Everything was planned. After much debate the dies were cast: I was in charge of the curry and washing of dishes; my friend, nicknamed Boss, was to take care of the rice and sambhar. Our resumes in the cooking front were not something to be scorned at: Boss was not called the master of eggs for nothing and neither was I a dummy at making upma (Khara bath).But this was the first time since moving to Bangalore that we venture outside our comfort zone to do something we crave from the depths of our souls: cook and eat a traditional south Indian meal.
We decide to start early and I was home by 7 p.m. on that fateful Saturday after buying brinjals and potatoes for my beloved curry. As soon as I starting cutting them, other items that I forgot flood my mind and I immediately call up Boss to add them to his list. He swore but acquiesced. By the time Boss was home with one of his colleagues I remembered two more items. “‘Kadale bale’ and ‘Udina bale’”, I say to him, indicating that these are types of dhal. He scowled and began muttering the two words like some dark oath to an outer world power, on his way to the provisions shop.
May be the gods in heavens were surprised at our enterprise and let forth a drizzle (that soon became a torrent) as if to mock at us. Determined men that we were, we went ahead despite the warning from the above. Things went along smooth for the next 20 minutes. Three spoons of oil, dhal and then the vegetables with a sprinkling of salt; the curry was on course. “Was the curry not done in that time?” You might ask in ignorance. Well for starters, it was a slow electric heater. To finish it all, the blow we had not anticipated: a Power blackout. God of Gods Zeus must have himself wielded his scepter to stop our sacred quest.
The next desolate hour was spent swatting mosquitoes in the darkness and hoping the electricity would be back before too late. Unable to bear the agony of the wait, I went to the terrace hoping to catch a glimpse of any of the third floors girls and possibly engage them in a lively conversation about the significance and finer points of using smaller quantities of garam masala in vegetable curry to improve taste. No luck in that front either. Finally we gave in to the pangs of hunger and went to a hotel and ate the usual mini-meals that we despised so very much.
No wait, wait! That’s not the end of the story. After dinner, Boss decided to go with his colleague to cool his nerves and escape the mosquitoes. I couldn’t blame him, poor lad. Firmly believing I was made of sterner stuff, I bought a mosquito coil and trudged back home. My half fried, half boiled curry was still on the heater and hoping I could savage some of it for tomorrow; I poured all the water from a one of the bottles we use for storing water.
Come morning and I woke up with my usual optimistic “Let’s go conquer the world” mantra. Spent a long time in the bath hoping to forget the previous day. Boss was home before long and I opened the lid of the pan to show him my cleverness at saving our curry. The pan was brimming with oil and insects that I wish never to see again as long as I live. In the darkness, I had poured oil to the curry instead of water.
That was the final straw. I decided to go to office (in spite of it being a Sunday) to commiserate with myself. Boss thankfully disposed what was remaining of the curry and then as if remembering something important, turned to me with a flourish and said “Don’t you go anywhere without washing the dishes”. As I was washing the dishes ( the second task of the complete plan), my only feeling was "Life cant get worse than this!!!"
P.S: If anyone really knows how to make good curry, please send me the recipe. I want to try it out next week!?
To be continued...