The World’s Largest Democracy on Trump

By
Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

It finally happened. Donald John Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States of America. The world erupted in shock to this stunning upset and so did the world’s largest democracy.

The Indian Prime Minister congratulated Donald Trump on his victory with a series of tweets.

 

Well-known writer, Chetan Bhagat, shared a couple of tweets, too.

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Taken from Chetan Bhagat’s profile, Twitter, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

While Twitter is already abuzz with celebrities and other bigwigs sharing their take on the Trump victory, S.U.M has traveled beyond U.S. shores, and brings you a glimpse into India’s reaction.

 

This Facebook user chose to be short and concise.

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No more words were needed. || Status update of Priya Pearl, Facebook, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

 

A brighter side was observed by another.

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Looking for the silver lining. || Status update of Shravani Hatkar, Facebook, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

 

This one seemed inconsolable.

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Status update of Anushri Sarda, Facebook, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

Donald Trump’s recent comments about India and its majority population found quite a few takers, too, as is evident from this group’s celebration of his victory.

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Hindu Sena celebrating Trump’s win in New Delhi. || Deccan Chronicle, Web, Nov 11 2016, AFP, <http://www.deccanchronicle.com/&gt;

Facebook also has a page dedicated entirely to the handful of Hindu population which supports him, appropriately titled ‘Hindus for Trump’.

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Quite vocal in their support. || Taken from the Facebook page of ‘Hindus for Trump’, Facebook, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

A post from Hindus For Trump’s Facebook wall keeps it real simple.

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Taken from the ‘Hindus for Trump’ page on Facebook, Facebook, Web, Nov 11 2016, India

Indians scattered across the globe have shared their feelings regarding the astonishing result of the election. Given the cordial relationship that has been maintained between the USA and India, it would be an interesting step forward with this change in leadership.

In the end, S.U.M leaves you with this euphoric video of Indians celebrating the new POTUS in great gusto.

Great Indian Cuisines: Patthar ka Gosht

By
Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

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An Indian feast. || Drishti.co, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

India is known for a lot of things, not least, its sumptuous dishes. The land of the Himalayas has no dearth of culture, with 150 languages having a sizable speaking population (the total number of languages is placed at a staggering 1652). With a tradition spanning centuries, it’s not surprising to find that India’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. One can never say; “I’m gonna have some Indian cuisine tonight,” and be satisfied with one, for India boasts of  several; Mughlai, South Indian(which has a cuisine for each of its four states) and Awadhi, among many others. What’s special is that each of India’s 29 states has its own cuisine to boast of; some of them having more than one!

S.U.M  brings to you the first dish in its feature of Unique Indian Cuisine.
Pathar ka Gosht Recipe

Presenting Patthar ka Gosht! In Urdu, patthar means ‘stone’ and gosht means ‘meat’. The phrase, therefore, roughly translates to ‘meat cooked on stone’ in English.

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Patthar ka Gosht served with Indian bread || by Shaharbano – own work, cc by -SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org

Yes, you read it right. This particular dish dates back to 19th century India in the Deccan region (present-day Hyderabad), ruled by the Nizams, the then rulers of Hyderabad State. Legend has it that this dish came to pass on a hunting expedition of the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahbub Ali Khan. The 18-year-old Nizam used to have his dining and bedding carried on elephants for all-time convenience. Talk about royalty! For the Nizam’s comfort, the royal chef found a slab of stone for special cooking purposes and cooked kebabs on it for the Nizam. The Nizam loved it so much that he ordered it to be cooked again on his return. And thus the peculiar dish of Patthar ka Gosht came into being.

Though this claim is unconfirmed by reliable sources, it has the same royal sound to it as other majestic whims of the Nizams. The dish is a roaring success in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when, in the evening after breaking the fast Muslims generally go into the streets to have a light feast.

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Patthar ka Gosht being cooked at a roadside stall. || Photo by Ashwin Quadros, Flickr.com, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

Coming to its conception, PkG is prepared by first marinating the meat (beef and mutton are the preferred kinds) in various pastes and spices for around 5 hours.  Meanwhile, the stone used for cooking (granite in most cases), is heated by kindling charcoal underneath it for approximately 30 minutes until it’s hot. The right temperature of the stone is determined by sprinkling water on it: if the droplets sizzle on the slab, it’s ready for cooking. The meat is then placed on the stone slab and allowed to fry in the open. The fat and marinated paste from the meat sizzles on the stone and gradually evaporates. The meat is turned to the other side and vice versa till both sides are brown and crispy. The meat is then taken down and served with one or two Indian breads; Naan or Roti. The meat, thus slow-cooked, acquires a silky-smooth texture that simply melts in the mouth.

But times have changed. Today’s fast-paced life is making it difficult for old-school recipes to flourish because of their time-consuming nature. Restaurants are reluctant to allow such dishes in their original state, opting instead for stoves to light the stones. Their contention is that they would be feeding only 10-15 people a day if they chose charcoal over gas. Of course, old-timers rue this nimble change but the others… well, the others still swear by its unvarying novel taste.

POETRY: Awake

Original Poetry by
Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

POETRY: “Awake”
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“The hinges creaked and moved,/ Broken but beckoning me.” || Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh / Some Unique Magazine, LLC Pune, India 12 October 2016
POETRY: Awake

There comes a time in our lives when we find ourselves in a blurred space. Where the lines between reality and dream fade and we are left to wonder about the futility of our struggles. How real is reality? How fantastic our dreams? How frail our ambitions? How vain our efforts? Take a moment to ponder this: What are the things in your life you can really term ‘worth it’? The poem below confronts the hazy perceptions of Man in his quest for salvation and success.

 

‘Awake’

I wandered into a dream,

A dream of broken promises.

Of empty fists and downcast eyes,

Of bleary shadows and mournful trees.

 

It felt real, tangible.

Like a blanket wrapped around.

Like an old book lying forgotten,

Rough and loosely bound.

 

I didn’t know what it expected of me,

That dream of broken promises.

It said nothing, it simply stared,

Braced on unused hinges.

 

I waited for it to pass,

For another to take its place.

Another with brighter colours,

And less of faded greys.

 

An aeon passed me by,

And bare reality sank in.

Carrying a rust faintly familiar

That molded onto my skin.

 

It was then that I realised,

I hadn’t wandered into, but from a dream.

Into truth lurking behind closed doors,

Inescapable, present, unseen.

 

It didn’t take me long to accept it, make peace;

For I never could play pretense.

Reality embraced me in a calm,

And I fell fetal in its trance.

 

Why bother, why squirm?

Why deny the truth of it all?

Why fret over childish fantasies?

Why despair at the Horsemen’s call?

 

I sighed and let it go,

It sighed and let me be.

The hinges creaked and moved,

Broken but beckoning me.

 

Thus it so happened, that I emerged into a reality,

A reality of healing promises.

Of open palms and squinting eyes,

Of merging shadows and swaying trees.