Monday, 31 October 2011

don't let your degree get in the way of your learning

Since, I arrived in Durham about a month ago, I have heard this line over and over again. During the PhD induction, during international student's induction, during college induction, during department induction, during university matriculation (induction). Over and over again....

"don't let you degree come in the way of your learning"

Ya, sure. I haven't even started work on my degree properly. But of course learning is going on, full steam. I have learnt to bear the cold of North England (god save me if I visit the Scots). I have learnt to watch (well, still learning) English shows on BBC Iplayer. I have learnt to find cheep food on the various shelfs of Tesco and M&S. I have learnt to endure the crests and troughs of Durham roads (yes, it is hilly). I have learnt to eat all kind of meat (hard to find your kind on the shelves). Most importantly, I have learnt of cook noodles and pasta (thanks to Shangkari). Yes, the water you boil your pasta in should be as salty as the Mediterranean. And yes I must visit the region and sample the water to bring perfection to my pasta. But yes I have learnt to survive.

But a couple of nights ago, I found that it wasn't just me who was learning or was interested in learning. People here are embracing the international culture. At least some of them. We had a Indian dinner get together on Saturday night. Thanks for the lovely dinner Kalpana. There were Chinese, Greeks, Malaysians, British and of course Indians. The food was good and so was the company. Now, since it was Indian food, I was back to my native ways of eating. Throw away the fork, the knife and the spoon. We have hands. The Chinese were quick to notice. And what happened next was a masterclass. No no, not in cooking. But eating, Indian style.

First stage was to eat chapati and chick peas (yes the ones that look like chicks). break the chapati into 4 equal pieces (well depends how big the chapati is. it could be more pieces). Use your hands to roll the chapati around the peas in the bowl/plate. Pick the chapati up and into the mouth. Hard to explain, these are matters of practical demonstration.

The second stage was rice and yes chick peas. Mix rice and the peas with your hands in the bowl/plate. Take some of that mixture on your 4 fingers. Bring them to the mouth and push the mixture in with the thumb (of the same finger). Yes, this is technical stuff. But again matters of practical demonstration. There are some pictures of the class but have not reached to me. I will share as soon as they do.

And the last one was to eat rice pudding. This one they found hard to believe as the pudding was a little bit hot. But not so much. The process is same as rice and peas.

And then the question. So, how do you eat soup. That got me into a fix. Well, not by chopsticks of course. But yeh, we just lift the bowl, tilt it and the soup goes in.

But yes, an amazing night of cultural exchange and of course fun. Next time, chinese food and chopstick class (at least thats the hope).

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