Friday, December 9, 2011

69. Different people, and their totally different eating styles -Observations

The same kind of food; the same kind of mouth; the same kind of hands -but gosh! there are a hundred and one different ways of making the food reach the mouth!
This is one of the observations that I have made during the past few months in S'pore. Many gadgets have been discovered over the centuries to aid people in this 'laborious task' of making the food reach its destination. With varying latitudes and longitudes, the  permutation&combinations of different tools used varies -fork&spoon, knife&fork, fork,knife&spoon, chop-sticks&spoon and so on. However, from what I have observed, whatever be the kind of food they are dealing with, people generally prefer to eat it the way they have been taught at home by their mom, during their 'table manners' course. So that means, be it rice, noodles, yong tau foo, the Chinese can tackle anything that comes across their way with the help of two puny sticks. Likewise, the Europeans equip themselves with fork&knife. Singaporeans -fork and spoon and occasionally a pair of chopsticks too. And we Indians...well we don't usually require any eating aids. Why bother when God has given us awesome hands!! (But still most of the people, all over the world are taught that eating with bare hands is ill-mannered!! [sigh])

Rice and curry, I can eat with a pair of spoon and fork; noodles and the like, I can manage with a pair of chopsticks(my latest achievement :D ) but when it comes to chicken and other such dead animals which have bones, I need my hands desperately.

I realized this truth when I was lunching with some of my European and  Singaporean friends.
It was the Dutch guy's birthday, and the birthday co-ordinator selected this fancy Indonesian restaurant to celebrate his b'day. Browsing throug the menu card made me 'gulp'. The starting price for the main-course was10S$. I ordered roasted chicken rice for myself since it was the only comprehensible item in the menu that suited my budget. (My brain was calculating: 10S$ = Rs 400. I recollected those days in my UG college when one month's canteen fee was around Rs. 1200 = 30S$ . I gulped again.)

Our food arrived in no time,and all of us geared ourselves with fork and spoon to attack the food. 
'Uh Oh'... The chicken had bones, unlike the usual chicken rice. I so totally don't know how to tear the flesh out from the bones using fork and spoon. The Dutch guy was complaining too -he wanted a knife instead of the fork. I sat there wondering what in the world to do with the two metal pieces in my hand. My hands longed to reach out to the morsel.

Nevertheless, I dug in. With all my might and skill, I managed to finish off the first piece fairly decently. Hmmm...Unlike most of the other times when the chicken was half cooked that made me gag, this one was especially tasty. Yumm...I was into my second piece trying to do the flesh-bone-separating act, when, the spoon slipped and the chicken and the fork went flying away in opposite directions. I sat there stupefied, while the others burst into laughter. Needless to say, I was embarassed to the core:| And I was sad, and guilty too -sad for the chicken who sacrificed its life for nothing, and guilty for wasting money...that chicken piece would have cost atleast 2 S$. Sigh!

My so polite friends(Europeans are always nice) bent down to take the spoon for me, and I deftly used the time to grab the next chicken piece and have a bite ;)

Weeks later, I was lunching again with my international friends. This time, I played safe by sticking to  vegetarian food.

Our random conversations reached the Indian boundaries, and the Singaporean friend suddenly remarked: "The way Indians eat their food is so cool. They have special skills to eat their food. They not only eat rice with hands but can even tear dosa and pratas with one hand easily. The way they maneuver their fingers dexterously to take food and push it inside the mouth is amazing."

Well what can I say? I beamed at my 'awesome dexterous skillful hands' and ever since I have a special regard for my hand whenever they 'maneuver their way to get food into my mouth'. ;)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

68. Bleed Blue!

I had sworn that if India won the Semi-Finals, I would blog right away(after a lull of 4 months). And hence the post!

I’m neither a cricket fan, nor do I watch cricket matches often. I don’t even understand the game very well for that matter. And I can hardly name a handful of cricketers!! 11 fools playing and 11,000 fools watching....Bah!

As a rule, I pay a visit to the sports channel only when there is either Cricket -World Cup Finals, or Football -World Cup Finals, or Tennis -when Federer plays.

But the Mohali match last Wednesday had this bewitching, enchanting effect that made not just me, but millions of ‘laymen’ who are hardly acquainted with the game, feel the THRILL!!! Fingers were crossed, butterflies played their own cricket match in the stomach, heartbeats got paced up, lips kept murmuring prayers, the whole body tensed up–I know I was not the only one who went throught this experience.

I happened to watch the India-Aus quarter finals, thanks to my cricket crazy roommates. Thought of watching the match as a time-pass while preparing my dinner. But hardly a few minutes into the match, the dinner was forgotten and the half cut onions were crying for attention, while we were shouting and cheering for India. Though the match started with everyone anticipating the thrice world cup champs repeating history, our tigers eventually hunted down the kangaroos moving on to gun down the ‘terrorists’(no offense intended).

The hype created over the Mohali match was humongous. The high security alert, the terrorists threat, the No-Fly zone over Mohali, the Gilani visit, all just kept the tension at the pinnacle.

I was eagerly waiting for it to be Wednesday.

And sure enough Wednesday came, after Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday dragged by.
From morning, there was an incessant inflow of the World Cup forwards which kept chocking up my inbox. Many private companies had given half day leave to their employees also. I was cursing my ‘mokka’ company for not being 'patriotic' enough. K

There were very few people in my department. Some were on leave. Some took half day off. Both my bosses had gone for ‘site visit’. (But I have my doubts as to whether these 'site visits' are just code names for ‘watching World Cup’). The rest few who stayed back, were rooted infront of the Samsung LCD in the lobby.

However the bickering later turned to praise and adoration for my 'super-cool' company when I came to know that the match was being telecasted at our Convention Centre. It was awesome!. The lights were off –only the skylight seeping in through the small opening of the dome shaped roof lit the auditorium. The sound system was amazing –had the feel of watching a Hollywood thriller in a theater. The crowd was in full form –I never thought I would get a chance to howl and scream again after college.

Like someone rightly tweeted, very little activity happened in the Indian subcontinent in the afternoon of the March 30th- the day when India took on Pakistan!
It was not just a game. It was some sort of a battle, an epic event that will be etched in the pages of history!

The volume of the crowd in the Convention Centre kept on varying, depending on who was batting. Half the crowd disappeared after Sachin got out. I was bugging the hapless colleague who happened to sit next to me with all kinds of doubts – Who is batting? Who is bowling? What’s a power play? Is that a wide? What is a wide?........

At the same time I was 'sms'ing updates to my unfortunate friends who were restrained to their workplace.

After India’s batting got over by 6 o' clock, we hurried for home. Like I said, very few things happened in the country that day -the roads had a deserted look, the shops closed early, people were huddled around roadside TV shops. However the fast food home deliveries jumped 50% on that big day.

Sure enough my other roomies were glued to the TV by the time I reached home. We had only DD National, that too the picture quality was very poor and it was full of 'grains' most of the time. But that wasn't enough to diminish our spirits. Though we could hardly make out where the ball was going, or barely comprehend the Hindi commentary, I cheered along whenever I heard cheering from my roomies and from the neighboring houses ;)

The whole country was in jubilation after the match. It looked like Diwali came a bit too early this year.

It was one heck of a match worth watching... Tomorrow's 'Lankadahanam' is gonna turn out to be an even greater spine-tingler. And I just pray that our Bosses have yet another of those 'site visits' tomorrow. ;)

There's a dress code for office tomorrow -Blue! Yeah! We're gonna Bleed Blue!