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Indian Belly

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Khana thanda ho jayega!

Indian Belly, My Dubai, Nostalgia

I am sitting in the dining room, back home (Having been married for more than a decade, home is and will always be my parent’s house; one where I grew up with my little sister and one where my little girl spends her summer vacations each year). My little chefling is enjoying the makhane ki kheer her nani made for her to try and I am looking at both of them enjoying each other’s company with a cup of coffee in my hand. My parents don’t drink coffee but always make sure they have a jar ready for me when we visit.

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Happy Onam: Carnival of Kerala

Indian Belly, Nostalgia, Trumpet Lead

There many ways to know that the town is getting ready to celebrate Onam. The resonating sounds of the chenda and the rhythmic singing and clapping of Kaikottikali being one. And the fragrance of pookkalam and the procession of majestically embellished elephants being another. Yes, it’s the streets of Kerala that come alive and send across the message that the state is gearing up for Onam. Ask any Malayali to sum up his thoughts on this high spirited harvest festival and pat will come the reply, “It’s a celebration that brings together the entire state”, and it truly does and how.

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Doodh, dahi, malai, makhan aur ghee!

Food, Indian Belly

“Now be a good boy/girl and finish your glass of milk” is a statement most Indian kids are familiar with. From the time we are born our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and all the other elderly women in the family insist that we drink one glass of milk in the morning before we go to school and one in the evening before we go out to play. Such is the national obsession with “doodh” that the milk mooch (moustache) is worn with a lot of pride.

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What are your favourite chai partners?

Food, Indian Belly

Ask most Indians and they’d agree that there’s something about the garma garam chai that makes chilly winter mornings warmer and sultry summer evenings tolerable. On weekends, there is no rush, you can hold a cup in your hands and absorb the beauty of the sunrise. On weekdays, when you’re running around like a headless chicken the same cup of chai (or cha as my maternal grandmother would say) when multiplied by three or sometimes four helps keep your sanity intact. In short, a cup of chai simply makes one’s life better. As for me, I’ve always been more fascinated with what comes along with the chai than the chai itself. Think conversations, people, favourite chai spots and snacks; yes, especially the snacks.

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चाइ की दुकान

Food, Horn OK Please, Indian Belly

Masala chai…cutting chai… kadak chai…garam chai…chai malaai maar ke! You’re familiar with these sounds, aren’t you? You’ve heard them on childhood train journeys to the nanihaal(maternal grandparents’ home) orescapades to the mountains, saving yourself from sweltering summer heat. They’re the chants of tea sellers or chaiwallahs, emanating from stalls that dot the streets of urban and rural India. This beckoning is a charm, a talisman, bearing witness to our formative years.

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