Rustling up Ratatouille

French Cuisine never did interest me that much.

Long ago, when I roamed around in my dad’s shorts and sneakers, and didnt know there was life beyond basketball, science books and quizzes, I started reading about Europe and the constituent nations. America paled in comparison. Each country with such unique peopl, customs, culture.. and ofcourse *in a small meek voice* food.

I always thought it would be full of bland meat and boiled vegetables. To be frank, I thought all of Europe subsisted on this kind of food. But that was long ago.

My epicurean uncle came over once and I got a rare treat of dinner in an upmarket restaurant. After the first mocktail and pasta of my life (which were out of this world), I decided to go wild with dessert. I had “poached pears in wine”. For a, yet gawky, 18 year old, pears, deliciously marinated in *real* wine was something I couldnt even imagine in my dreams. And that night, I heard my slightly tipsy uncle talk about good food – how to cook it, embellish it, savour it, live it.

In my geeky brain, in some silent corner, amidst all the clank of cutlery and good bonhomie… Food began to gain more importance than just a provider of ATP.

I must have mentioned one-who-lives-to-eat; in my previous post, a dear friend I didnt discover until a few weeks ago.Now, when I am all set and ready to leave NBRC behind for good. Strange how some ties bind you at the lastest minute possible. There are very few people I will genuinely miss being around, and he is definetly one of them.

We went on a date.

I took him to Ratatouille, the movie, which I loved because the lead character was a rat. I hope he loved it too because the main theme of the movie was cooking and food!

He took me to Old Delhi, his favourite haunt, his hunting ground, his backyard, the back of his palm.

We walked, almost tripped and tiptoed through arms-stretched-wide-width elaborately named gullys in that sweltering mid-afternoon heat. We sank in the aroma of the biryani he bought and I ogled at the succulent kebabs. The colours, the sounds, the smells, the people…It was a whole new world.

This done, we straight made our way to Jama Masjid. Even the heat radiating from the red sandstone seemed bearable, because we made our way to the top of the minarette. With the wind in my ears and a living city beneath me to behold, I didn’t go click-happy, like I always do. Instead, I just moved around and soaked in the far-reaching views of Delhi on a perfect, clear day.

Phirnis are the best antidote to the heat and the thirst, after an expedition like this one. 2 phirnis disappeared, without a complaint as we sat at Karim’s and cooled ourselves down. A few minutes later, we were ready for the 3 hour journey back home.

On the bus ride back, I leaned back and thought about the day. It was a near perfect day, in terms of fun, frolic and food.

Maybe I should add one more item on my ‘to-do-list’ when I get home –

Learn to make Ratatouille.

The meek…

…shall inherit the earth.. or so it goes.

Maybe not. I can vouch (complete with personal experience) for the fact that the meek only get pushed around like a wispy college student in the 8.03 am Virar local.

I for one, have been pushed around for a month more than my ‘Do not push around past – ‘ date.

Is it worth it? Not yet, it isnt. Will it be worth it? Maybe, when I have my bound and printed thesis in hand with a Masters certificate to boot.

One a different vein, I am tired of ‘missing’ things. I miss my folks, my friends, my brother, good food, peaceful sleep, decent conversation, travelling, the sea, reading good books…

I miss my life…

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Its what makes us who we are…

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My thrice a week dose of geeky humour and sarcasm

My Masters thesis has been a summarised effectively in the above comic. Elucidating further –

1. I never got the expected results

2. The results I got were termed ‘experimental errors’ by my boss.

3. I was made to repeat the experiments till no end, to ‘rectify’ the error.

4. One clear ‘talk’ later, I realised that me and him were talking about completely different cells for the transplantation – and then the one great truth dawned on me. NEVER assume that your boss knows/remembers everything, even if it looks like he/she does.

5. Now, I sit at the computer to compile and present my results, I sit with an iota more of confidence than I came here with. It is very possible not to have positive results and still have a complete Masters’ thesis at hand.

A matter of the tummy

There is a friend of mine, who lives to eat. Truly, I have never seen anyone *live* to *eat* with such gusto. Just like Saif in Dil Chahta hai.. the tagline for his blog (if he ever starts one) should be – Main acche khaane ke liye kahin bhi jaa sakta hoon!

He travels to delhi and back on a sunday.. that too from Manesar, which is 50 kms away from delhi – just to eat ‘good’ food which = Street food at Chandini Chowk and old delhi area (a definite yum!) to obscure cross cultural restraunts – e.g. a Russian place that serves only pancakes and where you get to see only burly oversized white russians, glowering when any brown skin enters.

I will vociferously cast my vote against the apology for food that they serve here in our mess (or in any mess, for that matter). I even attend all the mess meetings regularly! But I could never get myself to understand the dynamics of travelling so far for good food. Ofcourse, there is a speicial satisfaction just to lounge on the restraunt chair with pride and joy after you’ve finished a full plate of your favourite dish. But 100 kms too and fro.. within a single day, just for one sole purpose of happy-ing your tummy, was a little too much for me to take… until today.

We went out to Priya, and all my non-vegetarian friends’ heart were overflowing with joy everytime a certain ‘Sheng Villa’ was mentioned in conversation. One gets the best pork, chicken and shrimp there, along with a good pitcher of beer to add to the ambience – all this without burning too big a hole in your pocket. And that, to be noted, is very important when you are a student – a grad student.

Sheng Villa, sadly had shifted. Shifted to another godforsaken part of Vasant Kunj. Yet, we made our way to that place.. me almost being able to see the visions of fried ribs in sauce in my friends’ eyes. We arrived and everyone got down to the business of ordering in the partially air conditioned humidity. And ye gods of the electricity cast their curses on us! We were left in the sweltering heat – me with a glass of sickly sweet lime water and everyone else fuming and panting after eating the blazingly spicy starters. Our meal ended as it starter-ed and off we went back to our beloved gurgaon malls.

Now, I might not be a great foodie, but I know enough to vouch for the fact that a good (but expensive) meal at Ruby Tuesday’s is way better than any Sheng-villa type joint. A pitcher of beer, a pizza and one assorted salad – all of this topped with a Chocolate tall cake in a humungously sized wine glass thingie. This cake floated in a mini pool of caramel, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and Vanilla ice cream. My eyes widened to saucer-size as I saw the waiter come towards us. For a second, I thought he was at the wrong table!

The feeling of such good bonhomie and happiness that spread through my being from my tummy, was remarkable. I had transformed for normal-me to a super-happy-extremely satisfied with life-me… which is quite difficult to feel at this point of time for me.

And now, ending the post where I started it; my dear friend-who-travels-long-to-fill-tummy-good, I completely agree with you… and the next time you undertake one of your gastronomic adventures – count me in!

A tiring endeavour

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It is very possible that I am making a mountain out of a molehill… but managing a blog account in wordpress with getting 2 more people added on the bandwagon as administrators, can be quite the job!

Especially if you have oodles of work floating around in your noodle.

But it gives me a sense of satisfaction to see that we are now housed on a safer platform that our previous one and that I dont have to worry about our precious writing disppearing into thin cyber air.

I am also very apprehensive about starting to write, all on my own. I suppose I can do full justice only when I am truly alone on the shores of Lake Geneva in Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne…