I've never met her in person, but it feels like I have.
My blogging friend Shruti Nargundkar, who is an education innovator, entrepreneur,teacher, instructional designer, curriculum and courseware developer in Melbourne.
This urge to "impart" boils over and spills into her other life as food blogger, where every dish has a story, a life, a personality, and she is like a style coach for the Miss Food-Universe, planning and polishing every dish display, as she studs it with little diamond memories.
She clicks and describes them all, in their delicious finery, salivating in colors, and educates the world.
(All photos courtesy Shruti's blog)
Be it the simple Kande Pohe, glistening amidst coriander-coconut garnish winking at her at the squeezing of a lemon, reminding her of overnight bus rides and roadside breakfasts with her husband , in southern India.
Or some strange purple beans that enrich a tomato-y vegetable stew, with an implicit crunch on a winter's day in Melbourne , which gets her daughters to rush home for a flavorful meal.
It could be the dignified conservative Idli, all puffed up in self importance ,secretly looking for the item number chutney, that gets her talking about chutney places Down Under.
Or it could be the stuffy potato, sacrificed at the alter of diversity-in-school-lunch-boxes-of-childhood, that now makes a grand comeback, baked, puffing and sitting for a meal adorned with veggie jewels, golden cheese, and butters melting and saying 'I told you so !"..
Maybe a rural brinjal, in its posh avatar as an aubergine, long and slender, that takes her back to her Middle East sojourn. She cuts them in long halves, scoops out some memories, smiles at those garlic, onion, tomato , chillies, mint, oregano folks gatecrashing, grills them and reminds them to meet the couscous types ....
What do you say about a golden pumpkin raita, redolent with coconut, coriander, crackling with chillies, mustard and hing, trying to act real posh while being presented as a dip - like traditional mangalsutras coming back into fashion again !
And the simple "thalipeeth" (roasted multigrain stiff pancake) of her childhood, snacked after school , straight off the griddle, as her mother poked holes in them which she thought was all about "my thalipeeeth strongest !"; and how she made it now Down Under, with a mix of grains, so appropriate for a country with so many nationalities.
Her work is a beautiful celebration of family, food and an amazing ability to make pictures speak, in support of some wonderful memories she writes about.
Be it cakes pining to be united with fresh fruit, little baby potatoes troubling shiny tired stuffy brinjals, awash in spicy masala, or traditional sweets enjoyed on festival days of childhood, every picture has a story, that adorns, beautifies, and makes you want to pick it off the screen and have it yourself.
Come to think of it, sometimes, I can even smell the stuff. And I drool.
Hmmm. OK. Time to get back o the exercises. ....
Submitted as an entry for the "Tanishq ‘As Beautiful As Your Work’ contest " . Blog about women who make their work beautiful