let’s go to india
When I visit India, we first make a stop in Mumbai where my uncle and auntie live. My mom’s brother. After
a few days in the city, where we hurriedly give tailors our latest measurements and my auntie jots down
in a notebook what style/color/trend in Indian clothes we want, we hop on a train. Train travel in India
has always been something that transports me back to when the British ruled the country. Not that I lived
in that time period, but it’s what I imagine what life was like then too. The scenes of children waving
passing by, lots of landscapes from dunes to vegetation, and the natural wildlife roaming free. After about
six-hours, we reach Surat in the state of Gujarat. Situated just north of Mumbai, Surat is a textile city
famed for its nightlife. Not the disco or clubs, but the street foods that reign in the late evenings.
I visit Surat to see my grandparents (on my daddy’s side), well now it’s just my grandmother. We
spend the day chatting, looking out the window and people watching (it’s where I get it from). She likes
to read and write and tell stores. As do I since I grew up primarily with her. She used to be a teacher
and her patients with me was one that everyone admired. You see, I was a troublesome child. One that had
everything and wanted anything in sight. It was always “mine.” But I digress…
In India, lunches are the main meal. So I eat that at home with my grandmother. Always with a dessert. But
as the evening nears, the planning between the cousins and I commence. And if my dad’s there, he’s the
one who organizes our evening’s feast. Surat is where mobile kitchens, or lahri in Gujarati, feed the
people of Surat of all backgrounds, age, gender, no discrimination. It’s where people of 4 bedroom bungalows
and homes made of tarp and mud come together. To feast, chat and enjoy. It’s the epicenter of where food
curates a culture and a population, and it’s magical to watch.
And one place we visit every time we’re in Surat, is an egg stand. A little concrete square with a few measly
chairs are easily the most coveted spot of the city anytime after 9pm. From omelettes with crispy shallots,
half-fry with cumin stewed tomatoes and of course boiled egg curry. We go as a family. Last time I visited, it
was a 3 hour affair with 8 of us. With each visit, I like to bring something back home and last time, I brought
back the recipe for the egg curry dish that I always ask for first…
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