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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Taste Migrated.

   The last time my French friend Jean Jack Radi came to India, he got serious addiction to Indian food. I still remember he used to talk at length about the variety of Indian cuisines and the parallel intoxication he achieves out of it. Though we had professional relationship but a thing or two about this man, almost my father s age  tempted me to befriend him outside the professional sphere. I was a bachelor then but my love for food kept me at close affair with my kitchen. I invited him for a lunch party at home the next day. Radi warmly accepted the invitation and said he would join me with a bottle of Bordeaux Rose Wine. I smiled back at him indicating that it would be a perfect party. The next day  as we say became a history. I made him my special Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani and mint Raita. We started with the bottle of wine and never ending conversation that lasted even longer than the food and dessert. 

                                              Six months from then I m in France now. Sitting at my apart-hotel room. Yes its Radi s country and my friend Radi wants the same party to be repeated in Paris, 8000 km away from my Indian civilization. He spoke to me over the phone and said that much has gone into his taste buds but not the taste that he had in India. It was a matter of pride for me to hear this from a French who are considered to be passionate about their own culture of food and drinks. I obliged to his request and invited him for a weekend dinner party with his wife at my apart-hotel room in Paris.
                 
My apart-hotel room has a fully furnished kitchen with the best crockery. So cooking wont be a trouble. But the ingredients to cook the Indian spicy food is a far away dream.  No ! its really not a dream. It is dream come true moment. Thanks to Kitchens of India. The "heat and eat" concept makes your life easy and comfortable at places where you cannot manage the luxury of you kitchen. The delightful range of Indian dishes are skilfully prepared to perfection and brought to you in a ready to eat format by the Master Chefs of ITC. It is a legacy passed from generations.
                            The gourmet products from kitchens of India can migrate the Indian culinary delights across oceans and continents to keep you at home away away from home. I was introduced to the heritage product Kitchens of India by a friend of mine who has been away from India for a decade but never away from Indian taste. I am thankful that his advice came as a bliss.I know Radi loves aromatic sensations of Indian spices and herbs. I know he would have spoken at length about the Indian food to his wife. I will not let his passion dry down. I know I am going to make a new charmer of Indian delicacy.

For the weekend dinner party I have planed Bordeaux Rose wine at room temperature ( The french love to have their wines maintained at room temperatures ) with roasted peanuts and cashew nuts. The main course would consist of Mirch Ka Salan and Chicken chettinad with Basmati Rice. Mirch Ka salan is an extravagant delicacy made from succulent green chillies, delicately cooked in thick gravy of roasted peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds.  Chicken Chettinad has succulent chunks of tender chicken in a spicy paste of curry leaves and freshly ground pepper showcasing the distinctive tastes of Dakshin. This gravy has a Dravidian signature effect to it. My dessert for the night would be Jodhpuri Moong dal Halwa. This sweet dish cooked in Ghee with liberal use of dry fruits is surely gonna be a great afters after a spicy main course.

                    
      The ambiance is going to play a major role. My drawing room has large glass windows opening to River Seine. The serene flow of river Seine at night will be blended with Sufi music and Indian classical instrumental music. This imagination of food and ambiance is already driving me crazy. I dont know what mystical effects it would have on Mr. & Mrs Radi.  Come Saturday evening I m waiting finger crossed with my virtual Master Chefs of ITC and Kitchens of India


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Sunday, May 26, 2013

From How we met to How we Lost.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda .



"Thanking blogAdda for giving me the opportunity to write about someone who was more than a friend. Linking you gives me the link to every good friend I have in my life today."

The winters of 1999 will always remain deep etched in the chapters of my life. I joined the new KV Bangalore Jalahalli East in the middle of the academic year. The first day in the class and i felt isolated and secluded. Somehow attended the eight periods before the bell rang for the " Go home" signal. He approached me and inquired where i stayed. Fortunately we happened to stay in the same locality. So he asked me to join him for way back home. He had a short cut for everything. Even for his long name Venkatesh as Venky. I joined him instantly. The short cut passed through a forest area that was very dense and serene in itself. We enjoyed the half n hour walk talking about school and each other. In coming days I would spend the worst day of my life in this forest.Everyday we walked back home taking this rare shortcut and started bridging our friendship stronger and stronger. A couple of months passed and i realized that we have really grown close as friends. He gifted me all my best and valuable friends in life from Akhi, Amit to Jeba. I know all of them because i know you Venkat
                                  
   Year 2001:
Close to 2 yrs of friendship, we shared all the good and bad we had in our lives. We discussed our lady crush to complex physics equations.We talked about teachers and about our families. He was a jewel of a person always ready to help at the slightest excuse. He loved to wear kitto sandals and chappals. Often he used to tell me that he would wear sandals even on the day of his marriage. The only shoes i ever saw him wearing was our school uniform black shoes. An emotional lover and a very caring human. Hard working and dedicated. But despite all his efforts, he struggled to get good marks. Venkat s elder brother was studying in NIFT Bangalore. He had great expectations from Venky s 12 th standard results. 

May 2001:
Close to Mar 2001 we finished our board exams and started dreaming of all the hot colleges for Engineering in Bangalore. 
On the morning of 31 st May a friend of mine informed me that results are available on internet. I saw my result and happily went to Venkat s house to know his. Aunty said that he left home early morning and returned very sad. She said ," He changed the new shirt he was wearing and wore an old shirt he doesnt wear any more. Also he dropped the only Ten rupees note he had in his pocket  and again left silently."
I asked him to have breakfast but he did not talk a word. He just called me " Amma"  and left home looking at me.
Hearing this i was sure his family was not knowing that he left early morning to see the results. So i did not tell them about my results too and left the place to search for him. Deep inside i knew there was something wrong with his results. In those days most of us did not have the basic landline phone even. So i went to nearby friends but could not get any news about Venkat. It was only in the evening when Venky s elder brother came to my place i understood the dark side of the story. Venkat saw his result and failed in two subjects. He saw the results with one of our classmate. Since then nobody knew about his whereabouts.  We thought he had left for his native place as it would be  difficult to face everybody in the family. It would be really tough for him to break the dreams his family had for him. 

Next day also passed away awaiting for his news from relatives. But by the evening worries among us and his family crossed all levels of patience. I was almost mad and his elder brother too. I joined his brother on the Kinetic Honda scooter and searched the city from railway tracks to bus stops,from bridges to foot path. It was the same Kinetic Honda on which we both had numerous rides in the evening. But the time was different now. I knew what his brother was searching on the railway tracks and on those bridges. But both of us were numb. We didn't talk and only our eyes were did the job of searching and searching. But no result. At last we went to the forest area that we used to take while returning home from school. I was literally crying in the forest searching for him. Shouting his name with his brother. Venkat ! Venkat ! the name echoed everywhere in the forest. The boy who showed me the forest was not answering my shouts. I started remembering the first time i entered the forest with Venkat. He knew it more than the woods. He knew it since he was a child. He loved the forest and the forest loved him back. I heard from my friends that sometimes Venkat took forest  route even late nights to reach home. He never feared. He had a faith on this forest. 

It was the third day morning when i went to Venkat s place. But that day, nobody wanted to search him. He had searched himself. He was coming home after medical and legal formalities. The house was packed with friends and distant relatives. Weeping, crying,mourning. The body was found floating on a local lake of the area. Postmortem report indicated it was three days old. That  was the day our results came out. That was the day a mother lost her most beloved son, that was the day a brother lost a younger brother. That was the day i lost my most precious friend. That was the day the jungle lost its oldest charmer. The last i saw of him, was when he was being submitted to earth. I felt he was also sitting next to me and seeing all this happening around. But time has crossed the time and nothing could be corrected now. His results wouldn't have caused the damage that he caused by damaging himself. 


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