The Wagener –Clime flavor
By Vivek Hande
I have always loved ice – cream in any shape, form, size, color or flavor. I could gorge ice- cream at any time of the day and it could well substitute any meal. A constant battle of the bulge and the fear of a generous waist line prevent me from indulging as often as I would like to. However, my eternal favorite has always remained fresh strawberry. For many many years, fresh strawberry has always been the Wagener –Clime flavor for me. There is a little story behind it.
It was more than two and a half decades ago when I was doing my internship after medical school in Delhi. I attended the World Congress of Neurology. It was a glittering affair and it attracted leading neurophysicians from across the world. It was a stimulating week. The lectures were top grade and it was intoxicating picking the brains of the leading authorities on various subjects. In addition to the academic activities, there were a host of lavish lunches and dinners. As a very junior medico. I would at times feel a trifle overawed and a bit out of place at times. My discomfiture was noted by a white haired old lady. She was very elegant and carried herself with great dignity. She introduced herself as Dr. Wagener-Clime, MD from Copenhagen; a rather modest introduction for one of the leading neurophysicians from Denmark.
We hit it off very well and notwithstanding the difference in age of more than fifty years, we became friends. We discussed everything under the sun-Neurology, Indian customs and traditions; marriage, politics, music and cinema. She was thrilled with snake –charmers and cycle –rickshaws. The Qutub Minar fascinated her and she found the Saree highly intriguing. She found Hindi film songs pleasing to the ear. She even picked up a smattering of Hindi and I introduced her to the nuances of Kannada. She was turning into quite an Indophile.
However, come mealtime and her sense of adventure would abandon her and nothing would convince her to try anything cooked in the hotel. She showed me her suitcase full of tinned food-sausages, ham, salami, baked beans and cheese. She even had an amazing supply of Danish pastry and bottled water. She had a mortal fear of getting food poisoning and acquiring a deadly strain of Salmonella or Cholera or some other tropical infection.
With considerable difficulty, I persuaded her to overcome her fears and try some of my favorite strawberry ice-cream. She was hooked thereafter. “Indian ice- cream is so much better than back home”. The next few days she attacked strawberry ice-cream with lip smacking gusto for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She devoured strawberry ice-cream with a maniacal zest. She returned a few days later to Denmark and we remained in touch over the years. She is no more but for me strawberry ice cream can be nothing other than the Wagener-Clime flavor!!