Monday, May 01, 2006

Joy's Day Out

Yesterday I definitely had my most enjoyable day since I came to Hyderabad. Smita had called me for lunch at her hostel at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) where she’s doing her PhD. Then in the evening I met Shashi, another friend from Bangalore who was on a two day visit to the city. I came home at eleven in the night after having dinner together.

Naturally, the question that most readers will ask at this point is. “Who is Smita?” It is very difficult to answer that question in a few lines, but I’ll try my best.

There’s a Jewish proverb that says, “God couldn’t be everywhere, so he created mothers.” Similarly, sisters couldn’t be everywhere, and so God created people like Smita. I met her on Orkut, and she’s my first online friend whom I met in real life. Originally from my hometown, she’s a great friend, always jolly and giggling. A day seems incomplete without a phone conversation with her. Add to that scraps on Orkut, chats on Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk, e-mails and SMSs, and you’ll be able to guess the amount of interaction we have with each other. The best thing about her is that she’s proactively helpful: she actually offers to help friends even before they ask for it.

No, I think I’m wrong there… the best thing about her is her cooking skill, but we’ll come to that in due time.

She had been planning to invite me for lunch for quite some time, and I had been pestering her too, but neither of us was really able to “sync up” (as our managers say) with the other. Finally this Sunday was fixed as the day. Another of my wonderful online friends, Shashi, was also visiting Hyderabad this weekend. She works in my company’s Bangalore office, and she’s also Smita’s online friend. She has recently gained admission to IIM Bangalore, and so we wanted a “treat” from her. So it was decided that I’ll go and have lunch with Smita and her friends, and then the two of us will go and meet Shashi and have dinner in some restaurant.

After a long and meticulous discussion on phone regarding the menu, everything was settled. I arrived at NGRI yesterday around noon. Smita took me into her room and gave me special sweets (petha) that she had brought from Agra a few days ago. Then she went and informed her friends that I had arrived, and they could come and ‘see’ me now. So Astha, Minakshi, Shweta and Ratnesh came and fussed over me while Smita finished her job in the kitchen. I can’t remember the last time when I have received so much attention outside my home.

Then lunch was served. It was a complete Bengali lunch as requested by me. I’m writing the names of the dishes. However, non Bengali readers may have difficulty in understanding what these dishes taste like.
  • Bhat (rice)
  • Biulir daal (urad ki daal- black gram soup)
  • Aloo-pneyaj-posto (poppy seeds with potato and oniyon)
  • Chholar tarkari (a side dish with grams)
  • Sorshe bata diye dantar jhal (drumsticks with mustard)
  • Rui machher kaliya (fish curry)
  • Aamer chatni (mango chutney)
  • Gurer Payes (kheer- a dessert made with rice, milk and jaggery)

Among these, the fish requires a special mention. Yesterday she had bought fish for the first time in her life assisted by her friend Chandrani, and cooked that particular dish for the first time after telephonic cooking lessons from her mother. And she kept the head of the fish for me... I ate a fish head after a long long time. Each one of the preparations was delicious. I can appreciate it more now as I have started cooking for some time. But there can be no comparison between my cooking and hers. Anyway, it’s useless to use up space here; I can never make readers taste those dishes with my words. Before leaving, she also gifted me a bottle of my favourite mustard sauce.

After lunch we went first to Astha’s room and then to Chandrani’s room and chatted for some time. Smita also introduced me to her friend Ramya. After some time, Smita took me on a trip of the campus (where I photographed flowers), and then to a small temple on a hillock across the road. Then we went to Hyderabad Central where we were supposed to meet Shashi. Shashi was a little late, and we used that time in window-shopping in the soft toys section of the mall.

Then Shashi came. I had never met Shashi before… only seen her photographs. Imagine the thinnest person you have ever seen, with a pair of amused bright eyes and a grin like the Cheshire Cat, and you’ll have a fair idea about Shashi. She’s one of those people whom you feel you’ve known all your life even if you haven’t met them even once. We went to the Shanbagh Restaurant nearby and had a delightful dinner. Smita and Shashi both being elder to me did a bit of “ragging” with me all through the dinner, but it was enjoyable all the same.

Soon it was time to say goodbye. Smita left on her scooter. I accompanied Shashi up to the bus stand. After she managed to squeeze into an overcrowded bus, I returned home.

Yesterday was like a breath of fresh air in my boring schedule of life in Hyderabad. I met four of my online friends Smita, Astha, Minakshi and Shashi (Shashi for the first time) on the same day. I got to eat home-cooked Bengali food, which was a welcome break from a choice between my own cooking and the spicy Andhra food outside. But most importantly, I realized once more that being posted in Hyderabad was not the worst thing of my life as I had felt previously. If I had been posted in Kolkata, I would not have had the opportunity of meeting such nice people. Everything in life happens with a purpose, and for our good… or as Einstein put it, “God does not play dice”.


  1. you also have enjoyed a lot this weekend.

    Well.....smita is first Online friend of me too whom I met in real life n needless to say only becoz of you.

    By describing so much about Smita's cooking skills you have increased my eager to taste(test)it.

    God cannot be everywhere so he created ORKUT,YAHOO,Gtalk.

  2. I should say I m really overwhelmed n cant express really is it me? But to tell u frankly may be I strike at the time when u need a homely feeling very much but believe me its nothing extra from my side. Anyways thanks a lot for your appreciation.

  3. Joyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.......jaan se maar daloongi tumhe........;-)

  4. Another nice "Event Description" from u !!
    Even i m thinkin of ritin an "Event Description" on my blog but still havnt been able to find out which event to describe.
    And of course it seems u hav made some amazing online frenz. it wud really hav been a gr8 feeling wen ur VIRTUAL frenz turn REAL.

  5. SUGATA is living an eventful life it means....

    HA HA HA..

  6. ah well. most delicious pappads those

  7. @abhijit: Yes, I enjoyed this weekend, for a change.
    And everybody has eventful lives. Just that everyone doesn't write those events down.

    @tultuli: I expressed my feelings. It hardly matters for me whether you did something extra for me or not. But very few people would do what you did.

    @anonymous: Arre... mai to dar gaya blushi ji!

    @aurindam: I can suggest which "event" to describe... but I know you won't agree ;-)
    And yes, it does feel good when your cyber-pals turn real.

    @death: Er...where did you see the pappads?

  8. What else is life if not musing in the happiness of such warm feeling u get when u meet and spend time with someone dear. Its amazing how we indians are touched by good food, good for the aspiring "lucky girls" ;) *kidding* I guess i too got to meet some people mentioned here...Ahemmm...Afterall, if not bengali, i too love FOOD! :D

  9. @#$*)(%^...aluposto kheye folao kore likhte lojja kore na?

  10. @rohit mahajan: Actually, I can't remember meeting anyone who was't touched by good food. But believe me, good food is not the only reason why I was impressed by Smita.

    @dipasoke: Na, korena. Karon aluposto amar favourite veg dish, ebong ami oi jinista antoto gato 6 mas khaini (unless you consider the one bungled attempt that I myself made at cooking it).

  11. i am already fond of smita and now i feel more fond of her...i wish we were together and have her care for me n i would also care for her...miss you smita!god bless u for being such a nice friend..may all ur wishes come true!