Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Love songs from my kitchen

Pakora, when it pitter-patters raindrops

Tandoori chicken, get a whiff of the roaring highway side dhaba

Shrimp bruschettas, the perfect bite-sized dreams

Pan-seared tilapia, let your taste buds sing

Penne pasta & Minestrone soup, bask under a Tuscan sun

Friday, February 11, 2011

My green star

I had found you sitting abandoned, tucked away in the corner of a horticulture isle. You had no expectations, except the tag on your neck that read, "water once a week". This tempted me, your no strings attached demeanor. I brought you home and you seemed to love it. Sitting by the living room window, you feasted on plenty of unadulterated sun. The mountain air of the countryside suited you well. Plump and pretty, you soon outgrew your old container. Here's a guilty secret - I never really liked that brown thing much. So there you were, happy in your new home - green and transparent - just like you. Religiously, I would feed you, keep your home clean and photograph your blossoming loveliness. You were my green star.

They call you the 'lucky bamboo', the fate-driven mortals. But I had no expectations from you. I loved you in my own way, proud and attached. And every time we would leave you alone (sometimes for months) you proved my pride - you flourished and sang, all by yourself. With time you became self-sufficient and basked in the glory of a perpetual solitude, just like me. When we moved to a new place, I took you along and there you were, sleeping soundly in a zip-lock bag throughout the two-hour flight. Like me, you quickly adapted yourself to your new surroundings, irrespective of the jarring ugliness of the place. But there was the sun, and there was love. And they say love conquers all.

Then crept in the cruel winter with heaps of pompous snow. Undaunted, you kept a brave front and cheered me up every morning when the chill would seep into my bones, sawing them mercilessly. As all nomads must, we were on the move once again. And once again you battled the odds alone and thrived spectacularly.
Unfortunately, the winter was rather long and severe. This time when we returned, your smile had withered. You looked wasted, perhaps tired of keeping a constant vigil and being pretty at the same time. I don't blame you. To please, is a monstrous responsibility and one that often has wretched ends. But at the end of it I, too, had fallen into the smelly worldly trap of expectations. I hoped for miracles from you. Even when I left you deserted and alone, to rot in the filthy slimy water. How could one survive this continuous barrage of impossible expectations? You could, because you were mighty brave. Much more than I could ever be.

Thank you for everything, my faithful Greenness.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seattle loves them who love Seattle

Our caravan has moved back to Seattle, the dot from where it had rumbled on three years before. The nomads have finally cruised a full circle, wheeling the entire country from coast to coast. Although I am not a believer in serendipity, this does feel like one. Who would have thought that chance alone would throw us on the beaten ruts once again?! After all, I haven't forgotten the fuss and melodrama I had made when we had to leave Seattle abruptly. Just when it was beginning to feel like home. Just when the nature junkie had begun singing odes to her pagan god. Just when ...

I still remember the faint piney tickle of the air when I had first arrived at the Sea-Tac airport in a damp June afternoon, cold and alone. A jumble of myriad emotions somersaulted inside me - the excitement of seeing Sam after a month; the daunting foreignness of every single moment; the nervousness of getting into an airport express train, for I had no idea what those eerily fast moving things were until then; the fidgeting worry whether I'll get my check-in bags (a co-passenger had already scared me saying her's was lost and wasn't found for months); and above all the giddy joy of having made it, all by myself. Strangely, the nine-hour flight from Amsterdam, after a layover of seven gnawing hours had not killed me. Haldiram's salted almonds and Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies had kept me nourished and warm. Also, I had slept through most of the first flight from Delhi and hence felt quite rejuvenated.
So there I was, received by an almost unrecognizable husband (with a bush instead of a head!) at the baggage area, with a beaming face and a bunch of bright chrysanthemums. I remember they were dyed - green, blue, orange - and I had thought, "Wow, you could get these in green too!" Oh, and yes, my bags arrived safely too.

After three years of feverish longing and wandering in the dusty bylanes of nostalgia, we are here again. It is the same idyll, blanketed with fragrant evergreen woods and sapphire blue lakes. And what's more, it's almost spring! A quick visit to the famous Pike Place market last weekend saw a beautiful display of dewy tulips, possibly the first batch of the season to make their way into the market. After being buried for months in the brutal blizzards of the east, nothing could be more comforting than the sight of these charming flowers and the syrupy warmth of a gingerbread latte.

Well, numbing these small joys is the nagging confusion of apartment hunting coming up this weekend. Wars have to be waged over Sam's obsession with endless square footage and my balcony mania. So stay tuned for more stories from the Emerald city.

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