Madhuri and Nashra have been promising the Wanipura kids that they will visit them after school, but everyday either due to the weather, general tiredness or daunted by the distance, they some how end up skipping the trip, much to the kid’s dismay. After a week of excuses and apologies, they finally give in and after school we follow the kids home taking a significantly less treacherous route than the one I was coerced to embark upon on my last trip down.
We get to mehfooz and imtiyaz’s house and are led upstairs into a room with these amazing windows that overlooks the mountain range. Mehfooz plays the perfect host and in between drinks courses, he and the other kids provide sufficient entertainment. At Sabbah’s insistence, Imtiyaz, my chocolate biscuit supplier and I use the time productively to draw up a contract for his supply or rather ‘splie’ of chocolate biscuits. The contract reads:
‘On this day the twenty eighth day in Augaust in the year twenty twelaw ad, I, Imtiyaz Ahmed Dev inter into a binding contract with Safiyyah ma’am regarding the splie of chocolate bisucit. We hear by agry that I will splie bisucits at a one rupee mark up to compensate for dlevery. Safiyyah ma’am will therefore pee 6 rupees for each phacket’.
The contract was ‘singh[ed]’ at the Dev house, Wanipura at 4:31pm by Imtiyaz, our two ‘withnesses’: Madhuri, Nashra and I. We shook hands, got our picture taken as proof and that was that. I must admit that while I am thrilled at my promised splie of chocolate biscuits for the rest of my stay here, I am not so thrilled about ‘pee[ing]’ 6 rupees every time; a rather unfortunate spelling error on imtiyaz’s part.
The thing with life in the village is that with the setting of the sun comes the heightened possibility of leopard attacks and bear encounters and while I have been secretly practicing my dead look in my room every night, a bear is not something I’d want to cross paths with. That means that we generally stay home after the sun sets and alternate between TV viewing, eating and trying to locate workable phone reception spots. Last night dinner was a bit later than usual and in search of a food channel, we came across a Food Safari episode on Mexican cuisine and based on their similarities to desi (indian) food, as decided by Sabbah, it was agreed that we’d attempt a Mexican dinner today and after a process of elimination based on the ingredients available, we settle on burritos.
Sabbah makes up the tortilla mixture (improvised because we are not fortunate enough to have the store bought ‘tortilla mixture’ all the google recipes seem to require); Madhuri does the completely organic salsa, Nashra spends the better part of an hour finely cutting cheese (to meet Sabbah’s standards) before to her horror, realizing the presence of a grater and I attempt rolling round paper thin tortillas. We get a production line going on the dinner table and slot in the salsa, sauce, chicken strips, cheese and fried rice into our burritos before rolling them up and toasting them on the stove. Considering (with the exception of the cheese) that all our ingredients are either from the garden, barn or from somewhere in the village, Mexican night is a resounding success and we spend the rest of the evening eagerly channel searching for more ingredientless cuisines we can attempt.