Monday, January 21, 2013

The Manchurian Nights

History of Manchurian dishes in India can be as old as Indo-China relations i.e. 2500 years old . We may have not-so-nice feeling about Chinese people but we do a lot of business with them , 73 billion $ to be specific and we love their food for sure. Chow mein and noodles are ruling many homes in India and some Chinese restaurants are doing business like never before example : Yo! China has become a brand in no time . Like all foreign things we did successfully Indianize many Chinese dishes according to our style . We eat butter Naan with veg Manchurian as if both were made for each other . Chinese Samosa is another nice fusion . Anyways , this article has nothing to do with intricacies of Chinese dishes or Manchurian dishes for that matter . It's about Mr. Darsha , evolved version of Adarsha , as he is fondly called , a genius of a brain and a wonderful friend.

The thoughts take me back to college days when special dishes were served on Wednesdays and Sundays . Nothing was special about the servings , worse then normal days one can safely add . These were the days when eateries inside/outside the college campus used to do more business than usual days . Menu was not extensive as one may wish to but there was enough to keep us involved. Me and Mr. Darsha were regular at the OC-restaurant in our college campus on the nights when 'special' dishes were served in hostel. Looking back , it may be said we did not want more in the menu as our order was uniformly same e.g. Veg Manchurian and chapati . On some occasions Chicken-Dehati-Chapati combination was gentle deviation as well . Manchurian was cost effective way to fill up stomach and call it special dinner session . By the time one realizes some friendship bonds get created having long term proportions . Extra time taken to get our order served used to provide ample time to explore different facets of friendship . After all , world seems a better place when you wait for your food at dinner table and you have people over the table who have innumerable stories to tell . Some stories which get repeated , but they are equally enjoyable . Even when Manchurian was there on table we had to wait for more time for Chapati to arrive , invariably this used to be extended wait . Onion peels were used to compensate for some time during chapati-wait-session . We hardly complained when we used to get colored hand after Manchurian dinners, thanks to adulterated tomato sauce . Extra chili usage ensured that we asked for sugar and sauf ( fennel seeds ) after paying the bill amount and walked away leisurely .

Most important thing which makes Mr. Darsha special is the genius inside him. When you spend time with people having special talent you try to expect same level from everyone around you in due course , which is difficult if not impossible . By watching Mr. Darsha's style of work One could secretly appreciate with awe the genius at work . I used to give the B'day bills , and other similar bills , to Mr. Darsha to ensure the sum calculation was fine . By doing this i wanted to see human calculator at work , without paper and pen , in-air-calculation . By Second semester Mr. Darsha had become a known and important figure at my home . We used to travel together during holidays during almost all vacations . In return journey separate package of Sattu-paratha-Aam-ka-Aachar was packed for Mr. Darsha . While i was mostly silent creature in those days , even now i am mostly silent creature , but in front of Mr. Darsha i was able to speak for considerable amount of time . In Mr. Darsha we had very good teacher and it was not unusual to find so many people running towards his room during exam time . I used to collect doubts and move towards his room as part of two-hours-before-exam preparation . Not to forget the frustration sessions when all of us used to get worried at the same time about career e.g. life after college . Then it was difficult to understand the confusion was to continue long after moving out of college.

Marriage make the changing times look evident .Recently Mr Darsha got engaged , a girl has "agreed" to marry him . Suddenly things we used to talk as part of  fun talks is becoming a reality . It's so nice when we can see the happiness in the voice of friends . When close friends start moving towards marriage world you realize inevitability of change. All the best to Mr. Darsha for married life ahead . I shall patiently wait to see his great exploits in future which will be many in number for sure.

Concluding with Manchurian talks .Its difficult to give words to all special moments which passed . May be manchurian nights count above others.  Even now i order Manchurian dishes , sometimes without looking at the Menu and price. This happens not because i am some sort of fan of Manchurian dishes, but because i want to get the flavor of the Nights which passed......The Manchurian Nights i call them.

P.S : I did come across a moment which got added to my all time favorite moments list. A sweet friend , sweeter than 'hunny-bunny' Idea's jingle , queried about The Big bang theory during the chit-chat over evening snacks table . While introducing Penny's role i said , ' she is highly dumb type character '. To which the sweet friend interjected saying , 'just like me?' . I wish i could pause the time for that moment and save the same , if only i could . Effortless innocence and sublime facial expression made that moment special.