So there was a time many aeons ago when the husband and I lived in Lusaka, Zambia. Previous to that our only overseas living had been in Malaysia. In the early 1990s, coming from India, Kuala Lumpur was a discovery and the transfer from KL to Lusaka was um hmmm a change, or lets call it another discovery

On arrival in Lusaka, we were driven by a person sporting skills of Indiana Jones to our new residence, the first sight of which left me gaping and speechless. I almost picked up my jaw from the floor!  We had swung to a halt in front of a huge intimidating gate with spikes, walls that had broken glass on top and a cute kind of moat surrounding it, only the crocs were missing! The Zambian counterpart probably had a misconception about the Indians he was expecting because he had provided us with a house  with 7 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, 2 dining rooms ( mind you, one for the vegetarians, one for non vegetarians). The little kitchen would have fit most of my Mumbai home and the fridge room, yes we had one of that too-   a room with four refrigerators- one for the vegetarians, one for the non vegetarians, one for drinks and one huge deep freezer normally found in super markets. I guess it was assumed that great wars between my husband and me were being prevented, truly we wouldn’t fight over space or cross contamination between the veggies and meat! And did I say that the house was set amidst a rose garden with an olympic size swimming pool?

Mugging was a normal everyday occurrence as was shortage of necessities making me understand and appreciate the supermarket sized deep freezer. The muggers were a friendly lot, not harmful unless defied though a  mugger I tried to resist doubled over with laughter and left me alone. I guess being defied by  woman who barely reached his waist line, on a street swarming with people in broad day light didn’t hurt his ego. The expats community was extensive and I learned cuisine from Portugal, South Africa, Kenya, the United Kingdom while sharing Indian culinary skills of making samosa, vada etc. Food and culture are two of the strongest factors bringing communities together and we bonded over multiple cuisine, music and movies.
tumblr_inline_n6uzzkkmhL1qcyr71The Indian dessert of kheer, a kind of milk pudding made with rice/vermicelli was a huge hit in the local community and they wished to learn. My explanation of – reduce a liter of milk  on the stove until halved was heard with great appreciation making me feel that I was the next Gordon Ramsey. They looked at me in awe and  murmured, ‘and how and when did you know it had halved’. Uh er um…

Despite the safety issues we have beautiful memories from Zambia. The close bond that we formed with the locals was evident when we heard the husband’s name over the public address system as we waited to board our flight, calling out to him so they could bid him one last goodbye before he flew back home…

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18 thoughts on “Living on the edge…

  1. Congratulations Sohini.. Super interesting and entertaining content .. Your gift for writing well utilised .. Very sweet and apt cartoons alongside.. Waiting to read more from my favourite new writer 🙂


  2. Absolutely loved the narration of your stay in Zambia. I had friends whose parents lived there and boy! they lived like kings just like you 🙂

    Thy art of Indian cooking can beat any chef 😉

    Cheers to many more stories!!


  3. Loved the ” blue is the new pink” , as my daughters say every time I go for a mani- pedi ” please get a boring color , again” , referring to my sedate Browns & pinks!!!!!


  4. Don’t forget the almost magical ” 3 whistles of the pressure cooker”!!! Pretty much the rule of the thumb with all Indian cooking !!!!!!


  5. Ooo.. I remember that house in Lusaka! 😀
    That pool and the Rose garden. They had an outhouse too na, with a built-in barbecue pit and all..?

    I really loved that place. Such lovely memories I have from there.. and your beautiful writing brought it all back!!


  6. This was again a lovely read ! Lol and I can’t imagine you having an incident with a mugger and you expressed it so humorously ‘…. being defied by woman who barely reached his waist line, on a street swarming with people in broad day light didn’t hurt his ego’.. Btw .. Love the FB notifications which comes for your posts !! Cheers


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