Oct 22, 2009

Machhbus & Maryam

Secularism.To many it may be a subject of discussion and intrigue but I was born and brought up in Mumbai, a cosmopolitan city. So for a fairly large part of my life I never realized that some people did live a life otherwise. Even while being groomed in a convent school,each girl was taught to love and embrace the different cultures, traditions and values each girl brought along with her religion. We'd all merged into one big family, genuinely!

Our lunch break was all about girls flocking together in groups and sharing their lunch 'dabbas'. I can never deny that was the most favorite part of my day at school. I think those habits have just spilled over into the rest of my life. I don't think even after shifting away from Mumbai I have forgotten even one ounce of what the secular life there taught me. It's this multi-cultural background that made life so wonderful. With the current scenario that has enveloped Mumbai, I just hope that the cosmopolitan lifestyle continues and is not forced to die a premature death! I feel blessed that we Indians get tosavor and revel in the variety that we find here in our nation, like nowhere else.

After moving from Mumbai 2 years ago I met 3 Iranian siblings who are pursuing their education here in Pune. And the elder sister, Rose soon became my very good friend. Rose, will  be marrying a Delhite Indian soon and we are all very much excited. Am also proud that yet another Inter-religion marriage will culminate bringing about the confluence of beautiful traditions. Having lived in India for over 5 years now, the fair damsel has become as much Indian at heart as she's Persian and has learnt almost all about our cultures and traditions. She already speaks Hindi, fairly fluently. She has picked up Indian cooking so quickly that she leaves me amazed. And I have enjoyed many a Iranian delicacies at her place. Rose's mum is an excellent cook and now that she's returned back to Iran I miss her terribly.

However to fill in for Momoni's (Rose's mum) absence came Maryam from Kuwait. Respectfully and lovingly addressed as Khalla (aunty), the young lady definitely doesn't look like a mum of 1 adult and 2 teenagers. Fair and lissome she's a vision of kindness and loving warmth. Still sporting the Hijab, unlike most Iranians who have shed it in India, she always keeps herself busy. On my last visit during Diwali, she welcomed me (fully aware that I am a BIG foody) with a Kuwaiti Biryani called Machbus. Of finger-licking goodness,each mouthful of  the saffron coloured, spicy, tomato (Goje in Persian!) flavoured Biryani had some juicy pieces of boneless chicken liberally thrown in. One spoon after another I scooped my plate clean and could have hogged some more.For my weighing scales' sake and out of good table etiquette I controlled my gluttony pangs.

Here's a pic she clicked for my blogpost.

In the wake of the present day political scenario at Mumbai, I can only pray that Mumbai retains its secular flavour always!

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