Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aitch Two Eau de Bambalapitya

I think I told you at some point about my Dad's scathing and frankly rather extreme and radical views on mineral water. Yes, he holds the opinion that all mineral water is a waste of money and anyone who buys the stuff is falling victim to one of the biggest cons of all time. It's an opinion shared by many, particularly those who were brought up on a diet consisting of tap water and survived. We don't really hear much from those who didn't survive, which probably proves my case anyway.

As an aside does anyone else have the problem with their apostrophes that I have? It seems that almost every time I go to type one my finger hits the semi colon key to the left of my intended target. I just read through the last paragraph and had to change the "don't" and the "didn't" which had both been inadvertently typed as "don;t" and "didn;t".

Whenever possible, and I'm aware that this may make me sound like a ponce, I drink mineral rather than tap water. I suppose it's a stupid generalisation for me to think that all mineral water tastes better than all tap water but it's one that I make. The fact is that tap water varies from area to area and mineral waters come in every flavour you can imagine. I was reading an article recently about the fact that many top restaurants now have a water waiter and a water list, rather like a wine waiter and a wine list. I'm also aware that that sentence contains far too many Ws and Ts and words that sound and look similar.

Apparently the discerning water fan will order, rather like the wine thing, a specific bottled water for the starter then a different one for the main and so on, I think you can get the idea. But there are now fellows who are employed to talk about the water and extol the characteristics of each variety. If I ever open a restaurant I might have a Rice Waiter.

As I type this I have a team of chaps designing labels for my next venture, a new water which I'm calling "Eau de Bambalapitya". It's quite dusty and dangerous, with a hint of salt and must be boiled before drinking.

Back to my point though. After dinner the other night, after some weeks of this ongoing debate between my parents and myself about the validity of mineral water, I found myself involved in what can only be described as a taste test. I don't really know how it happened, but I was sitting at the dining table and my Mum was pouring mineral water into one glass and cold filtered tap water into another identical glass to see if I could tell the difference. My Dad lurked in the background in that way only a Sri Lankan Dad can do, making those "pffff" noises of pretend disinterest.

I don't like to brag but I had thrashed him at Carrom an hour before and he was still reeling from that. In one game I had actually potted all my seeds and won and he was left with all his nine on the board, but I don't want to talk about it.

There were some nerves present in this water challenge, all mine. If I lost I would face about ten, perhaps fifteen, years of taunting from my Mum, she's kind like that. And I didn't even know if I could taste the difference between the waters. The rules had been established. She would present me with two glasses, one of tap water and one of Evian. They were equally cold. I would taste each one and try to identify the fluids. This would be done three times.

The first two glasses were laid down on the table. I don't want to boast but it was the same table on which the Carrom board, the scene of a massive victory for me against my Dad, had been placed earlier.

The tension was high, you could have cut it with your fingers, if you're someone who eats with your fingers. I lifted up one glass and smelled it. I lifted up the other one and did the same. It was an unfortunate time to make the discovery that water doesn't really smell of anything, except maybe gas, before the stuff is put into the gas to make it smell like gas. I soldiered on, not that many soldiers get involved in water tasting issues.

I took a swig from the right hand glass. I did the thing that wine buffs do, swirling it around my mouth and looking like an idiot. I resisted the urge to spit it out on the carpet. I swallowed, that's the type of man I am.

Then I tasted the other glass. I was pleased and amazed as I squinted at my leering Mother. I was amazed because I could taste a massive difference between the two waters. That bit was good, but it was followed by the bad bit. I may as well have been tasting a glass of milk compared to one of Coke, seriously the difference was that big. But, the bad news, or the good news, depending on whether you support me or my Mum in this fierce battle, was that I hadn't the faintest idea which water was which.

I tasted both again and vaguely detected some sort of metallic taste in one. In the dark recesses of my mind, just behind the fantasies about the Slave 4 U video and the missing drummer, I remembered that I've always thought the tap water in these parts has a certain metalness to it. Rather like Nickelback or Def Leppard, just that very slight hint of metal.

I made the call. The glass on the right was tap water and the left one was the Evian, depending on whether you were on my side or the other side of the glasses.

My Mum wouldn't reveal the answer until I had gone through the next two rounds. They were easy, providing I had succeeded in the first stage I knew I would have got through the other two. I could identify the different tastes readily but it was all or nothing.

We came to the scoring section. My Mum, through gritted teeth, told me that I had got each one....


Phew. I was seriously pleased.

To think that I'm crap at swimming too.


Ineshka said...

Bravado! :)) absolutely hilarious! :) Keep it up Mr.Drummer :)

Jerry said...

*looks suspiciously at glass of tap water...

Anonymous said...

such drama.

Ahamed Nizar said...

looks like your having fun at your parents...

noorie said...

I don;t (:)) why anonymous commenter's piss me up?

noorie said...

oops. forgot 'know'.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ineshka - Thank you.

Jerry - and so you should!

Anon - Yes indeed, the trials and tribulations of a newly divorced man.

Ahamed - Sort of!

Noorie - Anonymous negative commenters frustrate me.

Scrumpulicious said...

Awww - you are quite funny innit?! :-P