A Mexican Platter

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Takes Two to Tango. So goes the same with the mouth watering, spicy, sultry Mexican recipes. It is a rich culture that Mexico has possession of, one that often lies embedded in the folds of the shadowy veils spread by its more dominating neighbours. Mexican food, a wonderful inheritance passed down to the present day Mexicans down their history, a blend of their European ancestors and natives of the red soil, do not deserve to share the same fate as everything else.

Mexican food is no longer a native word valid for use in Mexico only. Tex Mex has its influence on everything else, from burgers to fries, to pizzas to sandwiches. Nachos and Cheese is a favourite food everywhere in the world. Even those who are used to spice lemony pickles too can’t say no to fiery hot tabasco sauce, which of course is essentially named after the Mexican state of ‘Tabasco’. Tacos and burritos were too an instant favourite when the Mexican brands hit the international market. Tequila too is originally Mexican.

The common man would always confuse between a taco and a burrito, but ask a Mexican child, and he will point you out that the rough tortilla wraps made of wheat flour filled in with vegetables, cheese, seafood, meat or any other filling are the tacos, and the properly folded and enclosed cylindrical tortilla wrap with only meat or fried beans is the burrito.

Carne Asada or ‘grilled meat’ is a thin beaf steak marinated with olive oil and salt or spices like lemon and pepper or garlic salt or Worcestershire sauce before putting it in the grill. Recipes with meat vary across the whole of Mexico. In the Yucatan region, the food is known for sweetness instead of spiciness, while the Oaxacan region is famous for its savoury tamales and celebrated moles and simple tlayudas.

Street Mexican is however gaining popularity the fastest, since it’s the easiest access a common outsider as well as a native has to native food. The tacos, tortas, quesadillas, tamales, elotes, abulon, guacamole and chips, camotes, water-based ice cream, and candy; and drinks such as aguas frescas, tejuino, enchiladas, tepache, and atole are common delicacies for the insider; for an outsider it’s sheer heaven.

Once you capture the differences like a native does, you are free to let your senses run wild through the alluring platter of rich Mexican food lying before you. The fragrances of the spices are unbelievably sensual and yet down to earth, like the soil itself.

Mexico is the only descendent of Spain, which inherits its legacy in the matter of food. The raw sensuality of the Spanish rodeo arenas, the matador waving his red cape at the brazen, spitting bull razing the ground, its angry breath hissing through its nostrils, everything is brought to the mind, with one bite of the spicy Mexican food lying before you.

The points to be noted are many. Mexican food found in USA, is not real Mexican. Check. Mexico is not Spain. Check. Trip to Mexico successful to a little extent, at least you got a new insight. I at least guarantee you after you capture the spirit of Mexican cuisine, you will keep wishing you extended your stay. Probably you would come back some other time. This time, come at leisure. It is worth it.

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PEACE IS TO SPIRIT AS CHAOS IS TO MIND

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What is the Dove? But a meek, unfortunate creature,
It is but a prey at the powerful hands of Man…
What can it possibly teach our civilization, the mightiest of all?
It can’t teach anything, not until we first learn to be uncivilized of all.

Man is civilized, and yet brothers fight like bulls,
Run for the waving, red flag of power, but forget they become colorblind.
As mighty monuments of hopes of passed eons get razed to ash,
Man has terrorized the Dove to silence, as if God’s only creation was Man.

Leaders promote war, destruction, and hatred, and then they apologize
And yet, they wear Doves on clean white, the day, they laugh at behind.
Sync anthems written by brothers who have a way with words to guise,
As in their heart they know, peace for Mankind will never actualize.

But I say, we can, but not until, we go back to the old ways, and relearn,
How we used to be uncivilized. And from then, civilization will flow once again,
Unhindered, by wasteful symbolic culture and fake history, that would crumble anytime,
Free from the falsehood of liberties taken by our ancestors to buy their way into our future.

A world free from the fables of wandering spirits,
And the walking undead, and the supernatural.
A world where practicality will enlighten Man’s mind,
And where the colour of blood will flow alike.

Where we’ll make our own mistakes. Walk down our own road to perfection,
Follow not, the path of so-called great men and live on preset norms from dawn.
Not copy down quotes from speeches, or best-selling books, that aren’t ours.
Where we’d create our own fate, not follow the stout man who counts stars.

Eat not, from just the hearths at our homes, but also from that Garden of Eden,
Let us see if that legend is true. If yes, we bear the same curse as Eve and Adam.
What are we after all? Just human, flesh and blood and the spirit within.
That starves from the lack of knowledge, fed by fear of history. We need to set it free.

So, let us not speak of war and peace, but of the story of evil’s dominion over good.
Speak not of the Dove and the Predator, but the allegory of serenity destroyed by force.
Let us not speak of the civilized bulls, but of untamed, uncivilized human instincts,
The cravings of the soul that’s been subdued for ages, and let its power destroy it all.

From that rubble will Man rise again. A sun above an abyss, lighting up the depths of darkness.
Man will see the pristine green of the valleys, the unconquered peaks, for the first time in history.
Seeing that happy smile, on his neighbor’s face, Man will never feel the need to terrorize him again.
The chaos of the dark world will pass away forever… The new world will breathe together in peace.

SUNRISE

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Healing the night,

The dampened passions,

Washes the soil,

The trees, winds retreat.

Flapping into the blue,

New life starts, new strength.

Springing from the earth,

Leftovers too take a new heart.

Warms up the bony spirit,

A heat that doesn’t scorch yet.

Swipes away the bad memories,

And soured breaths, one day, you’ll forget.

Prologue – Shadows Linger Until Dusk (An Excerpt)

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Things could never have gotten better… The prevailing damp and drab aura compressing my abstract personal world could never have dissipated. I was not only certain about it–I believed it, whole heartedly. I’d had my whole life predicted–outlined into fragments, so I don’t get too disheartened to pursue that unglamorous destination. See, I was more hankering after glamour, than I should have…

I’d dreamed of this…you know? How from being the most unpopular kid in my school, I would go on to get a mediocre grade out of high school, just good enough to secure myself into an unpopular nerdy college, taking literature as my honors, I’d pass out with a slightly better grade and become a teacher in some primary school, preferably somewhere in the south, where you hardly happen to stumble into any interesting people…to whom you stand a chance of revealing your secrets… and like that, with the meager salary and lots of free time, I would have pursued my interest to write books under a pseudonym, of course. If successful, great. If not, I’d die like that, unknown, unaccounted, under an unmarked gravestone.

Well, that was my plan. As you’re already suspecting, I didn’t like it too much either. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? Well, it is as it was. Helpless as I was, I had but this one chance to survive and none other at all…

Though it was all in my mind, I didn’t know if somehow my mother knew about it or something. As it seemed, or I suspected – she knew it, when, one fine day, she declared to me that we were leaving this town forever. Maybe she knew how much this town was depressing me, that it was chasing me off to a life of complete anonymity…

But that decision did it… and my life and plans were never the same again. Innocence and happiness and satisfaction began to appear as easy and real like other words to me.

Real beauty existed too…and like Keats had said it hundreds of years ago, it is a really powerful thing and can inspire you, bind you to worldliness, tempt you to explore so much more and find beauty there too…and then you find things that unselfishly offer you a recluse from hideous things, you’ve witnessed, been a part of, the pain, the recollections… Now, these incidents no longer seem to be the thorn in your foot…they begin to appear like the milestones you’ve crossed on your way to a newfound land and counting those milestones back, you want to make an account of your journey, from where you’d begun…and where you are now…

Now, I’ll begin, where I’d begun…

 

A Smoky Conundrum

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Light a cigarette?

I’ve given up my last puff.

Puff? Is that what its called now?

It kills me from the inside and still I don’t feel like blaming it,

by calling it smoke. For me it’s a caress, which I don’t find anywhere else.

Smoking is smoking whether you smoke or not…

Still I don’t feel like it.

I still cherish the memory of my last cigarette,

The secure feel of my impending end fading as my fingers dragged it away from my lips.

Right…I know nothing about smoking…

I don’t like the idea of staying not smoking, like I don’t like the idea of me living the long life of a hag.

A lonely hag.

You are not lonely…you have your friends.

Right, is that what you call aquaintances now? Or fellow prisoners? My friends, I’ve traded them away long ago.

But a Cigarette?

The cigarette is bitter but my life is more. Speak of time, and it will go on slow.

With a cigarette I gain more reason to feel it pass away.

It may be bad, but in a way, it’s good for me.

That’s what all smokers say….

Reunited at Last

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Blow me off O’ wind,

Drop me off not, just anywhere you wish.

Take me to my lover’s nest,

Rest me on his couch of down.

 

I am happy tonight, as the way it is.

The words have ended and tonight,

There would be no talking.

Only love and love stretching out and around.

 

No more coldness. None of the desolation.

Only joy of winning my war at the end.

Of winning my love back, and protecting it.

Tonight is a night of celebration, for both us.

 

Of our destined sweet reunion that sparks between us,

That thrills my soul, coursing through my veins.

I won him back. I want nothing else.

O’ wind, take me to my lover’s nest and

Never blow me back.