Have you noticed that the moment you travel, even a cup of coffee has more aroma than the one you brew at home?
There is nothing I enjoy more than travel. It could easily fight for precedence over food in my life; actually, they almost go hand-in-hand. To put it simply I’m a travel-adventure seeking-food junkie.
Have you noticed that the moment you travel, even a cup of coffee has more aroma than the one you brew at home? I love devouring a meal in a new place, or even a place I have visited before, but everything is yummier on holiday, or till it rains and everything gets gloomy and freezing cold.
So, last year, I was on holiday with my girlfriend Radhika and our collective kids — Zeke, Zene and Dhruv. And everything was amazing. First off, the weather was absolutely stunning. Secondly, instead of staying in a hotel, we lived in an apartment and we got the kids to chip in and help with everyday chores like making breakfast. Besides, there was something of personal interest for everyone to do.
I am the kind of person, who does not miss home when I’m on holiday and I definitely do not miss Indian cuisine. I love trying all sorts of food and between Radhika and me, we had marked enough places to try out.And we spent our time enjoying plays, ice-skating, eating and shopping. So much so, the kids had packed fun days and early nights, so we had enough adult unwind time.
And so it was somewhere in the middle of our vacation, when the rain gods decided that we were just having too much fun and decided to shower us with love bang in the middle of the day, we were suddenly cold and drenched like wet puppies on the side of the road and were forced to go back in to change.
But you know when you are on holiday, nothing can actually dampen your spirit, we were all raring to get out again, and planning to probably catch a film and let the rain not bother us too much. While we were in our apartment deciding where we should go, watching the rain lazily drizzle on our window panes, all of a sudden, everyone wanted to eat hot ghee-smeared parathas, tandoori chicken, hot dal and the works.
It’s amazing how we all were just hungry for some good old “come-back-home fare”. And so we checked our maps and local suggestions and zeroed in on the place we wanted to go. We first took a cab, and true to Murphy’s Law, were horribly stuck in traffic.
We again googled our way to a tube station, hopped out of the taxi, got into a train, changed from there into another train. For the rest of the journey, all we did was look at the online menu and decide what all we are going to devour. We were all getting hungrier by the minute and we were still a long way from our plate of yumminess.
We got out of the train station at a place that could well be a Little India. And the damp troopers all marched with the help of Google Maps to the place that was holding the lunch of our dreams. We got in and pounced on the menu, and ate for at least the next 60 minutes, non-stop. To onlookers, we may have appeared to be tourists who probably had not had a single meal till that moment.
There is just something so satiating about eating hot butter naan, phulkas, butter chicken, tandoori prawns, palak paneer, mustard fish with our basmati rice, papads, pickles and then also had a special place kept in our tummies for gulab jamun and kulfi. The staff who were serving us were actually laughing while serving us.
Happy and excited at the way we polished off platter after platter, the owner came to our table to chat with us, and then between mouthfuls of food, we all exchanged information about his restaurant and our holiday.
I’m never ever going to say that I don’t miss Indian food on holiday. I actually did not know till then just how much. We were all so stuffed that if we did not have a long way back or if we were in the comfort of our home, we would have just gone to sleep.
It’s funny how, sometimes, in life, we really do not know what we want till we are out of our comfort zone and then, things just fall into place. We may not appreciate what we have, because we are used to it.
And more often than not, we get to a place where we think we know it all, or probably feel that that the grass is greener on the other side. The universe subtly tells us our truth or takes us back to the place where we can be the best version of our true selves and be happy. That Indian fare that we had that afternoon was what we all needed to walk back into that cold rainy day in London.
We walked back out in the drizzle and cold, happy tummies, warm hearts and laughing faces, with a lot of butter chicken in our bags, to get back into the multiple trains back to our warm apartment for an evening of movies and general chatter.
Food is mostly not just food. It’s always a little more than sustenance. This time, it was comfort and that warm, fuzzy feeling of home. I now understand people who carry dabbas of food on holiday and will not secretly laugh at their packets ever again.