Puliyogreys have been the part and parcel of every tambrahm upbringings that never cease to be the standard dinner even in the recent times. Those summer holiday epochs of our childhood have always ushered me to the specific timeline where the childhood memories remains intact with such pleasantly unpleasant endeavors.
Those were the summer holiday times at my aunt’s place when P’greys were of abundant supply from the temple. The two families would nonchalantly consume just the voluptuous plates of P’greys for dinner. I would like to mention that the alchemy of making P’greys with excessive tamarind and peanuts does magical things to you at night. If your system doesn’t accept the proportion, then you might have to take a couple of strolls to the loo to cache clean the exorbitant intake.
The hunger which is predominantly dominant before the consumption of this masochistic concoction nevertheless gets conquered at the end of process.
It evokes a sense a deep submission to some unknown force which drops the serotonin levels engulfing us to a nice Trans state called sleep!
Train or bus journeys have never been complete without the hawkers distributing food packets and frequenting the compartments with open carton full of Fruti-s and Fanta-s and Lays.
And then there are packets of P’greys with unknown source of supply. More worrying factors that might interest you are the eerie sense of wetness in the highly yellow tinted rice with generous quantity if oils, packed in plain patrawalies wrapped in newspapers.
The major problem with such crowded travel is the fear of flatulence. You never know what the other person is capable of and then there is intensity and sustenance levels which defines the devastation quotient of every human being.
Your olfactory sense never fails you. A stich in time might save nine, but a ‘fizz’ in time might kill nine and a stronger one can kill more!
The other day, when I was in the cafeteria, scanning the caterers on the floor, to get something for lunch, I stumbled upon this interesting combo menu where we can choose one main dish with couple of other auxiliary add-ons. The best thing about some companies are the offshore offices which are lavishly built and air conditioned along with plethora of options to get yourself nicely fed when hunger sends you SOS calls.
So my instinct driving me to go for Combo 4 menu comprising of what the nomenclature claims it to be a variety rice. The adds-ons include a series of wet and dry additives to aid the process of eating the main dish. Presence of butter milk in the list was some respite. After conducting an algorithmic computation in my mind to opt for this menu, I decided to join the queue to acquire a token for the same. This sounds all technical but believe me it’s all simple!
I joined the queue where my position was quite far away from the card swiping machine guy. The worst part of depending on the cafeteria food for lunch. Either you have to hit the cafeteria early or better come late. Sticking to this logic has both its advantages and disadvantages. Unless an early hunger strikes, you won’t be able to hit the Food Court early and if you are devastatingly hungry right in the middle of the day, late lunch can spoil your lunch time badly.
I didn’t want to steer my thoughts to such formula, hence I had to give in to the peek time rush. As the queue was progressing at snail’s pace, my hunger too was at waning phase. The guy at the desk was fishing the dried pond for 10s and 20s to be returned to the hungry fellow employees. Unperturbed by such peak time adversaries, I had taken a vow to conquer the combo plate before the hunger conquers me, holding all my perseverance strong as grit. I felt like a warrior!
After an arduous wait of twenty odd minutes, I was able to acquire the token which will fetch me the heavenly plate of variety rice.
Sometimes, testing one’s patience happens at all places more than the testing one’s code. There was another line at the food dispensing counter. I picked up a plate and joined the queue again. As I was moving forward, it took me a couple of seconds to realize that, two of the containers which had those variety rice in colorful display were beginning to reveal their bottoms. With every one person ahead of me yielding their plate, the containers had started making those squawking noise. Yes, the sound of serving spoons scratching the bottom of the vessel.
The horror struck me when someone barged in the middle of the line thereby increasing the probability of getting my plate not served.
Sometime, more than the reality, our gut feeling always helps us to overcome failure. By the time I handed over my token to the counter guy and with my last hope, I uttered those words
This guy nodded his head left and right showing me the empty vessel in the front. The worlds around me failed unceremoniously when two other guys came and yanked those two vessels from the serving counter, and walked away into the kitchen.
Life is full of options if you reckon. So I asked the guy for other options if this is not served. He with his least of his interest to feed me, agreed to check and come back. There is something called ‘refill’ which no one cared to do.
Convincing myself to have whatever available for consumption, I nodded my head. He said, he will give extra fryums in the plate to compensate my loss of faith in humanity. After waiting for couple of minutes with my eyes locked on every plate that came out of the kitchen, my guy marched forward with a plate full of fryums. Bewildered to see only fryums in the plate, I removed two three fryums, to find a morsel of colored rice heap nicely snuggled under the fryums. Before I could realize what I have been blessed with, with all the bewilderment and grief, I lifted my head and stammered pointing my fingers on the plate.
He said those magical words, “Puliyogrey” and walked away in glory.
Irrespective of whatever debaucheries that people find themselves into, there is always salvation – CURD RICE