Train Journey

Shankar could hear his mother calling his name loud and clear. It was about eight in the morning, and he could see the beautiful reflection of sunlight on his glass window. He had to catch the 8.30 train to be on time for school at 9.00 am.

As he jumped out of his bed in a hurry, Lucky leaped with a shriek when Shankar stepped on his tail.

He patted the dog tenderly and said,” Sorry, Lucky, I’d forgotten that you were sleeping under my bed last night.”

Shankar brushed his teeth, showered and after eating his breakfast, left home by 8.15 to reach the railway station. His mother had given him the exact train fare to school. On his way to the station, he met two other friends, Gopal and Raju. Gopal stopped at a sweet shop, and Shankar couldn’t take his eyes off the colourful bottles full of multicoloured sweets. He took the train fare from his pocket and bought sweets to his heart content.

Once they reached the station, Shankar realised that he didn’t have enough money for the train fare, neither did his two friends. All three decided that they were going to travel without the train ticket. The train was going at high speed, and all you could hear were passengers talking, people listening to music and a baby crying at the far end of that carriage.

Suddenly there was an uproar at the far end. You could hear people ruffling their pockets, looking in their wallets and handbags for their tickets. Ticket checkers have boarded the train. The three boys didn’t know what to do. In a flash, they hid under the seats at three different places.

Shankar hid under the seats completely. Suddenly Shankar felt a soft fur close to his body. To his astonishment, Lucky was also travelling on the same train. Lucky was licking Shankar’s face and wagging his tail.

Now the ticket checker Ram has reached where Shankar was hiding. He was checking the tickets of every single passenger. Ram was a dedicated, honest man. As he came near Shankar, he saw the dog’s tail. Shankar was dragged out and as he didn’t have the ticket nor the money he was escorted out from the train.

Shankar was handed over to the Station Master by Ram. The Station Master was shocked to see Ram with the little boy Shankar.

“You have been very harsh to this little boy,” said the Station Master. “How can you treat your son like this?

“Duty comes first, Sir” Ram replied. “As an employee of this Railways, I have to do what I am expected to do. Even if it’s my own son if he has done something wrong, he needs to be punished.”

The Station Master paid the fine for Shankar and let him go. That night when Ram reached home, Shankar was fast asleep. His wife said that Shankar was weeping the whole time after he returned from school and had gone to sleep. Ram gently woke his son up and cradling him in his hands, took him to the dinner table. He taught his son the importance of honesty and that it’s a lifelong lesson that he should follow throughout his life. Ram said that he cared for his son very much and wanted his son to learn good habits at a young age.

Baked Salmon

Fish cooked with spices and made into a spicy curry makes all the difference; King Fish, Spanish Mackerel, and Snapper are to name a few.

Some fish taste best when they are deep fried in oil at high temperature at first and gradually lowering the temperature. Salmon, king of all fish rich in Omega, doesn’t taste good when it’s deep fried. However, when it’s is baked in the oven, the taste and aroma that comes off are beautiful.

In the sub-continent and Sri Lanka, fried fish is something people relish daily with rice and curry. As for vegetarians, pappadam is a must with the daily intake of food, and for non-vegetarians, fried fish is a necessary accompaniment to go with the rice. In the past, I cooked spicy Salmon curry with evaporated milk, curry powder, and spices. Recently I decided to bake the Salmon fish. To my surprise, everyone who tasted the Salmon enjoyed it.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm – Salmon Cutlets
  • 1 Tsp – Ginger powder
  • 1 Tsp – Garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp – Onion powder
  • 2 Tsp – Curry powder
  • ½ Tsp – Turmeric powder
  • 2 Sprig – Rosemary
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ – Red Capsicum
  • ¼ – Green Capsicum
  • ¼ – Yellow Capsicum
  • ¼ – Onion

Method:

Wash Salmon and pat dry in a paper towel. Rub with garlic powder, ginger powder, and onion powder all over. Add turmeric powder, curry powder and salt and coat the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Cut ¼ of red capsicum, yellow capsicum and green capsicum into long strips. Slice ¼ of red onion; Cover roasting tin (or baking tray) with baking paper. Arrange the fish, capsicum, onion, and rosemary and place the tin in a preheated oven,180° C. Cover the top with another baking paper and bake for 35 minutes. At the end leave the fish for a few minutes in the oven and remove it.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Use baking paper instead of aluminium foil for crispy skin.
  2. Capsicum and onion get cooked in the oil generated from the fish. You can add the capsicum and onion after 20 minutes for tender vegetables.
  3. Adding garlic, ginger and onion powder first to the fish before turmeric and curry powder ensures that the fish is coated well with these spices.
  4. I use King’s Curry powder, which is available in Sri Lankan spice shops. You can use any other mild to hot curry powder.
Baked Salmon