Friday, August 13, 2010

Short’s story

He was born a chart busting seventy centimeters long and was immediately nicknamed Chottu by an imaginative uncle. A nickname that would, in time, look ridiculous on who was to be India’s biggest sport export.

Chottu kept elongating unaided by any giraffe branded tonic or ruler inspired chocolate drink. And his early life was miserable. Wearing shorts at seven, when he was already five feet tall, made him a standout target for the usual pranksters at school. He needed chairs and tables to be brought in from senior school. He was a sight, walking around forlornly like a coconut tree in the school compound at recess.

The ring on the wall first caught his attention when he was eight and his life changed. He soon realized he could pretty much jump and put a ball through the hoop without a thought. The wall became his best friend. And nothing could come between them. He pounded away every free minute he had. At times, he had no ball. That did not deter him. Stones, crumpled cardboard and, sometimes, brown paper covered notebooks were all made to jump through his circle of joy.

Soon a senior spotted this wall creeper and got him onto the school basketball court. He was born again. It was like Tom had just met Jerry. By the time he was ten, he was topping six feet and easily was the senior team’s Magic. MC as he soon came to be known grew in leaps and bounds and became the sporting sensation of town. People came to see him running rings around teams from all over and they never went back disappointed.

And as fate would have it, an exchange program saw him in New York and suddenly he was not a freak. He was just twelve and already six and a half feet tall. And by now, he was lethal on the court. It was his court and when he was on it he took no prisoners. He was grabbed by the New York City’s second league Dramstick on a professional contract, smashing all previous records.

MC had arrived. And Chottu was a pleasant memory.

That is the long and short of this tall tale.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Cooking up a storm

The first one was recommended by the local grocer's Bong helper (Dada, He haz worked in a hotel). It took us ten minutes to realise that there are probably lots of jobs in hotels, not necessarily all in the kitchen.

The second was from my home state's neighbour. All reputed to be great cooks and this one did that reputation no harm. He was a lifesaver. He had the speed of a Ronaldo and the artistry of a Giggs all rolled into one. Stuffed baingan and aloo (even the aloo was stuffed), followed delectable dals, interspersed with stuffed bhindi(not a drop of stuffing spilling) and methi chicken. Life was good. The day he earned the tag "Maharaj" was when we asked him if he could cook Biryani. His usually non-attentive eyes blazed with anger. After an hour, the kitchen door opened and he said he was done. After a few beers when we entered the kitchen, we were awestruck. We had a dekchi with its lid sealed with atta, emitting the most amazing aroma, staring at us.

Then he had to go on his annual leave. My parents were arriving in mid-Dec and on hearing that he brought his leave forward and promised to be back by the 20th. And even provided us with a substitute. The sub couldn't do stuffed bhindi but was allright for 20 days, we thought. Well, as of date, Maharaj No 1 hasn't returned. And his sub has found another job.

Two days of ordering in and mish-mash at home and we went back to cook hunting. An old pal obliged and Maharaj No 2 came to meet us. He specialises in veg! The vision of my parents, who think Rui maach is veg, eating daal chapati day in-day out swam in front of me. But beggars can't be choosers.

M2 hits us from this evening.

Will keep you posted.