Something terrible has befallen me.
More terrible than the ketchup packet finishing before the McDonald’s burger does, or a plate of ordered fish and chips coming to me with the pitiful eye in place. Yes, even more terrible than this. Why, I am being held captive on a private ‘island’ called Brobdingnag!
Of course that is a real place, stop doubting me. Ask Swift. Or better still, turn the pages in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ beyond Lillliput and see this map. Here, the natives are giants and I don’t just say that because of how I stand, vertically. When I first came to after my kidnapping, I thought my eyes were playing games with me. Too much eye-strain on FB and taking its frustration out by shooting down characters living inside my PS2 must have done it. However, this was not about retina, iris, cornea or lenses failing me.
This was real.
They were larger than church steeples and with voices like speaking-trumpets. I was sorry for calling my Mrs. Chadha-of-the-sarchy-comments a barbarian. At best, now, she seemed like an over-fed bird who spat the extra bird-seeds when she spoke. Nothing else, God bless her but I digress. These here were real barbarians of gargantuan proportions and I had no choice but to look at my humble bust-line and sigh – Alas! Raw mangoes have turned mosquito bites, over night!
Size mattered here, and a humble melancholy tone I used at all times. No matter that all I wanted to do was laugh at the magnifying glass effect of the life around me right now. What is fair and white at a distance is moon’s surface at close quarters, thus spake Marlowe the Moon Man from Noddy? It is true, but greater details of humans up close thus would mean losing an appetite that was storming inside my stomach.
I was asked 5 foods which I wanted to eat for the day. No more, and could be less. But less is something no Punjabi blood can accept, of anything. I screamed five, five I will have most certainly, and secretly wondered if I could throw in a freebie .5. But I needed time to think. So one of them picked me up in his handkerchief and left me at the beach. Alone.
Here I am now.
And this is tough. From the most exotic to the most mundane are vying for place in the alimentary canal in my brain. Names of restaurants which served homely food and masalas which made home food like restaurants fly around. As do fat versus skimmed, organic versus inorganic chemistry and non-vegetarian versus whatever. I wriggle my toes in the sand to stimulate my memory and that is it!
5 gorgeous dishes with pictographic details come to mind. And true to my ‘assi tussi kissi shissy’ bloodline, I want to mix up cuisines much like tamator sauce in Ming dynasty soup is by us, or butter-tey-scotch ice cream melting on a G-jam. I want my table in Brobdingnag, like any Punjabi table in fine dining, to look like a mini globe standing for equality, liberty, fraternity, conti and Punjaby.
In the order of the courses, I have picked 5 dishes. Now remember, these will be served to me in plates the size of a 12-seater dining table. So they had to be the best of the best, and those which I could never have enough of.
Dish 1 – Maggi
And did I hear a yay? I don’t know how long I have been in Borbdingnag, but the urge to eat what forms daily my Masterchef dish in The Deylee is so strong. No other dish can bring out the culinary creativity lodged deep deep too deep down inside of me like this one does. So first, I wanted a plate of plain and simple Maggi. Humble beginnings lead to stardom, they say.
Dish 2 – Pizza
Isn’t this a sight to look at? Extremely delicious to taste too. Imagine getting a Super Super Large size of this to eat, for free. Why, I would roll like a drunk Goddess topping the toppings. Eat every single buckwheat base crumb and each piece of the pan-grilled vegetables. My food celebrity Sangeeta created the recipe and my taste buds went on an over-drive. So this has to be one of my five.
Dish 3 – Jackfruit Pulao
Imagine a hill of this in front of you, for in Brobdingnag that’s how it’s served. The rice the colour of noon, the coriander smelling fresh and the juicy pieces of jackfruit giving character to it all and binding the ingredients of this unique dish together. Jackfruit is manna for those rare vegetarian Punjabis who don’t eat meat, but consume this with relish, often remarking – ‘This tastes like mutton!’ for they all tasted blood once. The day my friend Rachna showed this to me I have wanted to eat it. Little did I know then that I would be having a mound of it soon, and that too ready-made! How about that freebie .5 in the form of pickle to go with it?
But wait? Three salty dishes and none sweet? The sight of the saline sea is affecting my sweet tooth enamel. Dear me! Dear me!
Dish 4 – P-Nut Bar
I will lie down on this first, for who wouldn’t want to on a bed of chocolate? And then I would eat what a fun friend Sid made for me just before I was made captive. Oh, I could make a little house out of this, with doors and windows and call it my permanent abode. The plate outside will say 'Yum Residence'!
How full I will be after consuming all this! Satiated, and for all you know the size of one of these giants around me? Chhaijee, my grandmother’s cousin sister who was very close to my grandfather’s children told our family how jaggery digests like nothing else. So …
Dish 5 – Gur Parantha
The finale for the day will be this, a dish made by Hrishikesh ‘the chocolate boy’. This is a guy who lives to eat and he has to has to know how to digest all that food too. Has to! In the hot and melted jaggery that will ooze from a sofa-sized half I will swim all day ...
Of freedom from captivity, I will think another day.
[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was - 5 a Day - You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?]