The body remembers! Memories in the distant past come flooding back to envelope me with unexpected force at the triggers of these smells and flavours, found in this – the most unlikely of corners. How far could the distance be between the charms of South America and South Delhi? And yet, as I take another bite of my Pollo Picante at Nueva in Sangam Courtyard, I can feel myself slipping back to the days I spent taking in the magical sights and sounds of Chile and Peru.
If time is not linear and its fading hold can be challenged, and my memories simply require the perfect magical key – the right alchemy of ingredients – to come alive, then dining at Nueva was an experience that erased the distances and years from some of the best times of my life. As I moved from the delectable Charcuterie to the simmering Empanadas Relleno, it reminded me not only of walking the streets of South America but also of the person I was at that time, the friends I was with and the adventures we had as we explored a foreign land. The warmth and hospitality in the eyes of the people we met came back to me with crystal clarity and I could remember the sun on my face and the smile on my lips as I dived into the flavors served in front of me with such love and care.
As we reminisced over the Paella Valenciana, it wasn’t just a throwback to those times, it was a glimpse into the person I was then – simpler, adventurous, trusting, and less focused on the troubles and tribulations of life. It was a reminder of those sides of me which had over the years gotten buried beneath the humdrum of worries and stresses. It was a meal of re-discovery – not just of flavors long forgotten, but of sides of life that we are often too busy to cherish. Nothing’s ever lost – All our experiences are just resting, waiting to be found again. And that is truly the power of heart-warming, delicious and meaningful food.