Tuesday, April 16, 2019

'Bread Pakora' Test

I wonder how we learn to understand our natural instincts and insecurities, which often, naturally get tamed or taper down, as we progress adding years to our lives. In our home - being a picky eater or openly expressing displeasure for any particular food item - were categorically disapproved. However, fondness for some and distaste for other dishes existed nonetheless. I remember not being very enthused about any dish which had chana dal or chana besan in it, whether it was Punjabi kadhi, chana dal, vegetable pakoras or bread pakoras. 

It is quite ironical though, that I derive a special pleasure in cooking Punjabi Kadhi and vegetable pakoras now. I truly believe that making the perfect Kadhi and vegetable pakoras is nothing less than an art and an expression of pure love for cooking. 
While usual breakfast options at home, during school days, were either some stuffed parantha, missi roti or similar such. Sundays and holidays were a little special and different. This was simply because we had more time to indulge in some fancy dish in the morning. Variety of breads and bread preparations were not very common when we were growing up, especially in our home. While I enjoyed all the bread preparations that our mother would prepare, bread pakora was the only one that bothered me immensely. That was not the case with my siblings but I just managed to endure the bread pakoras somehow. It was a common practice that our mother would always make a little extra breakfast so that if anybody felt hungry again before the next meal, there was something handy to satiate that mild hunger pang.
Our mother did her under-grad in Mathematics from a Government college in Delhi where one of her professors was this young girl who had just finished her own education. Many years passed, our parents got married and established their home at Chandigarh where my father was posted at that time. It was at the local bus stand while waiting for her bus, my mother met the same professor and they both recognised each other instantly. The bond which was at a very nascent stage during the college days as a teacher and a taught, started developing and flourishing. She had a son who was younger to me by a year and I was the youngest in our family.
I was in one of the primary classes. It was one of the days during our school summer holidays when we had bread pakoras for our breakfast and the day was progressing like any uneventful day. At around noon, our door bell rang and we had visitors - professor aunty and her son. By then they were frequent visitors at our place. I must mention here that aunty had an impeccable taste in her crisp cotton sarees that she draped to college. Whenever she came directly from college, she would be nothing less than a sight to behold. She also had an excellent gift of gab and always had an inexhaustible reservoir of stories to narrate about her students, her co-teachers and their respective families, college politics, her own extended family which stayed in Punjab and much more. Even though we had never met any of her acquaintances ever, yet we knew so much about each one of them, all thanks to her superlative skill of describing things in detail, inciting interest in her listeners. Whenever she came to our home, she would invariably stay over for the upcoming meal of the day, which was sandwiched between a couple of sessions of tea and snacks. I think she was rather proud of her inability to cook delicious food and complimented her ex-student profusely on how well she cooked simple dishes yet filled with flavour and taste. She had no qualms in accepting that cooking was a chore for her, which somehow had to be carried out. 
That day, it was a little different. She had come to drop her son off for a few hours at our place as she had a meeting in the college which she could not afford to miss. After about half an hour or so, my mother reheated the bread pakoras and served them to all of us including professor aunty’s son. While we were still warming up to the idea of picking a piece to put in our respective plates, the young guest wasted no time and gulped almost five of those pakora pieces down his throat. It was only when the last one was left that we realised that all the others had been polished off by the little one. My elder siblings were amused by the display of his innocence and how comfortably he ate at our home but I was a different story altogether. I almost threw a fit in the kitchen where mother was preparing lunch. I was angry and was almost in tears. And what was my grouse? Why didn’t mother keep some bread pakoras for me separately because as it was I had had very little in the morning, so I had the right to have some kept exclusively for me. Strange, isn’t it? Given that I hardly enjoyed eating bread pakoras …. never had more than the bare minimum of this dish whenever it was served and never bothered to pick one even when it was served again for everyone - what was all this grievance about? I do not remember the details of how mother pacified me but the memory of my reaction has stayed fresh in my mind to this date. It took me many years of maturity to understand that this is the natural instinct of possessing things, even when they are not required. This instinct is quite commonly and openly seen in children but sometimes the same continues into adulthood too. It is for us to check whether it is just to satisfy this ownership impulse behind any action or is there some real meaning for doing the same. For me, I try to run my thoughts and actions through my ‘bread-pakora test’, to course correct in case required. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails