Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quirks and Idiosyncracies

Hotel Green Park has some very fond memories. I was one of the first guests there when the hotel was newly built. That must have been at least ten years ago.

But it wasn’t nostalgia that brought us for the break fast buffet last weekend. The hotel has a reputation for authentic south Indian food. “ Genuine Nellore cooks” My friend had informed. I was tempted.

The buffet was a veritable visual delight. As I surveyed the assorted fruit juices, my eyes caught an emerald green juice. The waiter looked alarmed when I filled a glass but said nothing. I can now say with my first hand experience that bitter gourd juice is the last thing you want to eat on an empty stomach! It reminded me of the custom of eating neem leaves on the Maharashtrian new year gudi padwa. Chastised I decided to stick to the known cuisines.

As I was finishing the sumptuous breakfast , I saw a platter of dougnuts, Danish pastries and croissants sitting incongruously in a corner. I suddenly felt a pang of guilt. Doughnut was something I ate everyday with coffee in the evenings in Miami. How could I forget my staple food so soon? Quietly I reached for one.

As I sat there eating my doughnut and slurping sambhar , an American sitting on the next table smiled and quipped, “ Now that’s what I called fusion food!” He was dunking his bread in spicy sambhar! I asked him if he ever heard the pot calling the kettle black! He gave a hearty laugh.

Thank god for idiosyncracies. They make for a delightful change.Imagine if all persons were prim and proper and looked like clones of each other!

I remember one very famous criminal lawyer in Gwalior. He used to argue his cases fiddling with the button of his shirt. He was simply unbeatable. That is until one of his opponent bribed his servant to remove that button. He just folded.

Bless David Shepeherd, one of the finest umpires, who died recently. His quirky humor, best expressed in standing on one leg whenever a nelson ( 111 or 222 ) was on board, endeared him to millions of spectators.

MF Hussain always walked bare foot though I wonder if this was more of a publicity stunt than a real quirk. Somehow I always feel he is more of a showman than a real quirk.

I know a friend who drinks chilled beer with piping hot soup. If that sounds strange , my ex boss used to eat grapes while having coffee. Try topping that.

My father’s friend had a strange habit. He always read the book from the end to the beginning. Yes even Agatha Christie and Hitchock! He said it was fun to see how the writer creates the story.

I am reminded of a software engineer in New York who only ate one cantaloupe in the whole day. When asked how did he manage, he would retort that a human body needs only that much energy. We pamper our body too much.

Some food for your thought!