To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's almost two months now since I came here...can't believe how time has passed!

Weekdays are spent in office and the evenings involve deep pondering over the very serious question of 'what to have for dinner?'. This question takes so much of our attention in the evenings, that in free time at office, I find myself browsing for 'recipes'. The more recipes I read, the more involved I get (what with mouth watering delicacies described in graphic detail), and by the end of it I actually have a Word document with a list of favourite recipes. At this rate, I'll soon have to organise it by 'Starters', 'South Indian', 'Deserts', etc.

My flat-mate is a Tamilian, and she's more particular about her food habits than I am, that is, she likes to have proper meals all three times a day. Left to myself, I might have cooked once in a while, and gone by with apples and milk at others. Having her is a boon and a bane combined. Boon in that I get to sharpen my cooking skills (I have those, just need to find them) and bane in that, on a tiring day, when I want to do nothing but come home and plomp onto the sofa, I have to confirm if Beans and Carrots sounds good. If sounding good was all there was to it, I should have happily agreed...but there follows the trap of peeling, washing, cutting...and all the sorry rest of it.

At home, when Mom used to ask me, should we make 'Cabbage' today or 'Brinjal', I only had to think of my palate. But now, confronted with very same questions, the perception is entirely changed. Does Cabbage involve more laborious cutting or Brinjal? I should not even mind having 'curd rice' actually; that's what they must mean by circumstances changing a person :(

Another benefit of having a Tamil companion is the new variety of easy-to-cook recipes to choose from -- Lemon Rice to Rasam -- all in the matter of minutes. And to talk of ingenuity, there are now readymade 'powders' that promise delicious Lemon Rice, that do not even expect you to squeeze a lemon. That these powdered preparations taste like rice mixed with burnt red chillies is quite another matter.

Surprisingly, I am now beginning to enjoy these evening sessions. There is an element of healthy competition that has cropped in -- between Tamilian Tomato Rasam and Manglorean Tomato Saar. Yesterday morning, I decided to make Saar in the evening. It did not require much cutting, took little time and should be easy to make. But for one small glitch, the idea seemed perfect. I did not know how to make it.

The problem was critical, but not without a solution. As the lunch hour drew near and the coast seemed clear, I called up home. Mom was, to put it mildly, not a little surprised, first to hear my voice in broad afternoon, and second by my question, 'How do you make Saar?' Saar?? Yes, Saar. But you don't like Saar? Yes, but its so many days since I had it na... (as they say in Hindi, 'ek teer se doh nishaan').

The recipe, as I expected, was simple. But to get it from my Mom, as I expected, was difficult. The first description was ' you just put all the tomatoes, onions, chillies into water and boil it'. Having read cookery sites in as great detail as I had, this was nothing close to the 'Ingredients', 'Preparation Time', 'Method' format I was expecting. The 'getting the recipe' turned out much difficult than the actual recipe, but I managed...and what's more, happy to see my enthusiasm applied in the right direction for once, she prodded me further down the road by confiding another recipe. I plan to make it for dinner tonight (and might I add, for those curious, the Saar turned out quite well!)

Life! Where I used to ponder over the fate of mankind, while reading some great philosopher and happily sipping coffee, after a mildly hectic day, looking forward to hot rice and Brinjal curry (I am partial to Brinjals as may be evident) I am, distressing over such mundane matters as what to fill my stomach with - morning, noon and night, mankind may go fend for itself...Life! I say again :(

On a different note, this coming weekend being a long one on the occasion of Easter - we have made plans to visit 'Guangzhou' in the southern part of China. I am very much looking forward to it (China in its essence is nothing like Hong Kong, I'm told).

Wish everyone a very Happy Easter, in advance! :)