Friday, March 11, 2005

Ambrosia

“We do our own cooking”, my flat mate had informed me.

“Oh”, a monosyllable to express the torrent of thoughts running through my mind. Would they give me a little portion of the food they cooked or is it thou-eats-whatever-thou-cooks? And more so, what would a non-cook(ahem, diplomacy doesnt always work!) like me cook? But I condensed all those questions into the laconic, "Oh".

The first morning, I picked up my green plate (oh yes, that is the color of my plate!) and walked hesitantly to the kitchen. Hot, crisp dosas were placed on my plate- my flat mate did the honors that day. I waited- sambar? Chutney? Or the ‘podi’ that is common to Tamil Nadu…?

‘Curd’ was the right answer… not fair, because it never even crossed my mind as a possibility…

I learnt that the greatest capacity of humans is the ability to adapt.

“Curd” became or universal solution. I learnt that one could eat curd with anything- Uppuma, dosa, ‘sevai’ (I ate that thing for the first time in my life when my flat mate made it!), and of course rice.

Fed up with eating the same thing so many times over, I said yesterday, “I am gonna cook today”.

There was a stunned silence in the room. For you see I hardly did that. Beyond boiling the milk everyday and making an occasional tea, the kitchen was to me a place to sit when my flat mate cooked. I would entertain her with stories… incidents that happened yesterday, today or years before…while she stirred the vessel in whatever was to be that day’s dinner gurgled on…

Marching into the vegetable market as part of my declaration I bought all the vegetables I knew and could identity and proudly carried my colorful bag back home.

Reaching home, a quick bath and out of the starched and stiff working clothes of the day, into wrinkled clothes smelling of soap I changed. I knew that sitting down on the pink plastic chairs at home and picking up the remote of the television would be disastrous.

Slice vegetable after vegetable I did. Carrots were diced. Onions were sliced. Watering eyes were washed several times. Sniffling, beans were cut. Potatoes peeled... a little bit of my skin too. 5 minutes spent on searching for the band aid. Putting it on and I must add not very well, for I felt all clumsy after the adhesive was put on. And water didn’t help. Finally and exasperatedly pulling off the strip, which was anyway not in the place it should be, I went back to work.

Rotis and egg curry was the menu- I decided it. I knew not to make anything else. Anyway after weeks of dosas and eating out, it was a welcome change.

Answering the door to my flat mates knock, for you see our door bell never rings... I pulled my bewildered flat mate inside, coz she was standing hesitantly owing to the unfamiliar sounds that could be heard outside... Oh I didn’t tell you did I, I pulled out an (kindly note the article), AN utensil to put all the vegetables, when the wretched lot of all of them fell liberally. I am quite nifty, I discovered that day… I jumped around on my toes evading the falling torrent of vessels and got hit just once. Quite a female Jackie Chan I am, I thought proudly.

Mixing the flour for the rotis, I sat down for the first time that evening. Late evening…. My flat mate seeing me, said kindly, “Do you want me to roll it”.

“No”, I firmly said. 'Today is your break. An off ok...", I told the IT programmer who lives with me. I learnt that they do not really understand the word 'break' which to them is synonymous to a coffee cup in hand, you drink the dark liquid or not...

Well...to cut a long story short(couldnt think of anything else to avoid this cliché) I made the egg curry which my flat made wiped clean with the rotis; while I watched with evident pleasure- I couldn’t stop smiling.

Coming back after washing her plate and watching our young neighbors, my flat mate found me asleep, curled on the pink plastic chair…. too tired to eat…

2 Comments:

Blogger Zealous Zygote said...

Well, we guys have been trying to cook ourselves for so many days, but we never got a start. Good that you gave it a shot atleast. Good try.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Sujith said...

Hmmmmmmmm...
Every dog has it's day. Every female learns to cook.

Sujith's Theory !

11:48 AM  

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