Friday, August 13, 2010


I have pined for India since I sat in the The Clay Oven while a man named Pravine talked about his home country. As he talked, I could see the whole of the Western hemisphere, including his own restaurant, retreat from his awareness.  His body was in Irvine, California, but the parts that matter were in Mumbai. It was as inspirational to hear as the yogurt and rose petal jelly was to eat. Pravine’s wife makes it from the flowers that grow in their garden and each tiny spoonful was an orgy of exotic floral sweetness bathing my tongue.  As deserts go, it was a little obscene now that I think about it.
The pining only got worse after a recent dinner during which a man who was both born in Tamil Nadu and has such a deep love for his home country that he has every intention of returning to India with his family next year, told me that there wasn’t much to see in Agra other than the Taj Mahal.  Like you’d need more.  He’s Indian. His expectations are a lot higher than mine, but he did say  I should go anyway. 
     “When you go to Agra, time your trip so that you can see the it during the day, but wait until night fall and go back.  You need to see it by the light of a full moon.”
 I would have kissed him on the mouth for saying that, but I’d just met him, my husband doesn’t like that sort of thing and in fairness it really is bad form. Still, I’ve had enough foreplay.  I’m taking a day trip to India.
          That is much easier to do if you live close to Artesia, California than say, Winnsboro, Texas, but I suspect it’s do-able even then.  The internet, the library and your local grocery store make it so.   Do a google search for images of India to fill your mind with what your feet can't experience. Go to the library and check out every single beautiful book you can find about the place. If you haven’t already, read Kipling’s The Jungle book, or as I’m doing now A Passage to India, though it’s a little dark unless you like cultural misunderstanding as a plot.  For something lighter, read or at the very least go see Eat Pray Love

Go to the store and buy a bottle of curry powder and throw more than you think you should into a pot of browned deboned chicken thighs and onions, cook it until the curry releases its story and your house smells like not your house Add some whipping cream ( you’re on vacation here, just do it ), vegetables of your choice then simmer until it marries. Spoon it all on top of basmati rice, or heck plain rice and lavish it with chopped cashews or peanuts, flaked coconut, raisins and if you can find it, a jar of chutney.  
If that’s too much, boil some cinnamon, ginger and cardamom in some hot tea, strain it and add milk to taste and you get Cheating Chai.  Download Pandora (it’s free and I promise it won’t eat your computer ) and find some Indian music. 
Or, if extraordinary laziness is your forte, you're like me, so just buy the tea, then toss the spices into a pot of simmering water.  You do it for the holidays. Why not for Fridays?

Point is, travel in place. 

1 comment:

  1. I love that kind of travel. The only thing better is if you can have people who speak the language of the country you are visiting come over. Participate a little, but the best is to watch. People watch in your own home.