Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Variety is the Rice of Life

Effect of having just finished reading Crime and Punishment, and having nothing else to do all day. Written on a lonely, boring day in Sweden ( where I had to cook for myself, since eating out was insanely expensive; no net or tv in the room either)

He spent ages agonizing in bed, whether he would gain anything by waking up promptly at eight. Was the hot water bath, which was available only early in the morning, worth the long hours spent in the mid-morning with nothing to do? After a quick weighing of the pros and cons, he decided against waking up, and got up at a more respectable ten in the morning.
It was a bright, sunny day, but he knew from instinct that it would be really cold outside. After a depressing breakfast of corn-flakes, which taken on a daily basis, seemed to taste more of wood shavings than anything else, he turned to VS Naipaul's 'A House for Mr. Biswas.', the only book available at that time. His mood turned even more somber as he realized the protagonist was leading an incredibly sad life, and things would keep going downhill for him. The book was put down with a thud, but taken up after five minutes thinking had reasoned out that there was nothing else to do.

When the book was dropped a second time, he decided to turn his energies towards cooking, where he hoped fate would be kinder to him. A mental check-list of the items present followed, and he decided to make up with determination and will-power what items he missed, rather than risk a trip to the super-market in the sub-zero temperatures outside. The ingredients available were beans, broccoli and rice, and he decided to combine the lot with pulao masala. He had no idea how it would taste, but he was sure it would be edible. Secure in the knowledge that there was nothing else to do, he set about cutting the beans and broccoli with a patience he never knew he possessed. The rice was ready in next to no time, and given the ample time present to him, he decided to both boil and fry the vegetables, a practice he had not followed in cooking until then.

Spices were added with gay abandon, as he had still not learnt the proper quantities. Considering he didn't know what to expect at the end of it, he reckoned on adding spices and salt whenever he got bored with things. Which was around every five minutes or so.After about an hour's cooking, the vegetables were finally ready and he mixed everything in the rice cooker, and added pulao masala. On first tasting this dish, he realized he had tasted something similar many, many times before.

After 7 years of school, 4 years of college and 2 years of a software job, where he used to take a lunch box of similar ( but much better) vegetable rice on a daily basis, he realized with a pleasant smile that he had finally discovered how it was prepared.

ps - Mashed pringles chips was used as an appalam substitute.

The blog is dead, Long live the Blog!

Considering this blog is just about dead, I have decided to resuscitate it with a few articles. Given that I've become just so incredibly busy doing absolutely nothing, and given the corresponding sloth associated with it, let me put up a few random articles, that I had started over the last one year, but not posted.
The following article was started during internship in Dubai

This is the story of an epic battle between Iron Mike and me, the scars of which will be present for a very, very long time, especially on the battlefield, which was a formal shirt. At the end of it, both of us were really steamed up over it.

Round 1 - Selection of the battlefield

There was an ironing board in my hotel room, but somehow it seemed really tiny, especially when compared to my shirt.If I spread the shirt fully, it tended to extend beyond the surface. Also, the side stand to hold the Iron didn't seem to be stable enough to hold the iron. After trying various angles and getting board, I chucked the board back into the clothes-stand and decided to use a dining slab made of marble which had more area.
Winner - Krishnamurti

Round 2 - Placing the shirt suitably
I thought I knew the correct way to place a shirt, so that one could iron without further creases. Apparently, I was wrong. I simulated all combinations in order to get a second crease from collar to bottom, passing near the pocket. The shirt was way bulkier and heavier than it should have been. 'Oh shirt!', I thought, as I realized it could not be done. After around 20 minutes, I moderated my ambition. I decided to pleat leave it alone and just iron out all the creases.
Moral of the story : IIMA students do NOT consider placement as the be-all and end-all of life.
Winner - Shirt

Round 3 - The iron is out cold
By the time it took me to place the shirt suitably so that one could iron out the creases, the stoopid iron had gotten cold. So, I had to put the plug on it ( which obviously wasn't nearby). Once I brought it near the shirt, it became cold and lifeless in no time. So, I took it to the plug point, and then back to the dining board. After the third or fourth time this happened, I was really hot and bothered, while the iron remained cool and calm.
Winner - Iron Mike

Round 4 - Actually ironing
After all the preamble, I finally used the iron by brute force. I put the shirt out of the crease, effectively stumping the iron for an answer. Moving the iron up and down, I put my shirt in some semblance of order. Hooray!
Winner - Krishnamurti

At the end of it, A One Hour War resulted in exactly one shirt pressed. I was thoroughly exhausted, and my nerves were frayed. Ah well, looks like I'm making a bad imPression on you with my rusted ironing skills. Who had thought pumping iron was so hard?