Tag Archives: Food

Nila Soru

Nila soru.
Food eaten under the moon.
Food shared with the moon.
Nila soru. Food blessed by the moon,
watching over you,
as the white morsel holds perfectly together,
moving from plate to mouth,
or better yet, from feeding hand to yours.

Nila soru
lining the edge of the plate
in little moons,
drawn from the big mother moon
with spots of curry, flecks of chutney
But the perfect mini moon will be yours
One…two…three

Nila soru sounds nothing like
ICE-CREAM
But it looks like it
Creamy curds, white rice
Ice-cream even has the same name
Vanilla. Venn nila.
The silvery moon
When it’s that delicious cold, you don’t care it’s not sweet.

Nila soru melts in your mouth
in a cold, tickly, giggly fit
And gurgles in laughter as the tang
hits the back of your throat
But other hands are reaching already
So you play with elbows, wrestle with fingers
Over the large plate,
As you race to catch that next
mouthful of laughter

Nila soru stilled by stern eyes
halting you mid skid
Mid wrestle, mid giggle,
reminding you to chew
but it’s so soft, how can you?
The feeding hand melts into yours
Another mouthful smiles up from your palm

Nila soru as you look up
see a bite taken out of the moon
You stop, worried, mid mouthful
and it goes down the wrong way
and you cough
When you look up again,
the moon is laughing back
So you pout and resolve to eat the moon again

Nila soru, goodnight.

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‘Nila soru’ is a phrase that adults use in rhymes, stories & play while feeding young children, especially on moonlit nights. This poem is an ode to the nostalgia, food & family that carry us through these difficult times with hope.


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NILA SORU (Moon Food) Nila soru. Food eaten under the moon. Food shared with the moon. Nila soru. Food blessed by the moon, watching over you, as the white morsel holds perfectly together, moving from plate to mouth, or better yet, from feeding hand to yours. Nila soru lining the edge of the plate in little moons, drawn from the big mother moon with spots of curry, flecks of chutney But the perfect mini moon will be yours One…two…three Nila soru sounds nothing like ICE-CREAM But it looks like it Creamy curds, white rice Ice-cream even has the same name Vanilla. Venn nila. The silvery moon When it's that delicious cold, you don't care it's not sweet. Nila soru melts in your mouth in a cold, tickly, giggly fit And gurgles in laughter as the tang hits the back of your throat But other hands are reaching already So you play with elbows, wrestle with fingers Over the large plate, As you race to catch that next mouthful of laughter Nila soru stilled by stern eyes halting you mid skid Mid wrestle, mid giggle, reminding you to chew but it's so soft, how can you? The feeding hand melts into yours Another mouthful smiles up from your palm Nila soru as you look up see a bite taken out of the moon You stop, worried, mid mouthful and it goes down the wrong way and you cough When you look up again, the moon is laughing back So you pout and resolve to eat the moon again Nila soru, goodnight. ———————————————————————– ‘Nila soru’ is a phrase that adults use in rhymes, stories & play while feeding young children, especially on moonlit nights. This poem is an ode to the nostalgia, food & family that carry us through these difficult times with hope. ———————————————————————- 🎶: CHAND TAARE: Yes Boss OST #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Asocial Eater

I have an unusual relationship with food & people. Namely, I don’t like to be around both at the same time.

I’ve thought of myself as ‘not a foodie’ but that’s because food enjoyment is treated as a performance, a social experience, a competitive sport even. Warring over calorie count & portions eaten, spice tolerance games, weird taste contests – not my idea of fun. It’s my idea of anxiety-inducing; it’s appetite killing.

People bring intense feelings to eating. Insecurity, shame, guilt. Why else would someone shame another person about what they put into their bodies? Not just quantity but also the nature of food. Vegetarians forcing religion onto a plate. Vegans pressing murder into fork tines. Meatlovers stomping ridicule into delicate salad leaves. Spice fanatics kicking soups into flurries. Cooks pounding fruits into puree. Food is not love when it’s turned into a lobbying exercise.

I struggle through these painful food interactions because, unfortunately eating is considered a social exercise. I’ve borne labels like ‘problem eater’, ‘fussy’, ‘finicky’. I’m allergic to some foods. Maybe because these are invisible, it is easy to assume that I have no health issues. People are often cruel, showing contempt or ridicule. I can’t ignore this emotional stinginess. It poisons the abundance one must feel to enjoy food. It’s hard to digest hatred even if it is someone else’s self-loathing.

When I eat alone though, I have an acute sense of smell, taste & sight. Why not? I am an artist, a purveyor of all senses. I savour nuance in flavour & aroma that otherwise gets buried in other people’s bully expressions. I like food. I like food stories. I even like people who like food, if they don’t poison their love with emotional deprivation.

Street food gives me an accessible bridge to eating with other people. Most folks do not bring strong feelings to the acts of eating a panipuri or slurping a gola. I think they miss something by not savouring the complex blend of tastes in the first, the satisfying contrast of textures in the second. But I’m happy to enjoy eating. 

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ASOCIAL EATER I have an unusual relationship with food & people. Namely, I don't like to be around both at the same time. I've thought of myself as 'not a foodie' but that's because food enjoyment is treated as a performance, a social experience, a competitive sport even. Warring over calorie count & portions eaten, spice tolerance games, weird taste contests – not my idea of fun. It's my idea of anxiety-inducing; it's appetite killing. People bring intense feelings to eating. Insecurity, shame, guilt. Why else would someone shame another person about what they put into their bodies? Not just quantity but also the nature of food. Vegetarians forcing religion onto a plate. Vegans pressing murder into fork tines. Meatlovers stomping ridicule into delicate salad leaves. Spice fanatics kicking soups into flurries. Cooks pounding fruits into puree. Food is not love when it's turned into a lobbying exercise. I struggle through these painful food interactions because, unfortunately eating is considered a social exercise. I've borne labels like 'problem eater', 'fussy', 'finicky'. I'm allergic to some foods. Maybe because these are invisible, it is easy to assume that I have no health issues. People are often cruel, showing contempt or ridicule. I can't ignore this emotional stinginess. It poisons the abundance one must feel to enjoy food. It's hard to digest hatred even if it is someone else's self-loathing. When I eat alone though, I have an acute sense of smell, taste & sight. Why not? I am an artist, a purveyor of all senses. I savour nuance in flavour & aroma that otherwise gets buried in other people's bully expressions. I like food. I like food stories. I even like people who like food, if they don't poison their love with emotional deprivation. Street food gives me an accessible bridge to eating with other people. Most folks do not bring strong feelings to the acts of eating a panipuri or slurping a gola. I think they miss something by not savouring the complex blend of tastes in the first, the satisfying contrast of textures in the second. But I'm happy to enjoy eating. 📸: @allvishal 🎶: A TASTE OF HONEY: Herb Alpert #theideasmithy

A post shared by Ramya | IdeaSmith 🎤🌱📚💄🏊🏽‍♀️ (@ideasmithy) on

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The Nature Of The Current

The birthday month has come and gone and I can only feel deeply grateful. It was the kindest thing to happen to me all year. I felt like myself in my own skin again. I felt home. And what else is more important to a Cancerian?

Several people who have been very important to me, are no longer a part of my life. April to June was spent reeling from the shock of realising – they do not love me anymore. Maybe they never did. Maybe it was all pretence, under the garb of diplomacy, avoidance of conflict yada yada. Maybe they loved the idea of me. Maybe they loved in a different way from how I see and define love.

But July, July was kind. July allowed me my dignity, my space and that thing unique to all Cancerians – the ability to feel so much and be completely overrun by emotion while never losing sight of who we are and what our life’s path is.

Every one of these people in some manner or the other tried to make it sound like my fault. One has been blaming everything from their relationship problems to their health issues on my ‘depression/thing’ last year. Another has abruptly (or maybe it was a long time in coming; I just didn’t see it) decided that I’m on a ‘complaint cycle’, that my references to astrology and numerology are me hiding behind crutches when I’m to blame for everyone else’s troubles. Someone else laid bare their secrets to me and then stabbed me in the back. How can a person bear to do that? I could never wilfully wound someone I’ve seen asleep. This has been the hardest thing to bear, made worse by the fact that these very same people have also been the ones to see the troubles on my horizon before I did.

On one hand, I was deeply grieved by this gaslighting. There is no other way to describe it. Gaslighting is making a person believe that their thoughts and perceptions are wrong and somehow they are to blame for the world around them. It turns out it happens in relationships other than the romantic ones too. And yet, all I can think is what horrific hell each of them must be in, for them to turn so monstrous in nature. I’ve been grappling with ‘but I never did this’. Until July made me realise that doesn’t matter. I am who I am and I deal with things, good and bad and love and mistrust the way I do. And other people do it the way they do. There is nothing more to be said in this.

“Because you are a mirror”

has been the rallying cry from more than one person clawing at me in the past few months. There must be something to this. Do I set out intending to make people feel bad about themselves in my quest for truth? No, I think not. But to love a person is to love them boundlessly, above the flaws and the nicks and cuts and sharp edges. Not to love them blindly. I cannot help but see the tiny indentations and the quirks that make a person, them. It’s what happens when you see them up and close. That is the way I love and I will not apologise for it. I guess it’s not necessarily comforting to be loved in that manner. And I must accept that, just as I want the universe to accept my loving.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWs2PpHHYtn

I went for a dance therapy workshop hosted by a friend. July allowed me a chance to savour my loneliness instead of being crushed by it. I drift along, pretty okay on my own, without a real thinking plan but somehow, dimly, intuitively into experiences that are healing, pleasant and welcoming. I don’t know why dance, why in this way. But it was there and I could so I did. It was different, in a quiet sort of surprising way. I have dance coiled away in nooks and corners of my body, that my friend’s guidance was able to unlock in some way. And then I also have some kind of barriers, boundaries or safety valves against dance in the most surprising of places – my feet. I don’t know what that means but I’m letting that understanding drift about inside me and do as it will.

I rediscovered food. I go along blithely unaware of life’s experiences as they relate to me, the deep core fundamental ME because so much of my experiencing is about making the people I love, happy. This is not necessarily a sacrifice. To make someone I love happy, joyful or even pleased keeps me in a state of warmth. But when there isn’t someone to love, then suddenly that is replaced by a different kind of hunger which is uniquely and entirely only me. How much I crave sushi. How lustfully I imagine the warmth of liquid chocolate oozing from a warm croissant onto my tongue. How wonderfully the beef chilli from Sneha’s would fill my mouth, my throat and my entire body with the summer of Kerala. This month, I ate. Sushi on the day before my birthday with a new slight friend. Peaches and pears smothered in chaat masala. Full English breakfast as brunch with Manisha on my birthday. A pasta with very little cheese and a lot of fresh vegetables dancing on my tongue for birthday dinner with family. Hot tomato soup that is just sheer goodness. A garlic-cheese naan with chicken kolhapuri. Sausages slathered in barbeque sauce. Perfectly shaped omelettes that I learnt to make, myself. I ate.

Someone pointed out a person from my past and likened the two of us. It was insightful. I hold no grudges against that person from my past. But life has moved forward and I feel like I’m too far away and I’m swimming in some other direction now – onward and upward. I wish them well on their journey but it is not mine to move towards them right now. That’s just the way it is. The friend said that I was to some people as the people I’m trying to let go of this month are currently to me. I’ve been struggling to understand why they don’t love me anymore. Maybe it isn’t that complicated. Maybe it was just the nature of the current.

Exactly a year ago, I wrote this. I am so thankful to have writing to bring me these lessons and to remind me when I’m in the danger of forgetting.

A lesson in letting others live out their crashes. A lesson in not get hit and run over. Lessons of goodbye. Lessons in silence. Shh.

I’ve been writing, of course. Trying to fish out my truths from the seas of emotion, cradling the discarded pearls that come up, setting aside the dead shells with love and putting it up in bits and bobs I call Micropoetry or picture-poetry. There is meaning, there is truth. I’m swimming alone. July made it feel like a good thing. July made my body and my life feel like home. August is here now and I think of it as the Leo month, a sign I always approach with some shyness but trust and joy. Kindness helps you find who you are, when you’re losing your way. And when you know who you are, it helps you treat the world with grace. August, I welcome you.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Food Encounters Of The Third Kind

Mum has left town this week so it’s time to play house-house again. I know what you’re thinking – how hard is it for a grown woman to manage a house? It’s not. What is difficult for a grown woman to manage, is another woman’s kitchen. Yes. We may share a living space. But when it comes to the culinary castle, my mother treats it like her personal kingdom and guards it jealously.

It is wonderfully convenient for me that she is such a good cook. So it really doesn’t hurt me too much to throw up my hands and concede the throne of Kitchendom to her. The trouble comes, when she has to travel for a few days. Unlike cupboards, study tables and bookshelves that can be locked away (What, you’re laughing at locking away a bookshelf? You must have never been a booklover then.), the food supply chain has to keep running. What to do?

In the early years, I shouldered the mantle of Temporary Kitchen Monarch. Naivete never had a better victim. All hell broke loose when I attempted to make a dum aloo, as a welcome-home, the day mother was to return. This being before the advent of Wikipedia and Google, I used a more primitive form of information gathering. I called my best friend’s mother. The recipe she gave me sounded simple enough. I was really quite proud with what turned out a few hours later.

Mother walked into the house. Stopped. Sniffed. Eyes bored into me accusing.

“HAVE YOU BEEN COOKING NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD IN MY KITCHEN???!!”

That incident has stayed a sore point with us since then and will probably go down in family lore. I deduced that she was smelling the garam masala (made from scratch using *I promise* vegetarian ingredients only). But maybe my Goan auntie’s recipe smelt like our Goan neighbor’s fish fry. Mother refused to touch a bite of the dum aloo. I protested, telling her that I had used ingredients from that very kitchen. I think she has never forgiven me for managing to turn out ‘non-vegetarian’ food from her very vegetarian ingredients.

Well, time to go. It’s been over 24 hours since mum left and the leftovers are nearly over. Weekend promises food encounters of the third kind. I better get my armour and shields ready. TO BATTLE, WOMAN!

 

Digital Kitchen

* Also served at Plain Salted.

Rooh Afza popsicle

….or pepsi-cola as we called it when I was a kid. Delighted that we could make it at home and not have to rely on the whimsical mercies of the adults. Competing to see whose popsicle came out solid and whose was like mush (ice-halwa, still delicious to eat and which we’d shell out 20 bucks for later in college when it was sold as ‘slush’).

I’ve been checking the fridge every hour since last night. (I can hear adult voices from my childhood shouting at me to stop playing in the kitchen). And then, this morning, I took out a slice of my childhood summers.

* Also served at Plain Salted.

A Perfect Sunday Luncheon

In this time of overpriced rubbish, rude staff and unpalatable servings, Irish Pub comes as a delightful change.This is my perfect Sunday afternoon lunch:

They don’t add Service Charge to the bill, which in my mind, is a sign of the classiness of the restaurant. And here’s a little touch of 🙂 on the bill:

* Also served at Plain Salted.

A Mouthful Of Heaven

Crisp, crunchy puri made of maida, not sooji.
Thick, clotted tamarind-date chutney, sweet and sour both at once.
Chilled, green, spicy mint water
A handful of mashed potatoes, boiled watana & white chana.

I could die happy.

* Also served at Plain Salted.

Bubble Blog

Look at what I spotted inside Sterling’s ground floor food court:

It turns out that ‘bubble blogs’ are those round, chewy, glassy things inside the cup. Imagine that! 🙂

* Cross posted to Plain Salted.

Weekend With…

…Buntea.

* Also served at Plain Salted.

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