After some prodding by CouchPapaya & Smita, this is my first attempt. And since this blog's name is "oenophile", I have to begin with --->
Golconda wine & Batatawada was my first wine-food pairing attempt, as breakfast before writing the IIT entrance exam in 1979. That I got in was due to a lot of hard work & Agarwal’s classes, but maybe that pairing played a small part. Other supporting evidence is that 4 of us school friends were supposed to spend the night at my home studying for the exam, but one went home late at night and thus missed this pairing. He was the only one who did not get in, never mind, all 4 of us remain good friends and came to the US in 80's. For the past 15+ years our families meet at Thanksgiving, and other friends and families also join in.
Shiraz is a city in Southern Iran and also a variety of grape used to make wine. Wikipedia claims "Shiraz disputes with Xeres [or Jerez] in Spain the honour of being the birthplace of sherry." I had the privilege of visiting Iran 4 times in the 1970's, and did visit Shiraz on my first trip in 1971. Even though grapes are grown nearby and wine is made, I did not see any; but I do remember my father buying some Iranian wine. I also got exposed to Caviar, Fall Colors, & snow in Iran. Tehran has year-round snow capped mountains to the north, and skiing is big winter time sport. The Caspian Sea region to the north shares some similarities with the French Riviera, both have mountains bordering the sea. In Tehran, we used to stay a few
blocks away from the infamous US Embassy that was later held hostage during the anti-Shah Islamic revolution. Early 1978 was the last I was in Iran, the revolution had not yet begun; but it began soon and within a year the Shah was forced to leave Iran. I remember that every structure and all currency notes in Iran had to have a photo of the Shah. The daily TV began and ended with his photo, and anyone switching it off at that time was liable to be imprisoned. I was exposed to Western goods, services, and cars for the first time in Iran, but this was also the first time my freedom of speech was curtailed. I remember my father seriously instructing me and my younger brother not to speak at all about the Shah or the Iranian Govt. while we were in Iran, something that growing up in India we used to do almost daily (about the Indian politicians and Govt. and mostly -vely).
Persepolis I & II by Marjane Satrapi. A stirring account of an Iranian women's experiences from childhood to adulthood; spanning the Shah era, the Islamic revolution, the war with Iraq, and living in an Islamic Iran.
WAR & POLITICS
Chateau Margaux, a Bordeaux first growth, supposedly was President Richard M. Nixon's favorite wine. At parties thrown by him, he would have a waiter fill his glass from a white towel wrapped bottle of Chateau Margaux, and would serve a much cheaper wine to his guests from the Congress & the Senate (From "The Final Days" by Woodward & Bernstein.).
I was in school in Poona in 1971 during the Bangladesh war, in the beginning people would ignore the periodic air-raid sirens. This apparently changed when Nixon sent the Seventh Fleet into the Indian Ocean, the next air raid siren had our school officials herding us out of classrooms into bomb shelters (this meant going to an open field and kneeling, oh well!!!). Much later I realized that it was just the usual sabre rattling aimed at re-assuring America's Middle East allies, and there was hardly any intention of America entering the War.
So here's raising a glass of Chateau Margaux to you President Nixon for introducing me to wars & politics, although I too would have voted to impeach you (for Watergate and imposing wage price controls).
1) War and Secession: Pakistan, India, and the Creation of Bangladesh by Richard Sisson & Leo Rose.
2) All the President's Men, & 3) The Final Days by Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
Naturally, cricket was the most played and followed sport; some memories
a) Red Letter Headlines in newspapers after India beat West Indies in West Indies and England in England in 1971.
b) Watching Sunil Gavaskar score a century in Ranji trophy in 1970 at Poona, before his test debut.
1) My Cricketing Years by Ajit Wadekar
2) Sunny Days by Sunil Gavaskar
Like most kids growing up in Bombay & Poona in the 1960's & 1970's, I remain a bollywood fan; with favorites being Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra & Amitabh Bachchan.
1) First Hindi Movie seen outside India, Jewel Thief, Tehran Iran, 1971
2) Did see Sholay in 70 mm at Minerva.
3) On a trip to Mahabaleshwar, Dilip Kumar played soccer for about 5 min with a bunch of us kids.
4) First Adult (A rated) movie seen after bunking class --- Des Pardes (It is laughable that this was an A rated movie.)
I was fortunate to have been born into a family associated with Marathi Theatre. Among some memorable plays seen are
1) An early performance of Tee Phulrani, starring Satish Dubhashi & Bhakti Barve.
2) Dada Kondke at his best, introducing stand-up comedy in Viccha Majhi Puri Kara.
3) Home production of the award winner Bhaubandki
HERCULE POIROT & JAMES BOND
Ending with more wine anecdotes, I grew up on Agatha Christie's books and James Bond movies. Their talents are well known, and both have an excellent taste in wines and champagnes. You can never go wrong with their choices :-
Hercule Poirot --- Chateau Petrus, Chateau Lynch Bages
James Bond --- Bollinger, Dom Perignon
I pass this tag to smita
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