Spice of Life: What’s life without little chilli and salt! - Hindustan Times
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Spice of Life: What’s life without little chilli and salt!

ByAlka Kashyap
May 22, 2024 09:46 AM IST

We’re a happy nation, voracious to the core. One of the hot topics of discussion besides politics, sports and films is food, in the reverse order of priority. We are forever contemplating what to eat, where to eat and if there are more variations to a particular dish.

I’ve been an avid traveller and the spark to discover new lands continues to grow. While my eyes are on a constant wanderlust, my heart has never developed a taste for the food in other countries.

I yearn for the homemade food and my prowess of exploration remains sharply tuned for any whiff of Indian food around. (HT File)
I yearn for the homemade food and my prowess of exploration remains sharply tuned for any whiff of Indian food around. (HT File)

Even after having tasted divine cuisines in more than 30 countries, the gourmand Punjabi in me still leaps out every time I set my foot on foreign soil. I yearn for the ‘ghar ka khana’ (homemade food), and my prowess of exploration remains sharply tuned for any whiff of Indian food around. The pangs of nostalgia brush across my culinary cravings, in a manner so acute that whenever I have to make do with bread, sausage and mayonnaise, I almost wish to be drowned in a bowl of curry. Not much to do with patriotism, but it’s the lingering taste of masalas (spices) that I have grown up with.

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My gastronomical urges take me beyond the historical sites of a foreign land, and like a questing ferret, I have often had a ‘eureka’ moment at the sight of a small Indian eatery tucked away in some obscure corner. Though in today’s times Indian dishes are getting popular, there are still teeming millions across the globe, who have either not savoured or even heard of the delish Indian fare.

It’s hard to fathom how in the world do people live their lives without even knowing of butter chicken, ‘chole bhature’, ‘crunchy naans’ and delectable biryani. The list is endless and to think that many of the rich and famous ones have not indulged in the luxury of the Great Indian Food Factory is incredible. Ignorance here is not bliss, in fact, it’s a miss!

To those who feel that the world is divided by rivers and mountains, my gluttony heart says that it is the gravy on this side of the kitchens that sets us apart. The West may be a bit uptight about being better than the Third World, but the fact that they have not been able to roll out a perfectly shaped ‘roti’ leaves a lot of room for them to improve. They fail where even a lady working on a humble ‘chulha’ can come up with a soul-satiating tandoori roti or kulcha. While their pita bread and burritos are a close cousin of our scrumptious food, but the wondrous meal of the rich mattar paneer or black gram dal on a simple stove wins hands down.

We’re a happy nation, voracious to the core. One of the hot topics of discussion besides politics, sports and films is food, in the reverse order of priority. We are forever contemplating what to eat, where to eat and if there are more variations to a particular dish.

How blessed I feel to be born and to be living in the vicinity of Lucky da Dhaba and dreaming of lip-smacking chaat, hot doodh jalebi and gulab jamuns! And if you are in India, dreams do come true. alkagaurkashyap@gmail.com

The writer is a Chandigarh-based advocate

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