Friday, May 27, 2011

The World Moved On

He woke up nice and early
Smiled up at the sun
Skipped a step
Hummed a tune
But the world moved on.

He stumbled on the pebbles
He sweat in the heat
He reached out for the world
He cried out in need
But the world moved on.

Clutching onto his courage
Head held high
He got up and proved his worth
And shone into the sky
But the world moved on.

When his world came to a standstill
When all seemed too far gone
When redemption was no longer an option
The world moved on.

The stars now shone too brightly
The sun no longer fair
He crawled under a rock
And hid beneath his layers
But the world stopped.
And stared.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bippity Bopp

Wake up: With my phone alarm
Shower: With a mirror
Breakfast: With a newspaper
Office: With a laptop
Conversations: With a messenger
Thoughts: With a blog
Food: With a weighing machine
Exercise: With a video
Interact: With a busy messenger icon
Enquire: With Google
Find your way: With GPS
Lose it: With a whim.
When all Life needs is a series of beeps.
When human interaction is redundant.
When all you need is a touch.
And you get it.
Life’s good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cho Cha!!! - Part 3

The challenge is simple.
Random tiny Chinese Restaurants.
One American Chopsuey.
Every week.

Week 3
Location: Stomach II (7 Bungalows, Andheri West)
Order: Chicken Schezwan, Chicken American Chopsuey, Fresh Lime Soda, Iced Tea
I know, Stomach??? Doesn’t sound too appealing by its nomenclature now does it? But my suggestion…swallow all critical raised eyebrows and step into this place. It is absolutely completely worth it.
The restaurant is lively, to say the least. They were running at full capacity on a Monday night. The place is small, but colorful, with no dingy lights or dragons hanging anywhere. No pseudo chinki waiters, no pseudo chinki uniforms, nothing to remind you that you’re sitting in a supposedly authentic Chinese restaurant. It’s as Indian and normal as it gets, with no pretenses, and well, a few chinki jokes on their menu thrown in. Oh well, what to do. We are Indians. We are like that wonly.
So when the Captain suggested the restaurant, I was rather skeptical at first. Oh wait, I haven’t introduced Captain till now, now have I? Dammit… *drum rolls* Captain is the original, pure and better form of Shreya. The supposed non-screwed up form, but that is still to be verified over time. I’ve known him forever. In fact, Captain deserves much more space on this blog and a dedicated post, but that will come with time. Till then, ladies and gentlemen, kindly put your hands together for the debut appearance of Captain on this blog! *holds Applause cue card*.
Haan, so where was I? Oh ya…I was skeptical. Not to mention tired after a really long day. BUT…The schezwan chicken was good. The fresh lime soda, perfect…not over or under saturated with sugar. And the iced tea…it was….wait for it…..actually tasting of tea!!! I’m sorry, but a place which actually makes its own iced tea, and doesn’t use Nestea powder, definitely gets brownie points from me!

Which brings us to the main stuff. The chicken American Chopsuey. IT-WAS-GOOD.
  • Sweet, but not in excess
  • Right amount of gravy-noodle ratio
  • Right thickness of noodles
  • No pieces of tomato
  • Right amount of vegetables
  • Non-sunny egg
  • Perfect quantity
  • Heavenly

Oh, that’s another thing, you can choose between small and regular quantities. Small of everything was absolutely perfect for us. And cheap too.

So my final words of wisdom for Week 3:
  • Not everything is the way it looks
  • Sometimes Indian aint that ghastly
  • Pretense usually is though
  • Originality and flexibility count like hell loads in my head
  • Food always does manage to set the mood for the day ahead
  • A better version of me is possible
  • The Captain knows best

Oh well…until next week!
P.S. Plan to step out of Andheri next week for the challenge. Any suggestions?

American Chopsuey trivia of the day: Chopsuey comes from the Cantonese term 'shap sui' literally meaning 'mixed small bits' or 'odds and ends'. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Cho Cha - Part 2!!!

The challenge is simple.
Random tiny Chinese Restaurants.
One American Chopsuey.
Every week.

Week 2
Location: The Golden Fork (Oshiwara)
Order: Chicken sweet corn soup, American Chopsuey, fresh lime soda, Thums Up

So now this place looked tiny and dingy from the outside, making it the ideal next stop for the Chopsuey Challenge. On entering though, it seemed like a pretty decently done up restaurant with nice little lampshades (highly tempting to steal for home), and two waiters. I should probably not include the furnishing and the waiters in one sentence, but believe me, there was good enough reason to do that.
The order was taken fast enough. We were starving and thirsty, and specially asked for the drinks to be brought in immediately.
We waited. And waited. The hunger made the wait seem longer, but I do think they were on time with the food.
But that’s the problem.
They got the soup.
No drinks.
We called the waiter and reminded him about the drinks. Now here’s a problem I seem to face with a lot of waiters. They start nodding halfway through your sentence, and suddenly their eyes are glazed and concentrating on the kitchen door or a table on the other side of the room, and you know you’ve lost them. So while the waiter heard “Fresh lime and Thums Up”, I’m really not sure whether he heard what to do with them.
So we waited.
The soup was removed.
No drinks.
We called waiter number 2. Who nodded after the first two words itself, and headed back to the main door. Not his table. Not his headache. Clearly.
The food came.
No drinks.
We concentrated on the couple behind us who were trying to concentrate on each other waiting for their food and drinks. We wondered if he was aerating the drinks himself, however gross that sounds.
And then he emerged, victorious, our knight in shining armour, with a tray full of drinks for all the tables.  A collective sigh of relief went through the restaurant. The supposed bar was finally open. The fresh lime was placed in front of us. The Thums Up was shown to us, then slid out from right under our noses and displayed on top of the cupboard, for us to drool over, while he served fresh lime everywhere else. I could half imagine Akshay Kumar doing a super dive across the restaurant for it, but alas, us mere mortals, sat there and waited in-stead.
The sweet corn soup was standard, so was good. The chopsuey itself, I don’t really feel like writing about. It just wasn’t right this time. The noodles were a little too thick. So eventually, in-stead of the tangy-sweet taste of the sauce, all that was left was the floury aftertaste of the noodles. As for the sauce itself, it wasn’t sweet, and that turned me off completely. Just a few things that I wish Chinese restaurants would keep in mind when making American Chopsuey:

  • It is supposed to be sweet. Sugar is one of the ingredients.
  • It is not supposed to have chunks of tomato in it.
  • An omelette on top is usually a better topping than a sunny side up egg, specially when the yolk starts leaking all over the chopsuey. But that’s more of a personal preference, so I don’t hold that against anyone.
Overall, the chopsuey wasn’t to my liking.
But that’s ok, not all chopsueys can match up to perfection now, can they?

American Chopsuey trivia of the week: Did you know that you’ll barely ever find American chopsuey in the Chinese restaurants in America? 

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Life Boat

As I lay here
In front of you
I bare all
In its truest form
O Captain of my ship
The master of my fate
Rescue me.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Slow Down, Speed Up

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known one thing for sure. One day, I want to be really successful and rich. I want to be the CEO of a company. I want to have enough money to bore myself into the state of zero temptation altogether. Sure, every other person has such a goal. Sure, people laugh. It somehow never mattered. It somehow was never that far-fetched.
Over the years, it took better shape in my head. I knew what I liked, what I wanted. I knew how and when it would be. And it wasn’t forced. I could see it. A profession I loved, was genuinely interested in, was naturally keen to grow and live in. Every decision in life somehow eventually logically traced itself back to that.
That word that I live for. That omnipotent factor in my life.
Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I wasn’t living in some dream world where I would be happy and rich and loved. There was always a trade off. And I was very clearly aware of it. You don’t just become a CEO by getting married and staying at home. You don’t have time to cook and look after your family. Popping kids isn’t a priority in your life anymore. I was always painfully aware of it. Just that it didn’t seem like too big a sacrifice to me. I never was interested in any of them to begin with. These things were always just ‘To-do’s’ to be ticked off somewhere in the long list of life. Technicalities. Hygiene factors.
And then things changed.
I somehow popped the bubble I was living in.
I decided to grow up.
I decided to actually give myself a chance.
I decided to believe in the Chopsuey Theory.
I want to be home now. I want to have a happy personal life. I want to have a family, and I want to love them and be loved in return. I want to cook for them. I want to do everything in my power to protect them. From the world. From the idiotic child that used to reside in me.
I smile now. All the time. Like a complete idiot.
I want it to stay that way, forever.
I know I’ll still do well in life. I know I still won’t sit at home popping lil babies all over the place.
But I also know.
That I’ll be happy.
That I’ll live.
And not just exist.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Cho Cha!!!

For all those people who either actually know me, or have actually read my blog in the past (Hugs!!!), there is one thing that might, just might, be a teensy weensy bit apparent by now.
I’m interested in food. Like… it does hold a bit of importance in my life. Like…my life might just revolve around it, you know…just a teensy weensy lil bit.
So the food I have does tend to alter and determine my moods, my actions, and sometimes life altering decisions.
So there happen to be a few rules, a few theories revolving around different food items in my life. The Chopsuey Theory is one very important one among them. Now I can’t go into details about it…its really top secret, and I am still waiting for the patent to come in…but it has held true these past twenty three years, and deserves due respect. And recently, to pay my respects, I have embarked upon a Chopsuey Challenge.
The challenge is simple.
Random tiny Chinese restaurants.
One American Chopsuey.
Every week.
And so it began.

Week 1.
Location: Celebration (Authentic Chinese Restaurant, Lokhandwala Market)
Order: Pepper Chicken, American Chopsuey, Pepsi
Time Taken: Torturous
And I kid you not. I thought my watch had stopped. All time and matter stood still, not even a slight ruffle in the chicken’s feathers as it faced its last few moments in a kitchen somewhere. That’s how long it took. But there was a very valid explanation for it, as I will soon let you know.
The place was nice, the way a Chinese restaurant should be. Because in my experience, the best Chinese is not the Bercos, Golden Dragons and Five Spices of the world…even though I love all those as well. There’s something about sitting in a small, brightly lit chinki* family run restaurant, with one Chinese fan adorned on the wall to make it look more authentic and a little stained menu with at least two price revisions scratched out with a pen…it just makes the experience…well…an experience. And the food’s usually good, to boot.
So I placed my order, and waited with bated breath.  And waited. And waited some more. Just when all the oxygen of my before mentioned bated breath had run out and stars were popping before my eyes, I spotted the reason for the delay. Some ten packets of home delivery.
Oh well, the food came.
I tasted the chopsuey. The crunchy sweet orangy chopsuey. I opened my mouth to comment on the taste, but the conversation on the next table proved to be rather distracting.
Two women with extremely painted and botoxed faces (I swear they couldn’t smile even if they wanted to) walked in and were greeted rather warmly by the waiter.
“Ok, show us the photos.”
The waiter eagerly bowed, ran in and came back with his fancy phone. He then showed them some photos in a rather conspiratory manner. They nodded at each other and smiled (or at least I think that’s what the frozen face muscles were trying to do).
“Oh, they’re cute!”
More nods.
“They have been with me since they were babies. I have taken really good care of them.”
Awww…his little adopted chinki kids.
“They’ll adjust to our home well.”
Huh? Suddenly my full attention was with them. Lil cute chinki slave traders.
“So once we take them, do we need to give them cooked food? Or just raw food would do?”
“No no…don’t bother cooking. Just make sure you give them enough water throughout the day. That’s enough for them.”
Wtf…inhuman ^%&$*!!
“So your final price is 8000? Nothing less?”
Nods. Looks exchanged. Handshake.
The price of a lil cute chinki kid = Rs. 8000 wonly.
“Don’t worry…they’re very well trained. They won’t take flight.”
“Yes…I really love pets…and I think birds are perfect.”

Ok…so you knew what that conversation was about right from the beginning. But believe you me, when you’re sitting in that tiny restaurant, starved by the wait, hogging away on crunchy chopsuey, your mind does take you in weird random directions.
Oh…the chopsuey!!
It was…perfect.
Well, it did come late. And for some weird reason there was no egg on it. But it was perfect.
It was just the right amount of crispy.
It was just the right amount of sweetness.
It adhered to the right gravy to noodles ratio.
And the noodles were broken just the right size.
It was really worth the wait.
23 years.

P.S. It might be important to mention here that the birdie negotiations were being handled by the waiter…erm…the sole waiter. So for half an hour, all orders, all payments and all requests of each and every person in that restaurant (read: three tables) came to a standstill. After all, the raw food eating birds’ futures were at stake.

P.P.S. 8000 bucks for birds? Really??? You know the amount I can shop in that much?!?

*I hate the word ‘chinki’.  I know its racist and derogatory. But I’m hoping I’ll be excused here on the pretext of creative liberties.