The Pure Present

A long, leisurely lunch at the  wonderful ‘Smoke House Deli’ in the Hauz Khas village, overlooking the lake, with the beloved today, will go down as one of the beautiful and breathtaking moments of his  soon- to- end- trip this time.I guess most of you would wonder what is/was so spectacular about it ? I would reply nothing,actually.And ask you whether happiness is to be found only in remarkable circumstances ? What about quiet,  ordinary and unremarkable moments? Can they not fill us with joy ? We perhaps don’t notice them, waiting for some vague momentous thing to happen. The smile in your parents’ voice when you call them up at not the ‘usual ‘ time? The grin on your child’s face when junk food is allowed ? The  tender,green lissomness of your indoor plant as you water it ?The gleam of your car after you have washed it very lovingly ? That old vinyl record scratching out Marc Bolan’s magic ? So Mary Oliver talks about  such ordinary moments when there is a ‘seizure of happiness’. She says “Once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and — it was the most casual of moments — as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given” ( Mary Oliver, ” Long Life :Essays and Other Writings)

 I LOVE burgers.I  can never eat a burger in a lady-like and proper manner, though.  Till date , after countless burgers, the sight of one makes me beam and sink my teeth  hugely into it. The juice drips down my chin!Burger freaks will understand and appreciate that moment when the juice runs down your chin, it is one of incredible delight. Thus, this afternoon when I impatiently had my first bite of the ‘Smoked Cottage Cheese Double Burger’, I guess my face was a mess.And was that the moment when I had this ‘seizure of happiness’ ? No.It was when my guy, with a very resigned look on his face and an amused smile, wiped the juice off my face with his napkin. I really can’t describe the feeling I had in my heart then. Something like being wrapped in  rich, dark,warm molasses.

Then we went to my  bookstore and I pottered around happily,looking for my April ‘To Read’ list. I selected six books and he bought them for me. He did put a condition that I should read them only after he leaves as we have erm.. such other nicer things to do!Me nodded my head  vigorously in agreement 🙂

 Here are my April reads. They will always be special and timeless. ” The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream” ( Gibran).

april 1

1.Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Siije 2.Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 3. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar 4.The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo 5. The Garden Of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng 6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer.

april 4

  We picked up a cookbook too, ‘Flavours of Avadh’. While the recipes look real promising, its the mix of history and cuisine that the book depicts, is what that  caught my eye.The introduction to the book speaks of ‘legends of culture and cuisine’. ‘Avadh’, in British India, was known as the ‘United provinces of Agra & Oudh’ and is  still identified as the cultural capital of North Indian society today. It is a region which shaped up to be the cradle of north Indian aristocracy and is a vital link between tradition and modernity. It is the seat of a composite culture best known as ‘Ganga-Jamani tehzeeb”. I am looking forward to discovering more about the ‘tehzeeb’, ‘tameez’ and ”nafasat’ of this rich cultural heritage of my land while I try to cook the fare of the erstwhile Nawabs. I guess I missed my Dad a little too, because one of the recipes is ‘Nargisi Kofta” ( Mince covered eggs in gravy) which the great man claims that he  can make and one which we all ( including my guy Adi ) have heard innumerable tall stories about. But many moons have passed and Dad is yet to make it! The man can spin a yarn, I tell you guys!

That’s all from the accidental sufi today,guys.Got to get dressed for dinner.A small party at home for our friends.Beer, kebabs ( from a fantastic take away joint near my house) and Sabbath! Unbeatable combo, non ?

The beloved just walked in. I look up. An unremarkable moment but yet so special..I have never seen any man that looked so damn great in a white shirt and blue jeans.

Mar jawan, guys.Mar jawan!