I have an appetite for border districts that my stomach doesn't appreciate. The indecipherable scrawl of my travel journals from these culinary marchlands is illuminated by a few exuberant passages of clear block print, representing something I knew my future sedentary self would savour—but it's never the food.
Often it's a conversation—sometimes a visual epiphany, occasionally a narcotic, and quite frequently a beverage. The hot, sweet goat milk of Nirda, the pepper tea of Munsiari, the effervescent cold chhang of Kaza, and welcome tots of 'defence' rum all over the place. And though there have been a few gastronomic adventures that left me too shaken to record, I can recall these bilious madeleines at will. I wish I could forget them. The clumpy thukpa with a whiff of donkey ordure that induced projectile vomiting on the snows of Parangla. The tunafish and Orange Tang tea on the plains near Hanle (which I quite enjoyed at the time, but then again, that was almost a beverage). The boiled macaque that I hurled over a campfire in Arunachal. It's alimentary: the closer you get to the border, the more you miss Maggi.