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Monday, September 2, 2013

"Lush"

The first time I ate tamarind, all the electrical paths in my head lit up like a Christmas tree.  Maybe this is what happens to people when they do crack?  I wanted more, but it was in a tiny dish, obviously meant for dipping.  I wanted a soup bowl full of it, but manners are manners and I hid my greed.  At least it’s legal and I don’t have to rip off a liquor store to get more.

I have an Indian friend who is quite inconveniently moving away to the west coast.  I’m sure he’s oblivious to the fact that I always have internal meltdowns when people I care about go away.  I’m not even sure if he’s paid attention to the fact that I care about him in the first place.  Kind of reminds me of my mom’s oft-stated observation “for such a smart kid, you sure are stupid!”  Well, fair enough.  We were often in the hospital when she said things like that.

My friend and I have discussed tamarind multiple times.  He told me about a store where I can get it and I bought a block of it.  I wondered what I was supposed to do to it to turn it into the soup bowlful of ambrosia.  He says he just eats it as is – which is all he can really do since he’s made clear that cooking isn’t a skill he’s going to acquire in this lifetime.

As for leavings and my meltdowns regarding them, I suppose it started when Great Grandpa died.  My uncle moved away, my cousins, my first girlfriend, my second, my third, my other cousins.  Every year people left my life, hardly ever to return.  Some of these leavings were especially tragic like when my dad died in an accident when I was a teenager or my friends in more recent years.

Since my Indian friend has already shown he’s capable of moving halfway around the Earth, I suppose he’s especially clueless that not all of us are capable of such things.  I couldn’t manage life in Indiana very well, let alone India – though I suspect India might be more interesting.  And they have tamarind.  All Indiana has is corn and soybeans, and to repeat an Indiana joke, corn is the state tree.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I should give my friend a parting gift, but I couldn’t think what to give.  “Lush” made me think of tamarind and the green, cultivated city on the other side of the world my friend knew as a child.

Yes, I know the world has gotten smaller with the internet, but it can’t replace drinking tea and eating bagels together while he opens my eyes to new ways of thinking about different things.  I’ll miss seeing his flush of happiness when he comes in after his dance class, still full of energy.  I’ll miss laughing with him when he makes another of our friends laugh, and I’ll miss laughing when he doesn’t get my teasing.  I’ll miss his calm and tolerant approach to life.

So here’s to my friend that he be successful and happy in California, knowing that when I eat tamarind, I’ll be thinking of you J

16 comments:

  1. When I read that your mother's comment "was usually made in the hospital," I laughed out loud.

    Sorry your friend is moving. But remember, the regrets of the one leaving can be as big as those of friends left behind.

    Your reaction to tamarind was like mine the first time I had peanut sauce in a Thai restaurant. I wanted to grab the little bowl, drink its contents, then lick up any drops that remained. Dang manners!

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  2. Where in California, Linda? Maybe I'll get to see you one day when you come to visit him! I currently live between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. And just having finished a rare restaurant lunch of Thai Wraps and Spicy Black Beans, I can really relate to your Foody Joy! :-)

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  3. I love Thai food. Oh, let's face it, I just love good food wherever it comes from. My friend is going to San Francisco, which is a very nice city if you don't count earthquakes and sharks and wildfires and things -- and I don't suppose he is thinking about any of that. I suppose Cleveland pales by comparison. Someday I will get to the west coast again and would love to get together with you Susan. Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Must admit that I needed to google "tamarind" and I'm now intrigued. Sorry that your friend is moving away!

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  5. You are so right, keeping connected through cyberspace is by far the same as person to person contact. So, indeed we need to sit down, chat and have a cup of tea (or coffee as it is for me). I have never heard about tamarind, but I eat quite a bit of Indian food, so I guess I might unknowingly have tasted it. Sorry about loosing your friend to the "other side".

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  6. I've heard of tamarind, but like Vicki, I had to Google it. I have a good friend who is Indian so I'll be sure to talk to her about it. She cooks a lot, so I might get lucky to be able to sample it.

    I'm sorry you lost your dad at a young age and have experienced other losses. In my fifties, I'm still learning to accept that people die.

    Fortunately, you'll still have your friend, though I know you'll miss seeing him.

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    1. Forgot to say that I like your image. It's better than Google's :)

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  7. I am the odd one out here Linda...I have never heard of tamarind..sounds pretty hot to me ;0) I am sorry to hear that your friend is moving away, I agree that the world is so much smaller with the internet but there is nothing like looking someone in the eye as you talk. I am glad you have such good memories, treasure them and think of him fondly. Now to look at what I have been missing with tamarind......x

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  8. Thanks everybody! The only reason I found out about tamarind is because I had such a positive reaction to it. I don't know if it works for everybody like that. I had to google the image too in order to do the painting of it. Anita, maybe your friend can tell us all what to do with it. So far I've found a recipe for tamarind balls online.

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  9. What a soft, beautiful image! Now I'm thinking I need to find out what this "tamarind" you speak of, IS!!! My apartment complex is inhabited by mostly people of Indian decent...I suppose I should ask around......

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  10. I will see my friend Swati at book club meeting on Monday. I will ask her about tamarind then. Should be interesting. :)

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  11. I'm beginning to wonder if there are any Indian people left in India :) Let me know if you learn what to do with the tamarind. So far I've just tasted the block of it and it tastes a lot like raw rhubarb without sugar. Thanks for the commments!

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  12. I hate it when good friends leave. They are so hard to replace. Now I want to try tamarind.

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  13. What a lovely post, Linda. I'm sorry he's moving...all the way out here in CA. It's tough when people you truly enjoy move. It really is. I had a tough time moving away from Ohio if you can believe it. I cried like a baby...lots of beautiful people in Ohio I say. Anyway, I digress. Tamarind! I will try it now that I've read this. It's very sweet to know that each time you have it, you'll think happily of your friend. Wishing you a lovely September ahead..the fall is beautiful where you are. Maybe it will call for a pot of soup with hint of tamarind? :)

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  14. Ohio's home to me, so naturally I'll agree with you about nice people here Shirley :) Course now it's going to be a lot of nice people minus one to California. I hope Californians appreciate him. I wonder if everyone will figure out yummy things to do with the tamarind? Thanks for the comments!

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