It’s been a while since I wrote this. And now the “shall we eat out today” phrase has boomeranged to me in a totally different fashion. Now that I am in a country which looks upon vegetarians as aliens..err .. Should I say psychopath aliens, the challenge has risen to a new level. I know there have been millions who have undergone this, given the fact that every other software engineer working here would either be a tam brahm, gujju or a marathi.(We are not considering goltis here since they have been proclaimed as extended American citizens).
So left with little options, I ventured into the unknown territory of cooking. I always sucked at Chemistry lab experiments. Putting the right amount of acids to neutralize the alkaline never was interesting for me. And I never could get a good result. And I always believed that cooking was an extension of a chemistry lab. But we do not give up so easily, do we? Especially when it is the question of survival. So I have started getting my fingers cut and burnt; started making rasams forgetting to put rasam powder in it, and have even started cleaning the vessels up. And the other day when my firang team mate asked me what I had for lunch, I ran out of words to describe what a sambhar is! And she of course found it hard to believe that I eat rice/wheat day after day without any meat what so ever.
It is alright when you have to cook for fun; for a change from the outside food, like I used to back in Pune. But dragging yourself to the kitchen every other day to make something can be a torture. This is the point when I realize what my Mom, or any womanhood for that matter, goes through day after day. I would surely have yelled out at amma if she had made sambhar or dal every other day. I have screamed my lungs out if she were not to provide me with a proper breakfast on Saturday morning and fill in with cornflakes or bread. Now I eat those daily for breakfast. And even for lunch or dinner at times. Except for coffee, I don’t think I can make anything at all which can be termed as “good”.
The Indian restaurants here give a good break. And so do the Thai and the Mexican ones which do have options in the vegetarian menu. But you would really relate to the term “khaas-poos” while you are in one of those trips. And having an isolated veggie in the group can be a pain in the butt for others for they would not be able to taste the animals/birds from that part of the world! Most of the vegetarians give in at this point of time in life. I was surprised when my colleague told me how she has started cooking chicken for her husband wearing gloves, even though she sticks to being a veggie. Heights of chauvinism I thought.
On hearing my woes, the only suggestion the people close to me give is “Get married”. But I wonder what the girl to whom I will be getting married is being told now! Get married and be ready to spend 1/12th of your life in kitchen? May be that is why we would be hearing the phrase, “Shall we eat out today”, more often.
Song for the Occasion: “Mummy bhookh lagi hai!” ...“Do minute!” ... “School se aate dhoom machaate. Ek hi baat pe khushi manaate, Maggi Maggi Maggi!”Mom: Pal bhar mein tayyar….Khaane mein mazedaar!