Thursday, February 16, 2006
Moved me, so behooved me
Yesterday, I was going through some mighty technical documents. These documents were peppered with acronyms beginning with rarefied alphabets that don’t find themselves in common use – X, Q, Z, E. So, whilst I trudged from one paragraph of incomprehension to another, I thought of the word ‘behoove’. It’s a nice word and strangely, doesn’t find itself used too much. This is despite people doing so many things because they are behooved to do them. What I also find nice is that it can confuse a person so effortlessly.
“Why did Ernie kick the cat?”
“It behooved him to do that.”
“So that means he isn’t going to the Derby?”
Now, it isn’t so funny if you think Ernie to be a man. But it is clever if you think Ernie is a horse. So if Ernie the horse is behooved, it doesn’t mean that his hooves aren’t there anymore, it means that he found kicking the cat necessary. It is also hilarious if you don’t know whether Ernie is a man or a horse.
I am not in favor of the idea though, by man or beast.
1. Anyway, here’s a list of things that I recommend. Why? Because they behoove me to do so.
There is this old riddle. Who is a diplomat? A person who tells you to go to hell so sweetly, you actually look forward to the trip.
Now, I mention an old, amusing joke because one of my old (and I don’t mean age-wise, although he is wise despite his age), very amusing pals resurfaced from somewhere a while back. He was my boss in the first serious job that I held. Amongst other things that he does wonderfully, such as arranging sheaves of papers and sounding cheery on the phone, he writes exquisitely. He used to write me these emails that I treasured because they were written so well, even though most of them actually did tell me to go to hell. (Sweetly, of course. An example of an email that was written because I had a yell-fest with a colleague: ‘The thing about this wonderful Universe, Mukta, is that you are not at its centre. I wonder how that happened, but it’s true.’)
I bring this up now because VH, my diplomat ex-boss, is now blogging away at: http://blogusinterruptus.blogspot.com/
Read him because you must, must, must.
2. J is a funny person and we are friends. She is a lot like me although she would sooner nurse a rash than share that thought. Both of us ruminate over our dwindling finances sipping large lattes (Rs.32 each), eating lamb cutlets (Rs.150 or so), picking out unwearable in public tops (Rs. 350 or so) and ricking walkable distances (Rs.30). Sometimes all this in one day.
Anyway, with J, by J, and through J, I have discovered several marvelous things. One such sample of serendipitous marvel is beetroot cake.
It was J’s birthday and she decided to treat Z and me to something nice – besides her reggae performance, that is. That too was thrown in but much later. Now, in Pune, there is the general misconception that you get good baked stuff at German Bakery. WRONG! You don’t. You go there for the ambience and the general interesting hoi-polloi, but if you want yummy cakes and delectable food, you go to Sweet Chariot. There, the cakes are baked to seventh heaven and cloud nine perfection.
We reached there and we wanted a cake – what with it being a birthday and all. There were several on display, one of which was innocuously labeled ‘Beetroot cake’. Because of the way our mind thwarts the idea of anything healthy as dessert, this cake was left alone. But what a stunner of a confectionery it was! The cake batter used a little beetroot water and the color was a rich, luxe mahagony, instead of regular dark, brown chocolate. J and I looked at each other and ordered it.
That decision will go down as one my most correct decisions of my life. It was sweet enough to sate my tastes as well as J’s. And that in itself is a culinary impossibility. As for how it tastes - the cake is smooth and moist and sort of evaporates into feathery wafts of luscious sweetness in the mouth.
Suffice to say, you’ll never think of beetroot the same way again.
3. One night after office, I had a ravenous craving for meat. Red meat because any other kind of meat is like tofu - the ‘what’s the point?’ kind of food. A very bland substitute for the real thing.
So, as I walked towards the rickshaw stand with J, I told her how I wanted to bite into something meaty, like meat. She understood because she too is given to such unearthly cravings. So we decided to try out a grill place near my house, ‘Mad House Grill’.
First of all, the font of the restaurant’s name is so quaint and wonderful. It curves and slopes hinting at a little bit of funk and touch of calligraphy.
It is just the most darling, cosy place I have been to in a long time. I imagine such a place located in a small, cheery town-village where people come in the evenings to share stories. And the food is unpretentious, affordable, and very very tasty.We had the raan one time that was flavored with very wholesome spices and herbs. The bed of rice was buttered and fragrant and the baby potatoes were boiled just right. What’s more is that the ingredients were so fresh that we didn’t feel heavy after all that meat.
And the piece the resistance is their dessert, Drunken Apples. Cored chunks of apples are stewed in sweet, red wine and sort of slopped over caramel and served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. You will close your eyes when you put the first spoon in your mouth.
Mad House Grill in Pune is fast becoming my Mocha away from home.
4. And finally J. She’s too stylish and too happy to be the pontificating poet that she is. And like her very strange theories about life (most Indians are Saggitarians or Scorpios because most Indians marry in the winter months), her poems too come with a curious zest: Her poems are for Dino Morrea. Sometimes I worry for my friends.
You read her here: http://www.teerathyatra.com/?cat=6
When I first read these poems, I couldn’t believe that these poems were for him; but then before her, I didn’t know that beetroots could taste like that.
That strange thing about strangeness – it behooves.