Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chasing ... Reality

I observed a jolting sight which got me thinking about a lot of things we go through in the course of life. A drive back from lunch today, stuck in traffic, head lolling due to the lack of sleep all because of the blurred life we all live - work, social, personal etc. I suddenly saw a half naked little kid probably about the age of 4 spring out of his hut and in another second his doppelgänger rushing out of the same hut and chasing him. They went round their hut twice, they ran on the footpath still chasing and being chased and ran around again repeating the same thing till they fell back on the side of the road on a small patch of dried grass laughing heartily and started munching on lollipops. The green light came on and the cars accompanied by the inevitable cacophony jolted me from my observation and I was back to reality.

Reality? what reality. I was lost in thought over something quite jarring about life and how we evolve. I re-winded my thoughts to 24 year ago, when I too recollect, running - carefree ! just like these two little kids munching on lollipops.

Think about it, every time, as kids we would be left off to play and we would land up "running"; running to catch a ball, running to chase another person, running to hide, running to throw. The finale would be an exhausted and aching body but with a very surreal satisfied feeling.

They very first game we played in life is "chase". The only difference is, the young chase because they are attuned to breaking free off anything remotely stifling or tying down and as adults we are on a chase and only land up stifling and being tied down.

Why then the first lesson in life we learn, cannot be integrated in the way we lead it. Life as you know, is one big chase or race... but have you ever considered to stop and wonder what or against whom are we racing? As kids we never considered what or whom we raced and chased, we just did it for our satisfaction. It never mattered that we caught the person we chased, nor did it matter that he was faster. In the end, we would fall back with the other and rest it out probably laugh about it and get back to our own little world, till the next time/day when the chase would begin again.

Now, all we do is chase our dreams, chase our career, constantly rushing to catch up with just generally everyone within our purview and ... I wonder, where is that pause button where we just fall back, satisfied and be able to laugh?

I have consciously vowed to integrate this little incident and lesson into my life. Pause, randomly, but pause. You deserve to have that luxury a lot more often than normal and all things materialistic will automatically cease to exist. Try it, and as I quote a term from a friends gtalk status, you'd be experiencing "Mini Moksha" every time you did.

In an anomalous way, this next dish can quite relate to what I experienced in those few moments. I call it Sweet Sago Pops. These are mildly spiced sago kabob's skewered onto sweet sugar-cane sticks to resemble candied lollipops but savoury and deep fried. Instantly, it takes you back to your fun carefree lollipop filled chasing days.


3 large potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
1 cup Sago (Sabudana)
1 tablsp Ginger Chilli Paste
1 White Onion - finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic - mashed
2 tsp Mango Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Arrowroot Powder (or Cornflour)
A Large Sugar-cane Stick
Oil For Frying

While buying the sugar-cane stick, ask the vendor to cut it into foot long pieces and peel it for you. Chop it into long finger chip size pieces when you get back home and keep aside in the refrigerator.

Soak the Sago in a cup of warm water for a few hours. It should be puffed up well and translucent.

Keep aside a handful of sago and add the seasoning's and paste to the rest and being to mash it all up well. Slowly add a little of the mashed potato and continue to mash till all the potatoes and the sago mix are all well incorporated. In a little pan, heat a tsp of oil and stir fry the garlic and onions till translucent. Top it onto the sago-potato mix and stir it up. Check salt and pepper and keep this dough aside.

To proceed add a few spoons of arrowroot or cornflour into the mix. Take one of the finger-chip sized sugar-cane stick in one hand and  a table tennis sized ball of the dough in the other. Proceed to wrap this mixture onto one end of the sugar-cane stick and squeezing it gently with your palm to resemble a kabob. Keep aside on a paper towel and proceed to make the rest of the kabob's till the mix is all used up.

Heat oil in a deep bottomed vessel. Dip the kabob side into the oil either with your hands (if you are comfortable getting so close to the hot oil) or with a pair of tongs. Fry the pops till crisp golden brown and drain on paper towels.

If you use a frying pan, try using a smaller but deeper one. Add only enough oil to cover the length of the kabob and place the kabob sticks, kabob side down, with the sugar cane sticks resting on the sides of the pan. This way you need'nt hold onto it or do them one at a time.

Serve with a side of fiery mint chutney and indulge your senses to a spicy starter with a chewable sweet stick you can munch on while you reminisce about your own childhood.

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