AS several of my readers know, we spent the past few days in a place where, we are told, it is against the law to bring your worries. We didn’t. We succumbed to the island. We’d been to Kau’ai the Garden Island of the Haiwaiian chain. This vacation was different by all standards. For one, we rented a condominium, and ate delicacies cooked by moi on several beaches. Bows and accepts thanks gracefully for variety of picnic food provided.
Since we were going to the Garden Island, the husband thought it prudent to buy a flower sounding rice. We were going to the Plumeria flower state after all. Jasmine rice. Basmati doesn’t sound like Hibiscus or Jasmine. But Jasmine – sounds exactly like Jasmine doesn’t it?!
It is at this point that I feel obliged to explain the difference between Basmati and Jasmine. When one is looking for long grains that separate from each other easily, Basmati raises its long slender hand. If one is looking for cuddly affection between the grains, you go for Jasmine. Jasmine being Jasmine, it stuck together like glue, and puliodare/pulao were ruled out. I peered into the boiling pot and saw something white and gooey emerge from the effervescence. After some time, a sticky mush emerged. Luckily I had taken some curry powder with me.
On day one, it was some vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato and onions.
Day two was a very interesting variation (vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato, onions and bell peppers).
Day three was a different league (vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato, onions, bell peppers, carrot and peas)
And so the rice scaled loftier reaches of creativity, till one day we found ourselves ditching the carefully prepared food packets for a restaurant. The food in the restaurant sent us scurrying back for a vague m of c.p, t and o the next day. The curry gods were appeased and the sun was shining on the beaches again.
This was our first time to Hawaii, and I must say it felt great to shed our jackets and socks for lighter clothes. While there, we discovered a number of folks who accompanied migratory birds to Hawaii from the snowy reaches of the Northern United States, and actually made Hawaii their home for three to four months at a time.
A totally different mindset I confess, not to mention how curious I was to find out how they made a living. The same kind of feeling I have when I gasp at large mansions and wonder how they clean it! My curiosity was all the more since there were young folks with small children who did the same thing. Hawaii is by no means cheap, and I found myself gasping dramatically at some places (like that wife in the Sati Leelavati movie when she hears the ticket cost for the whole family to Bangalore for a week-end.) What do these people do for money?
I wish to set the record straight here, that I have been known to display decency, and kept my questions about their livelihood to myself. I must admit though, that this question is still eating my brain. Well, maybe Pinocchio’s nose longer grows longer when he lies, but mine seems to be growing with the constant activity in the brain from this quarter. I found myself guessing the options with the husband for such people, while pushing the over-priced, under-cooked pasta on my plate, and came up with nothing that looked feasible.
The moment I figure out, have no mistake folks, I am packing those bags. I almost had my toe and fingertips bitten off by frost-bite today because I forgot the socks and the heavy winter shoes with the glove and the earmuffs! That won’t do. It just won’t. Jasmine rice or no, I am going to Hawaii again!