Monday, September 26, 2016

Biscuits II

and now, my daughter is visiting from Kolkata.
Someone from her office just phoned:

Kya, Poona gayi?
Bataya nahin!
Kya baat hai!
Koi suspense hai, kya?
Biscuit lana, ok!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ode to a Bakery

So the other day I wanted some biscuits
Not just ordinary biscuits, mind
The biscuits I was craving
Had got to be light and crisp
Oozing with butter
Packed into square boxes
Immediately after they had cooled
Straight from the oven.
But it was morning!
What to do?
I was craving them –
And so were all my Bombay friends!
So I had to buy not one box but a dozen!
I phoned City Bakery
(Which opens for retail sale on weekday afternoons)
“Yes, you can come,” said Salamat Irani.
I rang the bell, he opened the door, I entered.
The door stayed open, just a sliver, behind me.
An elderly gentleman eased his way in,
Opening the door slightly more.
Two fat ladies entered
Chatting away animatedly
About the last dentist appointment
While they waited their turn.
A group of children came in
Then someone’s driver
Soon there was a big crowd waiting.
They had appeared mysteriously
Gravitated to the open City Bakery door
(Which stays closed all morning, every day)
Like ants when you drop a few grains of sugar.
Patient but eager,
They waited for their biscuits,

While my boxes got filled.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Happy Birthday - in Slovenian

The restaurant was noisy with a group of students. Their teachers sat together at one table. All of us were enjoying the delicious Greek food. At first I thought they must be American but soon realised they weren’t speaking English – except to the waiter, another surprise. The students finished and trickled out and the teachers stayed on, finishing their wine and enjoying their dessert. I just had to know where they were from so got up and asked them and was intrigued to learn they were from Slovenia. Never met anyone from Slovenia before. I said we were going to Meteora tomorrow and they said, “Oh that’s a long drive, nearly three hours!” When I told them that for people who live in Pune, a three-hour drive is something you’re quite used to, they said if they got in a bus in three hours they would be at the other end of their country.
Well, the baklava came in with a candle and they stood up and sang Happy Birthday Dear Ajay – in Slovenian! It was wonderful, but I pressed the wrong button so it didn’t get recorded. Everyone came to wish him, including the manager’s cute little children.
We’ve had many special moments in Greece but this was one of the most special on this very special milestone birthday … HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AJAY!