What's your Axone? #BlogchatterFoodFest


Have you ever been judged for your food choices? Ever had frowning looks bombarding you from every direction for having a chicken sandwich in a hostel with vegetarian majority? Or worse, gorging it on a Monday? Has anyone labeled your favorite delicacy as foul and smelly? Or have you ever scrunched your nose in disgust at someone else’s plate? Perhaps we all would have at least one such experience in our lifetimes.

In Odisha, ‘sukhua’ or sun-dried fish generously coated with salt is a delicacy in several places, salt acts as a preservative and it can be stored for months. But the preparation causes such an olfactory havoc, that even someone with closed doors and windows would know that the neighbor is cooking it. There is no hiding or denying the smell. It pervades all nooks and crannies and makes its presence known. Even a child can recognize it. It is that memorable. You will either love it or hate it with a vengeance. Though I do not know how to prepare it, I enjoy the dish prepared in village with ample mustard chilli garlic paste. And it was an acquired taste. Earlier I was the one with scrunched nose running away from the kitchen.

This reminds me of a movie ‘Axone’ where a group of friends from the North East, residing in Delhi, long for a pungent delicacy and finally prepare it for a wedding, and there’s conflicts with neighbors, comedy in the process. It’s an endearing watch. We all miss our native food, and where our jobs take us, rarely do we have the opportunity to enjoy our dearest delicacies, that too without the suspicious looks. Scrounging for ingredients is difficult. Not all dishes have nationwide acceptance or customers to meet business need. Momos have become a country favorite, and dosas have taken a makeover with 99 varieties available in multiple streets. Not all local dishes are that lucky. With Masterchef programs local cuisines are getting the limelight, but not these unique ones, they just can’t have wider audience.

The concept of the Red Ant chutney intrigues me, so does likeness for entrails. I cannot fathom butter tea or salty tea, but would like to try. Sushi confounds me. I just can’t imagine anything raw being edible. Idiosyncrasies. To each his own, I guess.



  1. Local dishes always occupy a special place in our lives.

  2. I've seen that movie - it was quite entertaining.
    Noor Anand Chawla


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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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