January 25, 2011

My dad had long back told me  this tale of Shahjehan when he was dumped in jail by Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb had given the cook instruction that his dad be served only one vegetable and one dal for the entire time that he was in jail.Imagine, only one veg and a dal for the rest of his life( forget any non-veg! poor thing!)  Only solace for Shahjehan was that he could pick the vegetable and the dal. He consulted the cook and the cook advised him- pick potato and chana dal.

The reason was very simple- potato is one vegetable which can be served in numerous forms, recipes and can be given a different flavor and taste everytime its cooked. same applies to chana dal- numerous preparations and so the repetition aspect for a man serving a lifetime in jail could be reduced.

potato happens to be my favorite vegetable also. but of course my favorite form of earting it is -fried. There is no other comfort food as fried potato, be it the french fries that have so dominated the food choice of the kids of the 90’s(I am a 70’s and 80’s kid, still)  , finger chips, as my mom used to make it at, home spiced with some chaat masala and ketchup sprinkled and mixed on a nice monsoon evening when we were kids or the simple cubes of fried alu to be put back in some vegetable.

Incidentally(luckily :)) I got married  in a bong households where “bhajas” are pretty much a way of life and alu bhaja dominates the bhaja veggies tally. And now both my 4 yr old daughter and I love gorging on it. Even the dum alu  does not taste half as good if the “alu” in it is not fried, though I did try grilling it in the microwave a few times to avoid the fat and calories( when I was told I need to watch… my weight) but again though it was good, just not as good as the dum alu with fried potatoes. There is just something about the “friedness” of potato which no other veggy can ever get!

So , in my mother’s serious efforts of getting me to eat other veggies, she resorted to cutlets and breadrolls. I didnt mind the small bits of carrot or beans or cabbage as long as there waas “alu” in it and it was fried 🙂 thats how i have now taken to getting my daughter also to eat other veggies. however i should confess that she is a much better and evolved eater than I was at her age.

My dad loves roasted patato with some salt-pepper and butter. I did not like it as a kid but now when I think about it, its worth trying again with , well, lots of butter and lime..already sounds yumm.. a nice(r) version of mashed potatoes!

June 9, 2009

So finally I managed to create a blog account for myself.. not that it takes an IQ of Einstein but surely it does take laziness of a sloth to not do so.

Anyhow, one of the reasons to do this was the recent trip to Manali and rohtang that we went for, Rahul, Tia me with Rahul’s parents and grand mom. Needless to say that the trip was lovely, what with all the snow, the intimidating Himalayas, the meandering Beas.. But i couldnt stop thinking about the last time that I went to Himachal. this was way back in 1999 and it was a 2 weeks long trip which started from Manali-Rohtang-enter lahaul spiti valley through jibi-Kanzum-tabo-Kibber- back to Shimla.. I may actually be getting the itenary a bit wrong but thats not what its about. Its about how we (both Rahul and I) feel we have developed the ability and an eye for appreciating and soaking up the beauty of nature around us and also realising the importance of documenting it either photographically or in writing so that its for keeps. The minutest things, be it the shape of a rock on the river banks to the color of the flowers is something that we will still remember or talk about.

This was not really the case when we were younger, not even in 1999 when I went for that superb trip. Only the macro visuals of the  beauty of the place is what is still etched in my mind and more so because I have no photographic memories of it.. Can you imagine, I ve lost all the pics.. I remember the magnificent passes at 14-15000 ft, the drive up to the highest motorable village in the world –    kibber and bathing in the mountain stream at Jibi but I dont recall how I reacted to the experience of seeing such beauty which was both ethereal and daunting at the same time and that was because i did not know how to soak it all up which I can boast, I can now.

Anyhow i am glad that we did this trip and hope many such will follow with more memories safeguarded in pics or blogs!