Saturday, 27 September 2008

My Experiments with Cooking - 1

Cooking has always been my nemesis ever since I was a girl of 14. Growing up in a household with two elder sisters I was shielded from this chore for quite some time. But there is no escape from cooking if you are a girl born in the Indian Middle Class. The day eventually had to come sometime.

Mommy dearest had tried number of times to steer my interest towards it but I had escaped from that ordeal unscathed.For this I thank my father and my two elder sisters for delaying my foray in this scary world of 'cooking' by taking the mantle themselves.

One fine day, 'Mater' had figured it out and she outsmarted all of us. That day my sisters had gone out and my Pops also was not there. She pounced on me (just as a mother shakes a pup by the neck to correct him) and dragged me to face the unthinkable.

The first experiment was to knead the dough for 'Phulkas' (Rotis). As per my mom, if you know how to make the perfect dough and then a perfect roti, you were set for life. She being an excellent cook herself, wanted all of us to be the same. Alas!! she could only rub her magic on my two sisters. As for me I resisted so badly in the first instance that her enthusiasm was a wee bit dampened by my reactions.

To make the dough you need Wheat flour, water and bit of cooking oil. There was to be sequence to when you could add what and in what proportions. Me being the utmost rebel and trying to get out of the situation as fast I could did not pay heed to her specific directions and just added the entire jug of water to the flour and started kneading it. It became a sloshing mess and instead of the dough becoming a soft ball it was more like a soup with bits of dough swimming in it. Mater was still enthusiastic and gave me another chance.

Next time I was a bit careful with the water but still managed to pour more water than needed and the so called dough was more like a thick porridge.I got so disgusted with that porridge sticking to my hands ,feeling yucky and not coming off at all ( I still have nightmares whenever I am kneading dough now). Aai (mom in my mother tongue) I could see was trying to keep her wits together looking at my experiments.

I guess third time lucky is what they say and I finally got it close to the consistency required to roll out a phulka....whew!!! thats done with. I really did not want her hovering over me and screaming instructions in my ear. Aai was jubiliant by my success whereas I felt utterly defeated, very much akin to prisoners of war, who did not know what their fate was going to be.

The next step was rolling out a perfect phulka and cooking it on a Gas burner. She said kneading the dough is child's play,now comes the toughest part. Oh man !I was never so demoralised in my short life after I heard that.

Out came the flat round wooden board and a rolling pin. These instruments looked so very scary to me as they just spelled it out in bold, "You're a Girl and You will have to Cook your entire life". I was not ready to accept that and that deep rooted fear is still in some corner of my mind even now.

Under her watchful eyes I started rolling the dough with the pin and my entire Geography lesson flashed in front my eyes. Every time I rolled out a Phulka it came out looking like 'Antarctica', 'New Zealand' or ' the African' Continent. Try as I could I was just not able to make the perfect shape of a Circle. Mater was not at all disillusioned as I was. She was still basking in her achievement of catching me by the neck and turning me in to atleast something which bore semblance to a girl.

After repeatedly rolling out all the continents I was first allowed to watch her cook it on the flame and then she gave me a chance to do it. I tried my best to copy her but was not too successful in that venture. The Continents came out of the fire all charred and uncooked and looked as if numerous battles had been raged on them.

After the entire "Operation Phulka" was over, Pater and my two sisters walked in the house unaware of my trial and also that they will be the victims of my experiment. The entire clan proceeded to admire the continents and words of praise were hurled at me as if I had won a Nobel Prize.
Try as I could I was still not basking in my glory as heart in heart I felt defeated. The "Persona" of me , was changing rapidly and I was still not ready for that change.

Thus started my early experiments with Cooking, not too exciting , painful and which really shook me from the core.

(To follow - More of my Adventures oops Misadventures in Cooking)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Funny Poem

As a rule
Man is a fool
When its hot
He wants it cool
When its cool
He wants it hot
He always wants
That which is not


Read this funny poem and it was so true had to put it on my blog

And they call women complicated...... :)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

What is sucess ?

I liked this poem a lot so thought it needed to be posted in my Blog.

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;

Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the
love of little children;

Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;

Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;

Who has left the world better than he found it,

Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;

Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;

Whose life was an inspiration;

Whose memory a benediction.

------ Bessie Anderson Stanley

Attack of two legged Lancaster MBA grads

I am sure your curiosity must be piqued by title of this post.Since my husband has finished his MBA course, we vacated the campus flat and moved in to a rental apartment in the town.It a nice comfortable apartment which is completely furnished.
It has real comfy,"sink into me type" couches and the works .

We moved into the flat by 5th sept and since then there has been a steady stream of people coming over for dinners. It's the time to say goodbyes and making promises to keep in touch.

Three days back we had a curious mix of people who resided with us for a short duration till the time they could move to more permanent accomodation.We had a Brazilian , a taiwanese and an Indian, who are my husbands classmates stay at our place.

Our 2nd bedroom(its actually quite small) has no place to walk,its filled with luggage,bags ,pots and pans and what nots.I think its permanently going to be turned into a store room.

This curious mix of friends brought a lot of fun and laughter along with them. Even though I am still tired after a very tiresome work week and no rest over the weekend, I am missing them now. It was so great to see people from such diverse cultures having a good time together.

My culinary skills were definitely put to a test though. Since completely non spicy food was the order of the day. The brazilian friend has learnt to cook Indian and uses Turmeric and chilli powder as if he used it every day back home.

I am going to miss these times when we were attacked by two legged Lancaster Grads. Very few people get a chance to mix with people from so many different nations and backgrounds. Make friends with people from rival countries and forget our differences. I had a great time getting to know these people and will always cherish these memories.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Bucket List

Early morning and I had just opened my mail and a friend of mine started chatting with me and asked me this incredulous question "Is the world coming to an end?" I brushed it off by joking and having a good laugh.
Out of curiosity I checked a few news sites and I came across a few articles about the "Big Bang" Experiment being conducted by CERN scientists near the French-Swiss Border.I also read about the mass panic back home where people are predicting Apocalypse and are rushing to temples in the hope of stopping it.

It got me thinking about "What if, it actually happened?".I have still not done so many things in life.There are so many places I have still not seen.I eventually started thinking about a list of things I plan to do before the world comes to an end or I die (I am not being morbid about it).

1) Fall in love with my husband all over again.

2) Tell my parents how much I love and respect them.How they have been a pillar of support my entire life.

3) Tell both my sisters how much I miss them and their pampering (Since I am the youngest) and how much I love them.

4) Hear the patter of tiny feet in my house (Adopt a child).

5) Thank my Mother-in-law for making my Husband what he is today.Also thank her for being such a great 2nd mother to me.

6) Thank my bro-in-laws for being so good to my sisters.

7) Be a good friend to my eldest nephew and meet my younger niece and nephew once more and hear them talk.

8) Adopt one of Buddy's(My pet dog who is now adopted by a wonderful family) puppies.

9) See Mount Everest , visit Venice , see Egypt and the Pyramids.

10) Visit Newyork and London -the two most exciting cities in the world.

11) Ride a Horse on a sunswept beach in the caribbean.

12) Learn Swimming and Salsa.

13) Eat authentic Pizza in a Italian village.

14) See the "Wailing Wall" and pay respect to the people who died in "Auschwitz-Birkeanu Concentration Camps".

15) Visit the "Serengeti National Park".

16) Learn Dog Training and start my own school.

17) Meet all my old friends and tell them how each of them have touched and enriched my Life.

18) Have a romantic dinner with my Husband on a Yacht in the middle of a ocean.

19) Patch up with my best friend and let her know how much I miss her and the crazy times we've had.

20) Do bungee jumping and sky diving.

My list reminds me of the movie "The Bucket List" in which Moragn freeman and Jack Nicholson try to do all the things on their list before both of them die of Terminal Cancer.

I will try to do as many things I can on the list even if the world is not coming to an end. This will be my "Bucket List".

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