Ruchikala (The Art of Taste)

Indian Fusion Cuisine in Portland and Tucson

*She’s Dead… Wrapped in plastic.*

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. 

After 6 years I have finally decided to pursue something beautiful.  The day is clean and liberating.  I love the way this feels.  Living a life that is mine, what a bizarre concept?!

For over 20 percent of my life now,  I’ve been working in the for-profit education field.  I found myself here entirely by accident.  It was a temp gig gone horribly horribly wrong.  

Oh hey! Job you don’t want!”


“ It comes with benefits!”


“How about another five years of pretending you’re a straight white republican who believes business knows more about how to educate a child than the government.”

-“ Sounds like a great time! Now where can I put this pesky soul?”

Then we all sat back and watched time stand still.


When I was a kid – 9 or 10 or so, we had these two-bit-hack wrapping paper hawkers come to our elementary school to try to get us to be their little baby wrapping paper peddlers.  To get the attention of our squirmy little ADHD asses, they would employ some exploitative and embarrassing sideshow.  One in particular that struck a chord with me was when they invited our principal (I know…OOOoooo!) to come down and be a prop in demonstrating the length of this Christmas coated catastrophe.  Our principal trotted center stage and spun around dumbly allowing himself to be wrapped in paper as a captivated audience of nose pickers chanted “twelve… thirteen… fourteen… fifteen?!” in amazement.  I think the magic number was 26.   Yes, a roll of “Reindeer Parade” wraps around Mr. Black twenty-six times.  What a spectacle!  Excruciatingly embarrassing for all parties involved.  Especially me looking back at it now, who remembers an all too  desperate to assimiliate baby Rao spending hours trying (and failing) to convince my Hindu parents that we needed to  buy 50 bucks worth of Christmas wrapping paper.

I have that image ofthat very uncomfortable principal in my head, looking like such a chump.  Like a bad gif he just spins slowly welcoming his slack jawed captors with complacency.  Every rotation seemed to be met with utter desperation as he would attempt to lift the corners of his push broom cloaked chops into a little dip of a smile. His exhaustion was painfully palpable, even for me at 10 years old. 

For the past 6 years I’ve been I’ve been willingly swimming in a sea of a strange corporate culture, continuing the cause of some of my worst political enemies and just barely smiling and nodding through the other side of the screen (A façade that extended to all aspects of my life, diminishing/avoiding all controversy and unfortunately strengthening my tolerance for thinly veiled bullshit). Allowing myself to be wrapped up in a pretty disgustingly vacuum packed plastic existence. My 9-5 felt at best a boring and pointless existence and at worst a betrayal of the soul. Despite all my disconnect I was drained, suffocated by smiling hacks in suits entertaining a sea of laughing children.

But today was different.  Today was new.


I stepped into my kitchen and within the first few minutes of my freedom I felt a wave of this clean and beautiful energy.  Simple is the word – Simple, clean, free.  

 My kitchen was overflowing with delicious summer treats from the CSA.  Black heirloom (my absolute favorite), fresh sweet corn, cantaloupe and Armenian cucumbers. 

Indian mustard seed and chili lime corn

The meal that followed was just clean and fresh.  Grilled cascabel chili rubbed copper river salmon with spicy mustard seed chili lime sweet corn with curry leaves on a little raft of delicious black heirloom tomatoes touched up with nothing but olive oil and fleur de sel.

mojito cucumber melon and avocado salad

The salad was roughly diced cantaloupe with Armenian cucumbers marinated in rum, lime, and fresh mint served in an avocado.  

I wish I didn’t lust after fish so, but it is my Achilles heel.  The copper river salmon was just so beautifully decadent. Deliciously rich, soft and flaky.  The rib meat was so incredibly flavorful, I found myself sucking little morsel that stuck to the rib bones.  So ridiculously good.. Ridiculous.

Simple, clean, me. Happy new chapter.

As my girl Michel Martin would say “Can I just tell you?…”

How unbelievably happy I am to re-enter a world where “Thank you so much!” does not mean “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 8, 2011 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: