Lahore
19 Sep, Sunday
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Amritsari Hareesa

Amritsari Hareesa: Two Naans and Multiple Musings

 

Noor’s visit to Amritsari Hareesa has him contemplating the internal structure of C+G, the Indian entertainment industry and good, old, beautiful hareesa.

 

 

This is an honest review.

 

 

Every other article on Charcoal Gravel is dyed with euphemistic phrases/fiction and compromises, even Shameel’s review about Urban Kitchen, but not this one.

My Editor, Purnea, considered this article abnormal with neurotic tendencies, but I do not respond to her judgement. I do not trust her common sense, or even her senses for the most part. Why? Because she whispers to me every Friday to write an article about graveyards in Lahore. I’m not sure whether it is Fridays, her whispers, or graveyards, but her suggestions freak me out of my shriveled being. One can only imagine how cadaverous her tastes and preferences are.

 

Instead, I decided to visit Amritsari Hareesa.

 

As I reached my destination, I found it to be a humble one-room restaurant with plastic furniture in various shades. The restaurant was an amazing manifestation of the old maxim ‘appearances are always deceptive’. Although there was no air-conditioning, nor windows to release the suffocating stench bottled inside, I did not feel any heat. Or maybe I did not mind it. There was something mystical about the establishment, which inverted and overturned the mundane logic of daily existence.

 

That is when I realized the magic of the eatery. The senile fan rumbled and churned the hot air inside the room, while I inhaled the spice-saturated air like dope. I went unnoticed by the waiter for a good thirty minutes, giving me ample time to enjoy the atmosphere of the bistro and whet my appetite for Hareesa with patience. Then, the profound words of Pablo Coehlo resounded in my ears. “When you want to eat an amazing meal, the whole world conspires to help you savor it.” Suddenly, I could see the embedded pattern in the chaos of my past and how every misstep had pushed me for years, closer to reaching Amritsari Hareesa.

 

 

The hour of patience stretched on and I felt hungry without adjectives and adverbs. Unlike other homo sapiens, when it comes to me and boredom, my mind doesn’t turn into a devil’s workshop rather into a calculator. I counted the T-irons used in the roof, multiplied them with the number of chairs, divided the result by the number of tables and added to the amount of money in my pocket, to occupy my time. While pleasuring myself with calculations, I was deeply conscious of the sanctity of the impending moments.

 

When they finally brought forth my plate of Amritsari Hareesa, with two naans, I could hear faint murmurs of the guitars from ‘Main Hoon Na‘. The food did not look appealing but I’m wise enough, appearances tend to be deceptive. The first morsel tasted like a first kiss, I imagine. Ethereal. Transcending. By then, ‘Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha’ started playing in my stomach, guitars and all. Magical, my soul played romantic songs in quick succession, with every bite I fell deeper. I feared I would bite and chew my own finger off, and so I showed some restraint. With the somersaulting waves of excitement inspired by Hareesa, I could feel my heart already growing giddy with enlightenment.

 

 

No food or beverage has surpassed my love for mangoes. In fact, I wrote a long poem last summer about mangoes which, for reasons unfathomable, got rejected by every major literary magazine as childish. My f(r)iends labelled it vulgar and reflective of my repressed sexual desires, but that’s not the point. The point is, that Hareesa surpassed my admiration of mangoes and I think of starting a movement to make it our national dish. If one could buy heavens with votes in this country, why not a different national dish? Anyway, we are notorious for being an awkward nation throughout the galaxy. I believe that Hareesa would give the nation a sense of solidarity and identity, which it has been lacking due to gigantic political blunders, military coupes and fictitious insinuations in Pak Studies books. Even if my honest movement fails, nobody can sue me for eating Hareesa for breakfast every day. I also think of making a mango-Hareesa shake. I do not fear (or care) if I turn into a zombie.

 

I have no intention to marry a human being in this century. Not because I’m too condescending but because I have several inhuman character flaws at my disposal. Those flaws make me solidly unlovable. Even my poor mother has to pretend that she loves me. However, if I changed my principle and decided to marry, I’d propose the girl at Amritsari Hareesa. She would not be able to refuse me. Even though I hold great (and repulsive) ideas similar to Sorya Bulbul Jaan.

 

Also, I realized later that the dish had modified my brain structure. I never win chess every time I play against Shahjahan, not that he has more brains. I carry the biggest head in the entire team. But it happens that I mistake bishop for the knight always. However, after Hareesa, he is done for. I am going to use such clever moves that he will certainly lose to me.

 

I beg you. Please, go there and eat Hareesa. If you didn’t return with ‘Magic in the air’ playing loud in your belly, I would shave my moustache in the old Gangnam style. Leave me a message though on Facebook a week before you go there, so that I grow some stache in advance. The mystical powers at that restaurant might play you Angel by Taher Shah.

 

 

 

Noor is a nerd with a shameless passion for literature. After studying a good deal of psychoanalysis and philosophy, his search for identity and soul disappeared into dust. Because of his utter lack of and aversion to convictions, Noor's close friends call him an ‘Alienated Postmodernist’. He deems writing synonymous to breathing.

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