Late Night Dining

Last night the family and I went to have ‘Sehri’, also known as Suhoor, which is the pre-dawn meal before fasting. It’s the month of Ramadan now and for the last three-four years in Dhaka people have taken their love of food to include Suhoor as well. Restaurants have come up with menus and offers and keep their kitchens open till 2/3 am to cater to the adventurous Dhakaites seeking some delicious food before their fast.

 

Daal
Daal

The restaurant – the right word would be- unpretentious. Plastic chairs, cheap cutlery, yellow halogen bulbs, a heady feeling of organized chaos. The busboys rattle off the specials with no waste of breath. The overall attitude is, you know what we have, you know you are here because you have heard people raving about us and their hundred check ins. Don’t worry about it not being spotlessly clean and maybe relax those apprehensions.

Yellow lights

Not exactly fine dining, then.

We order basic staples any Bangladeshi is familiar with. White rice, chicken, daal and then go for the specials. Leg of lamb and gigantic prawns.

The food arrives in five minutes. With the first world cup game of the night being over a few minutes ago, people start bustling in, eager to get the eating business out of the way  before the next match starts. The atmosphere is electric. There are all sorts of people from all corners of the city congregated here: their loud voices argue about sports and food and the state of the world while the bus boys run with stacks of plate after plate of spicy, rich curries and steamy rice and glistening golden daal.

Rice
'Time is very precious so don't waste it unnecessarily and give  someone else a chance to sit'
‘Time is very precious so don’t waste it unnecessarily and give someone else a chance to sit’

The food is delicious. Nothing Michelin star quality one can assume, but it’s honest and homely but with enough pizazz to stand out from what we cook at home. But it’s not just about the food. It’s the chase of the thrill that everyone really comes for. It’s something to do. It’s quality time that is somehow made less ordinary by the fact that it’s late outside. The streets are quiet, the roads are empty, and most people should be in bed. But we’re not. We are happily inhaling a leg of lamb and it feels pretty darn good.

Music on my mind

I’ve been going through old songs recently. By old I mean songs that I was exposed to growing up. I had a very eclectic background with music, one could say. Back in my formative years my father and uncles owned giant music players with speakers that were larger than me in some cases. It was the newest and coolest bit of technology for music lovers back in those days, with numerous buttons and sliding equalizers and the sexy dance of the beats on LED. The music pumped through our small apartment as I stared transfixed at the shiny, flat discs called CDs. The sound was clear. No longer did we have to rewind and forward with our gut feeling with cassette tapes to get to the song we wanted. It was a revelation.
We’ve come a long way since then. I don’t think I own any CDs anymore. My ever nostalgic father still owns his old CD player, the one with the big speakers which are not bigger than me anymore. The sound is still clear.
The songs of my youth didn’t go so much as to shape me but did however expose me to a range of emotions. From the pop-sickle boy bands to angsty grunge rock to haunting Indian instrumentals, they were as different as the range of human emotions could be. No matter how many great new songs come up, somehow they pale in comparison to the songs I grew up with. It’s not necessarily to do with the music being particularly overwhelming, it’s just something that resonates in my memory from those turbulent years.
And as is usual with me, I am at a loss as to how to end this post. Bye for now. Thanks for reading.