Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire / Greedy Me

I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire and it's probably one of the best movies I've ever seen. It was also extra fun for me to be able to follow all the Hindi dialogue without needing the subtitles, and it was nice to watch it with a Greek audience that reacted along with the action on the film, gasping, groaning and clapping.

For the first time in my experience of Athenian cinema, nobody was blah blahing during a movie or making snide comments. Apart from reacting at intense moments, the audience was drop dead quiet - it's a miracle!!

Watching the movie had two unfortunate side effects, though. That night I dreamt that I was reading the athinorama.gr website and two new Bollywood movies were being released to be played in Athens cinemas. And I was of course crazily happy about this, but alas, 'twas but a dream.

The second side effect is that the movie made me extremely hungry for street food, and I don't mean souvlaki. That scene where Jamal is recalling the price of pani puri on Chowpatti beach ignited a lot of memories of hasty pani puri munching outside my school. We were forbidden from street food because of the risk of getting sick from it, or even ending up dead from it. The guy who sold the pani puri even got leprosy at one point, and we still kept going back to him while his fingers were practically falling off into the pani puri.

But it was always worth it, and street food tastes so much better when its forbidden. I could practically taste those chubby pani puris on the screen with chilli tamarind sauce being poured over them. On the last night of my visit to the Home Country two years ago, my best friend got us pani puri (also known as gol gappa) at my request, and after the first bite I knew that it was going to make me pretty sick. What can you do, x number of years away from the Home Country and your own immune system starts taking vacations and making you look like a delicate foreigner.

But since it was my last night and all I had to do in the next 24 hours was sit on a plane, I ate them all anyway. Who knew when I'd get proper street pani puri again, right? So naturally I got quite sick from them, and I wasn't sorry for a minute, not even when Mr Zeus tried to tell me what a fool I was on my 100th trip to the toilet. He's never taste pani puri, he'd be willing to get sick for them too if he had!!

So while the rest of the audience left the cinema probably contemplating all the things they had just seen, amongst other things I was thinking "Just how long must pani puri take to make?"

Now I'm sitting here with mountains of work, wondering at what point my craving is going to get bad enough for me to launch into the long-winded process of pani puri from scratch. Since you can't buy them in Greece, the most time consuming part would be making the puris, discs of dough rolled very thin and fried so they puff up and remain hollow inside, then you fill the insides with chopped onions and tomatoes, potato, yoghhurt, spices, tamarind sauce, chilli powder, coriander and bhoondi.

Hmmm.... what's a hungry girl to do?


Anonymous said...

When I went to India, I was being 'so so careful' about what I ate for all the reasons described in your post but then I got the best advice:

"You can either be really careful, take no chances, try few things and end up sick OR you can eat everything, try everything and experience good food along the way... oh and get sick".

So I went for the second option and got sick! LOL

I'd do it again tho...

Anonymous said...

Dear Bollybutton,

Here is a desi (or maybe pardesi) gal who finds your blog a few days back and reads all your posts in one sitting.

Your writing is vivacious, witty, hilarious and poignant, please take this is as serious encouragement to never give up blogging and writing. I must also admit to my selfish reasons for complimenting you thus; I want to read more about this Big Fat Greek Life of a Hinterland Ladki.

Our lives have some convoluted similarities and it delights me to know of another Subcontinental girl who can wax lyrical about paneer whilst swearing in Greek and who deals with the complexity of a "multicultural relationship" on a daily basis.


You take care.I look forward to reading more of your adventures!


Sesi said...

I just spend 30 minutes reading what a pani puri is, on various sources on the Internetz. I was amazed by the complexity of such a small food item.
I am uncertain of whether it could be made in Greece though, because most of the ingredients I seriously doubt if they could be found in here, even in any of those little Asian food stores on Evripidou street.
It got me really curious though. Must be really really rich in flavor!
And must seriously take long hours to make!

Blackbird said...

Remind me never to read your blog on an empty (or even just partly-empty) stomach...