Saturday, August 11, 2007
YOU'VE GOT TO MIX IT
BEFORE YOU LICK IT
Ammu and I were again invited to eat at the home of his delightful neighbors from Rajasthan.
This time, I fasted ahead of time.
This time, they gave us baby corn parotha, a typical Rajasthani winter dish that's like a round, corn-based flat bread -- kind of like a dense, fried polenta.
It was awesome.
But you don't just eat it as-is.
First, you pull some of it off and mix it with jaggery.
The father told me: "Mix it! Mix it!"
So I put some jaggery on top and prepared to shove it into my mouth.
"Mix it! Mix it!" he repeated making motions with his fingers.
So tried to smash up the bread.
Apparently it wasn't working.
"Mix it! Mix it!"
Finally he gave up, and did it himself.
Using his right hand, he vigorously mashed until the bread was a thick paste.
Then he added the jaggery, and mixed it some more.
He pushed the plate towards me.
I tried it; it was amazing.
Then I mixed it with lentil curry.
And later, with curd.
By then I felt like I had a bowling ball in my stomach.
That's because I'd also eaten a whole wheat ball of dough called something like "Bodie," which I had mixed with curry.
Finally, we ate green pieces topped with tasty black salt, which is also from their home place.
A good time was had by all.
But boy, did my dropbacks suck the next morning.
The following night, Jammu and I were invited to dine at Ammu's home.
When I arrived, the two youngest neighbor kids were at the dining room table, playing a game that's a cross between checkers and bumper pool that may or may not be called Cannonball.
The girl, who is 15, is meant to be quite the bhangra dancer, and we asked her to show us her moves before dinner.
But first, they wanted Jammu and I to sing some American film songs.
We could not think of any; I knew Grease but she didn't, she knew Hello Dolly and Mary Poppins and I didn't.
Finally we settled on "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music.
It wasn't as bad as it could have been, if I do say so myself. And it elicted plenty of laughter.
Then, we asked them to sing a song in Hindi.
Ammu, his friend, and the two kids consulted on the couch.
Finally, they launched into the theme song from Kal Ho Na Ho (although I didn't realize that's what they were singing until the final measure).
Then, the older girl danced to the breakout hit from Dhoom.
She was amazing.
Jammu and I have stills and video to prove it.
Finally, it was time to eat.
Ammu's mother stuffed us with a South Indian thali (meal) that included special rice and the most amazing mixed raita I've ever had.
It didn't matter that practice the next day sucked, since it was led primary series and my last day at the shala and (if I do say so myself), I can usually hold utpluthitih til the cows come home no matter how much I weigh.
Later in the day I went back to thank Sharath and get a receipt.
Guruji was in his office, and from afar I gave him my thanks.
And that was that.