Longing for lunch
For the few south Indians at an Air Force station in the Northeast region we planned a weekend getaway.
For the few south Indians at an Air Force station in the Northeast region we planned a weekend getaway. About an hour of drive in a direction from where we were staying took us to a place of scenic beauty that appeared ideal for picnic with clean water flowing in a river nearby coupled with a vast canopy provided by the straggling branches of tall trees.
On a sunny Sunday morning boarding two coaches en famille we got at the venue. Soon every one of us was served piping hot idlies and chutney washed down with steaming coffee. A little later the programme of entertainment began with running race for kids below 12 years followed by gunny bag race for teenagers, spoon race, threading the needle while walking and what not for our better halves.
The last game was 'musical chairs' for ladies. In the last round of the game two chunky ladies who were running around a single stool placed at the centre rushed towards it and flumped on it together, the moment the accompanying music stopped with the result the stool crumbled creasing up all others watching the game.
The games all ended when it was gone half past one. One of the men adept in cookery announced on a handheld speaker that an exceptional delicacy of Karnataka called, "Bisibelabath" would be served to all after about twenty minutes for our lunch. To kill the time till then some of us began strolling along the river bank soaking in the sight of the water bickering over the stones in its flow.
The clock ticking towards 3 pm our meal with the special delicacy was still in its partly cooked state since the firewood sticks burning in the furnace were round ones that were only smouldering throughout. Our hunger pangs getting stronger with each passing moment some of us started crunching the peanuts they had brought with them for the nonce while most of the rest were nodding off.
By about 4 P.M. the long-awaited Bisibelabath landed on the paper plates placed before every one of us. All of us were licking our chops in anticipation to relish its mouthwatering taste. When the item reached our cakehole it remained a stick jaw holding the mandibles and maxilla tight together and leaving us almost dumb.
Even those engaged in serving the dish were struggling to ladle it out as it was clinging hard to the vessel. None of us could even have a taste of the palatable dish. To the good luck of many of us there were abundant side salads and other items to quench our voracious hunger.
The special dish could have turned out to be an exceptionally toothsome delicacy had it been cooked using the proper type of firewood. Those involved in the cookery learnt the worthlessness of round shaped sticks of firewood for use as fuel the hard way.
The scrumptious taste of Bisibelabath was denied to every one of those who would otherwise have relished its exclusive delicacy.