the somnambulist

the somnambulist

The Barbecue Story

Winters are pleasant in Hyderabad. With temperatures bordering on chilly and a pleasant breeze as accompaniment, winter nights in Hyderabad are ideal for partying late. And what better than a barbecue party to savor the Hyderabadi winter nights. I floated the idea and sure enough Anoop and Ritu were pretty excited about it. When the initial excitement had died down, we realized that none of us had the barbecue hardware. We decided to look for a place where we can buy one cheap and if buying was not an option we would try and get one for rent. After hours of searching all we ended up with were subdued smirks from some amused shopkeepers and scores of Bar-be-What's from the rest. Anoop and Ritu were extra zealous because their close friend Chetan was coming over for the weekend from Delhi and they wanted to impress him with a barbecue. At this point I came up with the idea of making one from scratch.

A barbecue in itself is an uncomplicated piece of equipment. The rudimentary ones don't have any moving parts. I first thought of using a steel bucket for the base, but gave up on the idea. My next big idea was to use a disused cooking pan for the base, but gave that one up also as there was the hazard of overturning it and spraying someone with red hot embers. I finally settled on a clay flowerpot as the base. It is cheap, easy to come by and safe to handle. The next problem facing me was, what to use as a grill to cook upon. I immediately ran down to the nearest hardware store and bought a thin gauze iron grill, one that is commonly used for fencing. One has to take care that the grill spacing is not too large, else we could have food falling into the hot bed of coals below. The only thing left to do now was to decide what to use as spits. The best thing that came to Priya's mind was new bicycle spokes.

The entire hardware now in place, all that was left to be done was getting the coal for the fire. Once that part of the puzzle was complete, we all gathered around our newly assembled toy. The girls got the software ready and the guys started configuring the hardware. We first filled the base of the flowerpot with mud, so that we don't use too much of the coal. Next we started pouring coal into the half filled pot, stopping only when the level of coal was an inch below the brim. We then sprinkled the coal with some kerosene and started a fire. Once some of the coal had lighted, it took us nearly thirty minutes of fanning and blowing to get the rest of the stuff lit. After we had a nice hot fire, we placed the grill over the pot. We anchored the grill firmly to the pot using four bicycle spokes driven into the soil in the flowerpot. We then started roasting the meat and the veggies, which by then had been properly marinated. By the time we were done with the food, half of it had already been eaten.

We then carefully put out the fire and settled to finish what was left of the food. Already Ritu and Anoop were planning the next barbecue party and Chetan was having second thoughts about flying back to Delhi the next morning. All in all a perfect way to spend a perfect Hyderabadi winter night.

Beware of a wish: for wishes do come true

It's a new year and here's wishing you the most wonderful year of your life till now.

You know, for a minute there, I almost said "wish all your wishes come true" but then I had to desist. It is true that the mere fulfillment of a wish or two doesn't seem enough and all we want is everything, but not all your wishes are really worth granting. In fact, there are plenty that can sure land you in trouble.

How many times, in the midst of sheer frustration over some unfortunate incident in life, have you wished that you were dead; how many times, in an inexplicable rage, have you wished ill of your best buddy. Indeed we can go on and on about so many times we have been saved from misery because our wishes, thankfully enough, have not been granted.

However, that doesn't undermine the power of wishes. Given the highly unpredictable and increasingly unfriendly world that we live in, the very fact that you are alive and happy enough is because someone has wished you well, whether it be your family or just some stranger wishing for the good of mankind.

So it's in our own good that we wish well, whether it be our friends or our enemies and help keep alive the circle of good fortune!


goto top
Back Issues