Friday 23 March 2012


The story doesn't end there. Neetha gave me a sari to wear and took me to the Rajarajeshwari temple. Basu came looking for us after an hour. He was surprised that we were still in the serpentine queue and hadn't even entered the mandir parisar. He told Neetha she should've given him a call when we saw the crowd. He knew the secretary of the temple Trust, by now we would've finished puja twice! Neetha whispered to me, 'Basu is a dada. He knows everybody.' Basu looked the Robin Hood kind of a gentle soul. What he claimed was true. Our entry into the temple was expedited and in ten minutes we had completed our darshan and made our offering to the Deity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By evening I was supposed to return home but not even Meru agreed to send their cab on Ugadi. So I ended up staying over at Neetha's and we went to the temple again early morning next day. The early morning serenity almost made the mandir a different place. I remember all this today sitting 4988 miles away. I want to wish the couple Happy Ugadi. A female voice answers the call, the phone is immediately handed over to a male who talks to me in Kannada( I think), I ask, 'Can I talk to Neetha, Navaneetha? Hello! Hello!' There is a lot of vernacular I can hear but no Neetha. That's Basu protecting his wife from strange numbers I think. I call again. Resolutely. 'Hello, Navaneetha, please, I want to talk to Navaneetha.' I try to mask my manly voice and make it shrill, feminine. Basu will understand Neetha and Andy, if not anything else I say. 'Wrong number,' says the baffled voice and hangs up.

I don't speak/understand Kannada; Basu cares nothing for English or Hindi. We bonded because of this girl and because of festival and food. So today, as I serve Shrikhand to this wonderful couple, I offer it to you too. You fabulous people out there who believe that in dosti, nothing is lost in translation. 
                                                                                                       The simplest dessert to make is Shrikhand. 
                                                                                                           We need:
1. 1kg yogurt(curd)
2. 1cup sugar
3. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder 
4. 1-2 tsp chopped pistachios/almonds/both

How to:
1. Hang the curd for 2-3 hours. Allow all water to drain.
2. Grind the sugar to powder. 
Also, cardamom if you do not have powder. 

3. Gently fold in the castor(ground)sugar & cardamom powder in the hung curd.
4.Cover the vessel with a cling film and refrigerate Shrikhand for at least 3 hours.   


5. Garnish with chopped dry fruit and serve cold.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Click pretty pics with your Shrikhand or eat it when you want.  But learn some Kannada, people. For the love of your friends....  





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