Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Ore the love only

The V day is back. And what all is being offered . V day yoga poses claimed a web site. What is a V day yoga pose really?
Now what is this V day .
I remember in our convent school we used to huddle up in the library to read Women´s Era. That was the ultimate in Agony Aunt bashan . The girl always loved her neighbor but was shy to declare her love . Auntyji always said to write a poem , send a rose or tell a friend to declare it. Now we have the Cosmopolitan version of auntyji. 50 love tricks that never fail. Imagine us harried woman we have trouble remembering our Mother in law´s birthday. 50 tricks that have to be remembered and acted upon !
Ok I decided that if I am wasting so much money on these magazines I should execute at least one love trick. It said Surprise your loved one with a vacation . OK done. So I book a hotel in Berlin for my loved one´s birthday . I tell to loved one come to Berlin this hotel . So I arrive 2 hours before loved one should arrive. Enough time to execute the other 3 tips. Decorate room , have favourite food. Now favourite food was a chocolate cake baked with love in Madrid with frosting to cover the unpleasant curves on the cake ( I know what you are thinking) ok! Now this cake was squeezed into aluminum box. Indians always have tupper, zip pouch and aluminum cases in all sizes! So armed with all this I take a train then a plane then a bus and get to this love shack hotel . So I sit in hotel and think loved one will come in 2 hours . Enough time to play sudoku, freecell and laze. And while I am enjoying all this laze haze . Bell rings . So I open door and there I see loved one. I say what you , so fast . He said why ?? You have to come only by 13.00. He says yes I caught an earlier train. Aah earlier train. Now love tip doesnt have Plan B . If loved one arrives early say in chaste tamil Ona aaru early a vara solra . Loved one says Its my birthday you have to be nice. First you book a hotel and the concierge looks at me strangely and says the lady already checked in . I wanted to give a name like POcahontas at reception a la Notting Hill . But when they saw my face and height or rather the lack of it . My passport was asked . So out goes pocahontas and tip no . 11 , book room under spicy name .
Ok now I am physically pushing loved one and say wait outside five minutes .
Shut door and read the fire exit instructions. DO NOT PANIC !!
Panic . The chocolate cake is now being elbowed out of aluminium foil , where are the candles and there are no matches now . Where is the birthday gift. Why did I put it in end of suitcase. And loved one is banging door. By now I realized he is not loved one , but testing my patience . Loved one says open the door I cant stand outside with my luggage . Wait . Again knocks . What are you doing . I say Wait . He says where do you get these ideas. cant we do normal things .
Yes why cant we be Normal on Feb 14TH
How practical is actually buying red roses , filling a bed room with candles and then when the maid comes the next day and looks around a bed full of molten wax , what do you say , This Electricity always goes on feb 14!!
Or while you are doing a Gisele Bundchen from Victoria Secret , next door mami decides to surprise you with a bowl full of undai korambu. What do you say , Mami i am not open door now not even out of door for that matter...
V day is such a nice concept . You fantasize that a George Clooney would serve you Nespresso and a Michelin star chef would cook you a meal and there are roses and orchids and you are wearing a Gown. But even when I dream I have problems I dont wear gowns , first I dont get them in my size as kidswear is where I am mostly removing goofy and mickey from trousers ... Flowers I am allergic too . I love George Clooney and Nespresso , Chef I would prefer my mami´s rasam and potato roast.
You say it with roses, with words but when there is love you dont say it. When the gajar halwa looks more like a carrot that has been gored to a very unsweet death and the mixie lid flies off like a saucer taking its orange contents all over. A laugh from the other side and a hug is all that you need . Ok after that George Clooney can be arranged to bring in the coffee .....

Sunday, 7 February, 2010

The Great Indian Ketchup

Semai hot machi we are. Add tomato ketchup to that and we have a new blog entry....
We Indians can take credit for many things , but do you know what has been the best offerings that have bettered the lives of many people everyday. We gave the Germans the curry in their currywurst . From mere saurkraut and wurst and burst they have a chatpata currywurst . Then take our Colonial masters , we gave them Vindaloo , Balti and Curry Madras . How their lives have been spiced everyday thanks to our masala .We dont have anything in India called a curry powder , but we have our Indian tomato ketchup. Give an Indian a bottle of tomato ketchup and they will conquer the world. They will eat the saurkraut, the sheperd´s pie , the gulash , the works.

Why do we love tomato ketchup so much ? As a child we had only one variety of tomato ketchup . It came in a nice plump bottle . We would eat the ketchup with bread, dosa , vada , cutlet with finger chips and sometimes with our plain fingers. As the ketchup would decrease in the bottle we would find new ways to pull out the last drop . Long forks , broom sticks , back scratchers would all be put to entice the last few drops to come out to a waiting samosa.
But Indians have uses for tomato ketchup that would make Mr. Heinz blush like his tomato. We add to chinese manchurian, to paneer mutter. Even send it as a kitchen tip. When ketchup is only few drops in bottle , add few drops of water, masala and pour on bread as spread and win Ms, Eves tip of the month prize.

But the ketchup lives on even after its contents. The bottles are used as water bottle , when that use is over , its used as a stand for mosquito coil , even if that has been used up we keep money plants in it. What is better in a bed room , an empty ketchup bottle with money plants hanging out. Thats what I call kitsch decor !!

Now our ketchup masters have different flavours. Imli, chilli , chatpata , no onion , yes onion etc.
So now Ketchup becomes the main dish and you add anything as a filler to get the ketchup into the tummy. I bring back bottles of ketchup when Im back. My maid cant fathom how an Indian can make ketchup and even tea so spicy .

We once had family visiting us in Europe. So we took them to a tapas bar. We had bite sized portions of every imaginable vegetable dish . But our guests looked at the food and kept a stoic composure. While we chomped away the guests hesitantly kept looking at the waiters. Then they summoned courage and asked . Can we get some chilli ketchup.
The waiter said seƱora this is fine espanis food . No ketchup good sauce.
To which the family said what kind of place no ketchup only. In India even in Pizza hut they give so much free ketchup.
And then aunty became all brave and said . Not to worry I have this pizza hut ketchup sachet and chilli flake with me .
And much to the chargin of our waiter. The fine Spanish tapas were doused in good old tomato ketchup and chilli flakes and the aunties attacked the plates viciously.
Now that we were used to the aunty brigade and their ketchup sachets we suggested we would be fine and cultured and ask for Tabasco sauce wherever we went.

So at a fine restaurant the fish comes cooked in its delicate sauce with a whiff of fennel and a hint of saffron.
We Indians are not hint variety. We liked to lay it thick like our chunky tomato ketchup.
And then we pop the question
Haben sie Tabasco o einer piquant sauce bitte?
The waiter looks at us brings the bottle and watches. We sprinkle the plate with hot drops. No hint no whiff only tabasco.
See tabasco is the hermano mayor of our tomato ketchup . We treat it with respect . While all the guests look at us ,our dead tongues ( in Tamil naaku sethu pochu da anthu naadu lai) come back to lives while the poor European feels his tongue will be taken closer to his padre nuestro .
Why o Why do we love tomato ketchup so much. The free packets at Mc Donalds never satiate our appetite we need more of our tomato fix .
Maybe ketchup is one thing that unites our country´s tongues. Punjabi samosa , Marati vada pav, Good crisp Medhu vadai , Puchkas all can be enhanced with tomato ketchup. Thats the great Indian mother tongue .
But maybe, just maybe We are like this only.
Mind it!