by Sneha Subramanian Kanta
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
Life's a journey, here's the road...
I remember one thing the most if I were to talk about my childhood: the numerous, road trips I've had. My father (or appa as I call him) is a huge fan of traveling by road as opposed to trains, buses or air. Whenever we had to go to our village in the South, he would book a car well in advance. As for me, I would love it; enjoying the company of my parents for several days on end. We would typically take three to four days to reach our native place. I would always look forward to my summer vacations and I remember each time I wrote the last word on my last examination paper, I would prominently put a full stop and think of my parents and our road journeys.
These journeys have taught me a lot in terms of the different places, cultures and people of India. Although I was a school going girl, not too familiar with the ways of the world, I always grasped all I saw along the way. My father wouldn't approve of driving during the night as he reasoned that the driver would be too sleepy and also he was wary of drunk driving on highways. We would stay in hotels on the way during the time.
During these trips, I'd come across some new dishes and experienced eating in small Udipi joints as well as five star hotels.
During one such visit to a five star hotel, my father ordered for baby corn with spinach. I'd only known corn as bhutta
that we get on the roads and which I enjoyed eating. I did not know baby corn is its tender, so as to say an almost infant counterpart. When the dish did arrive with sprinkles of baby corn, my young mind was enthusiastic to see the bright yellow baby corn all over our dish. What was more, it was very delicious. I’ve had many such experiences in my childhood, and the person I should thank for it is my father.
In another instance, he’d taken me and mother to a place in Hubli where they had all unusual names for our regular vegetables. My mother, a strict vegetarian, argued with father about ordering ‘Eggplant Fillings’. My dad was sure that eggplant is our very own baingan
. Only after she confirmed with the waiter did we order the dish and dad gave a jubilant smile. Eggplant fillings was actually baingan ka bharta
…and as I sit in near my window pane and write this and scores of raindrop make my window wet, I feel like experiencing the childhood encounters once again.