(After my last post, viz, Vegetose, I recalled another post dealing with my cooking (mis) adventures – so I pulled it out from the archives. It was posted almost to the day (17th Jul to be precise) 4 years ago. Before marriage and bais and everything else happened. Hmm. Nothing much seems to have changed.)
The scene cuts to early noon on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Yours truly is sprawled in front of the television, trying as far as possible to ape the soporific habits of vegetables, idly zapping away, the mind nearly in a state of suspended animation.
Into this nearly idyllic situation enters the villain more normally known as Ma.
Ma: What are you doing in front of the TV like that - come and help me in the kitchen
Me: Huh? Who? Me? Why?
Ma: What do you mean who? You need to learn how to cook!
Me:( raising a very pertinent (according to me) query) Why?
Uh oh.. Wrong question. Next ten minutes we see a lecture on
a) how I am lazy
b) how I am of marriageable age
c) how when she was my age she managed a family and a household
d) just because I have a job does not exempt me from household tasks .
Which concludes with me reluctantly being marched into the kitchen. (I have never to this date won an argument with Ma. Sigh.)
Don’t get me wrong. I am not really hopeless cook. On occasions I have been known to whip up really rocking exotic khana - but that is when I am in the mood, when I have plenty of time, and when I’m feeling adventurous.
This daal- chawal- sabzi business - never attracted me somehow. And rotis!
Lets not even talk about rotis. Rotis have always been my bete-noire. Whatever I do, they will insist on being intractable and stubborn.
Now the perfect roti I believe is the acid test of the female, more so the ‘bahu’ of the house. It determines whether she is competent enough to be called a home manager. She might have many other sundry accomplishments like managing a high stress job and household and children or being able to dish up the most exotic seven-course meal for twenty of colleagues of her husbands on the spur of a moment – but if she cant make the perfect roti (viz. fluffy, puffed up, light and most importantly ROUND) she is still a failure in the condemning eyes of society.
Anyways I digress. Coming back to rotis. I can make rotis. Given proper encouragement I can even make rotis that reasonably look like rotis. But to expect rotis to be made fast and to be made circular is a bit MUCH.
So I make the first one, expectedly it looks like the flapping ear of an African elephant.
Ma restored to her good humor after successfully getting me into the kitchen peers at it. Muses "What shape is this? It looks like some continent"
Me: Don’t stand over my head Ma - you disturb an artist’s concentration
Ma suppresses a sound that sounds a mix between an incredulous snort and a chortle.
Ma: Your husband (mythical person this) will die of hunger by the time you finish a roti if you take so long
Me: If my non-existent and unknown husband has a problem he can jolly well make the rotis and eat them himself. And why are you taking that person’s side as opposed to your one and only daughter anyways?
Ma: (mollifying) Okay we will get a hotel management professional for you- he can cook.
(She is thoroughly convinced that a KRA of hotel management courses is to cook)
(Also, somehow I have noticed these days; conversations have a way of eventually ending up in my marriage ...wonder why! We can be talking about astrophysics but it somehow; it will veer to a conversation about my future husband hmm!)
The next two rotis progressively become more circular. If you peer from a distance, one can even mistake them to be round. Ma pats my back encouragingly - "Yes that’s better but you know try and avoid making them lumpy in the middle and thin outside next time okay?"
The next time round I make it thin inside and lumpy on the outside - so thin in fact that it’s practically a hole. Hell! Let me not beat around the bush - it is a hole!
After some more in this, Ma finally kicks me out of the kitchen assuring me that she will ensure that the feller I marry has a cook
Amen to that I say!