9 July, 2019
Years ago, on one of my trips to Calcutta, a Bhutanese friend took me to a street not very far from my hotel. On this street,Tibetan residents sold the most delicious momos and thukpa in their converted front rooms. That was my first tryst with this delicious noodle soup. I had many more, bowl fulls, as I made sure to go there each time I was in the city. . Thukpa is a steaming hot bowl of nourishment. A delicious, hearty meal, one that engages all your senses. You feel the steam on your skin, you inhale the delicious aroma, the mix of noodles, colourful vegetables and hunks of meat is a feast for your eyes, the taste...sooo satisfyingly yummy and all around you hear the slurps of people relishing this hearty soup. All in all you finish the meal, just deeply satisfied on so many levels.
I couldn’t help but think of those delicious bowls of thukpa as I read THUKPA FOR ALL by Prabha Ram and Sheela Preuitt. As I finished reading, I felt that same soul satisfaction from something that engaged me in many different ways. I sat back, and smiled....just so much joy!
Tsering can not wait to get back home as his Abi (grandmother) was going to be cooking Thukpa for dinner...his favourite!!! As he walks back home, he invites friends and neighbours he meets along the way, to join them for a thukpa dinner. What starts out as a simple dinner for two is soon a little dinner party for many. The friends and neighbours each bring a little contribution towards the thukpa. As grandma starts with the preparation, the power goes out, plunging the house into complete darkness. But the darkness does not affect Tsering, who is blind. He helps his Abi cook the thukpa using his sense of smell to seek out the spices she needs and his sense of touch to find the vegetables needed and roll out the dough to cut into the most perfect sized noodles. There is much laughter and joy shared when the power comes back on and the ‘Hot, hot Thukpa, hearty chunky thukpa, yummy, spicy thukpa’ is served.
I have someone very close to me who is blind, and so I especially love the sensitive way in which this book shows the abilities rather than the DISability. . It is a warm, wholesome, soul satisfying read, so much like those bowls of thukpa I crave and I find myself craving for more stories about Tsering. I wrote this review before going to school today. I took the book with me and read it aloud during Library Class. This is a book that lends itself to all kinds of learning. We discussed: -Leh and Ladakh -The symbol of the white cane -The senses - How noodles are made...which diverged into the making of
fresh pasta -The ingredients in the Thukpa
.....and of course Thukpa....most of the kids said they were hungry and that I was being cruel to describe such a yummy soup. They loved the idea of the recipe at the end of the book and all want to try cooking it, following the recipe 'Tsering used ' mentioned at the end of the book. #thukpaforall