entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

The Gift of Cooking

When under the influence of a passion, anything is possible. Limits are unquestionable. Dreams fly high.

With no restraints of studying or commitments, it was a no brainer that plans needed to be made for our House Manager’s birthday. I don’t think I have adequately described Mr. Das and his position at Tagore. I guess you could consider him the “Father” of Tagore. He is the man with all the answers and advice: “Mr. Das, what bus to I take to get to Medhipatnam?” “Mr. Das, how do I buy train tickets?” “Mr. Das,  can you call me a cab?” “Mr. Das! Mr.Das!”

“Trust in Das” has become his motto. From 10am to 8pm he lives at Tagore. Daily activities include: manning his desk in the common room, playing games on his computer, watching movies, planning future trips….Ok, in reality, Mr. Das actually does a lot of work but he also has plenty of time to be bored 🙂 He is a quiet soul but his snarky humor comes out when you get him talking.

So, again, after hearing that Mr. Das’ birthday was coming up, celebration plotting was in action. Being the cook that I am, the first thought that came to my mind…lets cook him a meal. But how to do it…? I immediately thought of my Hindi professor, Bhavani, who has been giving me cooking lessons. I asked her if she would be willing to host a celebration at her house. At first she was hesitant, claiming that her house was too small and that she was a terrible host, but in the end she accepted! The two of us planned a menu and went to work yesterday! We spent 2 hours selecting out fresh produce at the markets, then worked 5 hours in the kitchen before Mr. Das was invited over. While Bhavani and I worked the kitchen, a team of decorators cut out shapes to decorate the apartment and hung flowers from the door. The final hour was the hardest. As I rolled and stuffed paratha my whole body was dripping with sweat. It was as if all airflow stopped in the kitchen. Between rolls I had to wipe my brow for fear that I may drip sweat into the food! As Mr. Das finally entered, I finished the last paratha and rushed out to freshen up and tie my sari. On the menu:

  • bandagobhi aur palak pakodas (fried cabbage and spinach snacks)
  • baigan chana daal (chickpea daal with eggplant)
  • Bengali fish curry in mustard sauce
  • Methi Pulao (fenugreek rice)
  • aloo parathas (bread stuffed with potato)
  • fruit juice
  • North Indian Sweets

While this seems like a big undertaking for 24 hours, in my eyes it was no big deal. 5 hours of cooking in 100 degree weather- no problem! I love to do it. I mean, is there anything better than celebrating life and friendship over good food and conversation? It was as much of a gift to me to put on the meal with Bhavani, as it was a gift for Mr. Das. That’s what a life passion is all about- it’s just what you do!

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Picture with the birthday boy!

Mr. Das, myself, Bhavani, and Tanvi (plus Anna photo bombing!)
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Tanvi- the master of decorating!!
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Ready to eat!

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Tanvi was so shy as Mr.Das helped her fill up a plate. He has a knack for kids 😉

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Emily did a great job cooking the parathas! My savior for the day!

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 Dripping sweat into the parathas…just kidding 🙂

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Fish Curry

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Eggplant Daal

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Parathas!

IMG_2993North Indian Sweets!

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Picnic-style, always the best choice with so many good friends!

IMG_2998The cooks 🙂 What a successful celebration!

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