Of biscuits, Beatles and heroes…

Eyes glitter. Bared teeth glint in the nightlights of New York City. The neon bounces off their visages. Foreheads shine with excitement…

…no… no… not a pair of gangsters and in case you’re worried, no, I’m not getting mugged!

It’s only my husband and daughter coming out of Radio City Music Hall late at night after a much looked forward to concert by their God (yes, capitalized!), master and the guy with whom the sun rises every morning – their music idol – John Fogerty… hear the trumpets sound forth?!

Having idolized JF for over four decades now, husband is floating at about eighty thousand feet and needs to walk several miles before he can come down to anywhere near street level! Ditto with daughter, except that it has been that many decades!  I am on my own high having watched Jim Parsons playing God in Act of God and having waited at the stage entrance, gotten an autograph of it – I was standing within two feet of the great man himself and it takes all of us  hours to get back on the ground! Even waiting for over an hour for the train to New Jersey in the middle of the night doesn’t quite dampen the ardour! The friend who has accompanied us is rather amused by our hero-worship!

Takes me right back to almost twenty years ago… the kids were in school and Arch gets a history project home.

The project is to write a biography of anyone she admires. Not being one to do things by halves, she decides to write one of not one but four of her heroes – who else but the Fab Four – the Beatles?!!

Research needs to be done. Research material is needed. The world wide web is in its infancy. We need books. The library proves unsatisfactory. A newspaper item – announcing the release of the Beatles’ Anthology saves the day. We make a trip to the bookstore. Yes, it’s available but it is all of eighteen hundred rupees – a lot of money!

She is daunted but not defeated! The sisters decide to collaborate on project “Buy the Beatles book”!

Plans are drawn up, piggy banks broken into; bank accounts carefully inspected for any lurking paise hidden away. They are still short – way short. Serious busy-ness ensues for the next few months. All aunts, uncles, grandparents are told, politely but very firmly that any gifts must take the form of cash ONLY! Pocket money is hoarded jealously. Stray earnings – by way of car washing (tough job for a pair of sub-ten year olds!), window cleaning etc. happens.

Finally the magic figure is reached – eighteen hundred whole rupees.

Solemnly, as befits the occasion, they troop off with their purse jangling with coins and rustly with a few rupees. The amused cashier at the bookstore is very patient and counts out the coins carefully.

They come back bearing the book proudly (it’s almost taller than Kanch, I swear!) and the book is pored over reverentially.

Project done and submitted. The book still continues to occupy pride of place on our bookshelves.

I am totally convinced that we all need heroes of many sorts in our lives – no matter if you are seven or seventy years old! The Beatles, Fogerty, Jim Parsons for the lighter end of the spectrum, the Buddha, Martin Luther King or maybe even Genghis Khan for the heavy end!

Why light? Well, look at Paul McCartney’s answer to what one reporter asks him. It goes like this:

Q: So, what do you think of this campaign Detroit has started to stamp out the Beatles?

Paul: We’re starting a campaign to stamp out Detroit!

Light as these things Americans call biscuits – nothing like what we call biscuits back home in India!

AMERICAN BISCUITS (from whats4eats.com)

  • Plain flour/maida – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 2/3 cup
  • Herbs – optional

Preheat oven to 200°C. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter and work into the flour quickly with your hands to form a coarse mealy texture

Stir in just enough milk to bring all the ingredients together in a shaggy mass. You may have to add more or less milk than called for

Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead briefly just to smooth out the dough. Do not overknead or your biscuits will end up tough.

Roll out to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds with a floured glass or a biscuit cutter. Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with milk or melted butter.

Place in the oven and bake until browned on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately with eggs, jam and butter and watch your face glow with happiness!

Psst… these are very similar to what the Brits call scones but let’s not tell either of them that!