Monday, October 31, 2005

Aaaiisss! Kuchii Aaaiiiss!

It started yesterday with a craving to eat pani puris in the middle of the night. However, last night I found out: 1. that hotels shut their chaat section first, probably because the Biharis sleep early, 2. So if you have a craving for eating spicy bhel or pani puri in the middle of the night, you are likely to be frustrated and land up with an itchy throat, 3. You might be lucky if you, meanwile, identify another craving, for instance, for Kuchii Aaaiiiceeee!

Wonder where that stick of crushed ice soaked in articifial flavours had gone all these days?! But here it was, in the three flavours of my childhood: Mango, Grape and Orange. Of course I chose grape. I would. It was my favourite flavour, except when it was a 'thiruttu' ice (and you couldn't go home with a purple tongue!

Never did think milk-icecreams were big deal when I was a kid. To me, then, nothing could rival the taste, feel or colour of a kuchiii grape ais, sold for the princely sum of Rs.two per stick. As the pocket money/dole increased, it became eminently more affordable and there were other 'new' goodies to eat like pizza and burger, but I never really tired of kuchii ais, to be eaten best with the ice melting and coloured-water running down your hand. Mmmmm. Ahhaaa, enna rusi!

I particularly loved the way the icecream man, who would be allowed inside the school gates only after hours, would reach into his wooden ice cream box and pick out a really purple grape stick, wrapped in flimsy butter paper sticking to the 'ais'. My tongue would water in anticipation!
The grape ais I had yesterday was not as good, the ice not so granulated and the taste muted, worse still, it din't run colour on my tongue, it was almost sophisticated and yet, SLUUUURRRPPP!!

* * *
I have decided that I quite like the smell of 'vedi marunthu' in the days before Diwali. When only a few crackers have gone off, when it is mild, not so acrid and tells you that Diwali is round the corner. Happy Diwali!

* * *
I also think I should write in Tamil. I wonder how.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Dravidian F word!

Since I have nothing enlightening to say this Diwali, np epiphanic moment nor enlightenment, I'll talk about the Dravidian F word.
I mean, it is not REALLY the F word in the way we think of it in English and anyway I would not be writing about those kind of things on my avowedly sanitised site. But birathers and Sis-ters of Dravida Naadu, if you think about this the way I do, you are likely to come up with gems that shine better than these do.
In Dravidian land, the quintessential Dravidian (read Tamilian) has the unique ability of ignoring the letter "P" in the English alphabet. So when they see "P" they say "F." The inverse of what happens in Laloo land, where they say "PH" when they actually see "F".
For instance, the other day, having come into the hall a few minutes after a function started, I decided not to disturb the proceedings by walking to the front row, where seats are usually reserved for the media, and instead took a seat in the last row.
A khaki-clad man (Obviously working for the organisers) kept looking at me for a long while before he made bold to come up to me and loudly whisper, "Madam, fress-a?" Initially, I wondered if he was asking me if I had had my bath. I even began to think he was sniffing at me, but I could have imagined that.
Turns out I did, cause I soon figured soon that he meant "Was I a member of the Press?" But nothing he said prepared me for what was to come next: "Madam, fuff?" FUFF?!! And then he produced this tray that contained the oiliest PUFF I'd ever seen. I din't take it, not because it was greasy, but because I knew I'd have choked on the Fuff.
I later came to realise that this is not really a class thing, it is indeed all pervasive. Was at a function where a Minister was delivering the Fresidential address. There was much sniggering in the ladies' quarter when the Honorable Minister volunteered information that the government had given away for free hundreds of "Face-makers."

'F'ardon the 'f'un, but I have not stopped laughing yet!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

BACK! But how do I begin to tell the stories...

Have you ever felt, at any point in your life, that the things happening to it are completely steamrolling you? How, you get caught up in a rollercoaster that will make you lose your breath and feel as if your heart has stopped?
That is just plain rhetoric, but if it has happened to you, then you know how I feel now.
I have tried over the past month to recollect my thoughts and sit down to write a few lines. But somehow it was mostly impossible. So much was happening so quickly to me, there was simply no Wordsworthian tranquility in which I could collect my emotions, put them down as words and clarify them for myself, if not others!
I have done a million things, including taken my first REAL ride on a rollercoaster, survived it, watched human beings packed like sardines in a car in the America-Mexico border, learnt the salsa (though I'm terrible at it), walked Hollywood's Path of Fame, warmed my hand on a cold day in the warm spring of the Roman baths at Bath, lost my money, passport and recovered them, looked deep into the eyes of fattened cows on ranches in Nebraska, watched corn being de-husked and even an American football game...
THAT, as you can see, is my problem. Where do I start and where do I end?

* * *

Feels nice to be back at home! Feels nice to: take the good ol' sun on my upturned face, breathe in the stale, conditioner-filtered air at Chennai International Airport, jump the long queue at customs thanks to an influential friend (you cannot imagine how MUCH that made me feel at home!), eat 'mutta dosa' and curd rice not contaminated by flavoured yoghurt, why I even felt that warm fuzz when I turned on the television set and SUN TV came up! Jeez, I AM destroyed, eh?!