In the city of Mumbai, the months of May, June and July are tough to get by - these are the long long months, with no mid-weeks breaks! Between the first of May, which is Maharashtra Day and fifteenth of August, the Independence Day, there is usually no holiday.
What makes life tougher in these three months is the general lazy atmosphere with overcast skies and a incessant, copious downpour, which unfortunately has been quite scanty this year. Getting out of bed, early in the mornings is a tough tough task, certainly not for the fainthearted!
But then August brings alongwith it a string of holidays and festivities - in short, a lot to look forward. One particularly lazy morning, a week back brought back that exciting anticipation back. It was a dull morning, and I was down with a mild flu, but not getting to work and calling in sick was not an option at all that day. I dragged myself out of bed, my body aching with the aches of the flu. After getting dressed at a snail's pace, a voice reached out for me. Neeti had laid out the breakfast table, with our standard healthy fare that we have come to be used to - oatmeal with soaked almonds, assorted fruit and upma.
As I grudgingly ate my breakfast, a frontpage article in Mint caught my attention that said "The business of haleem". Now haleem is a Hyderabadi delicacy, of Yemeni origins, usually relished during festivities and also during Ramzan. The article spoke of Pista House, a Hyderabadi eatery, taking in orders online and arranging same-day air freight delivery of Haleem in some cities, including Mumbai.
My lethargy miraculously vanished and the first thing I did was to check out the Pista House website. As the day progressed, the usual grind in office made me forget about the magic that I had experienced in the morning.
In the evening while driving back home, I was reminded of Haleem. The first I did on reaching home was to place an order online for the next evening, which happened to be a Friday. One kilogramme of Haleem is priced at Rs. 485, which is quite economical, considering that the delicacy is air dashed to you to tingle your tongue!
On Friday evening, I got a call from an unknown number confirming my address for delivery. I was assured my Haleem pack would reach me by 9.30PM. Neeti reached home at 9PM and I had warmed up her dinner. She asked me what I was upto, with a twinkle in my eyes, I told her about my Haleem order and that I would rather wait for Haleem to come in. Neeti prefers being a vegetarian and eggetarian but does occasionally have meat products, usually chicken and fish, but in conventional preparations, nothing gory, nothing outlandish. She affirmatively told me that she would wait for my Haleem to come in.
The next one hour was agonising - my Haleem came in at 10.30PM. I bolted for the door probably faster than Usain Bolt. There it was - a red tub from Pista House! The magic of e-commerce was there to be seen, a small business establishment had successfully ventured beyond its usual catchment area, through the internet!
The Haleem was quickly opened, it was quite a lot - I took out a bowl full and stored the rest in my deep freeze, my personal safety vault of exotic meats! Next my bowl was microwaved for a good 2 minutes, sprinkled lime on top and I was ready to dig in.
Mmmmmm, heavenly, delightful, soothing, juicy and meaty! My flu was gone, albeit, temporarily. Probably that's the therapeutic effect of great food! As the festival season sets in, I am sure there's a lot of good food coming my way!