Friday, August 25, 2006

An afternoon in the life of . . .

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon. Dark clouds growled overhead and a short drizzle wet the compound, filling the air with the scent of wet earth. In Urdu, that fragrance is described as saundhi si khushboo and is frequently used as a metaphor for romance by poets and lyricists. To my feeble mind, however, the scent evokes the precious memory of chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake but the dense, frozen chocolate cake you get at the French Bakery in Karachi. I remember when I was living there, I’d drive almost every week from North Nazimabad – an hour’s trek through unruly, clotted traffic – to get to the French Bakery. It’s on Khyaban-e-Shamsheer, where Delton’s is, right next to Mennen’s haircutting saloon. The cake itself is a poem in chocolate, with layers and textures that reveal, from the thick outer shell to the soft, crumbly interior, a riot of rich chocolate flavors. If you’re in Karachi, do give it a try. The rain never tasted so good.

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