Monday, April 24, 2006

The day I chickened out

Exactly a year ago on this day, I cooked chicken for the first time! Ma had been away from home for a month, Dad was in office, the maid had been disposed off, it was a weekend and my hands were itching to hold Ma's new non stick copper bottomed wok in her absence. The setting was perfect. I had never cooked chicken, but S my star cook friend who knows something about everything assured me that she was going to remain on call for as long as it took me to get the thing done.

I wasn't taking any chances. Since, it was my first time; I decided not to experiment much. Armed with S's recipe and my mother's cook book and another chicken preparation they taught on the Sunday afternoon cookery show, I thought I was on my way to churning out a heady concoction. True to her word, S guided me through the entire process over the phone. She was out shopping that day and I wonder how she managed to tell exactly how much onion I was to use amidst deciding on the right colour for her curtain rods.

The result was something that definitely looked like some kind of meat, smelt of over fried oil (we forgot the garam masala part) and tasted like something distinctly non vegetarian. The similarities ended there. We digested my expectations and the food with loads of cold water. Exactly a year ago, I thought that it was mighty decent of Dad to eat all that with a smile and without protest. Exactly a year ago it was his birthday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

But I can’t help falling…..

Like all kids, I knew that life was about ups and downs and knee jerking situations. I learnt to walk by stumbling, I fell down the first time I rode a cycle, I crashed into hard surface, not even reaching sand on my first attempt at long jump and when I tried diving into the pool, somebody pushed me from behind. Some of us realize how unpleasant it is to keep falling all the time and grow out of it. Not me. I fell in love with the idea of falling down.

My affair with falling down at all the wrong places started at the age of fourteen. We were coming back from a school trip to Gangtok and I was doing to best to pull my extremely heavy stuffed-with-smuggled-goods suitcase down the stairs of Siliguri station with as much pomp and grandeur as my misguided teenaged air-headed self would allow. I looked straight into the air instead of looking below me, and with a calm and self-assured expression pulled the case behind me when all of a sudden I missed a step and instead of gliding gracefully down the steps, I was rolling down, my suitcase following me at an equally gritty pace. We ended at the landing; my skirt had flown up to my face (yes yes…aah cruelty! We had to wear our uniform during the journey), my knees were bruised and my vanity had been crushed. I vaguely remember my teachers looking at me alarmingly and asking me whether I was all right, but I distinctly remember a couple of really cute guys in the station laughing at me. (May their tribe increase but may their children be cursed with polio!)

The next time this happened was after my tenth standard board exams. Out of sheer lack of activity, we decided to host a fashion show in our compound and out of sheer excess of enthusiasm, I decided to walk the ramp. I know what you are thinking, but no I did not slip and fall down on the day of the show. It happened much earlier. We used to have our rehearsals in the terrace and one day I was late for practice and I was rushing up the stairs, when I stumbled and slipped. I never recovered to walk the ramp on that occasion.

If you thought that stairs were my only nemesis, then we both think alike and we are both mistaken. A few years ago, I jumped off a running bus and fell. A few months ago, I slipped and fell on the railway track when the approaching train was just a hundred meters away. In both times, I hurt myself badly enough to stay at home for a month under complete bed rest.

So why am I writing this? Because, I hate being at home on weekends. Every Sunday now, and its become a habit, I have to slide on the floor of the living room, just after our careless maid has mopped it (it’s a different matter altogether that her idea of mopping a floor is to gently wet it with a generous coat of water) and slip and fall. It’s Sunday today and ouch! My knee hurts like hell.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lets make things bitter

She ( the little one ofcourse) is now old enough to eat rice. So, the rest of us celebrated her 'annopraashon' yesterday. I love treats and this one was a real treat what with this little red riding hood occupying the centre stage!

Now unlike a lot of people, I like neem, and bitter gourd (karela) and I love eating all kinds of preparations of 'teto' - item numero uno of the Bong lunch. Tradional Bong lunch always starts with a preparation of vegetables with a bitter taste like karela, neem etc. This translates into the delectable 'shukto' - made of bitter gourd, brinjal, raw bananas, potato etc or 'neem beguni'- fried neem and brinjals. The reason why I am so fond of 'teto' is that my grandad always keeps saying that it purifies the blood system and keeps disease away and I follow grandad like religion. But my grandad also introduced me to the taste of something that is the polar opposite of the 'teto'. In Delhi winters, we attended wedding parties where we savoured the finest gulab jamuns known to mankind. Now my theory is that if you add vanilla ice-cream to piping hot gulab jamuns, it is the same as feeding on honey dew and drinking the milk of paradise. So, yesterday, when they repeated the fare in the hot month of April, i pretended that the AC was making enough cold air to make me feel like winter and gorged on these.

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Benevolence personified.

Yesterday was a rather chocolaty day for me. I ran into a senior from school after a very long time and she pulled out a gigantic bar of chocolate from her bag just for me!!! From now onwards, Arpita is going to top my list of seniors-i-want-to-meet-when-i-am-hungry. But thinking again, she isn't the only one. If Snigdha had not gone off to the US, no one could have dethroned her from the coveted title.

On a rainy afternoon, when we had got drenched, her first thought was to rush to the fast food outlet shop for a treat of hot chicken rolls and coffee. My apparent discomfiture in wet clothes vanished after the first bite into the roll. Another day, we had got up on an empty bus. Like all private buses, this one was waiting to fill enough human beings in it, till it would burst its seams. She treated me to hot chips. And ice-cream on yet another hot summer boring afternoon when we did not feel like doing anything. Which kindof makes me realize that seniors are actually nice people provided you don't meet them the first time. They will advise you without nagging you, and when they scold you, you find yourself grinning. When you are out with a senior, they will not let you pay for the bus tickets and they will most certainly make you sit, if there is only one seat left in the bus.

In my first post on this blog I had mentioned that I was the only person in my class who had never been ragged. At that time, I thought I was lucky to get away, but now I do have a twang of regret. God knows how many more benevolent seniors I would have met and how many generous souls I would have discovered had I not executed the perfect escape plan during the ragging session. Some day I shall blog about the escape.......