Friday, April 9, 2010

Rice is anytime nice!

Last week, at my friends marriage ( Yes.. yet another one) at Karimnagar, ( 2.5 hrs drive from Hyderabad), I found myself at a place where major of the people were having rice and that too without spoons. I saw rotis in very few plates of the people around.  I felt at home. In fact home has also changed so much with lots of rotis/phulkas and less of rice. Anyway what's so special about Rice? Here I go...

The year 1984 ( no.. don't think George Orwell), I was in nursery. Mom was working ( and still is ) and her regular shift in the morning was at 7:00 am. So then she used to cook food and go to office. It is difficult for a working mom to cook a separate breakfast for her kid and hubby. ( wonder what my kid's mom will do?) And so it all started there.. rice.

However a breakfast was be supposed to be light and so it was  rice and dal for breakfast.  ( small quantity). It was dal mixed with rice. Curry was a side dish. When I call it a side dish, it means that I used to have curry but never mix it with rice. That's how we eat in Andhra err .. no generalization .. that's how we eat in our house.

 I would be back home by 1:30-2 p.m and Mom would also be back home by then. Rice prepared in the morning would be ready for lunch. But then it was rice mixed with curry, pickle and rasam. ( This explains why I find someone who mixes rice with all these at once very strange). As you would know more hunger meant more rice.  More is a relative term silly.  I was a 4 year old kid .. you see.

Dinner would of course be rice. But now rice with a different curry, a different pickle and the same rasam. Sunday lunches would have sambhar instead of rasam. Of course breakfast on a holiday would not be rice.

2 years later, when I was in Class I, the same process continued apart from the fact had lunch was at school without rasam. The story continued ( with increasing amounts of rice for lunch and dinner) for the next 10 years till I  was out of school. I would sometimes envy my school friends who used to tell me that they had bread, jam and butter or sandwich for breakfast. That sounded so cool compared to rice.

The next 3  ( 2 + 1) years after school passed in a jiffy. Since there was IIT coaching and all that crap, breakfast was never at home. It would be idli, poori or dosa at a Udipi food joint. Lunch and dinner was the same - rice.

IIIT happened and idli/poori/dosa for breakfast and food for lunch and dinner became the norm for the next 4 years. ( although this was that boring food served in that damn MESS). There was also this thick dosa kind of dish called 'Uthapam' on Wednesdays  and  the entire boys hostel would skip breakfast that day. I also knew people who would stay awake for 2-3 hours after working ( usually cricket in the hostel and rarely studying)  till 4-5 am in the night to have the sexy slim 'Dosa' on Sunday morning. Well, extra bit of flesh is never cool in any context.

After the 1st one year, there was a canteen at IIIT which turned into my abode for the next 3 years. This meant that several lunchs/dinners of rice at the mess were replaced by a paratha, dosa or a Chole Batura at the Canteen. Let's not even talk of the deceased rotis that were served in the mess. Trips to my house meant more intake of lovely home food and that meant more rice. :)

Haa..long RICE story this. Par abhi picture baaki hain mere dost ! Against this backdrop, when I went to the cafeteria in my office for lunch on the first day of my job and loaded my plated with rice ,I got this queer look by a Pune girl who had joined along with me that day . I knew it was about food. But then I didn't tell you that most of girls don't know how to eat. 

Rice quantities in office gradually reduced now that I needed to work after lunch. Dinner was pretty much the same. Dad and Mom were past 50 and so they had only rotis/phulkas for dinner. So RICE continued in lesser quantities.

 I was in Melbourne, Australia for 6 weeks in 2006 and it was hell for me as far as the food was concerned. Breakfast was some bread/jam or fruit!!! ( No, it wasn't cool at all and I was only thinking of idlis and dosas). Lunch was rice cooked the previous night and dinner was rice cooked that night. Curries were these instant packs available in the super market. I would have surely died had it not been for Priya pickles.  Lunches usually had Gongura/Lemon pickle mixed with rice. ( curry/dal  not mixed with rice by spilling over rice was so uncool .. you see :))

When I quit my job and was in Ahmedabad doing MBA, it was all rotis. Not that there was no rice, but for me eating rotis with paneer or any other gravy ( may be I can extend it to Telugus or South Indians? .. No, I won't take a chance and extrapolate) was just not on.  Only the curry without any gravy was to be mixed with rice.  And all non Telugus, tell me that a curry without gravy is not a curry but a Sabzi . Ahem...was that confusing? I am confused writing it :)

Anyway, so it was rotis all along with some rice and lots of other  junk. I did this for 12 months but in the last 3 months, I was missing rice and pickles so much that I asked my dad to send me some pickes. So then RICE was back again.

Now ever since I came back to Hyderabad , it has been only 4-5 Phulkas for dinner :( .  ( lunch of course is rice). This has been the case when I was jobless ( Guess that was better.  I feel  worthless after I got one) and even after I got one. Reason -I still need to get married and have a loooong boring life ahead.   feel so delighted  when there is a small cup of rice cooked in the morning left for dinner. Rice replaces 1-2 rotis in that case.

Haa then, this is how rice is so ingrained into my body. I find it pretty annoying when my colleagues at office try to avoid rice and find it so uncool.  'So much rice!!!I don't even have that much in the entire week!' is what one of my colleague says. But then anything without rice doesn't quite make a meal for me. How can Subway meal ever be a meal? Ghaas-Poos! Let's grow gardens all over and eat the leaves there.

Dinner parties mean less rice. The bigger the restaurant, the lesser the quantity of rice. I have got used to it now and in fact ok with it .  But then nothing can beat the dinner that mom makes with rice, alu fry, pickle or pudi and rasam. That's absolute nirvana. Best things in life are like that -simple and uncomplicated.


  1. Understandable given the delicious food your mom prepares. This is the discussion that I always had with my girly. Rice with a curry and curd (you see I know the advantages of eating curd too unlike you) will make my dinner any day sounds blasphemous to her. "That is such heavy meal and rice related food isn't good for a dinner. I just wonder how you manage to eat rice 3 times a day!" is what she has to say. Wonder what has to say.

  2. lol....raghu my husband wud b nodding vigorously had he read the piece...
    man! you should come home some time..:)

    trust me its a staple at my place to eat sambhar rice in afternoon n rice n curry in evening!! :D

  3. @shank I once again tell you girls don't understand anything about food.. especially the food needs of guys! Even if they do.. I wonder if gals these days would think +ve abt rice lovers like u and me.
    @yamini.. I take your husband's side. Rice lovers Inc :) i will surely meet u..let me know when u r back to hyd!