I always had interest in poetry, Faiz Ahmed Faiz is one of my favourite poet. However, one cannot forget Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, fondly known as Mirza Ghalib. When one talks of Delhi, its culture and its food I am always curious about knowing the city when it had some soul: Purani Dilli.
Talking about Ghalib Saab today, not many know that he loved food, kebabs & mangoes were is absolute favourite among everything. There is a famous story of him & Bahadur Shah Zafar, it goes as, once they were roaming around in male section of royal gardens. Just then Ghalib Saab took a pause to stare at mango tree, on seeing him do so, Zafar asked what is he thinking. “My Lord and Guide, some poet once said that every fruit has the name of the person and his ancestors destined to eat it written on it. I am looking for the name of my grandfather, father and my name!” answered Ghalib Saab. And same day by evening, a basket of fresh choicest mangoes were delivered to him.
Why am I talking about this? It’s because of the dish here, Qaliamba. Its kebab cooked with spices and later infused with raw mango syrup.
It was Ghalib Saab’s favourite dish. So was his love for meat that, when he was old & couldn’t chew, his cooks used to soak roti in meat gravy.
His love for Dilli is reflected in:
“Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ki dilli kya hai,
to yun jawab main keh gaye, yeh duniya mano jism hai aur dilli uski jaan.”
Unfortunately, Ghalib Saab’s Dilli is long lost and he too will agree to this, However, Ghalib Saab never left Dilli, he lives in this dish forever.