I may live in Canada, but I know a lot about Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. For one thing, I refer to it in the same shorthand as the locals -- Vizag. I have seen the pale underbelly of a thick yellow python, coiling down out of a leafy Andhra tree.
I know the number of people in the town and the types of cars on the road. I can even describe some of the restaurants. I am aware you can buy fresh amaranth leaves by the bunch and that the Rythu Bazaar (Farmer's Market), where watermelon halves are artfully cut in the shape of flowers, is a great deal better than aging vegetables found at a much hyped grocery store.
And I can't miss the fact that the harvest festival of Sankriti -- with its special Andhra Pulagam (Khichiri) distributed to the populace -- is vigorously celebrated at many Vizag temples.
I know lots of little things like that, and am likely to know many more, because Sailu isn't going anywhere.
Sailu is Sailaja Gudivada, who lives in Vizag with her son Nehal and "a wonderful person named Satish" who is, incidentally, her husband. I often envy them, because to live with Sailu is to experience life as a veritable cornucopia of flavour and gastronomic delight.
But more on that in a moment.
Text: Jasmine Singh
Photographs: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/ AFP/ Getty Images
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