Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Philosophy of Rasam

Rasam is arguably the single greatest mass-consumption item of the South Indian culinary fare. There are other pinnacles achieved routinely by some other simply glorious dishes like coconut thohail and cabbage kootu, and it would be folly to discount the extraordinary morukuzhambu or the fiery vathalkuzhambu in all their forms, but these are items that are made now and then, not everyday like the ubiquitous rasam. The only items that find themselves as constant companions to the rasam are white rice (chaadam), ghee (nei), curds (thayar) and appalams (rapidly being substituted by potato chips). Rasam beats them all hands down; indeed, it beats a lot of dishes hands down; the contest is over even before it begins; there never was any contest.

The name belies the power it can exude and the reverence it can garner, for it is a simple sounding name, with just a couple of syllables to gain it worldwide recognition. It is in this simplicity that the rasam revels and invigorates, for the rasam is a simple dish, easy to prepare and easy on the eyes. But it assuages the nose, for it carries with it a smell that can capture any person and make him/her prey. It may look like weak red water, but its intricacies are so finely meshed with each other that every single taste bud is tickled and satiated. A well-made rasam can brighten any day and any mood.

Rasam chaadam is the most important course in the meal that I partake of. Everything else before that is an introduction, just building it all up for the final brilliant epitome of food. So no matter how divine the thohails, the kootus, the sambars and the kuzhambus might have been, I will appreciate them all and extol on their virtues, but the lips will still smack and I will still drool when the time for rasam chaadam arrives; for then, all is well and right with the world, the future is bright and happy, and God does exist, for a superbly made rasam is one of the few things that will make me believe in God and make me give up my appalam in one fell swoop.

Rasam, vazhga!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Banana Week

The last week has been one that has been full of the Kuala Lumpur Police Department (KLPD). Although incidents include car accidents and fathers being awake at 3am, I'll stick to just two of them.

On Friday, my cousin and I went to Fabindia to buy some stuff for the newly painted bedroom of another cousin across the seas. We spent a good chunk of time picking out combinations and mentally working out colour settings and finally decided on a particular bedspread and some bold cushion covers. The items had been sent to the check-out counter and we were on our way there to pay money and buy when we were intercepted like a missile by a well-meaning employee of the store whom I believe was like a fashion consultant. She trashed our choices and made us feel like we were colour blind (I'm colour deficient). Finally, we said that we'd come back later that night as we had to go elsewhere. Later that night, we decided to go back to the store. When we were ready to leave, we realised that we could not find the car keys. One of the kids had been playing with it and we could not find it now. We searched high and low and lost a good 20 minutes just searching for the keys. The elders decided that it was not a good sign, what with the woman literally stopping our purchase earlier in the day and now us not being able to find the car keys. So they forbade us from going and we accepted. Almost immediately after that, the keys were found.

The second incident happened with The Dark Knight. On Saturday morning, a bunch of the family members had gone to the Forum Mall and I asked them to pick up tickets for that night's show. I frantically called friends to find out how many wanted to go and after I passed on the final number to the group in the mall. News came back that Saturday night was sold out. So then I checked the other theatre in the city and found a similar result. So the mall group was asked to pick up tickets for Sunday night. The following night, we very happily went to PVR cinemas in Forum Mall, commented on how the time on the tickets said 10:15 while everywhere else the show time said 10. It didn't matter to us. We went in and found our seats divided amongst two separate groups of people. We called the usher who checked all the tickets and, finding a problem, put us in the nearest empty seats, whose owners soon showed up. I mean, it's The Dark Knight, not some foreign film where he can expect seats to be empty. So another check was done and it was discovered that we were in possession of tickets for Sunday's morning show. We all came out and discovered another group of people with the exact same problem. The guy behind the ticket counter on Saturday morning had messed up. To cut a long story short, we didn't get to watch the movie, the PVR guy was unapologetic, we got our money back, and PVR has lost my business forever.

So, it's been a rotten week, made even more rotten by the landing of a job. I hope that the week ahead will shine with possibly the only silver lining from the previous week. I see much Karaoke ahead.