Handi, typical Indian word used for a big clay bowl like structured utensil in north-rural areas used for boiling milk, churning buttermilk and storing it. What is the reason behind choosing it as title, let's go together.
One day I was coming back to Hostel after college. I got off the bus. After a little walk; at last, I turned towards the narrow street. Rough road, kids playing, two dogs lying side by the lane silently. There was a primary school and on my right were some kachha houses made up of- Bricks, stones and mud on them. These kachcha houses had gates of tin with doweling holes on the walls. One more kachha house was getting built. As I walked further, I smelt something, the smell of boiling milk in Handi.
The strong smell took me straight to my village, “Sadonpur” pronounced as ‘Sadapur’, located close to Delhi and Ghaziabad, in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Long ago in those summers, we used to go there to visit maternal Grandparents. During the day time, we used to have loads of fun like roaming here and there, playing carom, Raja-Rani-Chor-Sipahi, cards, vagera-vagera. We used to play in fields and bath in small ponds. On our way back home, the street used to be black. Laltane light coming out of every house because of no electricity. When we reach home, the entire baramda would be covered with smoke due to the burning of firewood and dunks. Mami- preparing food, kids running here and there. There was staircase going up and a big wall separating two houses. In villages of UP, the food is mostly prepared on the chulas through burning wood sticks and cow dunks.
Here the story of Handi comes.
Everyday, post our dinner, before going to sleep, mami used to prepare milk for everybody in Handi. She used to boil the milk by placing the Handi over the burning dunks. The smell of the smoke getting mixed with buffalo’s milk that she serves in steel glass was unique in itself.
The same smell made a way to my nostrils (just for a moment of seconds), when I was crossing one of the houses through the narrow street. All these moments flashed in my mind and reminded me of the old memories of my village “Sadapur”.