I feel pretty smug about this, Mi. Especially when I think, how, as a child, I would be fascinated by your magic way of rolling out the rotis, one after the other, around fifty of them, perfectly round. Since we usually had phulka roti back then, I was also enthralled by how you flipped them over the tava, six or eight at a time and then set them aside, to flip over the fire – to fill the house with the mouth-watering aroma of fresh phulkas.
And I wondered, would I ever be able to roll out ONE round phulka? Or would I always roll out australias and africas and north americas? (dear reader, when I rolled out the dough with a rolling pin as a child, they looked like maps).
You told me, practice invariably makes perfect. And you were right, as usual. I remember, when you were not strong enough to stand and do things in the kitchen, I would force you to sit in a chair and watch me do things. The one thing I would feel lazy about was making chapatis – although once I got started, I was quite happy to make as many as were required.
I would secretly be amused at how you preferred to make roti/paratha meals. I know you always preferred them over rice any day. Also, you rationalized saying that a roti – subzi meal meant less washing up to do. On that I am totally with you. Especially on the days when the sink is overflowing with vessels.
And so, over this time, I am not only happy to report I enjoy cooking – you’re not surprised, I know. because you always believed I was a better cook than you. As if.
I like to believe you’re sitting in my heart, making me do all the good stuff. My latest fad is stuffed parathas. I am getting to be so good at them. Plus, they make the perfect packed lunch box. Vidur has stopped carrying sandwiches in his box. So I had to find a substitute.
I remember that day. I panicked a bit because there was no idli/dosa batter. What to do? He doesn’t prefer to carry subzi in his box. I did not object to that because I know how rushed their lunch break is. I’d rather he came home and ate a bowl of veg. So I hit upon aalu paratha. From thence, bloomed the carrot / radish / onion / cabbage / paneer parathas. Great variety, tasty and ideal inside the box even when room temperature. And? Most of all, it is a common dubba item for Sury and Vidur, which makes it easier.
And guess what? I can roll them out and flip them over the tava, simultaneously – without burning a single one.
By the way, during our picnic on Sunday, there was Jhaangri for dessert at lunch. I missed you so much.
One aunty reminded me of you – I thought – had you been here, you might have looked like that – in your new short hair style, wearing a printed silk baby pink colored sari. Or maybe that lovely red kurta?