Thursday, April 08, 2010

Say it: Fusilli pasta dermatalogist seminar

“They speak of mystery and heritage.”

It’s possible my ears are ringing, but I think that’s what I heard my mother say on the phone (landline) to her friend, Meera. Meera’s servant picked up the phone, and Mama said to him in an exaggerated sing song tone, Helloooo? Memsahb hainnnn?, and he must’ve said, Haanji and scurried off to call her, for then Meera memsahib came on the phone and amused Mama asked, Hi ya, who’s that ya, shouting for you so loudly at the back? And Meera must’ve said, Oh, the help ya. And then (phew!) Mama must’ve said ha ha, he sounds very sweet ya. To which Meera must’ve taken on a don’t-be-silly tone, and said he’s been around forever. And mama laughed a little and said, Oh I love these old timers!

And so, I know I heard right because surely no one, not even my mother, can say seriously, in the context of old-timer domestic helps that they speak of mystery and heritage, a phrase better suited for Nancy Drew and hill stations.

Still, it did catch my attention.


I waited at the Dermatologist yesterday for two hours in the morning. Serves me right for skipping my last couple of appointments and not bothering to make a new one, just landing up like an upstart; I figured I had a book – Teacher Man, Frank McCourt, so I could read that, or just wait, observe people, send texts, type on my ipod if need be, leaf through magazines people had leafed through since December, chit chat with the receptionist, maybe even with other bored-but-affable-vibe-emitting people also sitting, waiting.

Sure enough, with an issue of Better Homes and Gardens on my lap, hand bag squashed close to me, my thumbs busy texting, the lady to my left said, excuse me, did you write that? She was pointing to the magazine’s double spread on foliage and houseplants. I got distracted from my text. She was old, I’m polite if you’re old, and so I said no, no, heh, but go ahead, all yours, (read about ferns), and offered her the magazine. No no no, she said, you read, you read. I said, no, it’s okay. I’ve been poring over it for a while now, I don’t mind. So she took the magazine, smiled at me, I finished my texts and was now a thumb-twiddler, who didn’t want to read and whose turn had still not come


One hour later, my friend, Yashodhan and I are having a ‘power lunch’ at Sartoria in Vasant Vihar. That’s what they call it on the menu; Rs 399 plus taxes and a beer. They told me they usually serve Foster's but the Foster's crate just came in, was warm, so Ma’am would a Carlsberg do? Yeah yeah, whatever, who wants to go to office, anyway? And here’s where I text my boss saying I’m not in because I’m going to attend a seminar on disaster management. He replies saying, How Appropriate. Touche, I said, also Ha Ha Ha.

And so that taken care of, we stopped feasting on the bread basket, the foccacia and fresh pesto sauce, and started on the lettuce-y salad with very few chicken bits, the vegetarian minestrone soup, a pizza with CUCUMBER on it besides which it was ok, fusilli pasta with bits of GOBHI in it (broccoli too, but still, are they crazy?). I think Yashodhan is very well behaved. I wanted to smack the waiter (not particularly for the gobhi), but I had already ticked him off: there are four people in the restaurant, not quite rush hour, yet you get the fresh lime order wrong – water, not soda, how difficult? While he’s replacing the fresh lime soda with water, I learn why we call bread, double roti. It’s got nothing to do with layers, as in a sandwich, (I thought this), but because it’s processed twice, double. Processed once, atta; processed twice, maida. Who’d’vethunk!


Apart from sentences like ‘The accusation linear also appears to mean that models of the casual chain imply an automatic or deterministic relationship’, the disaster management seminar was less of a sleeping pill than I had imagined. I took notes -- for two hours! “Career as a transcriptionist?", Yashodhan scribbled on his pad and shoved my way.

Heh. No. But fleetingly, I missed college. The lectures were sometimes a different sort of gibberish, but our cotton-sari-and-floaters-wearing-clear-skinned English teachers were similar to these development types. I said yes to the seminar because Y cornered me saying, come come, see my world. And so I went went to see his world, in the heat, with all these goras, and academic-sorts being helpful, saying come for refreshments, this way, we’ll begin shortly. And they were accepting, after the presentation, feedback forms while not insisting we write our names on them, just the suggestions are welcome. It was all very decent and humanitarian – since that word was used.

From that civilised developed cocoon in a brick and stone institute in a secluded pocket of Vasant Kunj, where they talk about building schools, providing water, relief, construction, and welfare, to go head first back into Delhi traffic to drive behind cars with Gabru Gujjar emblazoned in Lucida Console on the rear is fantastic hysteria, and that contrasts keeps things nicely pepped.


Janaki said...

The book? Liked it?

heh? ok said...

Vasant Kunj and Gabru Gujjar... I can't wait to move back to Dilli. And in the tradition of Dave Barry, wouldn't the Gabru Gujjars be a great name for an IPL team?

Inayat said...

I hope I'm never able to reconcile the contradictions. That's the push, innit.

The Mystic said...

Gobhi? I like it in my paranthas not in my over priced pastas :P

Nimpipi said...

J: The book, still not over. Loved Angela's Ashes, but then you know that and we've had this discussion =)

Heh: I don't know when you visited last, but that Vasant Kunj, the nice, long, bumpy Nelson Mandela Road is not the same. And the malls, the malls, the many many malls -- not that I'm complaining, except for maybe (since you like that word) Gabru Gujjar that teem to shops, but then that's as much a Delhi trademark as a certain well-lit gate in Lutyens', don't you think?:)

Inayat: You're all soul:)

Mystic: Agreed. Me too. Gobhi good for paranthas, broccoli permissible for pasta. Did I mention the kheera in the pizza? Yep, that too, either in sandwiches or sliced round to put on eyes. NOT on cheese toast, never in paranthas. (Raita, yes).

Ellie said...

There is a Sartoria in London. I think it is a different breed. It sits behind Savile Row, hence the appropriateness of its name and theme: sartorial images around the restaurant (ashtrays like buttons, forks like zippers). Sartoria - London.

shob said...

Where is the like button?

Anonymous said...

does this yashodhan person play tennis?