Monday, September 21, 2009

EID happens only in India!!!!!!!!

While in school, two of my favorite stories were Somerset Maugham’s The Luncheon and Munshi Premchand’s Idgah. I can’t remember how many times I read both of them.

Munshi Premchand was the master of understatement. His signature style was his simplicity. Idgah is the sublime story of a four year old orphan’s conquering of his temptations on the Eid day and sacrificing his idi in buying a pair of tongs for his grandmother. I can only think of ‘ The gift of Magi’ which captures the sacrifice in love so brilliantly.

Sadly in our eclectic circle we didn’t have any muslim and so till I entered college, eid was something we only watched on the television. Everything changed when a muslim friend came to live in our colony and they became family friends. Eid became as much a part of our lives as Diwali. I remember the fun we had going to his dad for Idi. He would buy some gifts for us in advance.

We used to wait for the Eid ka Chand and the subsequent declaration by the Imam of Delhi.

One Eid there was some confusion. But I was a real hog and always greedy for the tempting sheer korma. So I woke up early morning switched on the radio and rushed to their house to wish. The startled family woke up to a commotion which was rare in their house. we were summoned to get milk. The milk had vanished from the market. His father went to buy meat. We scoured the whole city and brought the milk from far. I was sitting behind on the motorcycle clutching the can like a trophy and this guy zooming like a rodeo. That evening as we sat for the meals, there was a lot of laughter. It was the most satisfying we ever had.

Later when I moved to Hyderabad, Ramzan and Eid became a big part of our social calendar. A new world of mouth watering delicacies were introduced. Haleem and nihari along with the biryanis and mirchi bhajjis became synonymous with Hyderabad. ( I was notorious because I used to remove the mirchi and eat only the fritter! My hyderabadi friends hated me for that but I cant eat Mirchi to save my life!)

We were busy during the ramzan days exploring places like the Grand Kakatiya and Hotel Viceroy. Now this hotel has been taken over by the Marriot.

Hotel Niagara also was one popular joint. But I never went there much.

Once one local friend derided us as elitist and snobs and offered to take us to the most happening place, the Charminar in Old Hyderabad. I must confess that if you discount the unhygienic conditions , it has the most delicious food available. So we carried our own water but at the last moment our defences crumbled and so got the whole thing packed and ate it at home. It was heavenly. I did eat there once though and it was heavenly. I remember once we were not in Hyderabad and while returning kept discussing about haleem in the car. Imagine when we reached the outskirts , our friend orders the driver to Charminar and as people were having their morning tea, this guy sat and ate haleem at 4 am much to our amusement.

Even the haleem packaged by pista house was a hit.

‘Tabla’ was the one to go for Biryani. I know the local hyderabadis will wrinkle their noses. But Hotel Niagra doesn’t serve Beer! On second thoughts , even Blue fox was good. To be fair enough there are so many wonderful joints , its impossible to really pick.

When I moved to UK, my neighbours were all Pakistanis. They used to send very aromatic and delicious sweet rice full of dry fruits. My mom always was scandalized. She used to warn me don’t eat their food. I must say , they were the finest neighbors we had. Ignorance breeds hatred. I once saw one Restaurant owner from Lahore who was fondly feeding a sikh youngster who had just arrived from India . Later he told me that he was from Amritsar before the partition and this youngster reminded him of his home in Delhi.
We must remember that the blood flowing in everyone’s veins is red.

Perhaps festivals could be a good way of reducing the animosity between two communities.

The delectable cuisine from the Muslim kitchen could easily warm the cockles of any Hindu’s heart just as which muslim could resist the aromas of a hindu rasoi.

I am blessed to be born in a rain bow country where every diversity vanishes in the cauldron of a unifying sheer korma.

Eid Mubarak.

17 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing the experience.
    EID Mubarak

    ReplyDelete
  2. Eid Mubarak to you too sm and thanks for stopping by. grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Firstly Eid Mubarak to all.
    Sir, this is truly a masterpiece.
    Today my mom was quarreling with me that there shouldn't be any inter caste marriage and she had a weird opinion about different religions. She was strongly supported by my grandmother.
    I was all alone and I couldn't understand how to make them understand that all such divisions are man made...
    Now I know how to this blog can make a change and actually help me!!
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Rishi, thanks for your effusive praise. i feel overwhelmed. Thanks very much indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Man! U do have a style!!! I have come across soooo many pieces on unity in diversity and all tht. Never did I read tht in such a great Style. The route which goes thru the stomach and the nose, the tongue getting intoxicated on the way!!!!!!
    I remembered my Child hood, having sewaies in my muslim frns house. I remembered Nashik. I remembered That AROMA!
    I was missing this eid since last two days. Never did I think, I will get it back thru this blog (By a Non muslim).
    You have got two fans in a day. A Baap Beta team!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sir I am humbled. you are right. this is unique. never had any baap beta team before. that speaks much about the kind of values you nurture.For a father the biggest compliment is when a son treats him as a friend.

    You may perhaps enjoy my tribute to my father in march - To dad with love.

    Thanks once again for those kind words.

    ReplyDelete
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  8. Very well written, Sudhir. It's like reading the ankho-dekha-haal of the eid we'd celebrated here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Satish,
    Thanks very much. In fact my sister was critical of this post as she said its more of food than festival :P

    ReplyDelete
  10. just saw your other blog , write very touching post , nishant.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Nishant
    thanks for your comments. very few ppl visited my other website. grateful for that.

    ReplyDelete
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