Thursday, January 29, 2009

EGGS - FUNNY SIDE UP - II

Here's another egg memory, served with a slice of hostel-life as I lived it.

For two years (1989-1991) I lived in the Lady Brabourne College Hostel with a group of hip, hot (that's what we thought we were) and hungry (that's what others thought we were) friends. The meagre portions of indifferently-cooked hostel food barely sufficed. But we were allowed to supplement it with, among other things, eggs which we would have to buy ourselves and hand over to the kitchen staff to boil.

Now, eggs came at a fixed price (this was way before organic/free-range eggs made their debut) but in different sizes (depending, I presume, on the size and stamina of the hen concerned). The kitchen staff took all the eggs, boiled them in one huge saucepan, and left them on a large tray for us to collect. If we were lucky enough to get a large egg, we were loath to let other people eat our bounty simply because they had come down before us while we were stuck with a tiny, pebble-sized egg. The early bird would get the worm (or, in this case, the largest egg).

So, we devised a fool-proof system for establishing our ownership of any egg rightfully belonging to us. We would write our names on the shells with a ball-point pen (gel or ink pens would wash away), and then pick up our exclusive, personalised eggs, smoking hot and delicious, from the delivery-tray.

Some of us (including myself) would merely scrawl our names carefully - a utilitarian assertion of abdominal property rights.

Some creative souls would decorate their eggs with elaborate borders and patterns, taking a leaf out of the tradition of Easter eggs. These designer-eggs would be doomed, like sand sculptures which wash away in the tide, to crumble away in a bite.

A few athletic-types would crack the delicate shell while forcing their imprint on it. A similar fate could befall those who autographed their eggs with a careless flourish. (They could use the raw egg for a face/hair pack, I guess).

Whatever their size or sign, these marked-eggs were all destined, like Humpty Dumpty, to 'have a great fall' and end up in the pit (of our stomachs).

DO YOU HAVE AN EGG-CITING RITUAL TO SHARE WITH US?

9 comments:

Lazyani said...

What eggcitement!! I never dreamt that one could claim the ownership of an egg in such manner. But when the question is of hostel food , any thing can happen!!

Pradip Biswas said...

I remmber my days of research fellowship at REC Rourkela. In hostel 5 residents where I also stayed took egg only on SUnday breakfast to lunch. Everybody was given eggs in quotas of Dozen units. And one can order the way he wants with them with all sorts of possible variations. I could consume only four and giving away the rest to my students. Many people ended up eating 30-40 eggs starting their eating from 8 A.M to 4 P.M with all the exsisting and non-exsisting variety of cooking of egg.

seanag said...

Nice story. I think it's great the way it shows the range of what people are willing to do, not just to show ownership, but to show personality, even in a soon to be consumed and forgotten type of situation.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Ande ka Fanda...
Govinda song I remember very well.

Koel said...

Egg-memories or rather egg-lines have been very integral part of my hostel life as well. 5 out of 7 days a week, our breakfast used to be bread and eggs.
Breads were toasted and kept in a large plate or basket (don't remember exactly now). This was always available plentiful, so you could just walk into the mess and pickup few. The challenge lied in the eggs, which were made to order as per your wishes :-) Few boiled ones were available for ready consumption, but being endowed with other interesting choices, it was considered a rather downmarket option :-). The made to order options were omlette, fried eggs (which we called "poach" more commonly), bhujia (scrambled) and boiled egg bhujia. But the challenge was in the assembly line which consisted of a single almost blackened small aluminum frying pan, manned (or should I say wo-manned) by a mausi (we used to address the local women who managed our mess as mausis) which churned out an egg delicacy in 2-3 minutes....and hence the formation of the egg-line every morning at breakfast time....Many friendships were fostered along these egg-lines....and then the satisfaction of walking out with a egg recipe of your choice was the perfect beginning to the day.... Thanks sumidi for rekindling my egg-memories..

lopamudra said...

how can i forget our daily nightly ritual of personalising eggs.i drew eyes and a smile on my egg.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks for the continuing interest in this eggciting saga.

Mampi said...

Hahaha, never heard of such autographed stuff being boiled.

Sharon Colaco D'Souza said...

I enjoyed reading this one :) Its my first time at your blog Sucharita! I missed my hostel days reading it!

- Sharon