I walked right into the class, merely glancing up at the numerous hi and hellos that greeted me, and of course ignoring the screen which has the sentence of the day, dumped my bag down pulled out my laptop and began typing my team work design and menu structure. I had loads of work today. I have loads of work everyday and who has time for the greetings and the sentence of the day philosophy?
I began explaining the newly engineered menu as to how we are going to focus only on the aphrodisiac theme, keep chocolate and cream in the focus and obviously not blend any orange flavor, despite the fact that since olden gastronomique times the love of orange and chocolate is well known to enhance each other. This was modern concept I explained, clearing away the questions that would have popped up for not having a touch of orange in the menu, as I prefer to focus on the main concept keeping other foodie personal matters aside. Honey glazed bacon is what is going to enhance the chocolate flavor, I finalized.
“We must use the ancient secret! “Whispered my friend, winking at me and then at the screen.
I turned around just in time to see the screen as the letters were slowly fading away….
It said – The way to the deliciousness of a dish lies in an ancient, secret technique of cooking; It is called completeness.
…and the screen went blank.
- A DAY WITH FRIENDS
Meghan is beautiful, a schoolmate and a good friend of mine, our favorite pass time on the weekends is to check out some restaurants in Manhattan. This one was a contemporary French-Asian fine dining and Meghan was as usual appropriately dressed up. I was gazing at her smile as she gazed at the menu, while her caramel colored hair fluttered freely in the light air that preferred to play with it. Two sleek black ribbons delicately hung from her shoulders and weaved tightly around her dainty figure to form a woven black gown. Her glossy lips twitched into a smile as she read on through the menu finalizing on certain courses. After placing the order to the captain the sommelier loomed forward and began making suggestions and of course politely denying some wine that we both had chosen.
“Hmmm…An Italian Chianti sounds like a criminal assault on the Sous vide (vacuum cooked) floral lamb with Mint and cucumber Jelly. I would suggest the newly launched Prisoner wine. It is an unusual blend with Zinfandel, Pinot, Syrah; And, of course, a touch of Grenache for the hint of it. A dash of the old traditional love to the new flavors. They go would go well together, you know?” He said slyly.
I suddenly got lost in translation. This word ‘together’ was prickling somewhere in my mind from the past few days. And I did not know why…
Jordan peered at me until I was startled out of my wits. “Are you alright, buddy?” He asked. I replied affirmatively.
“No he isn’t! He has been lost somewhere right between lunch and through.” Piped in Meghan.
We both were meeting Jordan and Celestine after lunch for some icecream and shopping. “I think he is still thinking about the upcoming menu execution he has planned. Just worrying as usual if it would go proper.”
Jordan retorted with a slap on my back sending a spoonful of my ice-cream on the path, “Don’t worry my friend, we are all in this together. We will make it through, well and good as usual.”
There it was again. There was something I wasn’t putting together. That was what was pricking me like a small needle in my mind; pretty irritating.
H & M or Abercrombie are the only two personal choices of branded apparel we prefer and we were soon stalking the aisles of Abercrombie for some cool college wear. It wasn’t long before our carts got satisfactorily full. I looked at Meghan’s load of shopping which was way bigger than mine. What stood out was a bright yellow top with a blue flower. I pointed out to her that it was an unlikely combination that she doesn’t usually prefer; Yellow and blue. “Yeah it is a bit different.” She responded while pulling out dark colored jeans from the bottom of the pile. “But I think that the top and this jean would blend well t……. .”
I cut her in mid conversation and went to the check-out counter. I did not want to hear the word again.
They were all my friends. Since the time I came to the school here, we have been in the same class, working on the same projects like a team, agreeing or debating over each other’s views . Our professional friendship soon expanded to be a social one. We were close friends, confided and tried to understand each other despite our differences. They made lot of efforts to make me comfortable and not feel away from home. They made me feel complete with the weekend outings, late night hang outs, star watching and what all weird ideas of fun they came up with.
And that day with another good time spent over the weekend we drove back to school to begin a new week, afresh.
- A NIGHT WITH FRIENDS
They called me up that night, at different times. It was morning on the other side of the world. And we spoke for a long time. I gave every detail of that day and the week. It was making me feel so good. Then they came online, some on the video and some for chat. After all how long can one talk on the phone? Thirty minutes were merely enough. The details continued. It felt as if they were very close to me. Despite the thousand miles distance between us it felt as if they were closer to me than my friends who were right in the room next to me. Over that distance it seemed they could understand everything without experiencing it, despite not being in the same field. I felt as if they felt everything that I said and I did not say. I wasn’t just relaying all the happenings but also venting out my feelings to them. And they were doing the same.
He kept on asking various professional questions while explaining all the happenings there, happy and sad.
Another joked about some random stuff making me smile every now and then.
One asked me if I was all fine and detailed out her emotions, making me feel my life is so light.
While, she just waited online, looking at me through the camera, chatting some things here and there, understanding everything through the silence; a silent conversations that spoke a lot more than anybody else’s chat.
A wonderful hour was spent, all together, at different points of life, all apart, yet together, somewhere.
That night as I shut down my laptop with a smile on my face, I was hit with a realization. Although, life moves on, evolves, some relations remain hidden deep inside. Some with hope that they would bloom again, while some simply stay, as a special part of life. They are there, always, and they never change. They must and should always remain. They do not complete you, you are complete on your own, but they help you share your completeness……I could not help smiling….but that’s the last thing I remember as I slowly fell deep into a content sleep.
I rushed into the class, merely glancing at the screen and acknowledging the greetings with a quick wave of my hand and a flash of smile. It was the menu execution day and all was set.
With everything being carried out as planned, the chocolate roulades with sherry infusions sat proudly on the plates while the honeyed bacon completed the whole look of the plate and even of the chocolate.
I then ordered a crate of Seville oranges to be thinly shredded and the skin to be candied to form extremely thin hairs of orange rind. To the smiles of my team mates I personally garnished each roulade delicately with the silky hair-like threads of orange; just a touch of them…and the plates went out to the diners.
Outside I watched as the gourmets put the dessert into their mouths surprised by the new flavors and then their eyes sparkled as the familiar tinge of crunchy orange hit them. It was one crunch, that’s all, and that created the desired effect of deliciousness.
I looked at the display plate that was in front of me. There they were again, the chocolate all complete in its own rich flavor and the tiny, golden hair of candied orange peel balanced on top of it; Both content, both complete, both sharing each other’s completeness.
I dug into it with the silver dessert spoon and allowed the flavors to unfold on my tongue….and as the flavors revealed their magic, I could not help thinking – “Hmmm…delicious…..Life is simply delicious.”