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The rain reminded me of hot sambar and podi idli. My son was visiting & husband was home too... so I thought why not order some podi idli!
The rain reminded me of hot sambar and podi idli. My son was visiting & husband was home too… so I thought why not order some podi idli!
An exciting message from a friend announces her new home food venture. The unstoppable rain reminds me of hot sambar and podi idli. My son is visiting, and my husband is at home too. I must order something.
India is a land of contrasts. Being in the North, eating out means butter chicken, dal makhani, mutton rogan josh. My son did his schooling in the South of India. So, the aroma of rasam and sambar finds itself coming to me whenever I feel wistful.
Today, I woke up to the sound of water beating down the AC outside the window. My heart shouted out silently to welcome the monsoon. Even though the torrential rain has pulled a big branch out of my favourite Gulmohar tree, my spirits are buoyant.
It has blocked the road in front of my gate. Ah! Just as well. Less traffic, less noise, let the rain be the boss today. Glancing at the headlines of the newspaper makes my heart sink. The increasing poverty is pushing up the crime rate. My phone beeps incessantly to break my daydream.
My trips to his school were idyllic. Walking on the wet, muddy paths, with umbrellas, avoiding snakes, our sandalled feet taking the colour of red mud, we ran to the dining hall for hot, freshly cooked meals.
Sambar was a given, with rice, rasam, buttermilk – the regular companions. Then there were other vegetables, rotis, dessert and more. The dining hall was noisy with excited children, overseen by the matrons, who made sure they had a nutritious, balanced meal.
The older kids enjoyed their independence and ate as they pleased. Eating on a banana leaf was strange for me. I thought of hundreds of banana trees losing their leaves to be used as faux plates.
Parents, teachers, visiting intellectuals, professors congregated at mealtimes, and lively conversation ensued. After meals, we washed our dishes or discarded the banana leaves, and the kids went back to their routine day at school.
The hot afternoon was siesta time, followed by Astachal, a great evening practice of watching the sunset in meditative silence. The sun rays filtering through the iconic hills of Rishi Valley gave a surreal effect, with the whole Valley becoming quiet.
One could hear only the birds chirping, getting back to their nests, the gentle wind fanning across the Valley, the fragrance of the flowers, and the noise of the night insects beginning to get loud and croaking of the toads in the nearby pond.
Ah, what a feeling it was! To experience it was magical, and no words are good enough to describe it.
I sat down to enjoy the hot sambar and podi idli from my friend’s new venture. Tiny idlis coated with masala gave me hope. With a bit of effort and research, I can make podi idli too.
But it makes me happy to order from home chefs and tip the delivery guy, who grins happily in the drizzle and says Thank you, Ma’am.
It is time to support small businesses. By increasing productivity, jobs will be created, and more opportunities will open.
I celebrate the monsoon with his smile and a bite into the podi idli with steaming hot sambar!
Image source: Idli / By Sarthak from Pexels and a still from Piku
Bindiya is a linguist and works for a diplomatic mission in New Delhi. She is a published author, reluctant poet, passionate bibliotherapist and a happiness harbinger. Her heart beats in her community-building volunteer organization - “ read more...
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