Monday, January 17, 2011

Chomp. Gnaw. Slurp. Scratch. Burp.

Oh yes, I am finicky!

Chomp. Gnaw. Slurp. Scratch. (I mean the spoon scratching the plate here, dirty mind!) Burp.

Aarrrggghhh!! I hate those sounds. I am a sucker for good table manners and I find it disgusting to share the same table when people act like uncivilized cavemen while eating. There are better ways of relishing good food than being pompous about it.

1) The cattle-men:

The first commandment is to keep your mouth closed while chewing. Don’t go through the Open-chomp-close-chomp-open routine. I don’t see much difference between that and the cows chewing on their fodder. Open-gnaw-slap the jaws together-open-gnaw. Do that in my presence and I am sure to recommend you as the next Orbit-star-the-Jersey-cow!!

2) The doggie-ish:

The soup, tea, coffee, the dal, the rasam or any other liquid that you take in, is to be sipped, not slurped. Kindly, leave the lapping sounds for the other long tongued animals.

3) The cannibal types:

Non-vegetarian food is more difficult to handle than vegetarian food, especially when it has bones. Also, not every meat is easy to tear using a fork and a knife. Certain dishes do require the explicit use of hands and teeth. But, (yes the big butt of all matters) when it comes to basic table manners, one must make sure one doesn’t resemble a cannibal tearing into flesh. It may be a trying experience, but do try to take small bites instead of looking like a person who hasn’t been fed from ages. The animal in your hands is dead, and it isn’t going to run away anywhere! Keep up the patience!

And please, I beg, don’t dump the bones back into the food that you are still to consume. Transfer it neatly into another plate. Thank you!

4) Yes we know that you loved the meal and it would be a better idea to let the cook know so, than proving it by trying to eat the last grain of rice on your plate. For goodness sake, eat till the last grain if you must, but don’t make that screeching scratching noise with the fork and spoon. We aren’t starting to play banshees here yet!

5) I am trying hard here, not to type cast anyone. But, this is a habit that I have seen prevalent more in the south than in the north of India.

South Indians love eating anything, everything and food of any consistency with their hands, be it a chutney, a pickle, vegetables, salads, curries, rice, sambhar and rasam. Most people learn to eat that with a little bit of genetically handed down help.

Trust me, eating with hands is fun. It gives you a very homely feeling.
But making balls of rice and tossing them in your mouth or licking the dripping rasam up your elbow (yuck!) or dragging the food all over the plate while mixing it and then putting all your fingers in the mouth with the food, or to lick your palm clean are not sights that are fun watching.

6) Buuurrrrrppppp! An age old method to let the cook know that the food was excellent and the diner’s stomach walls are under strain and are threatening to burst. The burping days are passé now. If you cant really keep that smelly burp bottled up inside you, learn to hold a napkin up to your mouth when you do so. Letting everybody around you know that your stomach is going to be overworking itself during digestion are not the the most charming manners.

If you think that all these sounds must necessarily accompany good food, then please keep them confined to the privacy of your home. Don’t be a public embarrassment, atleast to the people you are sharing the table with.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Strange start to a new year...

31st December

Hello people! How did the welcoming-the- New Year ceremonies go?

New years’ this year was different. No party hopping. No dancing. No dining out. I am bored of the routine. I wanted to do something different for a change.

So, we whipped up a gourmet Continental dinner and watched a movie. Let me tell you this, watching a movie at my place is a different experience in itself. Lounging on the sofa or sprawling on the carpet, hugging your legs to your chest, a fluffy blanket to huddle into, the movie being projected on the wall from a projector, backed up by a 2500W speakers. Sounds strange for a person who isn’t a movie buff, eh? Don’t start wondering what we were doing watching a movie on the projector. We don’t have a TV at home. And which movie did we see? The exorcist.

I have seen movies of all genres in the past – action, romantic, thrillers, chick-flicks, fantasies, fiction, sci-fi, inspired-by-true-stories and the emotional atyachars. Everything, save the horror movies. Honestly speaking, horror serials used to scare me real bad and I would spend sleepless nights for days in rows. So I quit watching them, and have never watched a horror serial or a movie since then. Remember I said I wanted to do something different this New Year’s eve. So, horror it was this time.

More than the movie, what made an impression on my mind was what the director had to say about it. He said that everybody who has seen this movie has gone back with his beliefs reinforced, be it in the devil or in the god. But, where there is god, there is also a devil.

1st January

We found a bat in my parent’s room. Yes, I am talking of the ugly, rat-faced, leathery mammal. Flapping its wings around and zooming across the room, over my parent’s heads at 5.30 pm in the evening. It hid itself in the slits of the split-AC, turning itself into a small ball.
An omen of something horrific? Or are horror movies just getting to my head?

2nd January

Time: 10 pm. My entire family is sitting in the living room, talking. And we get on the subjects of night animals, from jackals, foxes, bats to me. Why me? Well… my granny swears she saw one of us (my sis or me) on the phone at 3.15 am, sitting by my grand-pa’s feet, talking on the phone some 10 days back. She says it was me; she could make that out from the hair.

And if hair was the deciding factor between my sis and me, then nobody can make a mistake of recognizing which of us it was. She has got silken, long, straight tresses that are half way down her back and is generally tied up. And I on the other hand have a wild fluffy mane of curly hair which is generally left loose. There isn’t even a 1 in a 100 chance of being mistaken there. :-/

I suppose my granny was hallucinating. I venturing out of my bed at night sounds impossible. A sleeping Shivani has a striking resemblance of a dead man inside a coffin. I sleep that straight. The unnatural position of lying straight on your back comes the most naturally to me.

I don’t know what to say. I am baffled….