Friday, February 24, 2006

A Kill to Time

Oh verse and rhyme, Oh fate and time
Oh patience and virtue, Oh penny and dime
Poor old Sam waits for his turn
Poor old Sam watches time churn
No one lets him move ahead
No one lets him take his place instead
Sam is stuck between several bodies
Sam is stuck between several nobodies
He has planned his flight away
He has planned to fight away
The crowds cheer as their leader arrives
The crowds cheer as a hope revives
The leader throws his garlands on the waiting crowd
The leader throws his best face on, stern and proud
Sam extends his hand, reaching high to make a catch
Sam extends his hand, no the other one, in a flash
A finger pressed hard catches a flower in mid-flight
A finger pressed hard sends a bullet at the speed of light
An eternity of glory breaks a smile on Sam’s face
An eternity of glory shrouded in public disgrace

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The light within

I have been meaning to post these photographs for a while. On an odd Seattle day a couple of years ago, I saw a huge rainbow from the balcony of my apartment and rushed there with my camera. The first snap below is a beautiful image of the different zones of light that form in a rainbow. Notice how the light within the rainbow is much different than the light outside. It is like a lazy attempt at painting, the elements very obvious and beautiful.

Different light zones Posted by Picasa

While I watched in awe at the sudden spurt of brightness and color, there came along another rainbow. Perfect concentric circles, one inside the other :-) (An arranger at a dandia said the exact same words). The second one lives on the outer edge and pales in luminosity to the first. A servant to circumstance, a lamp to a sun.

A band of brothers Posted by Picasa

It was an enjoyable sight. I am wrapping up the post with a close up of the first rainbow. Made me wish I had a better camera or better photography skills, but the result was still enjoyable. Hope you feel the same.

Bow before the rain Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Storming up a cook

Food is the focus of life. It is a way of life. It is what we are brought up on and what we are brought up for. We fill intervals between two meals with such varied activities as travel, work, television, and chatter. Alright, this seems like an exaggeration. It probably is. While I do enjoy food, I cannot approach food the above stated way. What’s my food philosophy then? Food has to be eaten at regular intervals, a little spicy is too spicy, a little sweet is not enough sweet, fruits rock, so do French fries, gulab jamun is the best sweet in the world, and an ideal day looks like this: South Indian food for breakfast, Gujarati lunch and Punjabi food for dinner. Of course, too many ideal days of this kind will send me to heaven a bit too soon  My stay in America has help expand my taste palette. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Thai, to name a few.

My mother is a fabulous cook. So if my wife. I am lucky to have access to great food on a constant basis. But between the two great parts of the movie, between the two acts of an appetizing play, there was an interregnum. The duration of my Masters study. My tour de force at Texas A&M University. Before coming to the US, I had barely ever stepped into the kitchen. My expertise was limited to boiling milk and ensuring my best to not let it spill over as I sneaked into the hall to catch glimpses of whatever TV program was running. Before heading to the US, my mom attempted to give me a crash course on cooking a few dishes. I also duty noted down some rather precise instructions on cooking up palatable food. I realized how theory and practice are dissociated once I came to the United States. The initial few attempts went a long way to establish me as the worst cook among my roommates. Ranjeet was a terrific cook and Avinash was competent. That left me and my rather inept abilities in an unfair match.

From the watery chick peas to the daal that was a little off, the range was limited and the results consistent. It is a difficult thing to beat reputations. I learnt it the hard way with my cooking. The few times that I did attempt to make good food, the inherent assumption that my food would be intolerable preceded me. To contribute to the same, I took it upon myself to notify one and sundry that my cooking wasn’t talked about. Self-deprecating humor and all that.

Everything that goes around comes around. Times change and people change with time. A skill I had deemed unlearnable is slowly revealing itself to me in parts. While I’d love to continue eating my wife’s fabulous cooking, circumstance dictates that I give her a helping hand. My job from doing the pre-processing and post-processing for dinners needed to move to the center piece. My wife has been kind enough to bear with my cooking experiments and help me along. This version of a live recipe book has served me well. I have picked up some new things with adeptness. Things taste as they should taste. Likeable, palatable, repeatable. Time has come for a revolution. Time has come for reputations to rebuild, old myths to be shattered, critical tastes to be satisfied. Only time will tell if this will work.

Till then, here’s a parting shot at self-deprecating humor when it comes to cooking. Signature statement of a bad cook, straight from Godfather: “I’ll make you a refuse you cannot offer.”

P.S> As is evident, I am back. Thanks for all the inquiries and the words of support. Hopefully, the flow will stay in tact.