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Books, Art, Food - My Dream Vacation - Malabika Ray Choudhury's Blog

About Malabika Ray Choudhury
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I am a Canadian teacher, Creative writing is my passion. My early years were spent in India, and later in the Middle East. I am finally settled in Canada, and enjoying my profession as a teacher. Writing is my first passion, but I also immensely enjoy music and art.

In the beginning of 2020, I have published a collection of poems on amazon, called "Without Me, Without You".

A Reader's comment about the book: Beautifully vivid, and delightful verses! Malabika’s gift with words can be compared to an artist expressing beauty and feelings on canvas with paint and brush. Verses I can read in mid winter and feel spring in my heart.

I write equally in two languages - definitely in English, and also in Bengali, which is a regional language in the eastern part of India. I have translated a few famous Bengali poems (mainly by Rabindranath Tagore) in English, and hope to publish a collection in future. 

 

 

 

 

 


Books, Art, Food - My Dream Vacation

Blog Posted:7/12/2020 5:36:00 PM

 

I wrote the description of my March-break (I am a Teacher in Ontario, Canada) in 2019. This year, everybody knows, we are all vacationing at home, not only a week in March, but much longer than that. I fondly rememeber my short vacation at Toronto Downtown. 

 

A Few Days Of My Destination March-break

Day 1

This March break I am travelling to my daughter's condo at Toronto downtown, not Mexico, not Caribbean. She has a condo in the heart of the city, and its like an artist's den, although she is a resident physician at Downtown hospitals, and has to work crazy hours from dawn to dusk, overnight many times in the same week.

When I enter the place, the first thing catches my and everyone's eyes, are her desk and an easel beside it. The desk should be full of books about medicine, but it is not. Instead it is full of painting materials - all kinds of water-colours, acrylic, pastels and pencils - and books about paintings and art-history, especially books about Van Gogh - her favourite artist. On the easel, there is always a painting she is working on, usually inspired by Van Gogh.

The next area I stumble on is the kitchen - which is full of interesting utensils - more artistic than essential items, like beautifully painted chopsticks (I could never learn how to use them). She keeps colourful flowers in interesting vases on the kitchen counter. If I open the fridge, I find an array of interesting food - Miso Soup, Tofu, Strawberries, Speciality Cheese, Herbed Chicken, and Palak paneer. When I came yesterday, I asked if she had rice, or roti, which is usually our staple food. She had none. She served me mint tea to relax, and said " I don't have rice, but I have mint".

Next surprise is the living space , where classical music is playing day and night - apparently for the plants. Her plants love classical music! There is the guitar in the corner, which she is taking lessons in between her crazy schedule at five major hospitals. On the centre table, more of Van Gogh books, magazines called The Artist, laptop of course, air-plants in a tiny round container (they need very little care), and latest addition - a dwarfed (Bonshai) evergreen. On a little shelf beside the sofa - her memorabilia are a few items she picked up when visiting India - A Conch, A Brass Statue of Nataraj, a clay statue of Goddess Durga, a band of musicians in clay, and also a puppet-doll from Mexico, an intricately decorated Japanese fan, a stone-carved turtle from Caribbean, a wooden toy-swing from Costa Rica, and of course a bunch of books on Japanese cartoon-stories. 

After serving mint tea, my daughter served me a sandwich with cheese and strawberry on it, and later, Miso Soup for dinner. The soup was unbelievably delicious and what exactly I needed to begin my vacation! She added fried garlic and soya sauce to the liquid, and then added softly boiled eggs. She poured the hot soup on pieces of soft Tofu. It was heavenly! I slept like a baby! This is the start of my vacation with my very special daughter, the vacation I was dreaming about!

Today our lunch, which my daughter ordered, is Thai food. Actually I was planning to cook for her, but she said, “No. you are not going to cook, this is your vacation!” Okay then, we are set up with soups, sandwiches, and take-out lunches and dinners from every exotic restaurant close by - Thai, Mexican, Indian or Chinese. It is like I am relaxing in a resort, without spending a few thousand dollars. This is how my life should be right now - staying in a downtown condo, walking short distance to museums and art-galleries, having exotic food every day, but not spending hours and hours beside the stove-top. Oh I almost forgot - today's menu was Pad Thai, Yellow Chicken Curry, Rice, Eggplant in sauce, and my favourite - Crunchy Spring Rolls. My days are not going to be useless, I will be reading exclusive novels by a Korean author, Min Jin Lee, and writing pages and pages on my favourite topics, topics close to my heart.

The whole day today I am lying on the sofa in my PJs, across the window which opens to the balcony and brings lots of sunshine. The book I am reading are "Pachinko" by the Korean author, and Anthology Of Japanese Literature. I am writing too! This writing is the proof! What vacation could be better than this? We didn't have dinner yet. Later we had dinner with left-overs from lunch.

Day 2

It's a cloudy morning, Toronto temperature 2 degree Celsius. My daughter is on call duty - which spans from 24 hours to 30. She left early in the morning at 7:00, today she is working at Toronto Western. It was still pretty dark when she left, she will have to take subway to Bathhurst, and then walk.

Life in this country is rewarding with total freedom (so precious for women), but hard too! She is a poor eater, her breakfast is hardly an egg, today's special - a toast with butter. When she is in the hospital, she hardly eats, although I believe, healthy food is available in the cafeteria. Vegetarian is her choice right now. I will have a lazy day, which I don't mind, as long as I have lots of books to choose from. I had tea, and a buttered toast, and ... a small piece of Chocolate Cheese Cake which my daughter bought yesterday from a Japanese Speciality Cheesecake Store - it is totally decadent! I have no other words to describe it!!!!!!

Cloudy morning so far - Sun may show up later in the day. The view from the living room is not totally amazing - I see the balconies of the condo-building opposite - I am on the sixth floor of ours. Today's goal - read a few chapters from each book, and write a few pages of my latest project - a narrative about Partition Of Bengal (a region in India) which affected our family many many years ago, but which changed the lives of everyone in our family - My Grandparents, My Dad, My Mom, Uncles and Aunts - in a negative way, but perhaps positive in the long run. I was born after Partition, and grew up in a rented house in Parkcircus, Kolkata, but my Mom described everything, every detail of the life they had, which I remember so well as if I have lived and can see those places, those lands, those houses! She grew up in a tea garden where her father was the manager, and had the loveliest bungalow - which she could never stop dreaming about. She used to talk about a huge bungalow on the hill-top of Assam with pineapple groves surrounding it, and even about Python snakes the labourers sometimes used to catch, tie with thick ropes, and put in wooden boxes. But they managed to get out of those boxes when they were hungry and run away.

I like to cook, especially for someone who enjoys good, delicious, cooking with a lot of care. But I am being pampered by my daughter! Which Mom doesn't like that? In the afternoon, the weather was a bit strange! Sun was out, but flurries came at the same time. Sitting on the sixth floor, I couldn't see the ground, if there was any accumulation! But I watched the weather in-between, sun and flurries at the same time. To me, a perfect day means books, music, blankets, paintings, and chocolate. And that's how it was - the second day of my vacation!

Day 3

Sunny day - 2 degree C. in the morning, mild temperature for Torontonians! My daughter will be back after 30 hours in the hospital! I wonder how she even walks to the subway, and home from the subway. Probably you do what you have to do. It's going to be another lazy day - because she will sleep until evening. There is a beautiful rooftop garden in this building, but I am assuming trees and plants are still in hibernation mode. There is a lovely lounge at the ground floor, with cozy sofas and some books with appealing looks. There is a library at the rooftop too! But my daughter's room is pretty much like a library- latest and books which captivate our imagination.

I will probably cook for my tired daughter and me. There is cauliflower in the fridge, and tomatoes, and mushrooms. What can I put together with this combination? We have Uncle Ben's Brown Rice - Eggs are always there! Sun is coming through the balcony and the window on my lap - I am sitting on the only one sofa covered with few warm and comfy rugs and two paintings done by herself, on the wall in my back. Both paintings are inspired by Van Gogh. My daughter has a very artistic and subtle taste in everything - books, paintings, jewellery, clothes, and food. Did she inherit the taste from me? But I am still not at her level.

The hospitals are close, sometimes I can hear the beeping sound of ambulances. That reminds me how fragile our lives are! I am in the middle of writing my memoir about my ancestors - who experienced the Partition of Bengal in 1947. I will be alternating between reading and writing - when I feel tired of writing, I switch to reading. My brain needs to relax and have some space for thinking calmly. I switch between two kinds of writing too, something light - what I am writing right now, and then something heavier - like remembering the struggles and hardships my parents went through.

At 8 o’clock in the evening, we took an Uber and she took me to a Mediterranean restaurant, called "Tabouleh". Our dinner included special lemon and mint drink, Falafel, and Chicken Kabab with Rice for Monali, and Salmon Kabab and Rice for me. In the end we had a finger-licking dessert - Custard with fine noodles. That is the delicious end of the third day of my vacation.

Day 4

Today is the last day of my short vacation, when I had time to ponder all the good things in my life and my daughter's life and how much joy she brought me! This week was fabulous, the way I imagine my vacation to be! We watched an Oscar-nominated movie too - about a celebrated costume-designer - a character both of us are very interested in! Sometimes I feel, this girl is so creative, she could be a costume-designer! So the perfect topic to watch!

I had a chance to recapture all the memories that fill my heart. This is how I want to spend all my vacations for the rest of my life!

 

 

 

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My Past Blog Posts

 
Deception - Translation from Rabindranath Tagore
Date Posted: 7/26/2020 5:45:00 AM
Books, Art, Food - My Dream Vacation
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Mala's Space
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Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
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Darlene De Beaulieu Canada Flag Canada Read
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harry horsman Australia Flag Australia Read
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