'I make potent eggnog'

'I make potent eggnog'
I have vivid memories of Christmas as a child. I grew up in Sydney. It was the 1980s, so there was always those hilarious eighties’ music playing. My mother Patricia and aunt Heather are quite eccentric so they would always dance and entertain the family members. They had done their schooling in Kolkata, where they had learnt bharathanatyam and this was the time when they would display their skills.

The Brown house was always called the ‘Mad House’ as it was always filled with people and there was always music and food. I loved my father’s record collection and would play them during Christmas.

My sister Tracey and I would create dance performances, rehearse and perform for our families and neighbours. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was always a favourite. I remember wearing ridiculous amounts of fluro-coloured zinc on my face to protect myself from the sun.

My father Roy was one of the first in our street to buy a video camera. Those days, they were huge and you would put a VHS tape into it and rest it on your shoulder. We had one Christmas that was well-documented by him.

Of course, I would annoy him and chase the camera around, presenting commercial and hogging the spotlight. It became clear early on that I was going to be an actor. The videos are treasured memories. 

I always loved my aunt Olga's ‘pish pash’, which was ‘dal’ and rice dish. She’s no longer with us but I make it as often as I can — a lovely ritual it is to cook it. My grandmother would always make delicious ‘pakoras,’ ‘stew’, ‘raita’ and coffee cake. Our family Christmas’ consist of a mix of delicacies.

I love my aunt’s fish curry and my mother makes the most amazing ‘mutton biryani’. My stepfather Alan’s ‘lamb kati rolls’ are famous and he’s asked to make them wherever he goes.

Last Christmas, I was home, so I cooked a ‘Thai Turkey Red Curry’ from the ‘Long Grain Cookbook’. I’ve cooked this recipe in Mumbai for my ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ cast. It takes hours and hours  — but it always goes down well.

I must confess that I have a very unhealthy, maniacal obsession for eggnog. I simply can’t get enough of it and make very potent eggnog. One must always put too much brandy, cinnamon and of course, egg in it. I will not rest until everyone at our Christmas party drinks my potent eggnog.

Christmas has changed over the years. Now, I usually work during Christmas. Last year, I was playing Jesus in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. The year before, I was Toad in ‘Wind In The Willows’.

This year, I’m Lumiere in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. These days it’s more about work and I am not a big fan of mass commercialisation and don’t really follow what most people celebrate. These days, people seem to forget the birth of Christ and care about just money, gifts and Santa.

It’s always lovely to spend Christmas with my family in Sydney but that isn’t always possible due to my gypsy nature.

This year, I am dragging the caravan to Delhi to be a Candelabra. I’ll be skyping with my family in Sydney and the delay will cause confusion —  no-one will really hear each other. We’ll shout to the computer — my grandmother is a little hard of hearing, so I’ll shout to her and repeat myself a hundred times —  it’ll be super cute and hilarious. I’ll miss my family dreadfully. I shall also play my ‘Jolly Bolly Christmas - Bhangra Santa Dance’ album and force people to drink my eggnog.

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