Monday, July 30, 2012

Early Morning Breakfasts

One of the earliest memories of breakfast I have is that of me eating in DD's house during the summers. Every morning, we were greeted by an old uncle of the neighbourhood, who brought us fresh baked bread. This activity was not on special days nor on days that we spent vacationing there. It was an everyday affair, which we all appreciated and loved. The bread he brought us was the first thing we ate, along with a variety of fruits that were displayed on the fine bowl china plates in super white along with yummy Amul butter. Sometimes, breakfast also included a sweet or two that got left behind from the previous night. And somehow it tasted better! The taste of that bread is something I'll probably never get back, it will just linger. 

Breakfasts were always the most important meal of our initial lives. Maybe because of the way we were brought up from the very beginning, with a proper discipline of sort, we never missed our breakfast. Skipping breakfast almost meant like a crime. B was the one who went to 'a very strict school' and M was from the 'super strict family' where breakfast was given most importance.  But who would skip it, for M, made the worlds most tastiest breakfasts on earth. I would claim, they are her best foods made. She can churn up a huge variety of breakfast things at the drop of a hat! B till date ensures that he eats a hearty breakfast, although it has reduced over the years, and M never missed her 'cuppa tea' with it. They are breakfast people, completely, and thats whats been passed on to us, in its full form!

So, it wasn't strange when I left home and didnt find it difficult to eat breakfast without being told to do so in my hostel days. If I remember correctly, I was usually the one who inaugurated the meal at PGGH, almost everyday. Once that stint came to an end, and I started work, breakfast still was a part of my daily routine, a low key affair, with leftovers and burnt bread with eggs but it never was meant to be the in-a-rush sort of thing. It had to be eaten with concentration at the table, sometimes accompanied with the newspaper. But those breakfasts are breakfasts I'll never like to remember again.

The breakfasts I'd like to remember is what brings me to where breakfast stands today. It would be incorrect to say my day does not start without the 'poha' I eat every morning at this particular place outside my campus, referred to as 'The Dhaba'. The warmth of the meal lies in the fact that it served with so much love, everyday. The scrumptious meal consists of hot beautifully made Poha (a steamed dish made with flattened rice) , garnished with chopped tomatoes, onions and coriander, topped with a gentle helping of namkeen (savory). This poha plate is accompanied with a hot glass of sweet, milky tea good wishes for the day! The meal is tasty, healthy and extremely happy, to say the least. Its probably the best part of my day and in some sort of way, it addictive. I have introduced the Poha Palace (someone I know, refers to it like that) to my fellow classmates, batchmates, my bestie and D! Everyone has totally loved it. Sometimes I meet people, classmates or just random strangers and we share our meals with smiles (and talks) and hopes for a good day!

There is not one day that goes without me eating my Early Morning Breakfast at the Poha Palace, and if I miss it, my entire day goes bad. From the hottest summer days, to the foggiest day in winter, I loyally land up every morning on my cycle, waiting to enjoy my daily happiness doze. On sundays, I take the liberty of being a little late with the breakfast. There have been days where I take turned up so early that I have actually watched the kaka make the entire poha, and somedays I have been unlucky to find it to be over. There have been staff changes, infrastructure changes and even shut days of the Poha Palace! But nothing really changes the atmosphere of the place. The kaka is a sweet man, always serving with a smile, he wishes me every morning and allows me to pay up a day or two later, in times of a crisis. The beauty of the meal at Poha Palace lies in its simplicity and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of it! This poha every morning has changed my life so much so, that now M fears even the mere attempt to make, fearing that it will be compared. So whenever I go home, Im served with the other delicacies of the household!

The only thing I fear everyday is the what-if-I-miss-poha tomorrow, but its rather rare that, that happens. Touchwood!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Ox and Me

There are a lot of times when you do things in sheer stupidity. With another motive, another idea in the head and some other purpose at that point. Just like how you do things when you are initially in love or when you like someone. But this is a different story, not of me being in love, cheekily I claim.
Its a story of my desperate attempts of meeting an Ox. Every morning, on my way to 'serving-my-purpose-in-life', I cross an Ox fruit cart. Its basically a beautiful Ox, who leads this fruit cart. This Ox is strong, healthy and very pleasing to look at. The fruits are well laid out on this cart, categorised by their size and colour. The Ox has the most beautiful pair of horns ever. They are hand painted in bright hues and a folk style of art. The ox's eyes are the most gentle ever, not talking of sadness but of experiences.  

My ever growing love for animals especially cows and dogs makes me do stupid things at times. I always want to pet them and touch their noses! So this Sunday morning, when I crossed him again, I made up my mind that I have to, have to meet him. So on my way back from my Early Morning Breakfast (today late though, I take this liberty on sundays) I stopped at the Ox Cart. I tried to stand right next to him, but the Ox owner-cum-fruit vendor made sure I was more interested in his fruits and nothing else. The Ox-owner-cum-fruit vendor didnt look like the kind who tortured Mr Ox or ill-treated him. The healthy body, posture and self righteous attitude made me believe that he was a good man and hence I continued my stop at the Ox fruit cart corner.  So while I acted and actively showed interest in the fruits, from the corner of my eye, I was appreciating and taking in all the beauty of Mr Ox. I bargained and made some claims of him not giving me the best fruit, to waste some time and admire Mr Ox. Sadly he wasn't even close to being interested in anything else (humans especially). What a pity! 

I paid up for my purchases, extremely tempted to ask about Mr Ox's name, but stopped myself from doing so. Beaming with a naughty smile, I told myself that not knowing his name would only enable me to come again and meet him!
Ah, now this does sound like a love story!

We live in a society and culture that on one side has pride in well lit and bright supermarkets with fair price claims, and on the other hand there are these animal fruits and vegetable carts, that may sound archaic and folky, but speak volumes of how we as Indians, try and put everything to its best use, in a sustainable and healthy form.