August 23, 2007

Phase of

One had never liked cabbage, until one day one realized that one liked it very much indeed. So much, in fact, that one insisted on having nothing but cabbage sabzi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We call the stuff kobeech out West, and every day the maharaj would be instructed to cook generous amounts of fresh kobeech, with precisely the correct amounts of haldi and tadka and so forth, for one's noble consumption. One was only eight years old at the time, but this was fairly extreme even by the young One's standards.

Nevertheless, things continued in an altogether hunky-dory manner for a month or so. Until what we shall call the Fateful Day. For it was on this day that one discovered a Worm in one's cabbage bowl (there was, naturally, a special cabbage bowl). And, what is more, one nearly ate the worm before the discovery. The gentle reader might point out that the impending ingestion should have been of greater concern to our intrepid annelid than to the young One, but the young One did not somehow see it that way. The amygdala duly kicked in, the associative conditioning was complete before one could say 'Ivan Petrovich Pavlov' (presuming one could say 'Ivan Petrovich Pavlov'), and cabbage became, once again, a Disliked Food.

You see, gentle reader, when one sits down to Critically Assess one's Life So Far, the major point that tends to strike is that one has gone through Food Phases, intervals characterized by the single-minded pursuit and devourment of the Currently Beloved Food. The above was, of course, the entire life-cycle of the Kobeech Phase in what might be called a Nutshell.

Many phases followed. There was the Softy Ice-Cream phase, the Plain Paneer phase, the Marie Biscuit phase, the khakhra phase (they had to be spiced just right) and the particularly obsessive Cadbury’s Twirl phase.

And now, one finds oneself in the throes of a new Phase. It all began with a Japanese restaurant and a generous helping of sashimi. The traditional accompaniment for such foodstuffs, as you may be aware, goes by the name of wasabi. A pungent chutney made from the root of the eponymous plant, it tends to grab you by the respiratory system. And one now feels a strange affinity towards this condiment. One can taste wasabi just by thinking about it. Reminiscent of mustard, but with a cleaner, sharper twang. Mouthwatering. Magnetic.

One shall now proceed to look for some wasabi, for immediate consumption. And one will find it somewhere, even if one has to wade through piles of wormy kobeech.