Saturday, May 8, 2010

Haroun n the Sea of Stories Inspires Vibha's Hoopoe Lemon Cake

Cake is "Khattam-Shud"
Vibha is a very good friend of mine. She's started a book-club in mall rd where all the kids[mostly in school] would read a book page by page and discuss it.... I'd be hanging around.... books n kids in 1 place has me drawn as fast as a magnet :)

They began reading 'Haroun n the Sea of Stories' written by Salman Rushdie.... Pleasures of re-reading a book which I've read as a kid are infinite..... this is the 3rd time I read the book.... The first time round when my uncle gave me this book.... after the first 40 pages put it away as too confusing [guess I was too young to understand "Processes Too Complicated To Explain"], after 2 years when I went back to Mumbai... picked up again n lapped it up... It's so engrossing that it was finished in 1 night without a break..... The third now when I'm close to 'The age that I am".... not that you all are gonna get the magic number from me.... :)

Coming back to the book.... Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea Stories shows a depressed professional storyteller Rashid and his adolescent son Haroun traveling to Earth's second, invisible moon, where all stories are born. They foil the poisoning of the Ocean of the Streams of Story and rescue a kidnapped Princess, get back the father's gift of gab, and see their family reunited.
Don't want to give any spoilers here, so I'll just intrigue you even more by introducing the characters[Sourced from wikipedia]..... I loved the names they have in the book along with the fantastic locations... Like Valley of K, "a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad it had forgotten its name", Tunnel of I, Satellite of the Earth's, named Kahani and so on...


Haroun: The main character/central consciousness of the story. A young, curious, courageous, outspoken child. He is said to suffer throughout most of the story from a form of attention-deficit disorder, under whose influence he is unable to concentrate his attention for a longer measurement of time than eleven minutes.

Rashid: Haroun's father, also known as the Shah of Blah and the Ocean of Notions for his ability to create fascinating stories impromptu. He is a professional storyteller who is sometimes hired by corrupt politicians to persuade constituents that they should be re-elected. His attachment to his wife and to his practice of storytelling are probably his greatest psychological weaknesses; when either is lost, he becomes depressed and loses the other.
To recover the latter, he travels to Kahani by a means known as 'Rapture', by which he is able to travel inside his dreams and wake up in the world the dream has created. This method consists of consuming "moonberries, comet's tails, planet rings, [and] primordial soup". Having reached Kahani, he alerts the Guppees to the location of their Princess Batcheat and later joins their army to recapture her from the Chupwalas who have captured her.
Soraya: Rashid's wife, who tires of his imagination and leaves him for the dull and dreary Mr. Sengupta, a neighbor.

Mr. Sengupta: The dreary man who is Haroun's neighbor, and who elopes with Soraya

Miss Oneeta: Mr. Sengupta's obese, talkative, self-important, overwhelmingly emotional, generous wife, who is so disappointed in her husband after he takes Soraya and leaves the city wherein they live that she disowns him and her married name.

Plentimaw Fish: Large, sharklike Angelfish living in the waters near Gup, which is built on several islands. The name is derived from their multiplicity of mouths, through which they constantly ingest the stories conveyed by the waters. Inside their bodies, the stories are then mixed, producing new stories that join the canon of all the stories ever told. Plentimaw Fish mate for life and always travel in pairs, which then speak in rhyme.
The two Plentimaw Fish present in the story, Goopy and Bagha, travel with Haroun, Iff, Butt, and Mali (see below) to the Source of Stories, but are overwhelmed by the pollution and must stay behind the others. After the climax, they are appointed leaders of their species.

Mali: A 'Floating Gardener' composed of interwoven flowering vines and water plants that behave as a single organism. He is one of many, whose task is to prevent stories from becoming irretrievably convoluted and to cut away weeds that grow on the Ocean's surface.

Butt the Hoopoe: A machine in the form of a Hoopoe who becomes Haroun's steed in Kahani. He is revealed to possess a mechanical brain which is capable of almost all known mental feats, including telepathy. The latter is used throughout his role, producing a recurrent joke wherein his spoken lines are followed by the statement that he "spoke without moving [his] beak". This ability also appears in scenes wherein he replies to Haroun's unspoken thoughts, which sometimes move in synchronity with the narration.
He is shown to be capable of flying at impossible speeds, travelling between Earth and Kahani, and answering to any name preferred by his rider. Because he shares with Mr. Butt the idiosyncrasy of saying "but but but" at the beginning of sentences, in addition to some superficial details of appearance, he is called by the same name. At his introduction, he is described as "the bird that leads all other birds through many dangerous places to their ultimate goal".

Iff: A "water genie" from Kahani who accompanies Haroun in Kahani. Iff's task is to control Rashid's supply of imagination, which appears in the form of waters transmitted to Rashid via an invisible faucet by a means that is never revealed, but which is called a "P2C2E - Process Too Complicated To Explain".

Prince Bolo: A possible parody of the archetypal awe-inspiring hero or Prince Charming, Bolo is the fiancée of Princess Batcheat (see below) and the only person to believe that she is a beauty. Bolo is a reckless, slightly stupid, melodramatic figure who is nominally the leader of the charge to rescue the captured Batcheat from Chup

Princess Batcheat: A damsel in distress. Batcheat is the daughter of King Chattergy, ruler of Gup, and the fiancée of Prince Bolo, whose affiliations are unknown. She is somewhat foolish; romantic; reckless; and completely infatuated with Bolo, who is the only person to think her beautiful; all other characters have low opinions of her nose, teeth, and singing voice.

The Eggheads: Originally a derogative name for an enthusiast in some subject, the term here describes the technicians of Kahani, who are white-coated, completely bald, enthusiastic, cheerful, and intelligent. The Eggheads of Gup City are said to be the inventors of all "Processes Too Complicated To Explain", by which impossible feats such as Kahani's bizarre orbit, the creation of artificial happy endings for stories, and the transmission of "story water" to Earthly storytellers are easily accomplished. They are quite in awe of their superintendent, the Walrus, for his possession of a moustache.

Walrus: The superintendent of the Eggheads, distinguished from them by his possession of a small moustache which gives him his name.
General Kitab: Literally "General Book". General Kitab is the commander of the Guppee 'Library', which functions in peacetime as a system of aides and in war as an army. It consists of a multitude of Pages, each of which is a thin person clad in an oversized sheet of paper bearing part of a story.

King Chattergy: Princess Batcheat's father and Prince Bolo's father-in-law, a symbolic figure who forms the nominal head of Gup's government but has little real power.

Blabbermouth: A Women Page of the Library of Gup. Blabbermouth is a talkative, ill-tempered, contemptuous, stubborn, unscrupulous, quarrelsome girl who despises Princess Batcheat, disguises herself as a boy, and is skilled at the art of juggling, which Haroun compares to storytelling.

Mudra: Second-in-command to Khattam-Shud, who becomes disgruntled with his master's policies and defects to the Guppee side. His shadow, like the shadows of each and every person in Chup, can behave independently of himself and is therefore his sidekick.
Mudra himself is an able warrior skilled in the art of hand-to-hand combat. Mudra is nearly mute, being able only to communicate his own name and the fact that he "speaks" by means of Abhinaya, a type of sign language used in classical Indian dance.

Bezaban: Literally "without a tongue", this is the name of the ice statue located atop the Citadel of Chup, where it symbolizes Khattam-Shud's power. It is used as an object of worship by the Cult of Silence. Later, Bezaban is melted and collapses onto Khattam-Shud, killing him under its weight.

Khattam-Shud: The villain of the story, whose name means "completely finished". He represents silence, and is therefore said to be invoked at the termination of every story told. As a character, he is the "Prince of Silence and the Foe of Speech" feared by most Guppees. He is the ruler of Chup and the founder of a religion whose supreme commandment is abstinence from speech.These things are all ultimately destroyed when Haroun uses a substance called "wishwater" to turn Kahani around, so that Chup is illuminated by sunlight.

So the cake has a Black South pole with the poisoned sea of stories and the wishwater is made of lemon sauce.

This Hoopoe is my labour of love born out of Deeba's technique of making cake borders... I just had to try it... Word of caution... pl don't try this method with any intricate design till you've gotten the hang of doing it else you'll end up tearing your hair out like i did and have to re-do the whole design..... I totally enjoyed the challenge this posed... :)

The Lemon Cake's recipe is the one I made for Shuchi, This time round I marbled the cake with various colours to make the Sea of Stories...

Vibha is a total treasure. Have done cakes for her kids, Chocolate Blackout Cake for Tarini and a football cake for Karan.
So readers have you had any strong association with books and food?

5 comments:

Vibha Datta said...

Ha! As usual, I am the first one to post comments on this blog! Like the sea of stories, nachi is the sea of creativity. the connect is totally awesome. I and the family had a great time demolishing the freshest ever tasting lemon cake. I have no trouble if my motivation yields these yummy results! Love it!

Nikhil said...

Creativity at its very best :) way 2 go nachi next up could be "The story of a cake"

Simran said...

Wow! This is truly creative.

As I always say, you should totally join our book club :)

zurin said...

A very intriguing post. the book sounds out of this world. I ve read midnite's children n am amazed at Rushdie's imagination. This books sounds just as complicated and mind blowing. Im reading vs naipauls A house for Mr. biswas now for the third time/ I dont knw why but I love this book and of coursr naipuals gripping writing style. wonderful post and hte cake looks just as intriguing.

tq for dropping by. im glad u did. :)

shrumah said...

Love the way you've described the book and its characters. I bought the concept and the story of the book lock stock and barrel and you know i'm headed to the closest book store the minute i'm out of here!