19.11.05

Me a pickle freak

I am sitting at my desk and sneaking in a piece of mango pickle into my mouth (Colleague SB brings them on Saturday along with her aloo paranthas). If ever there was heaven, it is here, it is here, it is here.

I have always been a pickle freak. Especially pickled kul (I do not know the English equivalent for Kul). Whenever bottles of it would arrive at home in my grandma's suitcase, I would stash away one of them beneath the bed. Because when I was a kid, I was incredibly fond of two things as any other kid would be I guess - chocolates and pickles.

And I would hide them carefully since my brother had a bad habit of keeping them in the fridge right in front of my nose and preserving them for ages. Of course it wouldn't last. I would finish them off and Inevitably there would be a hue and cry about it and my mother would be ready to chase me around the dining table (it took some time, because the table happened to be really quite long).

The chocolates would come courtesy my aunt (father's sister) and my uncle (father's bro) from London. They would come in attractive packages like huge red stockings around Christmas. That was the time my aunt used to come down with my two cousins - Anna and Anthony - laden with perfumes, clothes, cookies and chocolates. Oh what times they were! I would stay with them for the entire time they were in Calcutta. It used to be a major party with their cousins as well accompanying us to trips to restaurants and the golf clubs. And there used to be this sardarji driver there who would take us around town. Nice man he was and very fond of me. I would chat with him for hours. Now I wonder what was the point around which our conversation centered.

The pickles though were a sore point with our family. Some baby or the other had died in the previous generation and mysteriously it was linked to the process of pickle making. Now don't ask me how? I am as confused and angry about it. I used to crib to my mother about it - why did we have to be saddled with such a weird excuse of not being able to make pickles?

Once I decided to flout this custom and I set out to make a bottle of lemon pickles for myself. It was an ambitious project may I say. First of all, my ma was not at all happy about the amount of lemons I had emptied on to the mat on the roof to be sun dried. Following which I dumped them into a bottle filled with a mixture of salt and sugar syrup. I waited for weeks till I opened the bottle.

I think it had turned into some kind of fungus instead of my dream pickle. So I have contemplating since then that it might have been a curse after all.

Now let me respond to Thalassa's tag before she accuses me of ignoring it!

Seven things I plan to do
1. Travel to my heart's content.
2. Open a paan boutique.
3. Own a nice sprawling farmhouse with lush greens all around. And have as my companions - an elephant, a horse, a panda and two dogs.
4. Keep a check on my foot-in-the-mouth disease.
5. Fall in love.
6. Get married at Cyprus - sort of an island wedding.
7. Shop without looking at the tags.

Seven things I can't do
1. Let my ego take a beating.
2. Be cheated.
3. Bear people trying to intimidate me.
4. Go window shopping (I end up buying no matter what).
5. Sleep well after a scary movie.
6. Not have popcorn when I am out for a movie.
7. Like my gym trainer (Laziest trainer I have ever come across. Just grins and says, wanna do more? I dread those three words).

Seven things I say most often
1. Gandu (an affectionate word in my dic)
2. Bitch (same as above)
3. Fuck
4. What the fuck
5. Basically (I hate this word. It comes up when I am doing an interview and am a bit nervous)
6. You know
7. Whatever

A random thought for the day:

Don't think the best things in life are free? Try not breathing for a while. Bob Smithwick

28 comments:

Docs Dope said...

i luv the word "Gandu" too..its called such a nice ring to it..Gandu Gandu..i think im gonna name my son Gandu

Another word which is oh-so-Dilli and definitely one of the favorite is Bancho. I mean there are a million ways of pronouncing it from bhayanchodd to benchod but i prefer bancho - meldious

nice post btw :-)

n.g. said...

maybe you can open up a paan and pickle boutique. then you may end up being your own best customer.

First Rain said...

Pickles! I luuurve the yummy mango pickles (the sweet variety) which me granny makes. Though I haven't had it in ages. And of chocolates I need not say no more. I had some chocolate walnut pastry on friday - was a frenz anniversary - absolutely divine!

Ron said...

yummm..kuler achaar. its the best really. now you have made me really crave kuler aachar:-(

came here via motheaters blog btw. and yeah ganjakhor daktar...boro bhoyanok lok dekhchi. beshi patta deowa ekebarei uchit noye.

AB said...

Doc: Can't stand the latter word. Btw thanks.

Nish: Hmmph...Now what makes you think that?

First Rain: Lucky you to have a granny who churns out pickles for you. I will claim my share some day:-)

Ron: Hi and welcome (do I need to roll out the red carpet?:)) Ganjakhor shottei besh! Ke patta dichche?

thalassa_mikra said...

I detest most branded pickles and absolutely adore the ones that are either home-made or from small shops in Khari Baoli. A friend's mother used to make the most amazing sabzi ka achar, and my grandfather's neighbour in the village a divine tel-aam.

Now I have no time to make my own
:(.

Your answers are so fun. If you want help planning the Cyprus wedding, do let me know, we've got tons of Cypriot friends.

Aar ganjakhor je bangla bojhena shetai ba jaanle ki kore :). Kintu hain, boddo sleazy.

Sonia said...

i love pickles too! :o) have u tried date pickles? they're AWEsome!

AB said...

Sonia: Naa...not much of a date fan. So haven't tried date pickles. Not so, actually I have never had date pickles in the vicinity.

AB said...

Thalassa: Bujhle bujhuk. Bhalo hobe taholo hint nebe without me trying to be rude.

Get me a Cypriot then and the wedding can take care of itself:)

And omigosh u can make pickle? I am impressed!

Parna said...

the best kul pickles were made by my maternal grandmom. she also used to make a paste like khatta-meetha thing with it. simply yummy!

and lol at the 'random thought'

Docs Dope said...

ganjakhor daktar bangla jaane ...ganjakhor daktar tomader shobaike red panty poriye nachabe

Blog World said...

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams- Posters.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AB said...

Parna: So did you learn the art of making them from your grandma? If yes, I will be waiting for a packet from you:-)

Docs dope: Good that you know Bengali. Anyway I couldn't have expected a better comment from a person who finds the concept of rape turning on.

Jay said...

What on earth does a lemon pickle taste like? I can only imagine it's painfully, awesomely, excruciatingly sour.

AB said...

Jay: You haven't had lemon pickle? It is sour but yummily so...You must ask an Indian friend to feed you some.

Ron said...

hey, couldnt post comments for some weird problem. Am really sorry for having led to abusive comments :-(

Although, it was so predictable it was a little funny.

Really sorry though. Shall keep my wisecracks to myself from now on.

AB said...

Ron: Oh don't bother. As you said it was predictable. So chill.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Re: your early experiments in pickle-making. I would surmise that you left them to soak in a mixture that had far too much water in it and nowhere near enough oil. The trick is to reduce the water content as far as possible.
(The second trick is to NOT finish the whole damn thing yourself, that way you get SOME positive strokes. And alas, less achar)

J.A.P.

A fool on the hill said...

The last worthwhile pickle I remember is the primordial soup-like thing the BSZ Road paranthawallas served at the dead of the night. Quasi-rotten, but food for famished hacks surviving tight deadlines.

couchpotato said...

My mouth's watering; me a pickle freak, too.

Docs Dope said...

just a friendly reminder.......you suck really..go get some cosmetic surgery done..you wont ever give a man a hard on..

Docs Dope said...

arre panty sambhaal gori
giri chali jaye re

AB said...

J Alfred Prufrock: It seems you are quite a pro at making puckles. Is it first hand knowledge?:-)

A fool on the hill: Yes yes. I am reminded of those times of late pagemaking and rushing to get some paranthas before the night drop. The pickle was quite bad though. Salty and sandy at times.

Thank god those days are now in the past. We even tried Akhtar's chicken which was extremely tasty and cheap. So we thought it might be dog meat and stopped.

Couchpotato: Had to be. You are my b'day bro after all;)

pink panda said...

what is it with mango pickle?!!! one of my best friends who comes from india fucking loves the stuff, i tasted it and almost gagged!!!

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