The flavour of India goes all over the world

The flavour of India goes all over the world
So it’s time for you to travel and you are packing your bags with gifts for the kids. The suitcase is kept open for a month before the day of travel, where all the stuff they enjoyed as kids are put into the bag.

You send out a note to all your friends who you know you will definitely meet and the requests come in. There is a lot I dont know where to procure myself and then the fun begins. There is a Mangalore chicken masala which can be got from a Mangalore store. Could you get that for me, or there are A1 size bindis which I would love, could you get those for me. Bindis? Wow! Haven’t the faintest idea of where to get them.

When I was in the Netherlands an Indian friend there would ask for Tiger biscuits and Rose brand tea. Really? I had to scour the shop shelves the brands and it was well worth it to see Kanak’s joy when I handed them over and she sat down to a steaming cup of Rose tea with Tiger biscuits in a cold Amsterdam! What she pined for from India had come home to her she said.

We dont need a thing say my boys. Nothing! Don’t bring anything Ma, just yourself. I put in Meswak Toothpaste, Sandal Soap, Vicks both cough drops and inhalers besides the Vicks vapo rub and all the food that you remember they liked as children. Packets of channa and rajma, urad dal for vadas and atta for chappaties. This time I found a bag of puffed rice which the little ones thoroughly enjoyed.

I carry all sorts of masala. The goan ones which the boys enjoy -- rechard and xacutis cause we might suddenly find a bag of king prawns in Aldis and in minutes I can stir up some masala prawns. Or a wonderful hunk of lean pork and I can quickly make a pork vindaloo. I have learned to eat pork in their countries. I would not dare in India where the pork is rife with tape worm.

Then ofcourse our wonderfully fragrant Indian tea. I carry ¼ kg packets of wonderful Red Label tea which even the Brit neighbours of my son in the UK, look forward to. I dislike the affected tea bags. I don’t like it in the house and immediately give away tea bags anyone gives me. It is now proven that the staple and the glue used in them are toxic and we willingly put it in our tea cup. Just a pot with a table spoon of tea leaves, like my parents did, pour boiling water over and viola we have a pot of tea all day. My parents poured the tea out into a flask to keep it hot for anyone who wanted a cuppa through the day. I use a tea cosy!

And then I carry my Nestle’s milk powder. Full strength to add to my tea.You should use the full strength organic milk we buy Ma which is good for your bones, says my caring Doctor son. You need the calcium, but I prefer taking a tab of calcium and adding my Nestle!

Plus I carry my Dilmah tea. In the UK one can get Tetley which is pretty close to my Dilmah from Sri Lanka. I have been spoiled by a tenant who lived in one of my apartments, who always brought me bags of the tea. Now I stocked up at the Colombo airport with 500 gm bags at 4$ (US) each which was good value. In the US my DIL has bought me a darling glass teapot from Japan and I make a single teacup in it whenever I require through the day.

And then the bags of ‘mixture’ and only Haldirams please. I don’t believe in buying any other brand and it’s worth the extra cost. Every bag is delicious and every bag is made with genuine ingredients rather than mix in rice powder or anything cheaper. The boys love them, especially the older one in the UK. We get them here Ma why bother, but he will sit with his diet coke and demolish a bag at a time. One bag there costs 3 to 4 quid -- he can take me for fish and chips instead!

And finally now we get sachets of pickle. Large sachets of mango pickle are carried mainly to the UK as again the big boys loves them. He and his wife hate the pickles which they get there more tempered for Brit palates.

And the biggest secret of all -- I carry brooms from India. The soft brooms and the coconut brooms for the boys gardens. What are you doing Ma they said when I went to their first homes. Now I have them calling me and requesting me to bring one which are perfect for their gardens. I can't stop laughing now at the joy the brooms are greeted with.

I guess from the above one can see if you have grown up in India and you are enjoying the largesse of a developed world country, there is a lot from your home country that one enjoys and misses too.

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