The flavours of strawberries and fresh cream that Rajiv Chaurasia,director of Bansuri Guru,enjoyed as a child in the UK,still linger on his mind.
Apart from my childhood years spent in Mumbai,I also spent five years in the UK,where I was attending a boarding school. Its always cold and wet there and summer is a season that people eagerly await. As soon as classes got over,students would go and practise whatever sport they enjoyed. I used to like rowing in those days and after a nice,long session of rowing,I would get really tired and hungry. My friends and I would go out to the local farms and buy strawberries and cream from there. These strawberries were red and plump and bigger than any Ive seen in other places. And they tasted like nothing else Ive tasted.
The cream was always freshly churned,made from the milk of the fat cows we would see. It would melt as soon as it was in the mouth. We would take the strawberries and cream and go sit at the edge of the cricket field at my traditional public school in Bristol. We would sit,eat,relax and watch the match or just have conversations.
In the summer,it used to be warm and pleasant there in the sun. Sometimes when we were lucky,the housemaster would come by and offer us a glass of champagne. This was such an exotic and aristocratic experience,especially for me because I had seen nothing like it in Mumbai. Its etched in my memory forever,and is one of the ways I remember England a place of high teas,Victorian buildings,large cricket grounds and the place I would while away afternoons with strawberries,cream and champagne. I will also never forget the sight of an Englishman holding an entire conversation over a strawberry. They can sit for an hour with one biscuit,just talking and tasting the biscuit once in a while. They dont feel the need to chew or eat continuously. Ive had several great food experiences since then,but the experience in the UK will always remain as the most exotic and beautiful in my mind.
As told to Debjani Paul.