Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happiness is a stuffed brinjal

And if you must be curmudgeonly and orthodox, fine, I know it is a sin to translate. Bharli Vangi it is. Although "Happiness is a bharli vangi" doesn't quite have the same ring now does it?

So did you want an update from the last few weeks? I'll give it to you anyway. Three words. Austin, Tequila, Tacos. I miss the city, but in a good way. It is nostalgia of a peculiar sort and let me invoke Faiz to try and explain it.

Let Me Think

You ask me about that country whose details now escape me,
I don't remember its geography, nothing of its history.
And should I visit it in memory,
It would be as I would a past lover,
After years, for a night, no longer restless with passion,
With no fear of regret.
I have reached that age when one visits the heart merely as a courtesy.

-- Faiz Ahmed Faiz
(courtesy, The Wondering Minstrels)

If this still makes no sense, ask me. And I will tell you. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with laborious essay writing and long sentences. Why bother with slow, lengthy articulation when there is always poetry?

And to return to what I began with, happiness, my loves is a stuffed brinjal. I always find myself slightly out of touch when I return from travels. I am slower, more thoughtful, quiet, and rather disoriented. Work always manages to take over anyway, but once that is done, I have to find myself ways to feel like I inhabit the present tense. And food, of course, is an instant remedy.

I grew up in Maharashtra and never quite imagined myself as anything other than alien to the state. I was, after all, rather markedly Tamilian. Name aside, my household was different, my parents transplants to the state, and our food, dress, and orientation to the world, supposedly non-Maharashtrian. But after living many years in Pune, and speaking Marathi as much as Tamil in recent years, I find myself quite attached to Maharashtrian-ness. Yes, the Puneri grouchiness included. And as a result, my limited food repertoire is bi- if not multi-cultural. However, not having had many immediate culinary Maharashtrian influences growing up, my ability to cook from the region largely depends on food blogs. Nupur's OneHotStove is one such permanent go-to bookmark, and it is from here that I use the recipe for Bharli Vangi.

Look how pretty they are...

And divine to boot....

Like I said, happiness is a stuffed brinjal. And for you?