So yesterday was a particularly bad day at work and I came home in a horrible mood.
Sometimes people in my office really amaze me, but let us not get into the details. Not good for the blood pressure. And anyway, I have decided to become a highly spiritual, forgiving person and rise above and beyond all the little matters. I will look at all my fellow human beings with a kindly eye (not sure what the other eye is supposed to be doing at this time) and try and understand other people's perspectives more. No more judgements - even for the cretins I work with.
But till I reach that stage, I will have to learn to deal with the bad moods. And I think I've hit upon one possible solution.
It is called 'Home Made Bread Pakodas and Chai'
Vijay came home at an unusually decent time yesterday ( may be indecent from his boss's perspective but who cares about that!) and started talking about going out to Bandstand for a Bread Pakoda, his favourite snack. I demurred (cool new word) because I could imagine the dirty brown lumps floating in a sea of unhygienic, reheated oil. As a compromise for him, and to get my mind off the bad day, I offered to make Vijay his snack at home, and he delightedly agreed.
I shall carefully list the steps for those of you who don't know how to cook: this is one stunt you can definitely try at home!
1. Go to the fridge, open it and start moaning that none of the ingredients you need are there. Get the husband to come and find all the ingredients from different parts of the kitchen. Feel vindicated when you prove to him that there is no white bread in the house. Make him call up nearby store and deliver the same speedily.
2. While the store guy brings the bread over, happily discover three already boiled potatoes in the fridge. Warm them in the microwave and then mash them up with your (washed - well, ideally) hands, enjoying the warm, gooey feel between your fingers. Be in a happy, relaxed mood at this time, and do not equate this in your mind to bashing somebody to a pulp.
3. Once the potatoes are properly mashed, grab a nearby knife while husband watches nervously. Don't bother to wash your hands at this point as you will need to get them into the potatoes again. Use the now mash-potatoed-knife to expertly and vigorously chop one large onion into teeny tiny pieces, all the while not imagining cutting an annoying colleague to bits.
4. Add the chopped onions to the mashed potatoes and energetically use your fingers to massage them into a nice paste. Add a spoon of salt and two spoons of red chilli powder to this mix and continue to pound away, while not bitching about office politics to your husband at all. Do not choose this moment to remove your hair from your eye, thereby getting chilli powder into your eye and running around screaming until you find a tap.
5. Through watery eyes, if your eyes happen to be watery at this time for any reason, cast a withering look at your concerned, hovering husband and ask him coldly 'Who's going to prepare the besan?'. Watch him mix the besan, water and a pinch of salt to a fine consistency. As your eyes stop burning, feel better about life and therefore do not nag him about the besan mix being too thin and too thick alternately.
6. Heat some oil in a pan and watch it blankly for a while. Then ask your husband 'Who's going to slice the bread?'. Watch him cut the bread into neat pieces. Do not snap at him when he asks you if it should be cut into triangles or rectangles. Just say 'Rectangles' quietly ( You can also choose triangles if you're in that kind of mood).
7. You are now ready for the final act! Put your tasty alu-masala-mix in between the bread slices, trying not to 'sample' too much of it while doing so as this is going to give you a stomach-ache later. Since you have dirtied your hands enough, ask your husband to take over at this stage. Watch him dip the stuffed bread slices into the besan and gently drop them into the heated oil. His hands are all messy with the besan and soon, so is the ladle he is using to fry the bread-pakodas, and also the entire stove area. Do not reprimand him for strewing all the extra fried bits and pieces merrily all around the kitchen instead of into one plate.
8. Prepare the roti-dabba with napkins so that the husband can deftly drop the golden, delicious looking treats into the same, where they will remain hot and tasty until the tea is ready. Remember the tea at this point. Since you are no longer doing anything useful, prepare the tea, using only my brand, Red Label.
9. Impatiently wait for the husband to finish making the last of the bread pakodas. Useful tip: ball up the remaining alu masala into round balls, dip them into the last of the besan and fry them into delicious kofta-type balls. Voila! 6 bread pakodas, 3 kofta-balls, 2 cups of steaming tea are ready.
Ignore the fact that your kitchen looks as though its been hit by a tornado and that your maid Zareena may either have a heart attack or quit tomorrow morning when she sees it (it's a cruel world and her occupational hazards are her concern).
10. Last step: Excitedly run to the drawing room with all the food, run back, switch off the gas, run into the drawing room again to enjoy your home-made treat. Remember to take some Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli Ketchup (It's different), and the tea with you. Sit cross legged on your mat, enjoy the sea view and pretend you are enjoying the sea breeze too ( hey, it's hot in Mumbai and we need the AC). You will notice by this time, you have forgotten all about your stupid colleagues and you realise it's wrong to let such insignificant things bother you.
After you have enjoyed the perfect cup of tea and eaten the hot, tasty, spicy, crisp bread pakodas (1.5 nos.) and kofta (1 nos.) and your husband has devoured the rest, you lie back contentedly together like 2 over-stuffed bread pakodas - and watch a two hour special on the Birth of the Universe on National Geographic. This further helps to realize how tiny you really are, and thereby strengthen your belief that all the little things in life that get you down are even tinier, so they're just not worth it.
But the converse is not true: the little things in life that make you happy are indeed worth feeling good about.
And as you lie there half asleep, you realize you've totally spoilt your dinner for the night - but what better way could there be to do it?