“There are three things, and three things only, that can lift the pain of mortality and ease the ravages of life,” said Spider. “These things are wine, women and song"...
"Curry’s nice too," pointed out Fat Charlie”
—Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
The world is a beautiful place. A stew of an immeasurable number of things, coming together in symbiosis. Some things, of course, don’t mesh well with everything else. In its own way, the world itself is a curry. What is a curry, if not an amalgamation, after all? Vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, cheese, broths... Even meat!
“Perhaps the concept of curry expands far beyond the bowl…” I often consider, “Others, I’m sure, have felt the same way.”
I turn my eye to the salty, briny, bubbling liquid. An ocean to some, but a broth to me. There’s something so holistic about it. Everything comes together, separate articles that may have purpose on their own; may give life, but together they expand into something truly transcendental.
Take dhungar, for example. A method of adding flavour to curry. Through placing a dish of burning charcoal in the center of the brewing concoction, then covering it, one may add a smoky decadence to their cuisine. What a truly brilliant and abstract way to add that masterful zing! I suppose what I’m doing involves a dhungar of its own.
In the grand bowl of curry we call planet Earth, sometimes we need a little extra zing. Something to shake things up, and bring a little heat.
That’s where I, The Chef, come in.
Most of my… life, if we can really call it that, I’ve been an abstract observer. While I’ve had my fair share of interactions with the world, and its diverse inhabitants, lately I’ve kept humanity at arm’s length. In this incarnation, I’ve not been the “destroyer of evil”, or “patron of the arts”. Perhaps, like all else, that too will change.
I’ve been told that my beliefs are extreme and ridiculous; that I’m little more than an eco-terrorist. But none of it really makes sense. I’m not looking to save the rainforests, and I’m certainly not looking to reduce carbon emissions. In fact, they’re humanity’s poor attempts at a dhungar, in itself! On the contrary, I believe that humanity as a whole is trying to do exactly what I’m doing. They’re just doing it poorly.
Oh, believe me, I understand the concept of “low and slow”. Nothing quite builds flavour, and homogenizes the nuances of a dish quite like a nice, gentle simmer. However, there’s a distinct difference between “slow cooking”, and “keeping warm”. Which brings me back to the need to add a little zing.
Collecting the required ingredients has been a pain-staking, “lifelong” challenge. At the ripe age of 82, I’ve finally managed to get every last piece for my recipe. It’s both heartwarming and sorrowing to know that I won’t be around to receive compliments or criticism on my life’s work. Perhaps no one will.
Anyone who would chance upon me would find themselves confused, to be sure. A lone man, on the Bay of Bengal, mastering a dish that no one will taste, to serve to a starving world. Not that it’s likely, but perhaps someone should be so lucky as to bear witness to such a manifestation of godhood in the works; to see the worldly mind quenched of its longing, and suffering.
But I digress. Time wouldn’t normally be an issue, but I’ve found myself in the twilight of my life. I must keep focus.
Reflecting on my checklist, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride.
- Marinade the meat
- Simmer the veg.
Season the broth.
- Mix them all together.
- Begin the dhungar.
There’s a stinging burn in my sinuses as I mix the ingredients. The spices are really coming through! The slow burn fills my lungs. I don’t have much time left, but I really don’t need much for the finishing touches, anyhow.
The whole world will feed from my curry; everyone will be blown away. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been conceived, by god or man. Tyrants want to remake the world in their image, but I’m no tyrant. I want to shape this world into the perfect symbiosis. The homogenous ambiguity of an immeasurable number of things, all melted together in one smoking pot.
I light the fuse, place the “dish” in the “pot”, and deeply inhale the bitter-sweet, acrid aroma of my magnum opus; the last scent I’ll ever smell, as it’s released on the world.
Written by Tewahway