G - Garnish With A Lemon Wedge #AtoZChallenge

The hot summer of 2010, I remember the most for two things. One, my first visit to a beach in my life. I kept staring at the mighty sea for hours every day. Two, tasted the best Biryani in this world. Which I learnt is impossible to replicate, no matter how much I try.

I was a boring teenager, used to city life. Long walks on the beach introduced me to the real beauty of nature. Visiting my cousins that holiday was the life-changing moment in my fixed routine till then. As one month of holidays  appears to be lesser than a week of college, the day to go back home came too soon. The evening before my journey, we all went to a restaurant by the coast. They served this special dish, called 'Extra Special Biryani', the taste of which I couldn't forget even if i tried hard. Years later I went there again, in search of that place. I lost the recipe for the perfect dish as I failed to locate the restaurant.

Why did what I want be defined by what I couldn’t have? I took culinary classes in the evenings as my interest in cooking became more than a hobby. I got extensively trained under experienced chefs, who also majored being horrible. Levels upgraded after years of toiling and I became a renowned chef. But every time I cooked Biryani, the flavour from that summer evening mocked me.

Then I saw a picture in the manager’s office.  A tree with a swan in it caught my attention. Not a real swan or tree, it was just folded napkin. But the skill involved in creasing appeared somewhat familiar. The owner of a chain of Restaurants loved this art of folding. Turns out he also owned the one by the coast I went years ago. On asking if he would share the recipe for my favourite 'Extra Special Biryani ', he said he would if I started working for him. The one thing I wanted since years was there in front of me. I happily agreed as the Biryani made would finally become the Biryani I loved.

The next day I started my new job, the first item I cooked was this extra special recipe. When the moment came to savour it, the taste wasn't the same. There must’ve been some mix up or they cheated me with wrong instructions. I demanded to know why, there was this difference. He showed me the patent and blamed my brain for it all. He explained that the taste I felt that summer day set a threshold way too high. To beat that was impossible, so I could only try. If I succeeded in imitating, the level would rise much more. To thwart this occurrence, my brain cheated my senses through taste buds.

Every word he said, made me think again. To succeed in this world, a goal should be present. If I reach it early, I wouldn't work as hard from then. I was glad to learn this lesson, so soon in my career. Only years later, I found that I had added lemon to vinegar in Biryani that summer day. The possible difference in sourness struck me after I saw a kid squeezing lemon on his plate. Till that day I kept thinking, ‘If only there wasn’t a different result, when everything else stayed the same.’