I’m a movie buff. If I could live in a movie, I think I would. At which my detractors would gleefully say, aha, she doesn’t like reality. Who cares! Right?
Growing up, we didn’t have much exposure to foreign films so we only watched Hindi movies. If you’ve never watched a Bollywood movie you’re definitely missing out. Every Bollywood movie has a healthy dose of love, tragedy, sex, laughter, sorrow and loads of moralistic messages thrown in for good measure! There was, therefore, something for everyone. Sometimes it didn’t even make sense but we loved it all just the same. Its a popular adage that Indian films are not made for the sophisticated. This was definitely true and maybe still is. The common man, the man that is poor, does not want an ending that is going to remind him of his own miserable life but wants a fantasy that will let him dream about a life he could’ve had or still can. I think the true objective of films in India was to inspire or encourage a hope for a better tomorrow. There is everything good with that.
We used to look forward to Sunday nights the whole week because that’s when the movie got aired. On a general scale we were only allowed 30 minutes of television so Sunday was very special. I guess any more time wouldn’t have mattered since there was nothing on television anyway. Broadcast only used to start at 6pm! Unimaginable to think of in our over stimulated world today. I know my ten year old is going to roll her eyes at this but those were more charmed times. There was a joy in the wait. There was no instant gratification and there certainly was gratitude at the little that we did get.
The movie for the upcoming Sunday used to get announced on Sunday itself. Which meant being excited the entire week for the upcoming movie. The movie was aired with a break in the middle just like they do in theaters to this day in India. Maybe because the movies are so goddamn long! Understandable when you think of all that drama that they had to squeeze in! It was in the break that we used to get the yummies. I sit here salivating as I think of that time. Mom used to come gliding in with the samosas, pakodas and the home made fries and the nimbu paani (lemonade). And I guess it was not so much about the movie as it was about sitting together in all that delicious coziness. So we sat together in close huddle, just the three of us, my sister, me and the lioness that is my mother. Army dude dad was always away protecting the country from this and that!
By the time the snacks got freshly made, it was time for the movie to begin again, after the break. And that is how we sat, leaning forward, chomping away at the fries and what not, licking our fingers, oohing and aahing at whatever happened on our small dinky toy of a black and white television. They were magical times.
Mango panna is very popular in India. It is made from raw green mangoes and really is mango water with some spices thrown in. I’ve just made it with concord grapes. And it tasted mighty fine. And if any of you love sitting by the television eating fries with your favorite movie. Go with this drink. Will keep in the refrigerator for a month too. Just make sure you sterilize the bottle you put it in.
800 grams concord grapes
1/4 cup honey
50 grams gud/jaggery
2 tsps black salt
1 1/2 tsps cumin, roasted and finely ground
Remove the grapes from their stems and wash well. In a pan, bring the grapes, the jaggery and the honey to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then sieve out the juice from the grapes. Use the back of a spoon to press out as much juice as you can.
Add the black salt and the roasted cumin powder and mix into the concentrate. Bottle and refrigerate. Depending on how sweet you like pour some into a glass (like you would any concentrate) and add water.
Serve chilled with some masala fries!