Thursday, 6 May 2010

Performing the 'home'

Today while UK is gearing up for it's historic elections and the results becoming quite hard to predict, three students from Chennai in India performed 'home' by cooking food with spices and condiments just the way it was done back home.

We had heard many people referring to the Asian market which was 'somewhere' behind Queen's University but we had never been there. Today after a post-graduate seminar, we decided to go and take a look. Wonder of wonders!!! We found coriander, green-chillies, pickles and an assortment of stuff like it is in India. But the shop was owned by Chinese. We were like excited kids exploring the shelves and exclaiming: 'Hey, look, there is this and there is that!' I even began smelling things and taking in the familiar aromas much to the bemusement of the fellow-shoppers.

Hmmm. We bought to our heart's content and decided the menu: beef fry, sambar, rice, appalam and pickle. Since we were three, we split the dishes amongst us and started the grand performance. We reveled in the parts and played our roles to the T. Adding spices just like it was done at home.

When the smells wafted, we almost cried: 'Doesn't it smell just like home?'

The dinner was lovely. Our performance was complete. We were perfect.

Now we are students again. The performance is over. Home is a memory. When we burped, we thought of our 'performance' but not the home.

What is home then? A performance? Sometimes.


  1. Home is where the heart this case where the 'right food' is :) Hahahaa..Have a nice time in Belfast.

  2. I think 'home' is where your heart lies :) and certainly your heart lies where your people live !!

  3. I have been reading the posts on "home" that Susan wrote in her blog. I was also surprised to see a couple of interesting comments on the post. The posts left me with a lot of thoughts about "home" and "my home." "Home is where the heart lies" - sounds so poetic but cliched. Let me ask a basic question, "where does the heart lie?" Does it lie in Utopia? For some people it might. But for me it is neither a dreamland nor any mental space. It is basically physical in nature. Home includes land, trees, soil, weather, grass, breeze, dance, songs, cinema, love, hate, friendship, food, fact, dress, flowers, gods, deities, relationships and many more. Again Home is not an idea, it might be for homeless people. But for people who have houses, relatives and land, it is not an idea. It is a physical entity. So, I think home should be translated to your landscape, weather, behaviour, complexion, language, gestures, talents, thoughts and anything that defines identity. If you ask me, home is as important as my identity and in fact characteristics of home defines my identity.

  4. i would say home is a place where you are familiar with the people, places, sounds, tastes..even if you are a "widely-traveled" person, it is only in your home town you are at ease and in-sync..btw the pics you have posted look very nice..Enjoy your stay and do take lots of snaps to cherish later.

  5. I can totally relate to what you are saying here. I understand that feeling of home when you see our spices in a foreign land. We say we miss home, because we miss our folks, our own house, we lack familiarity with places around in a foreign land, and of course we miss food. So When we get to prepare the so called "home-food", we certainly feel at home.

    Have a great day Susan.


  6. Sometimes, yes.
    Have a lovely weekend, Susan. Do something fun!

  7. Spice

    Food for thought? Ensaai!!!

  8. Home will always be Home, Susan. And it's funny... my husband and I were just at a grocery store, just last weekend, owned and run by a family from Bangladesh. They sell everything Asian and Middle Eastern. When I say Asian, I mean all of it... Indian, Chinese, Malay, Japanese, Indonesian... all of the spices and condiments and fresh herbs. And Middle Eastern is also from everywhere... Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey. It wasn't our first time there - we go at least once a month... that's where I do the majority of my shopping for my kitchen. And, I was looking for that special green tin of Madras curry... the only type I like to buy... and I thought of you. But then I told myself I wasn't going to buy this curry, this time. I was going to MAKE it. So, I bought all the spices that I didn't already have, and I made my very own Madras curry. It was outstanding!

    Doesn't it just make you feel like a queen when you can create your own something, especially when you're away from home and the things you need are supposedly so difficult to find? But this is how small and flat our world has become... there's always a store somewhere that will have exactly what you need!

    So then, Home is not really that distant anymore, is it?


  9. Stevie:

    Yes and No.


    I wonder what is your home since you are 'lost world.'


    My heart lies in many places. It's partitioned, you know. For me 'my' people are important but certainly my heart does not lie where they live!!! Difficult to digest?

  10. Anonymous:

    For me it's a mixture of the mental and the physical. My home defines my identity but that does not restrict me from forming other homes with traces of the identity at home. Does that make sense now :)


    Hmmmmm. Home sour and sweet! Too much sweet is sometimes not very nice.


    Thanks for the nice words here. I am revelling here but do find time for some work as well. nice seeing you here.

  11. Sukanya:

    Food and familiarity, yes. It's not 'the' home but 'like' home. That's why the word 'performance.'


    Oh yeah! Traveling to a friend's place for the weekend. You have a lovely weekend as well.


    Speechless, I reckon.

  12. Govind:

    Rhyming class, ah? Food for thought: Literally and figuratively :)


    What a coincidence! Today, along with my friend, I went to a grocery store run by people from Bangladesh. What connections!! Madras curry! So nice of you to have thought of me. Would have loved to taste that curry!

    Oh yes! we find whatever we want anywhere in the world. Home is not distant, yes. In fact we carry our home wherever we go. Mimicry of sorts, you see. That's why it's called 'performance.'

    Joy always.

  13. Isn't it amazing how scents, sounds and taste can transport us in time and space?
    So happy for you that you found the ingredients and spices for a meal that brought home closer.;)
    I think the term home is so many things. It is people, it is objects, it is scents and sounds. It is traditions and the past combined with a future. It is also the present and eventually, just like happiness, it is a state of mind.;)¨
    Have a lovely weekend dear friend,

  14. I know Zuzana. Just like 'India' is so many things, 'home' too is many things at once. You have said it!!!

    Joy always.



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