Stuffed baby eggplants (the chotu baingans I brought all the way from NJ in my checked-in luggage..because of course, in my gaav, one gets 5 staple kinds of veggies, onions and potatoes included)
Bhindi masala (Farm grown okra (bhindi) with tomatoes )
Raita (Salad with yogurt, chopped tomatoes and carrots)
Biryani (Spiced rice with vegetables)
Rotis (Flat bread, bought frozen, pan-heated before serving)
Dessert: Ice cream and fresh fruits
S#2 & her boyfriend R. This was a good-bye dinner for S. Her boyfriend R and I have rarely hung out together, and he was a little unsure of coming, but at my insistence, he did, eventually.
The history: S has been one of my closest friends here. She finished much earlier this year but hung around for a bit longer, and it kept getting prolonged, unexpectedly. It was like a new lease of life for our friendship, and I was in complete denial that she would actually move out eventually. We started out being lab-neighbours, and classmates. She is one of those people who lived a full life alongside going to grad school. Has several hobbies she pursues seriously, has a huge friends circle and a very active social life. She introduced me to biking, dragged me out of lab those nights when I was working too hard, and was always there for me when I needed her: to give a listening ear, to bitch alongside, or laugh and cry with me. When I moved labs, and got more busy with life, she made it a point that we met once every two weeks where we took turns cooking the lunch. Those were such fun lunch times and we continued keeping up with each others lives like before. For all our differences in culture, up-bringing and lifestyles, it was amazing how we connected so well and she got to understand my side of things that were often different from how she sees life.
Soon she learnt to differentiate indian spices, relish spicy food, eat with her hands (right hand only, i explained to her why and she never lost a chance to announce that at a table full of people eating food at an indian restaurant..siiigh). She is not one of those people that passes off all indian food as "curry". She takes time to taste, differentiate, and recognize ingredients and flavours in everything that I cook. One of the reasons it's so much fun to cook for her.
The evening: Although R had never come to my apartment before, he picked up on the lack of shoes beyond a certain a point and promptly took his shoes off. (My good friends know this is a pet peeve with me, and I cannot stand people walking with shoes all around my apartment). At dinner, I had to explain all the items on the menu as described above to both S and R. R used a fork and spoon while S relished eating with her hands, proudly breaking off a bit of roti with one hand alone and feeling oh-so-accomplished, :) R is not much of a fan of vegetarian food, so I was a bit concerned. But when he asked for seconds, and later announced that he was stuffed, I took that as a compliment. After a heavy dinner, S and I sat back on the couch, talking, giggling, and recounting memories while R cleared up the table and did the dishes. That's my kinda guy! The laughing and the jokes went on quite late- R has a terrific sense of humour that I was just beginning to get exposed to. He had us in splits and suddenly I was on the verge of getting my second noise warning in this apartment. So we had to stop there. Dessert was served, and we decided to call it a night. If not for R, I would have woken up to a sink full of dishes this morning, and memories of an awfully emotional good-bye to S. I am so glad he decided to come. :)