In an attempt to stave off the Wednesday blues here’s a look at what Sundays with us in Vizag are like.
5.30 am: Yarada Beach.
Our Abroozi LOVES swimming in the sea. At first he could sense that there was a possibility of some danger and wouldn’t let my dear husband or I in to the water. But now he is a pro at reading the rhythm of the sea and his confidence is a joy to see. Sometimes he goes further in than I would like and I am wringing my hands as he confidently launches himself in to the water. He carefully chooses his wave, waiting for a calm spell, after the waves have receded to go out swimming. He then catches on to a large wave that is building up, he swims rapidly as he is pushed by the waves that crash on to the shore where he can touch down and run up the beach. He is a true retriever – we fling the frisbee in to the water and he will not rest until he has secured it, skidding, sliding, diving and swimming until he’s brought it back to us.
7.30 am: Seafood hunting.
By half seven in the morning, our Abroozi has had the sea and sand washed out of him. We take a break from yoga on Sunday mornings and instead head off to Gajuwaka’s fish market which is an assault on all the senses, pictures next time I promise. Prices vary depending on the success of the catch and you have to have a relationship with a particular stall so that you don’t get ripped off. This week Surmai was Rs.500 a kilo. Last week Rs. 350 a kilo. King prawns Rs.300 a kilo. Squid Rs. 200 a kilo.
8.30 am: The vege mandi
I detest the advent of places like Reliance Fresh – the agricultural middle men. There are very few “mandis” left in cities but the experience is invigorating. You can stand in the middle of a big field and in every direction you see the freshest of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and provisions being sold by the very poor but very hard working people who grow this produce. Having started to tend my own vegetables I can understand the deep connection one develops watching your veges grow. Inflation and the hike in the price of diesel to transport vegetables has a very real effect on the consumer as the prices of vegetables fall and rise and not to forget the farmer.
You feel good spending money on fresh fruit and vegetables. This week fearing the end of Mango season we panic bought 6 kilos plus our usual 2 kilos of apples and a couple of delicious looking musk melons. I spent Rs.800 on fruit this week but it felt good. I feel guilty when I buy frozen cold cuts.
We pick up a few vadas or a poori/baji from Kumar’s hotel behind the market or from the man who sets up his stall between the temple and the mosque and then head for home. The outside of Kumar’s hotel does not do justice to the quality of his food and believe me neither does the inside (hence the lack of a picture). As you can see, life here is not flash or fancy, there’s no air-conditioned market. This is small town India, take it or leave it, better or for worse, whatever your politics, here it is – simple.
Some people are just waking up and we have already done so much with our Sunday! Now it’s time for a spot of cleaning, fridge rearrangement, internet surfing, check on the garden, a bit of carpentry for my dear husband and then some lazing around. Our Abroozi is already enjoying his pre-lunch, post-beach siesta, absolutely exhausted from his morning expedition and massage and bath.
12.30pm: Seafood lunch
The spoils from the fish and vege market are given the best treatment in our kitchen. This week it was soy prawns and mushrooms.
Shell and de-vein the prawns reserving the heads and shells for a prawn stock (details for stock below) used later in the evening for a light soup.
Slice onions, mushroom, ginger, garlic, green and red chillies and coriander.
Heat a wok and add oil (peanut oil if you prefer)> Get it really hot then add in the onions. Saute for a few seconds then add the ginger, garlic, chillies and mushrooms. Add a tbsp of soya sauce, oyster sauce, chinese cooking wine and some sugar. You can add some MSG if you like. Toss in the prawns and add some of the prawn stock or any other stock.Check the salt and add more if required.
Allow the prawns to cook for about 5 to 10 mins, sprinkle over some fresh coriander. Serve up with plain white rice.
After lunch we sleep, and sleep and sleep till it’s time to take Abroozi out for a walk around sunset. Then it’s a light dinner, usually a prawn bisque /soup which my dear husband has mastered to perfection, made from the heads and shells of prawns we had in the afternoon. We boil the heads and shells in a large pot of water for about 10 minutes skimming off the orange skum that rises to the top and then strain. Then you fry onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, capsicum, add shredded chicken, spinach and then the prawn stock. Add a tsp of soya sauce, salt, pepper and quickly beat in egg whites. This steamy broth is all you need for a good night’s sleep. A dessert of fruit and by 9pm it’s time for bed.
This is Sunday in Vishakapatnam, we have no where to be, no commitments to anyone save our own bellies and souls.
And then it’s sunrise again, a new day beginning with an early morning walk and this view. We are truly blessed in life.