Monday, March 30, 2009

Onion Pakoda

"Yaar aaj to pakoda khaana hi padega!" Naeem, Nitin and I are sitting in our living room watching the rain pitter-patter outside. Rain. In my part of the world, that's rare. Nitin's the one who made the pakoda remark. That's how it is with him - most things are impulsive and based on parallels. This time it's the badiya mausam - ghar ki yaad - pakoda on a rainy evening parallel.

But this time everyone's enthusiastic. Somehow it does seem like a pakodi ka din. And so on the first weekend all of us have in almost a month, we decide to have a doing nothing - doing everything day. Naeem takes us in the morning to the local Pakistani Street which has the best aalo ke parathe I've had (prejudiced opinion because I'm in Saudi - but what the hell!).

But Nitin's right. The weather is awesome. The only time Saudi has actually looked romantic. The rain has cleared the air. The sky is dark but when you look out to the distance, you can almost touch the peace it casts on the ground. Sitting at the Corniche sea face, sipping at our coffees, we can see through to the Bahrain causeway miles away. Mornings have never been so lovely.

A drive and a movie later, we remember to end the day with what started it - Nitin's pakodi. At the little restaurant downtown, dabbing our onion pakodas in its red chutney and chana-dal, there're no worries of work, of people in distant lands, of money or relationships. Life feels momentarily peaceful.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


(Yep, finally saw it!)

My love for Slumdog isn't because it provides the world hope in it's time of recession, or because it tells you that you can reach great heights no matter what your history. It is in the simplicity of the love Jamal and Latika share. It doesn't matter how they were brought up, how they survived the dark days of their youth, how the Mumbai gang wars tore them apart - when they're finally together, the emotion they share is so natural, so easily innocent.

"Where are you?"
"I'm safe."
"I knew you'd be watching."

How many of us would accept a Ye hi hamari kismat hai justification at the end of a Bollywood movie? But Jamal's This is our destiny seems absolutely all right - because he makes us believe that even though it is written, you just cannot stop trying.