One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote all our attention to Food .
KaBoom! The countdown for Deepawali (the festival of lights) has begun.
The month of October is loaded with festivities ,with Eid ,durga puja ,navratras all happening at the same time .The markets are buzzing with shoppers ,the Mithayi shops (sweet shops)churning out scrumptious mithais n namkeens .Apart from the usual traditional motichoor ladoo, kaju katli, soan papdi, karachi halwa, barfi and peda,
Sweets for the calorie conscious are also available. Even sugar-free ones for those unfortunate one’s who are diabetic.
For those who like things with a pinch of salt the variety is immense, the aroma of the fresh samosas, kachoris and such sinfully delightful things is too much to resist. Dandiyas, puja pandals, festive sales…You name it and it’s happening here.
This post is not about the usual festive happenings …..It’s just a bit different …
There is another aspect to this festive season .The Navratra and Ramadan fasting aka feasting which never ceases to amaze me.
NINE DAYS OF FASTING where you are supposed to eat a specific kind of diet .and boy what assortment of delectable dishes it is.
I watch with amazement as the five-star hotels, restaurants, chat walas prepare to lure the fasting community.
The women who are non working , gorge on the delicacies all through the day and still pretend they are fasting .The working women are less fortunate yet they grab whatever n when something comes their way .
A neighbor starts her day with juice followed by continues snacking of wafers ,potato chat , special vrat snacks and then at lunch it assortment of things from sabudana kheer to kuttu puris n two types of veggies ,fruits ,curds etc .
The evening is spent again munching something or the other and the night brings another round of choicest of delights.On asking she said, “Oh! You know I hardly eat these days..vrat hai na (am fasting na ) feel so weak”.
I sympathized with her and commented on how pale she looked, forming an instant bond with her .I gave her some healthy recipes to try and she gave the brightest of smiles I had ever seen.
You will wonder how I came to know of her all day hogging.Well that’s thanks to the human network chain (The Maids).
I burst out laughing the moment she was out of sight and narrated the whole thing to my hubby, who too was fasting. The story he told had all of us roaring with laughter .A group of fat panju (Panjabi) ladies, all decked up and looking like ‘chalta phirta’ makeup kit , came to the 24hour coffee shop (he works for a five star) and demanded the navratra special thali(which contains 4 kuttu puris , two veggies ,sawan rice ,kheer or kaddu ka meetha ,sabudana vada ,buttermilk and chef’s special for the day ).
Some of them were regulars and on asking, my hubby found that they were all on a Diwali shopping spree .None of them looked famished or tired .the team leader asked the steward to give them all, a round of juice and some fasting snack, by the time the food arrived.
After having some starchy snacks ,they attacked the main course as like hungry cats .Each of them digging into the massive thali full of exotic delights .None of them uttered a word .The entire process took not less than 45 min. and then she called out , “puttar , sanu diet coke dena please ,you know normal wale vich badi calories hondi hai”(son ,give us diet coke please as the normal one has too many calories ).After paying a hefty sum they managed to move their mighty asses ,happy and content, ready to spend the rest of the day ransacking some mall.
It is the same story with those keeping the Roza for Ramdan .A visit to old Delhi after sunset , during Iftar ,or a Iftar party ,which are a rage in Delhi ,will make your mouth water as the aromas of Haleem, kormas, kebabs, sheermal ,sewaiyan , gosht biryanis , phirni and much more, fill your entire being .
Talking of food reminds me of the food stalls specially the chat stalls which are the, oh so important part of Durga puja Pandals and Ramlila pandals in the city.
Delhi loves its food and the variety is astonishing. I often wonder how these women manage to tuck that all in. as I watch them with a felling of awe and horror I sometimes feel one of them surely will explode after the next bite she takes but the bottom less pit takes it all in and the fried snacks, chat pakodas, sweets, cokes n juices all go miraculously in their allotted compartments.
All I can say is three cheers to the foodies of Delhi.