The Day Sabya thought Cooking would be cool.
Like any other story it began with a normal day with birds chirping and Sun shining. Who am I kidding? I live in Delhi, there are no birds here and it was May, and the Sun was not shining, it was making sure everything else was burning. To tell you the truth it was Saturday and I was bored like hell.
Like any other Saturday I woke up only when my gal called me during her lunch break, yes! She works on Saturdays and yes she eats her lunch. I must say I love it when she showers that pamper talk while I am still breaking my body loose. Thirty minutes into the conversation I realized I was not up to being cute anymore, so let’s just say she finished her lunch and said “Have a nice day”, and so the day began.
It had to be a nice day. I didn’t have to go to work and didn’t have to do stuff I didn’t like or liked. I didn’t have to dress up or make myself look pretty and behave like a grownup. I could just be myself – A man, a bachelor – all ugly and careless. So after getting through the usual morning stuff at the washroom and wash basin, I happily got myself into the chairs. Yes my chairs not a chair. I sit on one and the other takes care of my feet. I can’t buy recliner – I live in a single room flat. Honestly I can’t afford one. So my chairs – its one place which helps me gather my thoughts, sprinkle some wisdom and indulge into tasteful cravings. In short it helps me work on my computer.
An hour into my super Saturday afternoon and I was bored of being the quintessential man and to add to my misery I was hungry. So I grabbed my phone from underneath the pile of pillows, books and bed-sheets on my bed and was ready to do something manly - order Chinese. So I called, only to have the answerer say “We are really sorry Sir! Our deliveries are closed for the next five days.” I felt like asking “Why is there a famine in China with the ever so growing population of little eyed people?” But I didn’t and instead I was nice with her, like on a weekday and said “No problem, Thanks!”
I thought about having North Indian but that’s all I ever eat. I am a Bengali and I got sick of eating Roti with Subzi or Rajma Chawal for the last seven years! So I called to order Bengali cuisine only to find the restaurant was closed on account renovation. That left me with burgers, sandwiches and pizzas as options but after seven years of eating junk; you get sick of them too.
Another thirty minutes and as most of would say here in India – Rats were cranking in my stomach. Just then the “Idea bulb” lit up my head I thought I would make Khichdi. As most would know Khichdi is something you make when don’t have too many things to cook and you make it by mixing all there is available and edible.
Honestly, I am not a great cook and I didn’t have gas or proper utensils to cook Khichdi so my bright Idea was slowly on its way crawling out of the kitchen window. There were only two things to my rescue a microwave and a microwave utensil. So I was ready to plunge into my hour of cooking only to find myself short of Rice, Lentils, Cumin, turmeric powder and ghee. Pretty much all you need except for microwave.
Could having lunch on Saturday get more challenging? The Chinese people were laughing at me saying – “See who’s is deprived of food now, ha?” That’s the instance, when a small yet prominent writing on the microwave became awfully clear to me – “Made in China”.
I could not let myself get dwarfed by Chinese people or my vivid taste in North Indian and junk food, so I went out to buy all the stuff. I picked up finest quality rice, lentils, turmeric powder, cumin, ghee, couple of other good spices and pickle.
I went home and got to cooking. Washed rice and lentils, marinated them with turmeric powder and salt and poured in some water on it before set it inside the microwave. I was all set for a late but innovative lunch made with a lot of hard work and against the Chinese people’s wishes. It was not to be!
I tasted it midway and found that I used a wee more salt than I should have and what I had then was nobody’s food. The challenge was getting tougher, the Chinese guys were now rolling on the floor with laughter and all the junk food menus were dancing in the drawer. So I gave it another try and this time everything was appropriate and nothing could go wrong.
I repeated the same procedure again and this time the quantity of salt was perfect as I tried it out in between. I came out of the kitchen and basked in glory, played songs of success and danced a bit too!!
I called up my gal and told her all that happened and she exclaimed as if she was proud of me. I called my mother and she was happy too. I felt like shouting it out on the terrace only to find the sun really blazing hard. I did all these and suddenly realized I had spent 15 minutes leaving the Khichdi unattended inside the microwave with the timer running. So I rushed inside the kitchen.
The Khichdi was already done and due to overheating it had become somewhat like yellow dry rice with burnt patches. It was 4 o’ clock in the evening and honestly I dying out of hunger. Khichdi was no good and the Chinese people had their day of fun watching me. I had lost a battle and if telling my gal and my mother about it wasn’t embarrassing enough, the shame of not being able to cook was killing me.
But it’s a happy story and like all happy stories it has a happy ending too. I ordered pizza and the delivery was late. So free pizza and drink made up for it in the evening. I lost my battle with the Chinese but definitely conquered Italy.
Points to take out of this:
- 1. Don’t cook when you are not up for it.
- 2. Don’t make fun of the Chinese.
- 3. Get a gal who doesn’t work on Saturdays so you can move of the house no matter how hot it is. Better if she lives with you and cooks for you.
- 4. Never hate Junk food. It’s the lender of last resort.
- 5. Do not buy microwaves manufactured in China.