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rootsandleisure_golden Punjab

Faces | “Capturing This Sunrise in the Wheat Fields of Ludhiana Made Me Believe That India is Still a Golden Bird”

“I took this picture during one of my photo-walks in the outskirts of Ludhiana, Punjab. Just like people wake up in the early hours to do yoga or exercise, my morning ritual often comprises of long walks by myself – and my camera.  This was on my way towards Flahi Sahib, one of the popular Gurdwaras in the area. The sunrise this particular morning had a magical golden view as it rose above the expansive wheat fields. That moment I took this picture, I immediately thought of how India is a Golden Bird even today, to me; and anyone who disagrees might change their mind after seeing this photo. I still remember the hope and pride I felt in my heart as I admired this view that morning…” ~ Harsh Jain, Ludhiana “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” ~ Frederick Douglass

RootsandLeisure_photographer Ved-Assam

“I May End up Hating Photography If It Becomes My Bread & Butter; I Just Want to Click Photos and Make People Stop, Wonder, and Think.” – Photographer Ved from Assam

I’d like to introduce Ved – a talented photographer and videographer friend of mine from Assam, whose work I’ve been following ever since I’ve met him (and worked with) at a university event in Jorhat back in 2019. A fellow traveler, he is always up for an adventure and a great conversationalist. For anyone meeting him for the first time, it is easy to spot his natural passion and love for his work – and life in general. With his go-getter attitude and an infectious positivity, I really enjoyed this chat with him.  Deno: Hi Ved, welcome to R&L! Please introduce yourself. Ved: I’m Ved, a photographer and videographer based in the quaint little town of Jorhat, Assam. I like to believe that photography runs in my blood because both my grandfathers were very talented photographers and I’ve grown up looking at framed black and white prints of their work. I started dabbling in photography from a young age but I developed the technical know-how much later. I got my first client when I was …

Rootsandleisure_Miss Nagaland_Vikuonuo Sachü

“I Let my Head Work Instead of Letting My Heart Be Troubled” – Tête-à-Tête with Vikuonuo Sachü, Reigning Miss Nagaland

I sat down with reigning Miss Nagaland Vikuonuo Sachü over coffee to talk about the crown and the responsibilities that came along with it, her personal journey from aspiring to become Miss Nagaland to fulfilling her dreams to how she’s shaped it as a platform for empowering the youth.  For someone still in college and so young, she has already accomplished more than most can even begin to imagine. Looking at all the work she has done so far, I am confident that this young friend and role model is on her path to achieve much more.  Deno: Hi Vikuonuo, welcome to R&L! Please introduce yourself. Vikuonuo: Hi everyone, a pleasure to be having this chat. I am Vikuonuo Sachü, reigning Miss Nagaland 2019. I am from Kohima, and currently pursuing a degree along with various social activities. Personally, I would describe myself as both an introvert and an extrovert. I can be very shy at times, but also equally enjoy traveling and meeting new people, and having conversations with them about their lives and perspectives …

Rootsandleisure_river fish with bastengaRootsandleisure_river fish with bastenga2

Naga Recipe | River Fish with Bastenga (Bamboo Shoot Juice)

Fresh river fish cooked in bastenga (bamboo shoot juice) is a delicacy in Nagaland. Made with minimal ingredients and easy to prepare, it is one of the many popular items often made during picnics and family outings by the riverside. Today’s recipe is made using three ingredients: river fish, bastenga, and lots of green chilies. This can stay in your fridge for days and can be relished as a side dish across many meals. Enjoy! River Fish with Green Chilies and Bastenga Ingredients: 2 Kgs of fresh river fish 10-15 fresh green chilies 1/2 cup bastenga (bamboo shoot juice) 1″ grated local ginger Salt to taste Directions to cook: Wash the fish properly, changing the water multiple times – until it runs clean Chop the green chilies and add them to the fish Pour the bastenga (bamboo shoot juice) Add salt Mix the above ingredients carefully. Now add water such that it covers the whole mix Cover with a lid, and cook for about 25-30 mins (or until the fish is cooked) Remove the lid, …

Rootsandleisure_Nongwarngam Chinir

“Some Poems are as Bright as the Glaring Sun, While Some are as Dark as Our Struggles” – Nongwarngam Chinir from Manipur Talks About his Newly Launched Book “Labyrinth”

“Some poems reflect dreams that are as ambitious as the glaring sun, some will depict the darkness we all struggle to keep at bay; may you find yourself in this Labyrinth” – Nongwarngam Chinir I had the pleasure to share a little warm conversation with this soulful writer Nongwarngam Chinir who recently published his debut book entitled “Labyrinth” – a collection of poems about stories from the eyes of strangers, of love, of courage, of finding the deeper meaning of life, about finding one’s way through this labyrinth called life.  Our young aspiring author introduces himself as an activist, a humanitarian, an old soul but above all just a normal guy who is trying to achieve his dreams in a world filled with chaos. Join me as I take a journey down memory lane with Nong of how this wonderful book was born.  Nongwarngam Chinir – Author of the newly launched book “Labyrinth” Arep: First, congratulations on getting your book published! Please introduce yourself to our readers. N. Chinir: My name is Nongwarngam Chinir, I …


Recipe | Super Easy Chili Oil Noodles

An easy recipe for everyone to try out. It can be as spicy or plain as you want, depending on your taste preference. The toasted schezwan peppers add a special flavor – must try! Scroll down below for full recipe. Chili Oil Noodles by Nana Ingredients: Chili flakes (Qty depending on your preferred hotness level) 2 tbsp schezwan peppers (toasted and crushed) 2 Bay leaves 1 cup of vegetable oil 1 packet of noodles Salt to taste 2 tbsp of fish sauce 1 tsp of vinegar Meat of choice (optional) Toasted sesame seeds for garnish Preparing the Chili Oil: Mix the chili flakes and schezwan pepper in a bowl. Heat oil until hot and add two bay leaves. Remove from the stove, and pour the hot oil into the chilli flakes and pepper mixture. Set aside to let it cool. Preparing the Noodles: Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook the noodles – as instructed in the packet. Stir if required, to ensure the noodles don’t stick to each other Once cooked, …

Rootsandleisure_Arieno Kera

Artist Arieno Kera from Nagaland Makes Dreamy Renditions of People Around Her – Through Her Signature Acrylic Portraits

Arieno Kera is a Fine Art student from Nagaland. A childhood friend, I remember her as this calm individual who had the most natural flair for painting and art – for as long as I can remember. Growing up together, I am so excited to see where her talent is going to take her. Currently, she is pursuing fine arts as a student and she has already captured the hearts of many – with her signature dreamy portraits in acrylic. Worthy to note that she always had a keen interest in stories and people, and that comes out beautifully through each stroke in all her paintings. In her own words, her work is inspired by “the Realist and Impressionistic art periods. They made me see the beauty in truth, in the ordinary, and in life.” I chat with her to give you guys a glimpse into her portfolio of work. Fine Art student Arieno Kera | Photo by Ghanajit Wahengbam Deno: Hi Arieno, such a fan of your portraits! Please introduce yourself.  Arieno: My name …

Rootsandleisure_Soccer Cafe_Dikhri Wezah

Die Hard Soccer Fan and Coffee Lover Dikhri Wezah Opens Soccer Cafe in Kohima to Bring His Two Passions Together

Introducing a dear friend of mine, who has inspired me all these years with his ‘can-do’ attitude, and a zealous attitude towards life. Say hi to Dikhri Wezah from Kohima – a passionate and hardworking comrade of mine. At just 25 years of age, he has accomplished a major goal he has set for himself. Knowing the kind of person that he is, I know that this is just the beginning. A year ago, over a casual conversation, he shared about his dream to open a cafe, where he can merge his love for football and food – specifically to promote a healthy lifestyle. So when I received an invitation to the opening of his restaurant last November, I was overjoyed and told myself with a smile ‘The deed has been done indeed.’ And true to his vision, Dikhri’s ‘Soccer cafe’ is a hip hang out spot for football lovers in Kohima, where one can enjoy live screenings, healthy food, and great coffee. So let’s have a chat with Dikhri to get more details. Dikhri …

Two Sisters from Nagaland Bring Eco Friendly Soy Candles for the Conscious Consumer | Chat with ‘Millennials & Gen Z’ Candles

I sat down with sisters Nuzosalu and Akholu Nyekha – founders of  ‘Millennials & Gen Z’ candles over the weekend to take you through their venture in detail. They specialize in making scented candles, or ‘therapy candles’ as they call it, using soy wax, which are biodegradable and hence much more environment-friendly.  They started this venture as a hobby during the pandemic lockdowns, and I have been mesmerized ever since. What is even more admirable is their conscious contribution to their environment through their eco-friendly initiatives like using biodegradable soy-wax for their candles; they also have a recycling initiative where a customer can return four empty glass jars and get a new therapy candle in return. So let us try and understand more about their work / life philosophy, and explore the goodness of their therapy candles through a quick chat. Sisters Nuzosalu and Akholu Nyekha – founders of ‘Millennials & Gen Z’ Candles Menu: Hello Nuzo and Akho, thanks for taking out time to have this chat. Please introduce yourselves Millennials & Gen Z: We are …

Rootsandleisure_Keny Metha

Keny Metha from Kohima Talks About Her Obsession with Food and Cooking – and Teaches us How to Make Her Signature ‘Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl’

  I am here today with Keny Metha from Kohima – a self-confessed lover of all things food and cooking. Her creative hobbies serve as a treasure trove for her friends and followers – to discover new cuisines, cooking styles, and plenty of other creative arts. To me, she comes across as this mysterious being, who is always up to something – usually ‘cooking up’ a new concept/idea. Add to that, her calm energy, one cannot help, but be inspired, whenever we are around her. Over a chat, I try to dig deeper into her love for food and cooking, her sources of inspiration, what kind of music gets her creative juices going – and also get her to share a simple recipe that we can all try out. Read on for the full conversation. Deno: Hey Keny, happy to be having this conversation with you on R&L 🙂 Please introduce yourself, and tell us more about what keeps you occupied these days. Keny: Heyy… Keny here everyone : ) I’m 24, and I stay …