Free and fierce as a nomad on the Sahara. Careless like a yogi who has chosen exile in the Himalayas. Like a banned bandit wondering in the Andes. Vigorous as the swirling sun in a Van Gogh painting. – That’s how I feel when I cross the line and enter the sanctuary where the universe is regained and aligned, free from frail & feeble beings, where every particle preaches LOVE.
When outside burdened world gets too much to take, to take a break, I get back in touch with my sanctuary. Attacks withstood, storms endured knocked-off, pale, weary, fragile me celebrates the joy my heart yearns for; responds to the holiest, purest call what my soul has longed for, quenches the thirst that my throat has been carrying around for years.
My potential ‘boyfriend’ who I met online came to meet me all the way from America. On the first date I decided to take him out for breakfast- to my sanctuary- a destination unknown to him. Just to see what kind of a soul resides in his body.
As the first light of dawn turned the sky golden, we got on a local bus, took the highway to heaven, shared some chitchatting and laughter with some ‘never seen before’ passengers who always wear colorful clothing with dazzling clarity. For an hour or so, we rode past miles after miles of gorgeous greenery, vastness, huts with haystack roof, open air village markets, women walking carrying mud pitchers on the head filled with drinking water, fertility, healing and wisdom….
The driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. We were back to a world that was unchanged since the time of Christ.
Here the infinite sky rests its root in the river. The blazing sun kisses the knee-high rice saplings from up above. The air is dense with hoots and cheers and tweets of birds. Full-fledged larger-than-life trees cast lacy shadows on the silver waves of the river. Lazy, scented wind sifts through the wildflower bushes. Here human souls can see, hear, touch, feel the unchained melody coming from heaven beneath. (I saw the irises of his jet-lagged eyes widen).
We gazed down at the river bank. A Shabby, mud-built, humble hut on the horizon gazed up at us. This is a restaurant for small peasants, laborers and beggars to whom God cannot appear except in the form of bread and rice. I have been coming here, alone, to dine out for years now. The owner, the chef, standing strikingly strong and tall, like the timeless statue of Jesus Christ, invited us in. I have been watching him cooking and serving ‘love & life support’ for years now. (Cookery is an ancient, spiritually enriched, enchanting art indeed!)
He cooked us Potato Cakes. The smell of life hung everywhere. And my heart started throbbing!
Smoking hot & spicy potato cakes served on pearl white rice. Match made in heaven. So well-seasoned! Perfectly spiced! Memorably good taste & texture never weighs me down!
Crispy, crunchy, warm potato cakes will play Mozart in your tongue……
.... if there’s stone cold Coleslaw to dance along.
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 finely chopped green chili
1 medium onion, chopped
Handful of chopped fresh Mint
Few drops of lemon/lime juice
2 tablespoons mustard oil
Vegetable oil for frying
*Mix first 7 ingredients. Chill/refrigerate it overnight for the best results. Let the flavors mingle.
*Use your hands to form 1/2-inch thick patties. (Apply a little oil for smooth finishing)
*Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet/pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking.
*Add the potato cakes to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.
*Cook until they have formed a golden crust, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until golden brown, another 15 minutes.
*Serve hot with rice/salad/coleslaw/tea.
You can add any herb with Potato cakes. But Fresh Mint from my garden fills up my senses delightfully.
Why Mint? – My peasant-chef prefers Mint over any other herbs when it comes to Potato cakes.
As the sunset painted the sky all over with intense ruby red hue, I saw tear drops falling from his deep soulful eyes. May be like me he has scars caused by agony, fire, fear of failure, greed, struggle, suffering, sickness. May be he too dies an unthinkable death once in a while. May be that humble restaurant with a simple meal recovered, refreshed and lifted up his spirits stimulating his appetite.
May be the departed part of his soul has been resurrected here. Right in front of that worn-out sanctuary – that Cathedral- that Temple, when he asked if I would be willing to sail away with him again, I replied, ‘YES’.
An unprepared fun, whimsical ride turned into a blissful adventure of a lifetime.