindus consider the entire plant including its seeds as sacred. According to the Purāņas, Brahmā ( creator of the universe ) is self-born in the lotus flower. In India, the lotus is known by various names like Pundarika, Padma, Kamala, Utpala, etc. There is a popular saying in Kashmir ‘ Lembi Munz Pamposh ’ about lotus flower which means that if one has to be in the mud, he must remain above it and shine like a lotus flower. The leaves of a lotus flower were also put to use in Kashmir as saucers for eating food.

The lotus stems are eaten as a favourite vegetable in Kashmir. Locally known as Nadru,  these stems are sold as a bundle. One bundle roughly weighs more than one kilogram. A Nadru bundle is known as ‘ Geiyad’ in Kashmiri. Extracted from lakes, Nadru is extensively used as a vegetable in almost every Kashmiri household. Kashmiris cook these stems with turnips,  potatoes, fish, lentils, collard greens  ( Haak ) and many other vegetables. Nadru Yakhni or Nadru cooked in curd is a favourite dish in a Kashmiri Pandit family. It is a much-loved dish in a marriage feast. Nadru chips are fried crisp  and a pinch of common salt and red chilly powder is sprinkled over it to make  ‘Nadru Churma’. Nadru  is also used for making Pakodas known as  Nadru Monjji’ or ‘Monji Gooel ’ in Kashmiri.

  So popular was the lotus in Kashmir that children were fondly named as Pamposh ( lotus in Kashmiri ). We had many business houses with names as Pamposh Traders, Pamposh Hotel, Pamposh Travel Service,  etc.

Lotus seeds or lotus nuts locally known as ‘ Pumm-Buchh’  are abundantly grown in lakes of Kashmir. You come across this stuff being sold by footpath vegetable sellers in and around Dal lake;  quite frequently on Boulevard  Srinagar and also near Ashai Bagh bridge , Nigeen lake in Srinagar city. I saw this stuff being sold near the  Wular lake or along the footpaths of main Bazar of Bandipore town which is situated on the eastern bank of this lake. I also saw ‘Pumm-Buchh’ being sold near the Manasbal lake in Kashmir. The fresh variety of seeds held inside a green shell are soft watery white and sweet to taste. About twenty seeds are generally held in a spongy green bulb. Once exposed to heat and air, the shell of the seeds turns hard and black and the soft white seed inside dries up and changes its colour to yellowish-brown.

Lotus seeds are eaten raw. A good amount of dried lotus seeds are used by Kashmiri Pandits as Homa Samagri ( material for burning in sacred Homa or Yajna fire   ). These seeds are also put to extensive use in northeastern states of the country. In many Asian countries,  the seeds are dried and used in cuisine and medicines. The use of these seeds as medicine is quite popular in China. These seeds are also put to use in some Latin American countries. I found them being sold in Amritsar on footpaths just outside Ram Bagh park.

Chinese and Japanese use the paste of lotus seeds in bakery products especially in pastries. It has been now established through clinical tests that lotus seeds act as antioxidants and help in reducing inflammation, fight ageing and lowering hypertension. The practitioners of the Chinese system of medicine prescribe the seeds for well being of spleen, kidney and heart.


 In 2018, I  searched for the  lotus stems  ( Nadru )  in  Chinatown, New York.  And then collard greens (Kaachhi Haak) was a bonus in this search. The search story goes as under:-

As we come out from the underground Canal Street metro station, we start moving towards   Chinatown. This Street lies close to  Little Italy or the  Soho locality. Coming closer to the HSBC building, we try to seek help from shopkeepers.

‘ Which side are the vegetable shops?’ I ask a smiling Chinese shop keeper selling many varieties of dried fish ( Hogaad), dried shrimps and dried mushrooms.

‘What? I  Don’t follow what you say.’ comes the reply.

We move ahead and speak to another Chinese boy selling fresh baby Coconuts on the street.

‘ You understand English’
‘Yeah, little   
‘How much one coconut?’
‘ Two Dollar fifty cent ’
‘ Where are vegetables sold?’
"  Two blocks and make a left.  So many.All good .’

We move towards the suggested destination. It turns out to be a Chinese restaurant. We feel disappointed. On footpaths,  we see some Afro- Americans selling low-priced goods to tourists. They sell key rings, sunglasses, purses, bags, toys, wristwatches, caps and wall pictures. They keep crying:-

‘Hey, guys. This way. This way. You gonna buy everything solid. Everything gonna cheap, Yeah sir. Madam, you wanna purse. Here go five dollars.’

I come closer to a smiling man selling caps. He has every reason to welcome us as customers.
‘Buy sir.  Madam, I gonna give good caps. Good ones, take

‘ No, thanks. We are looking for a vegetable shop. Can you guide us? We want to buy vegetables.”

‘ What? cooked dish! ‘

“ No, raw and fresh from the farm like kohlrabi, collard greens, tomatoes, cilantro, kale, pumpkin, gourd, eggplants,  carrots, potatoes, etc.  We wash, cut and then we put on the boil in the kitchen. We eat finally. That is what we want to buy.”

‘ O! I get it. You wanna go fresh produce store. Here you say vegetable,  they gonna guide you restaurant. They gonna think cooked dish.  Go one block and make a right.  There that market and many shops sell fresh farm produce. ’

We follow the suggested path and cross the footpath where Chinese women were selling fruits like double cherries, Mexican mangoes, apricots, watermelons, muskmelons, pears, apples, plums and bananas. Suddenly we find some vegetable shops. Fresh vegetables are on display on the footpath outside these spacious shops. We stop at a vegetable shop that has a variety in collard greens.  Yes, our green leafy ‘Haak ’ in various shapes and sizes.

‘ What is this? ’
‘This is Jai-lan. Good. One  dollar fifty cents for a pound .’
‘ And that ’
‘Bok Choy ’
 ‘ Do you have lotus stem ?’
‘ What? ’
‘Long stem of a lotus flower. Tubes like inside when cut.  Grows in water. Used for making a dish. In China, also used for making medicine. ’
‘ Come, see inside the Shop. 
We go inside the shop. He opens a cardboard box. Something in Chinese is printed on the box. As he removes the grass,  we find  Nadru looking like turnips. The man looks at my face. I smile and he smiles too.
‘ No stem. Say lotus root. Say ‘Lian Ou ’  next time here in this market.’

I was told by a Chinese family in New York that they make liberal use of the lotus roots in their cuisine. They also use other lotus products like lotus seeds, lotus leaf and lotus root powder to make different kinds of dishes and desserts.

( Avtar Mota )

Eating lotus roots raw can spread parasites or bacterial infections. Therefore, always cook( boil,  stir fry or deep fry ) lotus roots before eating or adding them to your diet.

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Saturday, May 26, 2018




( Mobile Photos..Autar Mota)

While sitting on the bank of Serene  Hudson, Urdu Poet Ghalib's  Persian Mathanavi "Charag e Dair"  or "The Lamp of the Temple" comes to my mind.

River  Ganga at  Benaras cast a spell on Ghalib when he visited the city  in 1828 on his way to Calcutta.Apart from this Mathanavi,  Ghalib expressed his admiration and love for river Ganga and Benaras in many letters  that he wrote to his friends.

In a letter to his student Miyan-Dad Khan Sayyah he wrote,

“Oh! Banaras is a unique city. What to say more about! When is such city born? At the end of my life I visited the city. If I had been young, then I would have settled there and left Delhi”

About river Ganga he writes ,

“Ibaadat khanae naqoosian ast

hama na kaabae Hindustan ast”

(Here people make sacred music from conch shells.

This truly is the Kaaba of Hindustan.)

And surely Hudson river is equally inspiring   during evenIng time. So many good thoughts and old memories cheer up  the mood as and when i come to its Banks.

(Autar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Monday, May 21, 2018





(Mobile Photos Autar Mota  )

From November 2017 Till March 2018, this park was converted to an Ice skating Rink. We were there in November 2017 . And now in May 2018 , we found lovely turf and flowers.

Prior to November 2017, we saw a bristling Handicrfats Bazaar in the Park. We also saw  Bank of America sponsored Winter village ,Musical shows and stage performances too. The Park space is always busy and enjoyable.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, The Park is close to Times Square , the spacious New York Library is adjacent to it and Empire State Building lies at walking distance just a few blocks away . The Grand Central Terminal( Train Station ) is also close by.

Bryant Park has free WiFi, world class restrooms, and neat and smart eating joints . Surrounded by iconic skyscrapers, more than 12 million people visit this park each year .

(Autar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2018




(Mobile photos..Autar Mota)

This confident little girl,  done in bronze,  faces the charging bronze  bull at wall street.  We were told  that the present Mayor of NYC   has ordered relocation of the bull and the girl. May  be at separate locations to  nearby stock Market. The purpose is   to decongest Traffic  .Both these  sculptures  located on the Broadway Traffic Median  are proving a hazard to   pedestrians and vehicular traffic .The girl may be relocated first and the charging bull may follow.

This 4 feet tall girl ( weighing around 110 kgs ) looks  impressive and fearless as she faces   the bull. She appears to be saying:

"  I am not afraid of you . I can catch you by the  horn."

Tourist are impressed by her style and fearlessness. People try  to copy her style  while standing close to her for a photograph.

Wall street is clse to American Indian Museum. It is also close
to Bowling green fence that was full of red tulips last week when we were there  . A central fountain adds grace to this Bowling  fence.

This little pony tailed  and fearless looking   girl,   representing female Business prowess(  sculpted by kristen visbal) was installed in March 2017. It was installed to encourage corporate world to put  more women on their Board. It was to be displayed for a few weeks only . But its popularity broke all records and citizens sent petitions to Mayor to keep it.  So it continues to be there. The girl looks daring with her hands on her hip and chin pointed up.

And i would say that the girl loudly proclaims that  Human mental force is always bigger than animal force.

The  Bronze charging bull was installed in 1989 after the 1987  stock market crash. It had become a symbol of american financial resilience post 1987 crash. The 11 feet tall bronze bull,  weighing 7100 pounds ,was sculpted by Italian sculptor Arturo Di Modica.

(Autar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2018




(Mobile Photos.. Autar Mota)

Spring has arrived in New York.  River While walking through parks and Paths , i see  Tulips and  Blooming Trees. A pleasant   Breeze welcomes me everywhere. My kashmir, My homeland  comes to my mind again and again.  I scribble..

Beyi  pherrun  Baagus  jaanawaar
Na chha shishruk gham na chha kaanh Tchalla laar
Phaetti gaash tulan beyi shor Tchopaer
Beyi  vuff ta vudav   orra yorr  Tchopaer
Me chha Basaan  daaii vassi prithvi pyath,
Parratchhien neitha-naen hi  posha kulein,
Chhakki Amrit hue  shabnam shehjaar
Sheish Gatchhi laenjji laenjji moolas moolas,
'Beyi Aav Bahaar
Beyi Aav Bahaar...'

(Autar Mota)

My English translation would be...

For Sure,
The birds shall return to the garden,
No more worries of the winter now,
None to make them fly away any more,
Once more a chirpy dawn,
once more flights in free sky;
I am hopeful
About God's personal visit to the Land ,
To spread freshness of nectar  like dew ,
On   every tormented  and naked   flowering  tree ..
And then,
 every branch ,
 every root ,
will come to know :
" Here comes the spring ,
And , Once more the spring is here.'

(Autar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.