Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Transient Sandgi Mirchi Life....



My FB friend Padma Anagol , of Pune , decided to have " soul satisfying  comfort food" for lunch, and what could be better than  Waran Bhat, ghee, salt, and a piece of lemon,  with a fried sandgi mirchi  giving the final spicy crunchy touch ?

Its possible that that a lemon pickle and/or poha papad  were sulking somewhere, but  the day belonged to the Sandgi Mirchi.

What really made it wonderful, was the composition of this photo, or "Plating" as they call it in professional food and cooking circles.

Gave the Bhat, Waran and Sandgi Mirchi  a story to tell. Or, maybe a poem ?

The original in the King's (Shivaji Maharaj's ) language, and then a version in the Queen's (Elizabeth II's) ......

     (photo courtesy Padma Angol)

ओट्यावर एक वाफ़ाळेला भात ,
त्याच्या आयुष्यात रंग पेरायला
धाऊन आलेले सोनेरी वरण ,
आणि इकडे तिकडे काहीतरी शोधत
येउन पोचलेले तूप, मीठ आणि लिंबू .

एक मसालायुक्त शेलाटी सांडगी मिरची,
एका फ़ळीवरच्या काचेच्या बरणीत
दाटी दाटी ने बसून
आपल्या आयुष्याचा विचार करते काय ,
आणि देवानी हाक ऐक्ल्यासारखी
बर्णी अचानक उघडते काय ….

बघता बघता मिरचीची तेल्परीक्षा ,
उकळत्या तेलात विहार करून,
मन कडक करून ,
brown is lovely म्हणत
तिचे झार्यात आगमन ,
आसमंतात खमंग सुवास ,
आणि
आनंदाने वितळ्णार्या तुपासमक्ष
तिचे वरण भातावर विराजमान होणे

एका क्षणासाठी का होईना ,
तिला राणी झाल्यासारखं वाटलं .
आणि पुढ्च्याच मिनिटात तिचे
वरण भातात आत्मसमर्पण ….

वरण भात काय, असतोच .
पण असतील बहु, होतील बहु ,
पण सांडगी मिरची या सम हीच ……।
A carefree fragrant rice
steamed to perfection,
a golden Waran,***
concerned about
putting color
into a hitherto colorless life,
and some ghee,
lemon and salt types
making tentative overtures
while searching for something.

And away to one side,
on a kitchen shelf,
a Sandgi Mirchi**** lass
ensconced in a glass jar,
sitting cheek by jowl
with other sandgis,
thinking about her life.

The Lord hears,
and the jar is opened
and she faces her toughest exam;
The Hot Oil Dip.
She dives into the boiling oil,
stiffens herself,
and wonders at her transformation
to a slim brown diva,
"Brown and Lovely!"
she says
as she is escorted out,
amidst yum fragrances,
and left amidst the rice
only to see
the ghee
simply melting in excitement.

Queen for a moment,
and a minute later
she lies amidst the rice
in a tasty harakiri.

Waran Bhat.
Everyday fare.
But the Sandgi Mirchi
will remain in their mind
for years to come...






*** Waran :Marathi for plain dal.
**** Sandgi Mirchi :  Sundried stuffed chillies, fried and used at meals.

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