Friday, December 3, 2010

New in Shh world

Since November 22, I’ve been waiting for that feeling you get when you have no job, with the entire day stretched out in front of you and you’re thinking, “shit, I have nothing to do with my time!”

It hasn’t happened as yet, and I don’t think it will until January. That’s how much time I will be spending with my family, visiting temples, travelling out of the country, etc, etc, etc. Now that I’m not enjoying it, however, I don’t enjoy the fact that there is no pay cheque at the end of it all.
And that’s that for opinions.

(that was a sign on the window of the compartment we were sitting in)
14 people travelling in A/C 3 of the Indian Railways on the West Coast Express going to Mangalore is about as adventurous as I can think of being! The cast of this trip includes my 79-year-old grandmother who has no recollection of time or space or people. A home nurse we’ve hired to look after her. Our neighbour who, as a physiotherapist, is constantly telling us how to look after my grandmother. My mother and her three siblings who were all loud, opinionated and insisted on doing things their way, my father who really wanted to stand by the door of the bogey and get some air, me who really wanted to read a book, my two cousins, 11 and 7, who were constantly jumping from one upper berth to another, my mother’s brother’s wife, two relatives from Singapore who were travelling by train the first time and who had tons of hand sanitiser and suchlike.

We’d planned this trip to the Mookambika since June. And since June we’ve been planning the menu. With my uncle going to Sabarimala, the menu had to be vegetarian add to that the fact that the trip was, primarily, a temple visit, the menu HAD to be vegetarian. Now, when the possibility of no meat in a meal looms in a discussion that my family is having, things don’t turn out great. They just don’t. My aunt, my mother’s first sister, thinks vegetables are god’s curse to mankind and she makes such a production about no meat in her food that you’ll be forced to make something chicken just so she’ll shut up. The only vegetable that’s given any due consideration by the family is the humble root, the potato. So after much deliberation it was decided to make chappatis and potato podimas (it’s one thing made of mashed potatoes). Then we had to decide who was eating how many chappatis. Making the chappatis was nothing compared to the packing of the food bags.

My family takes an immense amount of time and effort into packing train food bags. When Siddharth and I were younger, and we travelled on these mammoth train journeys to Assam, Himachal Pradesh in the summers to see my dad, amma would pack enough food to last us those journeys and then some. There were times when we offered food to our co-travellers. From biscuits and chips to slices of vegetables and bread and butter and jam and cheese and boiled, unshelled eggs, tissue, and so on. If she could, she’d have carried an induction stove too! Those were good times on the Indian Railways.

So this trip, the food bags were loaded with roasted cashews, Pringles, mixture and chips from Grand Sweets, the dinner we’d made, water, the works. You know what? I couldn’t eat a damn thing! Yeah, that’s right, I couldn’t eat any of it. I had a stomach infection and I had to watch what I was eating, drinking, etc. So that happened and I was sulking pretty much the whole time. The fact that people were passing around food indiscriminately while I was sitting in the middle of the chaos of the train was not helping me one bit. The one thing that can truly send me into one of my infamous rants is the lack of food. I get really angsty, I get really annoying and I can’t fathom a sane reason why vegetarian food is such a bitch to cook. I really don’t. Anyway, I’m a pampered nut job whose mother still cooks for her so I should STFU. Even then, why is it so hard to cook some vegetables my family, WHY?!
(The Mookambika Temple)
Bitching about food aside, the trip to Mangalore turned out great. (Except for the prayers for “chinku to get married soon, please!”) The thing is I love temple-hopping. There’s something calming about being in a place of prayer. The only thing I don’t like though is the fact that people are constantly hinting at the amount of money you should be spending on doing a certain pooja that would guarantee you good health and other such wonderful life-necessary amenities! Temples, especially the ones in South India are built beautifully. If you’re not keen on praying, you’ll have plenty to look at. That’s something, no?

1 comment:

  1. I did Kollur, Udupi, Sringeri & Dharmastala in a single trip earlier this year and was taken aback both by the tranquility and the western ghats