If you don’t count the chicken on the pizza –not actually italian pizza but American shit, according to Giacomo – we got delivered to Babylon, I have been a vegetarian for over a week. I adapted to the food. What used to be spicy isn’t so spicy anymore. I just keep a bottle of water next to me when I’m eating at the IIRM, just to be safe.
Usually, Nick cooks dinner. Nicki the housewife of Babylon. Even the Shashians and our guides from IIRM are aware of his nickname. He turns the pasta he gets from the supermarket and whatever sauce he gets his hands on into our dinner. And we love it.
We were done with IIRM for the day and we were set on trying out the chai place near Babylon in the evening. That’s probably the closest thing to the chai equivalent of starbucks.
Giacomo came back with us instead of going to Shasha – the shower heads probably had something to do with it. We were waiting for the sunset to go out, but we ended up on the roof watching pink clouds hover over Ashok Chowk.
Apparently, sunsets make us hungry. Nick was about to hit the kitchen when Giacomo found out that he usually adds soy sauce to his pasta. That’s probably a felony in Italy because Giacomo took over the pasta cooking.
This was probably about to be one of the fanciest meals ever cooked in Babylon. Pasta by an actual Italian. Not deliveries, not the weird-smelling stuff the other Asians cook, not my nutella sandwiches.
We squeezed ourselves inside the kitchen the same way we squeezed ourselves (we were eleven) inside a tuk-tuk (most uncomfortable and hilarious ride ever). We just make it work.
Giacomo’s Italian accent was contagious. Even Nick’s Malaysian faded away (just a little bit) and everyone was using lots of hand gestures when talking. Babylon turned into Ashok Chowk’s little Italy. Lia did some cutting, Nick was also busy going around the kitchen in the best way that he could, Talal did the DJing and I took care of the documenting. Giacomo explained pasta theory on the go and sniffed a couple of sauce to decide whether they were worthy of being part of Babylon’s first Italian meal (Pizza hut and Malaysian pasta don’t count)
“But we cannot use this. We just can’t” (Read that in Italian accent)
“C’mon man”, said Nick, “this is India, this is survivor pasta”
We all agreed.
Should I even tell you about how sad Giacomo was for thinking he had to use sauce? When it was all ready, he couldn’t bring himself to add it to the pasta. We’re fine with that, it’s not every night that an Italian cooks for you.
What was for dinner? Italian survivor pasta.
It had ajo oglio e peperoncino, so it was legit.
Giacomo and Nick moved all of the pasta into a casserole-looking bowl and we set the table. We didn’t use the plates though, we all shared the pasta, straight from the bowl. All seven of us.