All Talk and No Action Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some seemingly innocuous wishes can shape your life for better or worse. One such wish was made by my Dad.

One sunny weekend I was jolted out of my cosy date with "Buffettology" when mere Pitaji ne ek googly fekte hue kaha " Beti, hafte bhar tu kaam ko lekar vyast rehti hai. Isliye 14 mai se 1 baar hi sahi, par tere haathon se paki Roti khaana chahta hoon.."

Le..First Ball and Clean Bowled !

"Papa, agar yeh koi test hai toh bata doon - Mujhe khana pakana aata hai ! aap jo bolo..mai banakar dikha sakti hoon!" No sooner were these words out than I found myself cornered.

"Haan beta, jaanta hoon ki tu badhiya khaana pakati hai. Kya mujhe haq nahi apni beti ke haath ka swadisht khaana khaane ka??"

Reasons ranging from giving weekly aaram to our cook to preparing me for larger roles like that of a Biwi to just plain making me forget Buffett's pearls of wisdom raced through my head.

"Lekin har weekend karne ki kya zaroorat hai?" I asked, miffed with him. "Tujhe tere sawal ka jawab mil jaayega. Bas meri yeh ichha puri kar".

Ab jab papa itna pyar se, behla fusla kar kuch maang le..toh bhala mai kya kar sakti thi?

Thus began my weekly encounters with the kitchen, cheeni and masala.

Now, I am an above average cook and till then had always thought of cooking as a good leisure and stress busting activity. However, this weekly assignment unnerved me since cooking under my Mom's surveillance can be quite a test ! Not only is she blessed with great culinary skills but demands perfection! Khud toh chutkiyon mai khana pakati hain...aur ab toh inhone kasam kha li thi ki mujhe bhi apne jaisa banakar dum lengi...every grain of masala is monitored and no clumsy work is accepted ! Plus after the cooking is complete...the kitchen should look as spic and span as one of those "Good Housing Keeping" idyllic kitchens....phew! I braced myself for the "Mirch-Masala" sessions with her.

Week after week I prepared dinner for the whole family - dal-chawal, parathas, Mughlai Gobi, Shahi Paneer. Kabhi "perfect" Dal banti , toh kabhi namkeen bhindi...kabhi khana lazeez hota aur kabhi sazaa samajh kar ghar wale kha lete..

As weeks progressed, I started enjoying the activity. I did miss my lazy sundays and had to forego a few plans with friends - But I tried to fulfil this one wish my Dad asked of me.

Yet, I still hadn't got the answer to my question.. "Har hafte Kyun??". The answer came to me in bits and pieces.

Work took me away from family for 6 months. Naya Des, anjaan log and dher saara waqt! Since I was on my own, cooking became a necessity and no longer a stress buster. Uff yeh paapi pet kya kya karvata hai ! I started with simple dishes like aloo-gobi, bhindi, dal-chawal, and the like. However, I got bored in a few days and decided to try my hand at more challenging delicacies. I made them all - from puri to pasta. I started surfing and making frantic calls to Mom every time my elaborate cooking plans derailed due to some reason. I enjoyed the "waiting" game, loved the phhisshhh of the cooker, the pungent aroma of the curry and the delicate feel of butter.

However, it is here that I missed Maa ke "nuskhe". I missed the special bonding that had developed between us due to our weekly sessions. I had always been close to her. But this new relationship between us had various shades - I saw her as a mentor who shared her precious tips, a teacher who scolded me for goofing up with the Curry and a friend who gave me a Thumbs Up every time food turned out to be remotely edible. I missed the anticipation and excitement of feeding my family. The first bite, the oohs & aahs, the ragging sessions by my brother and the bear hugs by my Dad. Cooking teaches you patience and rewards you with love & appreciation from your loved ones. Humor comes along as a by-product too since NOT all your experiments go down well with the guinea pigs. Nothing beats the bonding that takes place at a dinner table. I missed all of these ! On more thought, Life resembles cooking - everything depends on the ingredients you put in - love, humor, care and perseverance. You can be dry & methodical and spoil the fun or be creative, take risks and add zest to it.

Finally, I had the answer to my question !

Thankfully, I made a few close friends who shared my love for cooking. We all had a blast cooking for various occasions. Bhagwaan unka bhala kare...jinhone mere pakaye hue khaane ko itne maheeno saha :P

Now that am back home, I try and keep my weekly dates with the kitchen. Pichle hafte Paneer Kofte banaye jise Master Chef ka stamp of approval mila ..Any suggestions for the coming weekend?


Mr BS said...



This post would surely put off people from coming down to your house on weekends... ;)

As for suggestions for the weekend, how about something non-vegetarian? :-)

Nova said...

Try chole bhatura... yummmm :)

All Talk and No Action said...

@ mr bs
the trick has alwys been to kp guests away on wknds...:-)
waise i am a pls provide such suggestions..

yaar masst idea hai....zaroor try karungi....

PsW said...

I would love to have some pav-bhaji..anytime...anyday !!

ketan said...

Well.!! You must be tuning to a new TARLA DALAL...but till I would prefer AUNTY KE HATH KA...I know you must be going BONKERS on me..But Gandhji ne muje bola hai sach bol
P.S:- AUNTY KE HATH 100% tasty 0% risk..HA HA HA HA..But think I MAY have tasted the food which you cooked..No wonder aisi koi dish nahi hai tere ghar ki jo maine taste nahi ki hai in past 6 years..

All Talk and No Action said...

You shall definitely be treated with the bestest pav bhaji 2 years down the line when you get back to India

PsW said...

Why is there a mention of "2 years"??? Aisa kya gunah kiya humne??

I will give you a chance in June itself ;)