Friday, December 22, 2006

the Thali chronicles!!

Ok. I admit it. I cant even finish eating a proper thali.

Every time I tried to finish a thali in the past, i failed. I always told myself that i had eaten something prior to the meal which is why i could not finish it. I dont think that was true, but soothing my bruised ego (when all others at the table gobble everything and you cannot finish half of whats poured in your plate) is important. Excuses, nonetheless, but still, i have always nurtured hope in my heart and dreams in my head of finishing a thali someday.

Yesterday i was confident. I had a cup of tea in the afternoon at around 3.00 which was my lunch and ice cream at about 8.00 in the evening(not exactly dessert). We were at this place called Navtara in the heart of Panjim and hunger was at its peak. We were there at about 10.30 in the evening(night maybe) and inspite of the conditions being so conducive to finishing my first ever thali, i could not.

I guess its just not my meal. For those of you have no idea what a thali is, well, its a meal that never ends. Its got little portions of vegetables, curd, rice, pickles, and what have you and it just is really hard to finish if you are me. The little portions look like copious amounts to me(maybe only to me). There is no fixed procedure or plan of attack, and i thank God, the thali originated in India. I cannot even begin to imagine the intricacies that would have defined the proper eating method if the thali was a British dish. If you are new to the thali, it can be mighty confusing, i tell you. Here is what a typical North Indian thali looks like.

One thing i learnt yesterday. If a little dal accidentally falls into your curd bowl, you dont worry. You consume both, the dal and the curd, anyway. The logic behind the reasoning is that the dal and the curd will get mixed in your stomach after you have had it, so whats the big deal if its gets mixed before?

I would have been the last of the group to finish(We were 11 including little Azrael). Honestly, i was lagging behind, so i gave up midway. If i was gonna wrestle with my plate, it would be a long, tough and time-consuming duel, and i thought finishing last would be silly when you have 5 Australians in the gang who have done a better job with the thali than you have.

I think i wasted a lot of time in thinking what to eat. I mean the array of choices you have is mindboggling, and deciding what curry and vegetable dish i must dip my pieces of roti in took a lot of time. I know its a lame excuse.

Maybe i might give it another shot sometime not so soon.


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