All through my growing up years, I thought I should have a penpal. A “penpal” was someone who lived in a different country or a very far off place in your own country and you become friends by writing letters to each other. Penpals met sometimes but mostly the friendship was over written letters. Now who writes letters anymore ?
We only have Facebook and Twitter friends. Todd and I became friends over my blog. He loves India and has visited a few times. I don’t know how he found my blog, but he did and we became friends. And four days back we met at home over lunch and we got to meet not just Todd but also his son Daegen ! How fun is that. Todd is learning Hindi and he got to practise a little bit with Amma. I knew he was coming to India in Feb, but I missed the date and then saw his blog about his experience at the Mumbai airport.
We connected immediately and figured out that we might have a chance to meet on the 27th as he was leaving Delhi to return to Canada. Luckily he had the day free so he and Daegen left their luggage at the cloak room in New Delhi station and took the metro to reach Gurgaon. Krishnan and I went and picked them up from the metro station and it was like we were meeting an old friend after a gap – just as easy as that.
I had been writing about OPOS (One Pot One Shot) cooking and Todd wanted to see how it was done. So I made Biriyani, dosas and the Vegetable stew that went with the Dosas. I had checked with Todd if he was ok with having spicy food because all my American friends with a couple of exceptions just can’t deal with the amount of spice in Indian food. Todd said “make it as spicy as you usually do”. I was still a little unsure, but boy, he and Daegen did dig the spicy food. My mother is still talking about the fact that Todd and Daegen ate the spicy coconut chutney which had as much spice as we eat and they were ok with it. For many of our north Indian friends we temper down the spice significantly. Ok if that was not impressive enough, they even ate the “Molaha podi” which is called “gun powder” with the dosa… infact I mixed the Molaha podi twice and except for south Indians we have never had to do that. Our wrongly held assumption that Westerners can’t handle spicy food has been broken once and for all, thanks to you both, Todd and Daegen.
We had so much to talk about that we didn’t even take a picture with each other but am sure we will make up for it another time. Meeting Todd just reinforced the message that a blog says so much about the blogger that its easy to relate and form friendships across countries and cultures even though you can’t meet the person or you haven’t met the person yet. Writing is so powerful and no wonder they said “the pen is mightier than the sword” … it certainly is.
Todd and Daegen, thanks for coming over and spending time with us. We really enjoyed having you over. Hopefully we get to meet again soon and share our experiences. Am enjoying your travelogues across Rajasthan and Mumbai in the meantime.
Folks in India – do follow Todd’s blog and see India through his lens. Here’s one written a couple of days back A Day in Mumbai.