There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reflections: The Invasion of the Indian Chicken Tikka

By Surajit Dutta
Copenhagen, Denmark

My first taste of India in Britain was the Indian Chicken Tikka. Though it did not taste as much as the Tikka back home, but the familiarity was all too pervasive. The pervasiveness of the dish arose not from the spices but from the realisation of my roots and the fact that that we may be watching history being unfolded, the fact that history may be having its vengeance through a beautiful, creative and non-violent means. A revenge where no lives are sacrificed but wealth created. And what other better and beautiful way could it be, if not through the Indian Chicken Tikka? It is the era of neo-economics where wealth is created by the Indian Chicken Tikka. Was there an Adams Smith or Robinson who could have built a Theory Of Nations, realising the might of the Indian Chicken Tikka?

This is the era when a social, political and economic invasion is being led by millions of unarmed soldiers. It is a war that is being fought and won not through the might of the gunpowder or nuclear warheads. A war is being fought and won with the might of the Indian Chicken Tikka.

Walk through the streets of Britain today – you will find hundreds of faces that give you the knowing nod of the head, a bright smile – but all radiant with the secret power of the Indian Chicken Tikka (though not all of them draw the power from a piece of Chicken Tikka – some are vegetarians!! But that is the power of the Indian Chicken Tikka).

Walk through the political and business echelons of Britain today and you will find thousands of the Chicken Tikka Brigade waging the battle of supremacy. If you are lucky enough to pass through the wooden door of 10, Downing Street, you can catch a bite of the Chicken Tikka, the national dish of Britain today. But if you do not make it to 10, Downing Street with the Browns, do not fret, walk into any of the British homes and you can have a taste of Indian Chicken Tikka.

Been there, done that? Now take a peek into The Lord’s where the Dravids, Tendulkars, Gangulys and Bhajjis wield the power of the Chicken Tikka, and look at the millions around the ground basking in the glory, and you know this is the new era of the Indian Chicken Tikka.

Step out of The Lord’s and walk through the streets of London and at some corner you will be surprised to find yourself in a locale with the semblance of Chandni Chowk at New Delhi. Blaring music adding to the rich flavour and aroma of Indian spices hanging in the air, people watching you with a leisurely attitude, sipping on a glass of tea or lassi ‘malai marke’. This is the colonialism of Indian Chicken Tikka.

As I stood on the pavement, enjoying a leisure sip on a glass of ‘cut-chai’ and savouring on the revered piece of chicken tikka, I tried to fathom the power of the tikka. I could not, at the moment, and walked back home, still trying to figure out the source of the power of the Indian Chicken Tikka. I realised it the following weekend. Alone in Britain, I was confined to the bed over the three days – rendered immobile by a physical disorder. Standing up, my body would give in to the excruciating pain searing through my abdomen, and I would fall back. So for three days I was lying there staring at the ceiling, counting the stars beyond, munching on damp, cold pizza slices for food, waiting for the pain to subside, my thoughts wavering from depression to hope. But there I was fighting it out, cut off from the civilisation outside, fighting the worst battle of my life, just to survive. And then it dawned on me, the power of Indian Chicken Tikka. It is in our psyche – to wade through troubled times, fighting the odds and getting back on our feet, victorious. It is a war where each individual is fighting his own battle with a never-die attitude and emerging victorious. This is the spirit of the Indian Chicken Tikka.

Wile I was growing up, I had read in numerous books like Anandamath that the sun never sets in the British Empire. But ever since my arrival in Britain, I have hardly seen the sun shining on the British Empire. Is it to prove that the Indian Chicken Tikka has proved to be mightier than the sun and robbed Britain of its glory? Maybe some Einsteins or Newtons of the future will dwell into the unknown just to prove that. Until then, I am proud to be a part of the Chicken Tikka Brigade. My name will not go down on the pages of history, like those of the Mountbattens or some other glorious Lords, but who cares, as long as the return wave of invasion is mightier, stronger and more powerful?

I will have a piece of a succulent Chicken Tikka, dipped in mustard sauce, as a toast to that.


  1. if i correctly recall a culninary travel showcase by Vir Sanghvi, they discussed in detail about this british version of this bird meat analog of the punjabi kind...right from where it originated in some refugee colony family run restaurant in old delhi suburb to the present day british offshoot....

    basically the chicken tikka as the british have it is a tomato paste with a few herbs (rosemerry a must) and spices (of which some are indian...but not so punjabi) which they throw in the succulent tandoori chickens...

    such a waste of taste, effort and "indian" indian will never have that.....

    good post....the british ruled us for two hundred years...they never knew our birds will follow them back....!!!

  2. JAI HO!!! We join the Chicken Tikka Brigade too!!

  3. Jai (Hind) Ho! :)
    Beautifully written.