Tagetes in full bloom and at the same time on the brink of withering. Marking a fabulous bygone season of winter reap and at the same time depicting the onset of the sowing period. Here comes along swarms of butterflies that look like tethered flowers drifting in the wind. The freshwater fish is ready to harvest too. The lake is overflowing with shoals of shiny inbreds.
Mahseer, Chagunio, Tor, Rohu, and the beloved Rainbow trout. The fishing season is remarkably distinguishable as the sky echoes with eerie chirps of birds unheard. Sprinting from one tree to the other, they flock around the bank of the Soli lake. These little Arctic visitors will soon go to colder places for nesting the ensuing eggs.
The trees are denuded enough to let the light seep in and replete enough to give shade. The bar-headed goose honks behind Sanura as she sits by the Soli lake to fish a fresh batch. She has been here since the break of dawn driving down 40 km to fetch this delicacy for her small eatery which she runs with Mukhtiar. The eatery is humble, the menu is simple and the guest list is booked. Mukhtiar is a gifted cook. She manages the operatives while Sanura is in charge of sourcing.
Some seven summers ago, I met Sanura at local art & harvest fair. She was selling homemade pickles and I had a table put up of sourced wool and mittens from the local crafters. The day passed by conversations and peals of laughter. Over the trips to second-hand markets, backyard sales, salvage shops, our friendship grew. We had been to every little cafe and bistro in the town and not once did the thought of a restaurant come to Sanura’s mind until a year later when Mukhtiar came to our part of the world. She helped mold this dream for Sanura and together they rendered it. Their place is called Mura and it is breathtaking.
Mura has no solemn dining, no linens, or other whiffs of flimsy. It reveals all the cuts and crevasses of the times it has seen. There are random items collected over a period of time, all hung on the walls at different moons of different seasons. There is hardly anything precariously sewn together but still all sets in perfectly. Everything from the mismatched chairs, the chopping boards, and ladles hanging from the beams form an aesthetic of their own. Rustic charm, immense passion for cooking, and colossal love served right off the fire. And no matter how it looks, it feels home. In the most subtle tones, caressing the deepest reaches of your heart and gut, it says …..you belong here!
It’s Mura’s birthday and these sets of illustrated marigold cards are a gift to its creators, to the spirit of the place and to the most amazing women in love; Sanura & Mukhtiar.