Monday, 4 February 2013

Race To Kiribath Mountain

I was standing in the middle of a two-way road at 8.44am, with my hands in the air, asking God WHY? WHY can't I find a single empty three-wheeler on this road that can take me to the Kiribath party Independence Day gig at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Delhi.

I looked at my phone, it was now 8.45. It would take half an hour to get there, I had planned to get in a three-wheeler at 8.30 and be there in time for the event at 9am. But the really important part of the event - the kiribath - would be served at 9.30am (and sources told me that the kiribath does not last for long once served). If I could just find a three-wheeler now, maybe I could get there in time. I looked around frantically, every three-wheeler in the growing traffic around me was full. Phone said 8.50.

For those of you who are wondering what the hell is up with Shifani and kiribath, it has been a long, ugly, winter-infested month in India and I have been living on KFC burgers and I need food that doesn't come in a paper bag ok? (also, kiribath is da bomb.)

After crossing over to one side of the road and flailing around in a panic a bit, an empty three-wheeler finally rolled by and I jumped in, "TO THE KIRIBATH PARTY, BATMAN!" I commanded, to which the driver responded with a confused grunt before stepping on the accelerator.

I typed out a text to my loyal comrade Agent Pterodactyl who was already at the location: "I don't know if I'll make it in time... Read carefully, this is no joke: SAVE me a full platter of kiribath AND lunu miris! The fate of the world depends on it!" I stared at the phone screen a moment. And then added "and save some halal chicken if they have that too!" and pressed Send.

Traffic was cruel. It had no consideration for my plight as I stared out at the trees and pretended I was in a really sad but dramatic music video. I pictured the kiribath that I may not get to savour, after eons of painful waiting (heard about it yesterday), and shed a tear. Ok not really, but still. And then I got a text message from le comrade:

"It looks like we're running on Sri Lankan-time today, people haven't turned up yet..."


The turbaned driver speeds up as the traffic thins out and I'm thinking, perhaps fate is not cruel after all... And then the driver stops on the side of the road and mutters a profanity, the engine seems to have died. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

He tries to start it up again twice, thrice, and fails. I'm dying. Then he opens up the motor-area which is located in front of him, and lights a matchstick. I can't see much now because his body is blocking my view but I can smell the burning and see the reflection of the flame on the plastic interior. "That doesn't seem right," I'm thinking, "but then again, if he lights this shit up and we explode, it would be a fitting end to my kiribathless morning".

I don't know what he did with the matchstick and the engine but it worked. Pterodactyl texts me again: "Speech is still going on... come on, you can do this, Shifani!" We race through the boulevard of embassies, asking for directions along the way. It's already 9.35.

Finally get there and run inside, past the guards and past the Buddhist monks who seem to be leaving already - flushed in the face, I see some friends. "THE KIRIBATH-" I exclaim. And I am soon comforted, as I am told that I've arrived precisely at the moment that people are beginning to enter the Refreshments lounge.

I held up the line a few minutes as I heaped up cake after cake of kiribath and ladel after ladel of lunumiris onto my disposable plate. Tasted like victory. Victory and lunumiris. 


  1. Have you not tasted Kiribath and Pani pol? Its a sweet coconut sambol, made with treacle?

    Where are the pictures of the Kiribath?

    1. Haha yeah I've had that, yummy but I love the miris more.

      Was too busy gorging all the Kiribath to take pictures of it!