What matters is not always
visible to the eyes

Sometimes I wonder, in this sea of broken relationships, easily perishable love, and quick-witted alliances, do we know how to recognize LOVE. Do we recognize it? It seems to me, then, that it is too easy to fall into the trap – packaging, fashion, the fear of belonging. So we love each other quickly, semi-permanently, without obligation.

It takes all sorts to make a world. In some parts of the world, people are still thinking differently. I read yesterday in some Sri Lankan newspapers (I love Sri Lanka because of its green climate, beautiful beaches, great gastronomy, and exceptional people), so quite usual, a newspaper advertisement that says parents are looking for a well-behaved girl for their 30-year-old son. Horoscope is mandatory.
I’m surprised and not surprised by the fact that marriages are still being arranged. At least a good part of them. It is part of tradition and culture. That astrological ultimatum is interesting to me. In Sri Lanka, a baby right after birth gets a horoscope. This “book of life” is printed on the roll of papyrus and stored as the most precious asset. It is unwrapped exactly at times like this when it is important to choose wisely and compared with the horoscope of a potential spouse. It is a lifelong choice. As I was told by one newlywed, whose joy I attended, horoscopes should match in 7 out of 12 points for the relationship to have a future. What matters is not always visible to the eyes, they told me with their thumbs tied with a lanyard as a symbol of their unity and walked slowly over the lotus leaves instead of rose petals. What matters is not always visible to the eyes, they say and reinforcing that with one of Sri Lanka’s most famous love stories. The one about Vedic princess Valli, who was told that she would marry the God Kanda Yaka. He was a hunting God, the God of the mountain, as old as the mountain itself but young at heart. He watched Valli refusing courtship for years, so he decided to get off of the mountain and meet her. He took the form of a handsome young hunter and stood in front of Valli. She did not recognize him but saw only one in the row of courtiers she had rejected, so she chased him away. He then takes the form of an old man with a long white beard and reappears. Out of respect for elders, she fed him. He said to her, “Can you comfort my longing for you, too?” This was too much for Valli, and she would surely have escaped him if she has not been blocked by a giant elephant. “Save me,” cried Valli, and the old man said, “I will if you marry me.” When the wedding bells went silent, Kanda Yaka appeared to Valli in all his divine grandeur, dismissing the character of the old man. She enthusiastically cuddled next to him and they no longer parted.

I don’t know about you, but in recent years I have found it hard to believe in my own eyes. They have been seen wrong too many times. I don’t know about you, but these days I’m seriously considering ordering this omniscient bundle of papyrus. Mine is certainly hiding amazing things.
In the meantime, I refuse to keep up with the soldiers of the instant relationship. I would rather devote my energy to making a good, well-spiced meal, just like the one with which Valli, even knowing it, fed the love of her life. Because – important is not always visible to the eyes. Sometimes even the palates need to be trusted.

TEXT – Karmela Vukov Colić
PHOTO – Robert Blašković

Chicken curry for divine pleasure

 

2 red onions, finely chopped
700 g chicken breasts, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
small chili peppers (or more if you
like spicy)
1 – 2 tbsp of curry (spice mixtures)
2 tbsp of flour or edible starch
a can of coconut milk
half a cup of chicken-flavored stock
salt, pepper

In a deep frying pan with a little oil sauté the onion to soften and become translucent. Stir in the chicken. Let all sides get color. Then add the garlic, curry, and flour and pour in the coconut milk and stock. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Like any good relationship, season this dish with chili, salt, and pepper, taking care not to overdo it, and stirring for a few more minutes until the chicken is completely softened and the curry has thickened. Serve with basmati rice cooked in salted water. Just a note: with curry, it is just like with all important things, it is wise to oversleep. Curry is the best the other day when all the flavors are permeated.