Last night as I lay on my bed trying to rest out the headache, I felt a tremor. I was so exhausted and fed-up with the situation, that instead of jumping out of bed and making a dash for the front door,I just got up and sat down and said to myself, “Kis, kis se bhagein? Kab tak bhagein? Kahan bhagein? Kis ke paas bhagein?” I was very tired.
The mobile phone rang. I knew it would be Tintin. He asked me if I had changed into my pajamas. I hadn’t. We were to go out for dinner. We went to a place called ‘Wok and Roll.’ I wondered if this name was born out of some imagination or lack of it! It did aspire to make the most of punning! You see the restaurant served Thai and Japanese food. I was content with appetisers. So my meal comprised two different chicken satays. One supposed to be Thai and served with peanut sauce that was not what we were used to having. It was a kind of yellow curry with a few peanuts tossed in. The Japanese one was good. The other dish was shrimp tempura that looked great but turned out to be oily and thick with batter. But all in all it was a great dinner.
Through the course of the dinner I was wondering why Manu was having dinner with us when she was dressed and ready for a ‘girls’ night out’. I was informed that she would be joining her friends a little later. It was already past midnight by then, but not wanting to be too inquisitive, I quietly speculated on how late “a little later” was. As we waited for the taxi to come I gathered proffered information. The girls would first go to a discotheque, shake a leg then try their luck at the Casino. The discos here began filling up after midnight and the Casino opened after 1.00 am! I realised I was really out of sync with the life of youngsters. At our time discotheques closed at midnight and as for casinos; we read about them, we saw them in movies but we didn't visit any because there were no casinos to go to!! I was dropped home and Tintin and Manu left.
During the week that followed I made pollo (chicken) pullao and tamatar kuchumbar for my Chilean friends. They enjoyed it. They found the arozz (rice) I had used very deliciously different. I had used Basmati. The rice eaten here is of a thicker grain and different in flavour. It came as a big surprise for them that I had bought the Basmati rice from Lider, a super-market here. I decided to expose them to some more of my culinary skills and made Caramel Bananas, which I must mention is my own concoction conjured up, way back in the 1980s! This is one dessert that has always titillated palates. So it goes without saying that it was a finger-licking hit. The recipe was asked for and willingly given. Three cheers for the chef. I’m planning to make some sweet gujjias and mince gujjias (Indian Empanadas) for them over this weekend. Let’s see if I can do that. By now I’m sure you realise what big foodies we are :D
We’ve been looking around for apartments on the first level and in the process have seen some very nice ones on the fourth level. It seems the local folk have vacated the higher floors and moved to the lower floors, so it is difficult to find one for ourselves. I had already decided to ask for my date of return to be advanced. So the request was put to the company boss for approval. A day was available, Saturday, 3 April. I received this news with mixed feelings yesterday. My stay here, under the present circumstances is proving to be hard not only on the kids but on me also, not to mention Gabriel’s family who have been playing host to me so graciously for so many days. So it provides relief for all that I go back to India. But for me the ordeal doesn’t end here. The happiness of ‘flight’ will diminish when I reach India and find I no longer have a home of my own. So I will be relying on the hospitality of friends; my only hope is that I get my Canadian visa soon. Right now I’m planning a trip to the markets on Saturday and Sunday to look for gifts for people back home and some stuff I’d like to carry for myself.
Kis kis se bhagein?.......... How many things will I run from?
Kab tak bhagein?......................Till when will I keep running?
Kahan bhagein?.......................Where do I run to?
Kis ke paas bhagein?........................To whom do I run to?
Chicken pullao....................an aromatic preparation of rice and chicken with spices and saffron.
Tamatar kuchumbar.............a kind of tomato salsa