Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Dinner with a Monk
SO my nearby neighbour, a Vietnamese monk called Mhue came over to dinner last night.
Normally I´d have rustled up my famous Shahi Kaju Murg (an Indian chicken and cashew nut curry), but unlike PK (my Thai monk neighbour from last year), Mhue is vegetarian. After debating what to cook, i thought i´d go for a series of dishes in the hope he would like at least one of them.
Out came a few tried and tested dishes including egg mayonnaise and onion, fried cheese and diced potatoes in rosemary, garlic and onion. A bit of a veritable banquet, since i seriously make oversize portions of each dish.
Although looking a bit apprehensive at first, (especially the fried cheese which is poked suspiciously), Mhue eats with aplomb. I´m not sure he enjoys it all, but from my own personal experience, monks are always so polite – and make ideal dinner guests.
We discuss a bit of politics. Mhue talks of the Americans as paying their karma after the atrocities in his home country of Vietnam. His father was killed and his mother blinded during the American atrocities. Now that´s compassion! He is clearly not so keen on China, although he is never negative about anything.
Like most Asians, (and indeed monks), their respect for teachers is immense, and he marvels at my teaching experiences around the World. Apparently i am just one step away from saint-hood. My ego runs riot, despite my blushings.
We´re both too full to attempt the delights i picked up from the Tibetean bakery for dessert. I can´t entice him to a Colombian espresso, and indeed he even rejects the Twinings Green tea i got especially for him in the grocery shop – this is a coffee only bedsit.
However, his eyes light up when i offer him lemon chello – a present from Ma in UK. I do warn him it is alcoholic and strong, but surprisingly he is definitely up for it.
With my imported coffee supplies run dangerously low, Mhue´s sister will be visiting next month. He has given her strict instructions to bring me a few kilos of high quality Vietnamese coffee. He also informs me he has adopted me as his older brother. I know Aubrey is not the easiest name to pronounce, but i really wish he wouldn´t call me Sir.
It was a really pleasant evening, but stressful in the preparation of food. I think i´ll just take him out for a pizza next time.
I give Mhue the rest of the bottle of lemon chello to take home, and he is totally delighted. Big Brother should really be a more positive role model.