Just food things.

the Phase of departure in parts

Part 2

Sitting at our table in Zaatar at Panampilly, we sat simply looking at each other, the weight of this being the last dinner heavy on us. Even when Ayushi left, it was Zaatar. We had nothing to talk suddenly. We checked out the others, the foreigners, the chefs for whom we were an entertainment session through their see through glass partition and vise versa. Then the food was served and we had our whole fill, back with our bickering.

img_5122

When we walked back after dinner talking this and that, we wanted to grab our ever favorite Choco Lava Cake from our go-to cafe, Carrots. That wish was not fulfilled since they didn’t open up after the harthal, for the day.

img_4869

This Choco Lava Cake is just full of chocolate sauce with a little sponge up and the sides, with a coffee swirl on top.   I remember the first day we tried this, when me and my friend was broke and this was the only option. Since then, it has been an absolute favorite.

Food has this special power on people. It strengthens the bond somehow. When we go out for food, order together, share it, fight over it, conversations always on the go, it weaves our hearts through and through.

When I chose Kochi for my first term of internship, I remember some preparations that I had done to familiarize the city and find the pockets of happiness (food outlets) if times of distress were to shower on me.

evernote-camera-roll-20161202-201043

I joined the Foodies club on facebook. Researched and zeroed in on Panampilly nagar, delighted to know that it was close to my place. That place has too many good outlets. Be it any cuisine. It has anything and everything. Shiffu’s momos was our snacking corner, Pandhal; our cheese cake place, The Burger Junction; our office treat area because it was too much for our pockets, Arya’s; our dosa guys, Gokul; Aayushi’s one and only home, Zaatar; our grill hut and many many more. There were always too many to try out and we were not always ready for new things. There was Lil America, Thakkaram(for me), Primate, Donut factory, Ming’s wok (because we had another Chinese favorite) etc.

Then, there was Punjabi Dhaba. Menaka or boat jetty was equal to PD. Behind Penta Menaka, through a narrow lane, near the Broadway Hotel, is out dear old   Dhaba. Quite a shady place, but then you familiarize with it.

img_4180

If Apurva and Aayushi missed home, it was PD. If we wanted something comparatively cheap, it was PD. And if it was Punjabi Dhaba, then it was always Aloo Paratha and Sweet Lassi. Always.

img_4183-28

The Lassi though, a bit costly for 35rs a glass, was too refreshing. It was sure to help us beat the heat. The Aloo Paratha, with or without butter, melts into your mouth, the cut onions and chili as faithful sides.

Our faithful home, Kadavantra had its own share of places too. The Masafi; the biriyani people, Ambiswamy’s; our last resort, the numerous bhaji bhaiyyas and last but not the least, our Chinese favorite, The New Dragon.

img_4169

Gunamo mecham, vilayo thucham (Great Quality, Low Rate) place. It’s executive lunch (or dinner), with a variety of options for a soup, starters (Chilli Potatoes are mind blowing), Chinese paratha, Noodles/Fried Rice, a gravy and a lime juice. Quite a lot ain’t it? Yeah, we used to have one lunch for two people, two for three and three for four.  When we were that hungry, and wanted lots of food, this was our place.

evernote-camera-roll-20161202-195957

Now coming to our Pasta place, Carrots again. Red or white. Lots of chicken. Lots of pepper. Ah! Delicious.

img_5071

Subways are for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Those are the chicken sub days. Roasted chicken, chicken tikka, chicken sheekh (chicken kofta when they felt like it in Centre Square Mall Subway). Subways are yum and fulfilling. With all its veggies and sauces (lots of sweet onion and mayo that is) and the perfect chicken. Haaaaah. Subways can never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s my comfort food. My happy food.

Last but not the least, when the going gets tough in hostel and we were too lazy or late to go out, we have MasterChef to our rescue. They always delivered so we never knew where the place was until one day, when we were coming back after our stroll in Panampilly, I saw a little cart with a board. The MasterChef. I stood there with my mouth open. All this while, we were having noodles from a food cart? Anyway, they were always good. Yum and cheap.

img_5102-34

There were also days when some choices failed us. Top in the list of failures is Chicking. Noushee had this craving for Chicking since their offers came out and we chose to go on a Thursday. Four people, according to us could easily share 6 pieces of grilled chicken, 6 pieces of chicken lollipop, 2 delite burgers and fries. What do we say? Man proposes and God disposes. And that day, we went hungry even after paying for a whooping 600rs dinner (with the dump tax).

The little experiences shared our food, the laughs, the memories, the tastes. So much to cherish.

So much love in a bite.

Advertisements

Rose

14333216_1505448039480710_6616305328599428750_n

To the girl, who smiled through all the odds, who had my respect from day one, who had my love as I came to know her. This was the only thing I could consider giving her as a memoir, because I knew, Art, she would keep it close to her heart, it was like her breath. And I gave her something that she asked of me, something of mine, which I believed she needed more. I pray that it guides you and show you the light in the darkest of times.

Black. Blue. Green.
Black is you. Your underlying soul. Solid and strong. Not the usual vulnerable and depressive, solid and strong.

Blue is your love. The glittering waters and the crashing waves have your attention, every single time. They listened to you all the while. They hugged you when you seeked.

Green is your future. Peace and prosper. Nature and the wild. Just like your untamed heart, hair and height. May you scale more.

Believe girl, in you. Because you are the music that’s too good for some, but right in for you. Because you are the breath, who is free and strong enough to show the world, what you are made of. Because you are one, when set on, can conquer the world.

Let it all go.
Live. Love.

Ghost of a Past, Glamour of a Present

I was watching Dubai on TV today. Dubai, is a 2001 Malayalam movie, starring our very own Mammooty in its title role.

Well, that film was filmed in dubai for its three quarter portion, but the Dubai in the background is unrecognizable. Its surrounded by clear mountains, buildings not even a quarter of The Khalifa’s size, being given a prominence of picturing the ‘big city’. That Dubai, 15 years younger, was just emerging, with its purity still in place, just like any other Middle Eastern city. But then, the face of Dubai changed. Glittering skyscrapers, posh cars, glamorous lifestyle equals Dubai now. It had successfully taken its name on the list of the world cities, until it lost its lusture. There used to be a time, when I always bugged my father to take us to Dubai for a family vacation. I used to religiously follow the TV programmes featuring the Dubai Shopping Festival to take my share of the colourful cities. In those programs, I saw expat families like mine, enjoying their life in a colorful world, in contrast to my mundane restricted life in a country next to UAE. My innocent eyes saw the glitter in their eyes, the love in the togetherness, bits and pieces of the whole world in a small city. I remember I would tell myself, that some day, I would go for the festival and buy a little something from every country’s stall. Well, that dream is still unfulfilled. My eyes has never witnessed the wonders of Dubai from land. Witnessing it from the sky, everytime you fly in Emirates airlines, with a connection in the Dubai Intl Airport doesn’t count.

So I was just wondering, how much that little city called Dubai transformed within a span of a few years. At times I wonder, if my little city, which I so dearly call home, would transform one day, to one that I would never be able to recognize someday. The thought scares me. The congestion in Batha and Hara, with its buzzing streets full of expats, small residential buildings and shopping complexes that are food to many. The roads that sell various things and sellers who run at the very sound of the Baladiya. The yellow trucks with yellow uniformed men, who clean the city when its residents are still waking up from their slumbers and going back home to rest after another day. Olaya, our developed part, which houses our dearest 2 towers – The Faisaliyyah (The Needle Tower) and Kingdom Tower (The Necklace Tower), the posh hotels and restaurants, that seemed to exist in another world, so different from mine. Malaz, another semi developed area. Deerah, with its traditional markets and mud structures and the court, majestically standing amidst the mud structures. Naseem, with our schools and quite residential villas and vehicle showrooms. And many other smaller parts unique in their own way. The malls, with its splendid infrastructure, bringing the world to us. The masjids, around every corner offering moments of peace. The main cross bridge in the Road, its been a part of my life since the day I started understanding things. We crossed it, daily twice, during our commute to and fro the school. That croos bridge with its swirling road, used to take my little mind wo the world beyond the worls infront of me.The parks with its date palms, lining the lanes, kids fearless, the bullies in the slides and swings waiting to push us around or scare us away. The 20 riyal pizzas, Qubs, Shawarmas, Broasteds, Kabsas and Mandi, that became the taste of our tongues, warming our plates, filling our stomachs. Everywhere you look, you can see people who has embraced the land odf deserts, put their faith into the blessed land of the two Great Mosques, to fill their stomachs and save their families back in their homeland.

 

The Riyadh that I knew and lived in was never the glamorous one filled with malls and brands and posh lifestyles. It was the Riyadh of the parched hearts, struggling to stand on their two feet to support their families, home for kids like us, whose parents hated the dryness and lack of the greenness, that they so closely held dear. For them, this was a place of livelihood because of no other choice, and for us, home. That shaped us to what we are, that consists of little bits and pieces of our being and memories.

That was the Riyadh, where the yellow uniformed street cleaners were underpaid, the cleaners of the two Great Mosques considered blessed, where you see expats, working their life away.

That was the Riyadh, which was hell, for the thieves who were punished severely, people beheaded publicly due to which crimes were less, for people who were wrongly jailed and punished with no money to pay the government to free them, no people to fend for in a foreign country, no love to be showered, treated like dirt by some Saudi, years and youth wasted away, bearing the harshness of the sun, toiling.

Like any other city, it is filled with secrets and pretenses. Secrets, of expats, royals and the common men. So deeply concealed.

It’s a land of tears, of lives lost in the face of fate, souls shattered in the name of livelihood.

10399441_1012248052134047_9084211524001327925_n

That’s the purity of it, this multi-facetedness, this mix of people, culture withing the strong realm of the traditional culture and I am sure, you will see this in every major cities in the Middle East. Even beyond the glittering city of Dubai. This might have been the face and soul of Dubai once, before another face of glamour came into the forefront as its tag. And I wonder  ,  10 years down the lane, if Riyadh would be the same place that I lived in. That I grew up in. Will it lose its purity, its real face?

Only time will tell.

Calicut

I just dunno why but I actually like this city. So full of life yet in their own circle of traditions. I like this place more than my place. Wookaay, I better hide from my buddies who hail from Calicut because we go all patriotic and fight like crazy supporting our own places by going defensive. So according to that I am against Calicut and a proud Malappuram – ian! 😀

Copyrighted.