Day 1: Singapore - A prayer answered
Today has been a wonderful but tiring day for me. I will be flying abroad for the first time tomorrow. And that too, to Singapore. My first onsite trip.
My bags are all packed with new freshly pressed clothes - Van Heusen, Levis and Jockey. They are all jostling for space in there. Amma has thoughtfully packed a huge jar of mango pickle in one of Appa's old lungis (Poor Appa’s lungis have been massacred for pickle swaddling since my college days).
I tried to explain to Amma about the Customs being strict or the danger of the oil seeping out on my new clothes.
"It’s just mangos and chilli powder", she said. So I just gave up.
Day 2: Bread - Resdicovered
I am not quite sure what to make of my first flight experience. It wasn't quite the delight I expected.
The vegetarian choice was limited bordering on nil and the nuts came in nut-sized packets. But I am still in good spirits.
After all, my dream of crossing the seven seas is happening after years of slogging at that shitty Chennai office. And that too to a metropolitan Asian city. What luck! I can enjoy the Asian hospitality and cuisine, and at the same time live in perpetual air-conditioning.
I had been secretly dreading ending up in Europe or America and puking over steak or Fish and chips smells for the rest of my days. But clearly lady luck has smiled on me. Someone even told me that rice is a Singaporean's staple diet as well.
Today was too tiring. So I just bought a packet of bread and some peanut butter for dinner.
Tomorrow will go hunting for some culinary delights of the city!
Day 3: Macdonalds - Not quite lovin' it
I asked at the hotel reception if they knew where I could find an Indian Coffee house. I mean those places are world famous right? Well, apparently not.
I thought about Amma's idlis and sambhar and felt a bit homesick.
There was a MacDonald’s opposite the hotel. Believe it or not, they had teriyaki, tofu and even an octopus burger. But not a simple veggie burger in sight. Finally I settle for the mushroom burger (When did mushroom even get promoted from soup entree to filling???) and a big pack of French fries.
Bought something called butter buns for dinner.
Day 4: Singapore - Hell!!!
I swear if I see another bread or bun, I might vomit. Honestly, is it so difficult to chop up a few vegetables and whip up some dish in this country? And why are mushrooms, Bok Choy and tofu parading themselves as main dishes? It’s like the Twilight zone out here...shudder!
I did see a Biriyani stall here and pounced upon the blessed familiar word. But there was only chicken, fish and mutton biriyani. Yeah, let us vegetarians starve to death, I suppose.
It's a slow mutiny against us.
Day 5: Little India - Another prayer answered
A friend took me to Little India today. It was full of Indian, vegetarian restaurants. Millions of them. If it hadn't been for the 'paan' spittle on the pavement I would have kneeled and kissed the roads right there and then.
I had 2 dosas and 3 gulab jamuns. I didn’t even bother to convert to rupees and calculate the cost difference before ordering.
My dinner awaits me as I write this. Steaming hot rice with sambhar and beans curry packed in the traditional brown paper and tied with a string too. Yum!
Day 6: Tortillas topped with regret
A friend from Los Angeles called today. A vegetarian friend, mind you. He said he's discovered salads and tortillas in the states. So it’s not all steaks and burgers there apparently.
I tried to sound enthusiastic about the food here, but don’t think I was that convincing.
Hoping to go to Little India later on and drown my sorrow in the welcoming hot sambhar and rasam.
Day 7: Psalm 118:22-23: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone
I finally finished unpacking everything today. That’s when I found Amma's pickle jar nestled among my clothes. I had almost forgotten about it. I opened the jar and the heady scent of spicy, rich pickle hit my nostrils. God, I had missed that overdose of spice!
Today’s dinner menu: Bread with mango pickle.
Thank God for relentless mothers who don't care about Airport Customs.