What not to do with a Tam-Brahm Part 2
Do not challenge him in matters Bhindi. Gaurav writes that
"Bhindi has a crunchier and understated appeal. It is more like a targeted attack, with only a few select tastebuds getting any preferential treatment, but that itself is enough to invoke images of paradise."That's besides the point.
Bhindi irrespective of taste, mode of preparation and visual appeal, is a religion for Tam Brahms. For the benefit of Tams and Mallus reading the blog, I must say that I am not talking of the dot in the middle of a woman's forehead. That's a bindi. (You think that caveat was unnecessary. Read this and this). That is also a matter of religion, visual appeal and mode of preparation. However, most people I know do not lick it off foreheads.
Okay, let's get back to bhindis (sorry for the previous line). Millions of tiny Tam-Brahms drink Farex and eat Bhindis when they are born. So that they can turn into Ramanujam, who ate bhindis on his way to Cambridge (he died soon after). Ramanujam's friend, Hardy, gave Bhindi's their English name. No, not Lady's finger, which was coined by Angulimal and Siddhartha. But Okra. Which was a mathematical symbol in Tamil translated phonetically into English.
Incidentally, while turning into Ramanujams, the tiny Tam-Brahms outgrow Farex but stick to Bhindi. Farex turns into curd-rice, which is more amenable to becoming a ball via a couple of deft wrist-flicks, which can be then thrown into the mouth with alarming inaccuracy.
I was well aware of misfortunes suffered by fellow-travellers on a Tam-Brahm's table, but had no clue about Bhindilove when I challenged one sprightly middle-aged man in Dubai last to last year. He was talking about Ramanujam and Okra, when I said that I don't like the Bhindi dish that he made. He was stunned, but quickly resumed his composure and said that if I didn't like it he will eat it all. Which suited the other two souls in the room quite well.
However, one of the other being a son of a Navy man who likes a good fight, put forth a challenge.
EAT ALL 568 GRAMS OF BHINDI IN ONE SITTING.
Which is like showing a bull to a red rag. Except the other way round. The red rag accepted and promptly went into his closet. He came back a minute later with two P.G. Wodehouse short story collections and a bib. Adjusting the second on his torso and keeping one of the former on his hand, he set out with gusto.
I believe at the end of forty-five minutes and sixty-five pages (Farex, Curd-rice balls and Bhindi make for better reading speed as well), the entire
Since then the gullet has invited us to his house for bhindi sessions many a times. We have refused since we can't hold back our challenges when confronted by okra that can't be eaten by us. Let this serve as a warning for all of you, who have been invited thus.
If you don't believe the extent of passion, read this.
"Normally, vendakkai is a gooey-gooey kind of vegetable which can be expressed admirably in Tamil, "vazhavazha kozhakozha". When housewives made a vegetable from vendakkai and chepankizhangu, it reached the zenith of "vazhavazha kozhakozha". The vendakkai sambar, of course, was an exception and went well with rice and idlis. But vendkakkai and curds, as mentioned by my cousin? It vaguely brought back memories of a long forgotten taste. Then suddenly I got it. Was he referring to vendakkai vadhakki pachadi?...I, certainly would not mind larger helpings."Huh??
Update: A friend points out that I make it seem that 8 grams of bhindi (out of 568) was left behind. I apologise for the mistake. The error is unintentional and has been rectified.