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The Unfortunate Incident of the Indian Green Chile

Green Chile

The Great Chile Underground Hurricane Escape Tour Indian Food Exploration and Mad-Crazy Karnatakan Taxi Dash Bangalore Cultural Safari continued today. I was warned that Monday traffic could be an epic battle against the forces of darknessa a real challenge, so I got down to the breakfast buffet (one of my seven favorite meals of the day) as soon as they were open.

I was out to the taxi line by about 7:20, and after some (standard) confusion over my reserved car, I was quickly loaded and whisked away. Out into the maelstrom! The short answer is, I survived the trip. More on Bangalore traffic later on, after I get my heart medication adjusted.

We started a week-long seminar this morning, and the crowd was anxious to get on with it. Especially up to lunch.

I had one of the locals point out the various options in the lunchroom, which was very busy; over 4,500 folks work in this building, in three shifts. Day shift is about half of them.

After careful consideration I settled on the Tandoori Combo. A pleasantly zesty vegetarian lentil stew, with tomatoes, potatoes and more. And lots of naan bread to scoop it all up with. A medley of pickles and onions, seasoned with turmeric and other spices, was added for contrast.

I ordered a liter bottle of water, to have some for later in the classroom. (I’m sure that saved my life, later on.) The whole meal cost me 42. Rupees, that is. Or about $0.98 at today’s exchange rates.

Each serving came with one green chile in it. I watched the locals for guidance. They saved theirs for last, so I did likewise. Finally, they picked theirs up, inserted into their mouths, and chewed vigorously. All while smiling.

I figured, It Can’t Be That Bad, then. So I followed along.

The first four seconds or so were pleasant. Then my tastebuds began to sound a multiple-alarm fire in progress, and something exploded, shooting blue-orange flames out my ears. I don’t remember much of the next two hours, actually, although the attendees said I did much better with my teaching after lunch. And my bottle of water had mysteriously disappeared.

I now know to avoid skinny, green things in the dal stew, and never, ever follow along with the locals on food consumption pointers. The ringing in my ears has subsided after a night’s restless sleep, and I have every confidence my tastebuds will grow back, mostly.

At least there’s one lasting, positive outcome from this incident: I’ll never have to trim my ear hairs again…

Enjoy the (Screaming Green) Heat!

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