Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Entertaining Read - Spices are sweet by DD

“I don’t want to change the world I just want to get married” these are the words which still remain engraved in my mind as I closed the  last page of “Spices are sweet” by DD. A new book which is just coming into the market. I actually spotted it on when I was browsing and something about the artwork and the title intrigued me making me buy it.
Damn! I said to myself. I never realized how much pressure there is for a female to get married. Well not just married; but married to the right partner as per the definitions of what is considered right in the eyes of the public. And that can be summarized in three words. Wealth! Family Background!  Education!  It can lead a person to insanity or even worse.
It is a serious problem. But I couldn’t help laughing incessantly and feeling hungry as I devoured this book to the end. Do pardon me for using food metaphors to describe the book but it is done intentionally. 
The writer has handled the subject of “arranged marriages” in a delightfully entertaining manner without compromising on the seriousness of the issue and its impact which is commendable. The writing style is as crisp and zesty as a well prepared salad.  And just like a salad the writer has tossed in lots of other tit bits making it an absolutely delicious read.
For instance there are villains and heroes, gay guys and straight guys, evil sisters and kind grandmothers, village and city life, envious wives and trusting girl friends and amidst all this it is layered with reference to some very nice Indian cuisine which benefitted the Indian food industry in town as I could not resist the urge to consume Indian food whilst reading.  Not just once but (too) many times. Oh and I almost forgot to mention there is also a crazy swami and a drugged pigeon. And the icing on the cake is that the book has a happy ending. What more could you ask for an entertaining read which does not stress you out?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Permanently Temporary!

"You know this is all temporary don't you?" She said

"Of course I do but isn't the close connection/bond we share forever? He tells her looking into her eyes intensely.

"Yes; of course it is"

"Then let's make the most of the little time we have together so that we can look back without regret of the wonderful memories we shared."

"Yes... true... but sometimes when I am with you I am in a different world and forget reality ".

Thus the story remains without an end... as they keep ebbing and flowing into each other’s life in a perpetual state of temporary permanence.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Oxymoronic Biriyani that got me completely wasted!

An Oxymoronic Biriyani??? What on earth is that? That’s the first thing which crossed my mind when we were invited for lunch the other day to sample this mysterious dish. Even though I wondered for many days what kind of concoction this would be nothing came to mind till the day we stepped into M&Ms house and lunch was served. When it suddenly dawned on me that this was the happy conclusion to a conversation which took place many moons ago…
To appreciate this conversation fully we need to go back in time to the jungle…
It was a night of absolute splendor. We were in the middle of the jungle enjoying our drinks listening to the crackling of the camp fire and enjoying the warm glow of a Wesak full moon creating weird shadows and silhouettes which were eerie and beautiful at the same time. I was after my second drink and I told everyone wistfully that how my dream was to eat a pork biriyani and how virtually impossible that is because the best biriyani is made by those of the Muslim faith.. What was unveiled to us in all its glory was indeed (Cue in fanfare music) a pork biriyani!

How sweet was that M (the wife of M and the female half of M&M) had remembered my wish and decided to make it come true a couple of months later.
The Biriyani was amazingly tasty. Not only was it filled with thick juicy, succulent pieces of pork. But it also had some Nai Miris added to it giving it a different dimension in flavor. It was also served with some delicious accompaniments which included Lingus curry as well as pineapple curry and of course the Minchy Sambol. What a feast it was and I was full after whacking two full plates of this rich Biriyani. The fact that I had drunk three glasses of wine before lunch and also downed a portion of chocolate biscuit pudding - which was generously laced with brandy -  as dessert did not help either.
I crawled home and got onto my couch and fell asleep like a log and woke up only after six. To call it waking up is an understatement because even though I opened my eyes I felt like I had been run over by a car. I was lifeless and it felt like I have drunk two bottles of tequila all by myself. Oh my goodness I was hung over by eating. In Sinhalese there is a word for it. It is called “Ismuruthawa”  which means the feeling of absolute lack of control which over comes you after consuming a heavy meal. Specially a meal which has lots of fat and sugar in it. Apparently the body utilizes all its resources (Blood) to digest the food which in turn leaves you motionless and lethargic.
Sadly there is a downside to all this uncontrollable gluttony I missed a wedding of a very close friend of mine.  What a shame. The food could have waited to be eaten another day unlike the wedding which couldn’t. I do hope I am forgiven.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A thank you to an unknown stranger… for a gift of words

I saw something unusual amidst a pile of cast aside newspapers and other junk lying on a barrel.  To my amazement it was an English novel. The last thing one would expect to find in the middle of the jungle.  In the kitchen of Chef Roy at the Pahalahentota camp site to be precise. I had just arrived at the camp site some minutes before and had wandered in to say hello to him  more to find out what there was for dinner than social nicety.
“Wow Roy! I am quite impressed by your reading material” I said when I realized that the novel was Anil’s ghost by Michael Ondaatje. I always thought that Michael Ondaatje’s novels would be a tough and boring read.  I think it was by watching the movie “The English Patient” which made me come to this conclusion. As I flipped through the pages of the book my opinion changed drastically.  The writing was not pompous and high brow at all in fact it was pretty down to earth and simple. The first few pages of the book captivated me so much that I ended up nationalizing it. And I am glad I did so because it was an interesting read.
In the end it turned out that the book was NOT something Roy or any of the staff of the camp were reading. It was left behind by an English girl who had visited the camp site before us. I was so thankful to this kind generous person for leaving her book behind. Because if I had not flipped through this book by accident I would have been denied the pleasure of discovering this authors writing.
I know it is highly unlikely that whoever who left this book would be reading this blog but just in case it happens let me say thank you to this kind and generous soul. If not for you I would have been denied the pleasure of the words of Mr. Michael Ondaatje which I relish so much. A sad situation created by my own stupidity. So I owe you one and will buy you a drink if our paths ever happen to cross.
 I must confess I did not think the plot of the story intriguing. But something about the style of his writing made me really enjoy this book. In fact now I can’t wait till I get my hands on the English patient. They say do not judge a book by its cover but guess a modern adaptation of it could also be do not judge a book by the movie it has been made into. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Bigger and better camping experience

I woke up confused...
Above me I could see a canopy of trees and hear the sound of birds. A sensory experience I generally associate with the jungle. But I was in a large room. In my sleepy eyed blurriness I could make out a table with a fruit bowl on it. And I could feel the luxurious sheets which were wrapped around me and the cozy pillows which I was nestled against. Where was I? Could it be that I am in Kandalama? Nope it cannot be! And as I began to sputter awake and my eyes began to focus I realized that the walls in my room were made out of tent fabric.
It was then that it dawned on me that I was actually camping in the jungles. Of course once again it was with the crew of master campers who have given me no reason to look for an alternate supplier as they continue to shower me with good pricing and extend a hospitality filled with such genuine warmth that it can only be described as priceless. Also this is the fourth time we are camping with them which means all of them are more like extended family by now.
I have already written about my camping experience with them before on here but this time our experience was bigger and better. And it was all because of a tent. A luxury tent which they had recently manufactured. But to call it a tent is a crime similar to calling a diamond a piece of rock. I think it would be better to call it a suite made out of tented material. 
Firstly it was so roomy and spacious that it could easily accommodate four beds and also a table where they had daintily placed a fresh fruit basket and a glass vase with potpourri. Also there was an attached toilet with a wash basin and a shower stall with believe it or not hot and cold water. You have to see it to believe it.
Generally the food these guys serve is pretty good but with the bigger and better luxury tent the food offering too has gone to an entire new level. For instance this luxury tent package comes with seven course dinner and unlimited liquor.

We were also extremely blessed to see bear as well as leopard twice for three safaris this time around in Yala. In fact one would not be wrong if they thought that that the bear belonged to the trained and performing kind because it kept entertaining everyone right in the middle of the road for over an hour. 
It was a spur of the moment decision to take my family to Yala it turned out to be a good one. The sightings as well as the comfort and the food of course made it an absolutely relaxing holiday and I really can’t wait till I go back to their warm and  welcoming embrace once again.