Dances and details

Of all the framed art on our walls, there’s one that I love the most. It’s a black and white photograph of a couple dancing on the streets of Paris, next to the Seine. Paul Almasy’s Rock ‘n Roll sur les Quais de Paris is a happy twirl, frozen in time. I never tire of looking at it.

It reminds me of my first dance with D, fifteen years ago. (Fifteen?!) Just as we gingerly, awkwardly stepped on to the dance floor, the song changed, and we were stuck with Elton John singing Sacrifice. Now we’re stuck with it for posterity. Thankfully, the song faded quickly as other details became sharper. The checks on his shirt, the faint smell of aftershave, our hands unsure about where to rest, a sweet nervousness.

The photograph also reminds me of the time I was pregnant with Chotto-ma. Every afternoon, I would put on some music, and dance. I would hold my tummy tight, and sway, and feel her move and flip inside me. We would dance together for hours, just the two of us. It was a quiet, intense kind of happiness.

There are times when the rhythm of a moment is just right. It’s details, irreplaceable.

Every time I look at the photograph, I notice something new. A detail I hadn’t seen before. The first time our neighbour’s little girl walked into the house, she looked at the print and said, I love the old bricks on that bridge. She didn’t mention the dance, not even the flick of the pretty skirt. But the quiet bricks in the back.


To me, they make all the difference. In life. In art. In food. In a pot of rice, some adzuki beans can be that detail. In a tuna kebab, a handful of freshly chopped coriander can be that detail.

Adzuki-Bean Rice with Tuna Kebabs

The Adzuki-Bean Rice


1 1/2 cup adzuki beans
4 cups cooked rice that have been in the fridge overnight
1 large tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf
1 tbs olive oil, or a blob of butter.

Soak the adzuki beans in water, overnight. Next morning, discard the water and wash the beans.
Boil 4 cups of water. To the water, add the beans and all other ingredients, except the rice.
Cook on medium heat till beans are done, adding more water if needed. Once the beans are cooked, dry up any remaining water by increasing the heat.
Now mix in the cold rice, with the olive oil or butter. Adjust seasoning.
Heat once before serving.

The Tuna Kebabs


2 cans tuna, drained dry
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tbs crushed roasted peanuts
1 cup chopped coriander
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs

Mix all the ingredients. Form flat, round dics. Pan fry till golden brown.
Serve immediately with the rice.

6 thoughts on “Dances and details

  1. That picture is beautiful, I can completely understand why you love it so much. I also wish I was having tuna kebabs and aduki bean rice for tea…. Emma ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow, I paused so many times after reading this. the usual scrolling back up to the framed photograph and of course to the Adzuki-Bean Rice and Tuna Kebabs.

    For this one, I'm going for a blob of butter ;-). Thanks for sharing.

  3. Would it sound weird, if I told you I have a girlie -crush on you.
    j'taime this post! ( studied some french in college; can't recollect any of it now)
    I am with on this. Life is about the details because they are the finer things which make the otherwise very tough life, bearable.

    Adzuki beans – haven't the slightest idea what they are. Will google and find out. The tuna cutlets look yum.

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