A fine Saturday morning, rising sun making way for the pouring clouds; one of those days you wished would stay forever, making you feel the beauty of nature, bereft of all the artificial temperature controllers. I was only glad that I didn't have to spend such a day staring at any stupid monitor.
I had an appointment to keep. Bringing some purpose to my day, I was to teach elementary mathematics to graduate students. Aptitude training – never did I think in the wildest of my dreams to don such a role. The caprices of life are so unpredictable; this was the second time I was doing this and I must admit, it turned out to be a memorable experience about which I intend to write sometime. So, after a few hours of yelling, yes now I realize the importance of voice for teachers, I was all exhausted. I told Ajai that I need good food to make up for all the energy I just lost. Ajai and I, apart from being schoolmates have this special thing in common – we both enjoy our food. We are not gluttons though; the right word would be gourmets or connoisseurs. Apart from the fact that we appreciate good food, we savor them. No we are not really gluttons. J
Just that we use of our taste buds extensively. Not many people do that. I am proud to say we are among the enlightened few.
So I suggested Mainland China – a brilliant Chinese restaurant, he said zaras – an Italian one with tapas bar. Then we thought of our common friend, another school mate who’s also in Chennai. Now this guy, Manoj is always the Bakra. Poor chap, always ends up paying for our rampages. The sad part is, amongst the three he would be mistaken for the glutton, thanks to the biological reactions in his body. Though he eats only half as much as we do, he looks twice as much as we are ;) and by some spate of fate, always ends up paying for us. I have to acknowledge his magnanimous heart. I am sure Ajai will agree. Coming back to deciding on the restaurant, I suggest crimson chakra, a place close to where Manoj stays. A place neither of us have been. So we are agreed. Just as I was giving direction to Manoj, Ajai suggest we pick him up from his house. This took us on the verge of ECR – east coast road, a beautiful road along the Bay of Bengal which every Chennaite would enjoy riding on. Now the plan changes and off we go zooming along east coast to Mahabalipuram – a small town famous for its temples, rock carvings, statues and a lot more. Most importantly this place is very popular for fishes, which is why we were going.
Off we go to sea shore garden resort. A small place right in the middle of the beach, almost touching the waters; covered with thatched roof and adorned in simple interiors, this place is a treat to the eye. You could sit there and feel the magical sea breeze tickle your senses. The waves almost in front of you; the babes also add to the color. Sadly, Manoj is unlucky again – he’s fasting until Christmas– a ritual he so ardently exercises without any worldly incentive. Fasting would mean staying away from all sorts of non vegetarian food including egg. May the good Lord bless him in abundance.
We start our orders with gobi for him and fish for us J. We start with calamari, proceed to masala fried fish – I don’t know the name of the fish but it was decent in size. Chopped to small pieces and friend with nice masala and when topped with lime, made for a great dish. But the calamari was definitely the better of the two. We were done with that, but were in no mood to go in for any main course, so we ask the waiter what else he has to offer us. He brings us a plate of tiger prawns spread in mouth watering masala. The plate is clean in less than two minutes. We call him again and this time he says he will check with the sea. He is evidently amused at our potential. In the gap, he fills ours table with some spicy pepper chicken which I leave it to Ajai to handle. All the while our dear friend is feeding on gobi. Taking pity on him, we call the waiter and ask what else they have in vegetarian cuisine. He thinks for long and says he has chips – fried potato. With no other option, we order one of that. By the time that came, our table was clean again. Once again we call the waiter and ask him for the best he can offer us in fish. He goes back in and shows us a good long fish. We nod our heads and what comes to our table is nothing but bliss. That long fish mixed in finger licking masala, kept as is in one huge plate. Pure heavenly bliss; we pounce on it with a respectful bow. To our friend we say – God bless you! For having resisted the temptation to immerse in ecstasy; for the next few minutes, the table was silent. It was unadulterated pleasure. Strictly for a food aficionado;
Oh… a treat it was… to the tongue and to the eye. Harmony couldn't have manifest in any way better. Peace, blessing, love – whatever they call that state of mind where you are in a world away from the usual – we were in that. I can’t be too sure of Manoj now :p. we just sat there staring at the sea for another hour, letting the waves wash over us, indulging in a luxury which many don’t discover.
I must say, a truly memorable day…