Welcome to Kadha with Kunmun.
What do affairs bring up in your life? I believe affairs spice up life and each one has its unique taste and distinct place. Taste is an accompaniment of place. Without a taste, the place is nothing and without the place, I cannot imagine taste either. When I sum up each taste with its place, the resultant is nothing but a kind of relationship which is merely hard to explain in the so-called human language.
Every affair takes a part of us and that part can neither be replaced nor exchanged. The only thing that can be done is to cherish that moment forever. For me, affairs are like my favourite food; each time I recall its heart-melting taste, its aroma, I feel altogether in different unknown worlds finding myself.
Kolkata was always a near place to visit anytime, but it failed miserably to be a dear one. As often we take for granted that which is more tangible and underrate its value. I used to complain that I never had time to explore the city, although the distance was never the issue. When out of the blue I was close to the city, I realised I was already in love but one-sided.
Its mutton biryani can measure my inclination for Kolkata from Arslan. The delicate, perfectly cooked mutton with long grain basmati rice complement each other and the boiled potato differentiates it from all other biryanis across the country. I have a weird habit of eating biryani by spoon. Then I wondered what could be a more satisfying utilisation of hands other than eating biryani. Have you ever tasted mutton which instantly melts in the mouth? Because I have. I fell for Kolkata’s every bit. The city seems old, but it tends to embrace the new.
The difference between one-sided love and crush is that a crush is always unaffordable and unavoidable. Once upon a time, I had time to be intimate with my crush by bunking my classes. When I reached, the cold in its air was unavoidable and its rains I could not afford. I had not admired the strange combination of winter and rain until I got a plate of Momos with green and red chutney from a street food stall. When I dipped the momo in that chutney with one hand, holding an umbrella in another, I fell in love with the taste of that place.
The smell of rain with a chilly wind and a spicy, perfect plate of momo. What more I can ask for? Do you think momo’s can be so appetising that we (five people) could not have dinner after that? People say, “To remember the taste of the food they mostly skip their next meal.” Trust me; I cannot forget the taste.
Sometimes I think how can such a perfect combination exist in this imperfect world, although I never believe in idealism. But at the same place, I had the worst combination called Thukpa, a dish of chow mein in vegetable soup. I close my eyes to all the terrible qualities of my crush because sometimes even the worst thing can make us happy.
It is the town known for nothing but coal. I want to address it as my ex. Once upon a time, we were in a relationship, but geographically induced break up couldn’t make it. I know somewhere despite the break up it has a special rare place in my heart and my soul. My affection will always be undivided for the taste of Dhanbad.
When I was in Dhanbad, I never accepted it whole. There are things I didn’t like about my ex, like Litichokha of Dhanbad. I have never tasted it but still, dislike it. But I remember how each time I announce in my room that I will have Tiwari Mutton instead of eating that mess. When I had mutton from this place the first time, I realised mutton could be tasty in a restaurant because mutton is not only my favourite dish but also the zeal of life and I cannot afford its respect to be compromised.
The place where I was born and brought up cannot be neglected anyhow. For me, Dalma cannot be replaced by any other means and, nowadays, my healthy diet cannot be imagined without this delicious dish. I cannot forget the desert from my homeland, which is Chenapoda. Every time, with each bite, I discover a different smooth texture associated with a peaceful taste for which reality ends and dreams begin.
Some stories are left unsaid and my romance with the streets of Banaras in those lonely rainy nights can only be mesmerised. I still remember every time I had Rabdi; the pahalwan uncle used to give me a little more. Within 2 months, I turned out to be a daily customer.
Each time he served Rabdi in a kulhad I used to wonder, looking at his shop Pahalwan Lassi Bhandar, where another pahalwan uncle was busy making Rabdi, rigorously churning butter in a crock. The sweetness of the Rabdi depicts not only the extensive history of the old city somewhere; it depicts the legacy of the shop from the 1950s. The Rabdi is beyond taste and soothes the soul. After completing my task, I used to go to this place, which is on a triangular Chowk, straight from BHU.
I have been staying in Mumbai for the last 6 months. Being a person who has faith in love, still, sometimes I find it difficult to love this city. Mumbai is hard to love, maybe. Mumbai is an unknown land and I don’t have any option other than exploring as it is supposed to be my current boyfriend. Expectations from Mumbai for excellent food was never a magnificent idea.
The only snack Mumbaikars can have in their breakfast to dinner is Vada Pav and I don’t like it. But I love the Dum Gosht Biryani from Behrouz where succulent pieces of mutton are laid on a bed of long-grain rice. On every salary day, I never forget to treat myself with this biriyani as it is my prized possession as well as my guilty pleasure. I can’t stay away from this dish much, although I know addiction can spoil any relationship.
My status with Mumbai is complicated, but my choice for Dum Gosht Biriyani is as simple as its raita, without which I cannot imagine its taste. Mumbai, for me, is like an on and off relationship with which everyone is familiar.
Food makes me feel an adrenaline rush in my brain and it will not be wrong to say it is my happy hormone. In life, people come and go, and my relationship with each one of them is unique. Sometimes I like specific qualities of specific people, like Thekua from Bihar.
Each affair is different and difficult to explain, but somehow I put words together. When I have my favourite food, I close my eyes and that’s the way to know my love for them as it is rightly said: “Love can only be felt with closed eyes”. To feel the feeling of love, I am exploring again and again and establishing affairs with the taste of the place and searching for love at first sight. It’s your time to recall what your lesser-known affairs are?