Some rights in life are non-negotiable. The right to free speech, the right to sing in the bathroom, the right to eat non-veg whenever the heart desires. I don’t think I can ever go vegetarian; I’d be consumed by the desire to eat chicken on Day 1, Hour 1, of Mission Vegetarianism. It’s not that I gobble meat at every meal, but I need to know that I can eat it whenever I want to. Restrictions and me are like oil and water, the NSA and Snowden- we don’t gel well.
I wait for Ramzan every year, for a completely selfish reason- to eat. I love the array of delicacies dished up as part of the fast-breaking spread, and I make sure that I devote at least one weekend to giving a five-thousand calorie laath to my diet. This year, I skipped lunch and two meetups with friends to take my mom to Mosque Road early one evening, the go-to spot for Bangaloreans not invited to private iftar parties. The list of foods can make you feel full- mutton samosas, pakoras, kababs, kheema parottas, spring rolls, biriyani, haleem, phirni, gajar ka halwa, khubani ka meetha. I tucked in like Punjabi at a wedding buffet, but despite having a healthy non-girly appetite and being ravenously hungry, I didn’t have space in my stomach for everything on offer and returned home laden with so much food that we didn’t have to cook a single meal the next day.
Being Bengali, I have a special affinity for seafood, and hence I need to make special mention of the prawns- flavorful and crunchy and a steal at 20 bucks a pop. The keema parottas reminded me of Kolkata’s mughlai parottas, and the dessertarian in me fell hook, line and sinker for the khubani ka meetha, the sweet gooey apricot dish forming a perfect end to the meal. The haleem was the scene-stealer, of course. I had two different versions at two places, one slightly tangy and the other laden with ghee, both unique and delicious in their own way.
Different experiences make different people happy. For 100,000 people, it’s the prospect of going to Mars even if the trip is one-way. For me, it’s getting introduced to a new book, eating a great meal once in a while, traveling as much as I can on as small a budget as possible. And also, dessert. But that’s the subject for another post.