Monday, 28 April 2014

Breakfast of the champions

It's so good, I didn't want to take a picture of it; I can just think about it and picture the taste perfect! Have you ever eaten a plate of Doh Sniang, a Khasi dish from Meghalaya. If you've not, you've missed out, here is why...

Think of the smallest plate you have ever eaten a meal in, then think of two ladles of rice in it. Now comes the interesting part. The gravy (the one I had was cooked with Kadi patta or Murraya) is put on this rice and two pieces of superbly cooked pork; only two pieces, often one more fatty, the other more meaty. This is served with pounded dry fish chutney usually with coriander or mint and some salad; scrapes of fresh cabbage spiced up with chillies. A refill means two more ladles of rice, gravy and two more pieces of meat. By the way, Doh Sniang strictly refers to pork.

The beauty of Doh Sniang is that they serve you exactly what you need; none of that jazzy watery dal, none of those heaps of rice and not a lot of meat and is affordable, usually 30 bucks a plate. Its the best combination of protein, fat, starch and vitamins in a breakfast I've come across! Go eat some Doh sniang!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Field this time...

A month back I had packed for a field trip in north-east India for about 45 days, and after several trial-and-errors over several years, I think I got the packing right! A pillow I bought in a train gets filled up with air every night and ensures I sleep well. A marmot sleeping bag that my awesome boss gifted to me keeps me snug. There is a small heating rod, coffee powder and a steel filter that get together in the morning and wake me up.
The equipment is another story. A multi-plug which can convert one plug point to three is extremely useful while travelling. A smartphone has been indispensable in field; it has a gps, google earth, google maps, Birdlog Asia, an offline dictionary, compass, macro and landscape camera, music, internet, voice recorder, a torch, a pdf/book/document reader. The only problem with the phone is that the battery lasts only a day; so I carried back up batteries which even get charged with a small solar panel. This phone was backed up with a black-and-white Nokia phone which has a great battery. I did not know this earlier, but Airtel seems to have as good coverage in the north-east as BSNL or even better; and the internet is great, so Airtel is highly recommended if you are travelling in the north-east! At Goalpara, I got internet speed in excess of 250 kbps and I had downloaded the Ubuntu ISO, which is about 1 GB in an hour by tethering the smartphone to my laptop! There is also an amazing Bose Bluetooth speaker that ensures a lovely musical evening, when we have the time for such things!
Since I am still recovering from a surgery and need to get my legs stronger, for exercise I am carrying a black T-resistance band which is very useful. I still remember the trouble I went through carrying 4 kg ankle weights to Arunachal and back! The T-band is very portable and one can be very innovative with the exercises too. All this together weighs less than 20 kg which ensures at the airport I don't need to pay a rupee extra for luggage! While I write this the Bose is playing Coke Studio Pakistan music and the evening is mellow with a drink. Today I am very close to Bangladesh in Meghalaya overlooking the Goyain river!