Food for my soul

Have you ever found yourself in a bowl of something delicious? Well, I sure have. Found myself I mean, in bowls of food. Both spiritually and literally. (Pun intended)

You have to admit that very often a taste of something that tingles those gustatory nerves makes you feel alive once more. Makes you want to step out into a different phase- whether new, bold, exciting or at the very least- into a satisfied, peaceful, post-prandial slumber.

I’ve just had a particularly discouraging day since my 16 months in Germany. I used the 6 km brisk walk home to burn through my bubbling frustration. However, my nose decided to lead me astray every few meters. It invariably caught the scent of freshly brewed coffee, tantalizing Mexican cuisine and pungent Indian curries. 3km into my furious walk and I succumbed to the not-so-subtle rumblings of my rather angry stomach. I jumped onto a train and headed straight to a little authentic Indian place called Badshah at Hansaplatz in Hamburg. As the name suggests, you are treated to food worthy of a king.


In the flurry of five minutes it took the friendly staff to get my order ready, familiar smells of home were already releasing the tense knots which were once my muscles. I did indeed find myself in this simply superb plate of Chole Bhature– red, hot chickpea curry relished with fried bread. (Here are more details for the curious and brave-hearted).

It amazed me how comfortable I felt in this chaotic, colourful, noisy place where Indians and non-Indians alike bonded over food. Most of the latter category, surrounded by piles of tissue to calm their shocked noses. For me, raw spice has the most soothing effect. Home truly is where the spice is!

Much to my surprise, my affair with exotic food for the day was not done. Friends from an old language class invited me to L’Amira– a Syrian restaurant (a stone’s throw away from Badshah’s).

We had many bowls of yum to find ourselves in. My favourite was once again a chickpea based dish called Fatteh.

My Syrian friends, as is custom back home, broke into song once we finished our meal. Needless to say, the Germans around us raised more than just their eyebrows. It wasn’t difficult to read their minds- “These crazy foreigners!”

Oh, how my spirits soared!

Happy and sleepy, my body set out to digest my soul food and I made my groggy way home. I climbed under the sheets and as expected, my big disappointment from earlier in the day came back to bite me in the bum. Sad and down but once again, saved by my nose. It picked up the aroma of comfort -fresh mint tea this time, served with a big hug from the hubby. What a darling I thought!

Only now, as I lie awake with the events of the day coursing through my mind and tummy; I wonder what the mint tea was really meant for. To comfort a sorrowful wife or to protect from the cheerful effect of one too many chickpeas?

Let’s say I don’t want to know.

PS- go get your fill of chickpea goodness if you are close to either of these two places. Maybe just not both on the same day. 😉

 

 

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The Angels Smiled

Dedicated to the soulmate I found when I was 16. Continents apart then and today, I marvel at “how close despite how far” we are…. 

The angels smiled

Oh yes they did

When to their own

Farewell they bid

 

His journey set

A task anew

Reformed and invisible

The wings he knew

 

A tricky job

This cherub had

To find his ward

And make her glad

 

A wailing babe

Soon was born

All past memories

Erased and gone

 

Steady he grew

Years flew by

All seemed perfect

Yet somehow dry

 

Travelling the world

He sought to find

An answer to quiet

His soul and mind

Across mountains

And seas away

He struck gold

One fine summer day

 

There she was

Her eyes met his

Laughter spilled forth

It was hard to miss

 

Two hearts destined

To meet again

The past came back

Like refreshing rain

 

Each recalled

And skipped in delight

Souls searing

With love so bright

 

Both cherubs

Left their mark

To carry one another

Thru’ light and dark

 

The angels smiled

At both their own

The wings came back

And halos were worn

 

We each have our angels

So rich and divine

And you dear friend

You are mine!

-Nicola Coutinho

Snow lessons

I hail from south-west India, where it’s always warm and sultry and winter doesn’t exist.

The 2 odd decades I spent acclimatizing to my country and its weather definitely didn’t pay off last weekend. I spent it at a snowy hillside of Germany.

Sure snow fascinates me, but I’m not crazy about it. Yet. Most of the winter sports I allow myself to sample, are usually the result of my husband’s encouragement (his words)/ incessant nagging (my words). Also, I believe pushing myself out of my comfort zone is necessary. Even if I flop on my face and on my arse alternatively, every time I attempt to ride that blessed snowboard. It is fun too! Ouch!

So this weekend, I put myself into an inflated tube and got catapulted downhill through a steep snow way. My tube and I made dancing whirls until the bottom and even caught some airtime as we spun madly on slippery ice. I was then hooked up to a motorized lift which slowly pulled me up to the starting point. And repeat. Ten times.

In the few seconds it took to go from top to bottom and exercise my lungs (not a great idea as I ended up with a mouth full of snow); time seemed to go slow motion. It was as if the mountains decided I needed a lesson on life.

My playful ride taught me this:

  • You’re not always in control and sometimes the pace is terrifying. It’s also tons of fun if you can relax into it. If not, you shut your eyes and get through it.
  • However, shut your eyes too long and you miss the misty mountains, the snow-studded trees and the sheer majesty of life around you.
  • After the top, comes the bottom and then the top and so on. After every dip comes a lift. There’s always hope.
  • There’s always a beginning and an end. Multiple times. You might as well make the most of the journey(s).
  • When it’s cold and freezing outside and you can’t change it; make hay until the sun shines. I’m talking snow-fights, snow-angels and crazy rides in rubber tubes.

It’s insane how nature talks if you’re willing to listen. It knew that day I needed a lecture, because it had just taken someone I loved.

This one’s for you Charlie. See you on the other side.

Day 24: National Chocolate Day

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The picture says it all. You know exactly where that delicious chocolate belongs…. and it rhymes with yummy…. 😉

It’s now only 1 day until Christmas and I must say I’m going to miss our Advent activities.

So to go out with a bang, here’s the whole list of ADVENTuring we did. Today’s your last chance to catch up with whatever you’ve missed.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year 2017! Cheers!