Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marriage

Wake me up when December ends!

Yes, I know the song says September, but I'm honestly dreading December. I know December usually means Christmas, presents, parties, New Years, and more partying! So you're probably wondering what's to dread.

 In India, December brings with it the onslaught of the wedding season.  And honestly I don’t like weddings, they make me feel old and too many people ask me when I plan to get married.

Now one of the very few advantages of being the eldest grandchild/child/cousin is that people rarely tell you what to do, maybe they would do it more often but they’re all scared of my reaction, I’m not exactly known for my polite, diplomatic refusals to do things and I AM known for my complete inability to care about people I don’t like.

So it came as something of a surprise to me the other day when my grandmother (Bengali side) told me I should get married. 

You see almost everyone who knows me agrees that my marriage (always assuming I could find someone insane enough to marry me) would be a bad idea – I have so many bad habits! The drinking and the overeating can be taken as read of course but then there is also my large assorted collection of friends who show up at odd hours, not exactly the cornerstone of a stable relationship, let alone marriage.

I managed to convince my grandmother that I would be unfaithful (a lie) and that I enjoyed being single (the truth. Kinda) and then moved on to concoct a fictional girlfriend who was half Muslim and half Nepali (she detests both, the racist) 
By the time I was done she was begging me to do nothing rash and trying desperately to find out if I was a) sleeping with my girlfriend and b) using protection. Perhaps unwisely I reassured her on both points; she seemed somewhat perturbed when I left.

This brings to mind another story, many years ago when I was at the same grandmother’s house I was getting ready to go for a party with a friend. My friend (just friend thankyouverymuch) was helping me roll up my sleeves when my grandmother (bless her) walked in on this cozy domestic scene, did a double take and asked me when I was coming home and did not seem to happy when I told her I wasn’t.

This might have had something to do with the fact that my friend was wearing a halter and a mini skirt but I wouldn’t want to be judgmental about my own grandmother. Although it is worthwhile to point out that I came to her house a week later with two friends who were helping me on a college project (by helping I mean they were doing it and I was providing my grandmothers printer) and she welcomed them like they were long lost children. Again, I don’t want to be judgmental but it might have had something to do with the fact that they were both in salwars.

Weddings by themselves are not that despicable. I mean they have really amazingly delicious food and free alcohol (No wedding crashers was fantasy, don’t try that in India). What I despise is the very idea of marriage. It all seems so sad for me, why do you want to get married? So you can have sex without old aunties judging you? They’ll judge you anyway. Financial security? Get a JOB. Emotional security? Friends are all the security you'll ever need.

Two people, who love each other, should get married. But how often do people marry for love? The first reason you should get married is so often the last reason people in India get married. The pressure starts young, for girls their parents start saving things for them from the time they're born.

I don’t like change, and marriage invariably changes things, if I like you enough I might make friends with your fiancĂ©; I might even show up sober for your wedding. But what happens after that?

The happy couple becomes just that, you have an extra person at group dinners, late nights just won’t happen and you can forget about sleepovers. If that’s a part of growing up I think I can do without it.

OR

You could make an effort, you could try and make it work, you could accept the fact that your extended family just got a little bit bigger. And you can accept that, while everything changes, it’s how we react to change that defines happy endings.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dining Companions - Insiya Nasrulla

Most of my favorite dining companions are men, that’s not because I’m sexist or anything but that’s because I can enjoy the food without worrying about neglecting/entertaining my fair (sometimes) companion

But there is a devastatingly beautiful lady who is both excellent company and a gourmet herself

Meet Insiya Nasrulla, she’s smoking hot and she loves rare steak (unbeatable combination)

My (repeated) advances aside we enjoy brilliant dinners, where we eat steak and drink wine or beer if we’re broke. 

She’s fantastic company, so much so that I enjoy her companionship as much as I enjoy the food we eat. (true story)

We’ve been to restaurants ranging from the very posh but disappointing Le Pain Quotidien to the really down market and still disappointing Smokin Lee’s.

What was not disappointing however was the sparkling company of one of the most charming people I have ever met.

The best time we’ve had has probably been in HRC Mumbai where we were given complimentary shots (of lemon juice!) by the obliging servers there.

All this apart, my favorite memory of our dinners is not the food on the table but the dancing eyes across the table, laughing at my lame jokes and adroitly spurning my advances.

Our friendship is dearer to me than all the food and flirting in the world.

Though I’d never admit it.

Steak Salad

So steak is something we both love, and I couldn't get her to send me a recipe, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes which I'm sure she'd love.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 pounds beef sirloin steak
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil grate. Place steak on grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until desired doneness is reached. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slice steak into bite size pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in the cheese. Cover and place dressing in refrigerator.
  4. Onto chilled plates arrange the lettuce, tomato, pepper, onion and olives. Top with steak and drizzle with dressing. Serve with crusty grilled French bread. Enjoy!