Genuine warmheartedness and friendship - only the blessed get to experience. This past weekend, I felt blessed at Living Inn, Ludwigsburg. An invite for dinner turned out to be my most memorable evening in this German city...
On a cold Saturday afternoon, I started cycling toward Ludwigsburg. The cycling track cut across vast tracks of fields and I was lucky enough to spot two old gentlemen harvesting carrots while engaged in jovial banter. Unbeknown to them, I stopped my bike to take in this rare sight. How often does one get to observe a thing like this in a foreign land??? Oblivious to their surroundings, they continued to wriggle their arms in the mud...
Nimisha in her quintessential multilingual style had spelt the address as bhooka pahad, naalu, Ludwigsburg. (For the benefit of the majority who won't get this, she had meant Hungerberg 4, Ludwigsburg) I reached to find an apartment complex set in the most beautiful of surroundings. The Neckar was meandering along in its trail close by and a narrow path next to the complex seemed to lead to the Ludwigsburg Castle. The apparition of the complex could have been straight out of some fairytale.
|Rasam with rice|
Arun had made rasam and rice and I don't think I had enjoyed the taste of rasam quite as much as I did that particular afternoon. The salty-sour-spicy syrup gave life to taste buds that I never knew existed! Abhilash relished the taste so much that he slurped with satisfaction!
|Swans on the Neckar|
Back at the Living inn, Ashutosh and Nimisha were just finishing noodles. Soon enough, the cabinet was opened again...all sorts of spices in all possible packet sizes could be seen fighting for space. Out of boxes, Tupperware and hung from nooks, they were waiting to exude their aroma...We set out to work. (A correction is in order: Nimisha and Arun set out while Abhilash and Ashutosh lent them a helping hand. Useless me just loitered around clicking pictures!) Ashutosh set about making bhel poori; Abhilash busied himself with making the sweet popcorn spicy. Nimisha made dough and Arun got the vegetables in order.
I fail to recall who began singing while I certainly remember Nimisha prodding Arun with Abhirami, Abhirami. In no time, Abhilash started his favorite Ghar se nikalte hi ; Ashutosh surprised everyone by playing his own rendition of Maa that got me a bit emotional. Nimisha, with her exuberance surpassed Shreya Goshal by firstly singing Pal pal and then striving to make every pal of the evening so beautiful for all of us. Sometimes I do wonder where this girl draws her energy and enthusiasm from...they seem to be from some perennial source! Arun mimicked actor Kamal Hassan from Dasavatharam to near perfection...
|One for the group|
When the clock neared 10, dinner was ready and we were ready to feast. Chairs materialized out of nowhere and that small kitchen expanded to accommodate the five of us. Abhilash did some running around before he could find a perfect spot for a timed click. The smiles are all too evident. The Parathas and the brinjal curry tasted brilliant. Salad, curd and pickle complemented the menu perfectly.
Post lunch, flavored yoghurt and bananas made for a delectable dessert. What a memorable evening it turned out to be...one that I would cherish and hold dear for a long long time!