Update for week ended 18 June 2010
It is amazing how some grey clouds can work wonders with brown soil and coax the green outbursts that is so soothing to the eyes and other senses. The Indian obsession with the Monsoon is legendary and odes have been written, ballads sung, paintings dedicated to this season that conjure up romantic visages, (which at times can be quite the contrary). And this is the season when the average Indian arrives home soaking wet but looks forward to that piping hot cup of tea, spiced up with the aromatic ginger root. They will not settle for the regular “biscoot” (biscuit – which is usually the Marie), but eyes will lighten up at the sight of the sizzling golden fritter, bhajiyas or bajjis or pakode. And every household will have a different favourite, a twist, a soft corner. So if the usual suspects use the brown tuber or the tears inducing red onions; the South Indians will always swear by the raw banana bajji. The large Bhavnagari green chilli, though is a favourite in Gujarat; its variants are also devoured universally. The Bengalis love the Baigun Bhaja – fried eggplant; while the Punjabi can never pass a Paneer Pakoda – a cottage cheese mint chutney sandwich dunked in gram flour and fried golden crisp. The seafoodies can crunch on the golden fried prawns; though there are quite a few people who stay away from seafood in months that don’t end with an “r”. And for the busy housewife, or cook, the easiest is the mixedbhajiya that can have potatoes, onions, raw greens like fenugreek or spinach and anything else that just adds to the crunch. But the unusual ones that I have eaten were on an island off the coast of Thailand – where the most crunchy and tasty carrots, cauliflower and cabbage were separately deep fried in batter and served up as their version of the bhajiya, pakoda, bajji.
The romance of the season was heavily laden in the air around D Street, as the dreamy eyed D Boyz saw the grey clouds surrounding Europe, looked down at the brown and hard hitting local economic numbers like inflation, but magically transformed that into the green SENSEX graph almost all through the week (with the slight down move on Friday – somewhat like the romantic rains that can have some contrary results). So if SENSEX closed last Friday at 17065; it moved up this week to end at 17570 – a good 2.8% up. The rains on the west coast of India, the advancing monsoon in central and eastern India must have also buoyed their spirits; as also the football action in the southern hemisphere. Although, secretly, I feel that the D Boyz got to chomp on their favourite fritters while watching the soccer matches, that got them heady. It is good that the monsoons are here and the football season has some time to go.
This is also the season for the roasted corn (bhutta / makka) that one chews off the cob while traipsing down rain sodden streets. Wow; the rains are getting me into such a romantic modd. I must stop, and go out to get wet; the lightning strike outside and the silken drizzle under the grey sky is too much to resist.
Have a nice weekend and Cheers…