“Oh, blimey!” was what I uttered as I looked into the interiors of my cavernous refrigerator, only to be greeted by a number of tiny plastic containers, filled with a variety of food that we had had over the past couple of days. Why “Oh blimey?” Well, it seemed more exotic that ‘Ayyyo!” hand on head, and harked back to the times when we watched the iconic “Mind Your Language” series so avidly.
My husband believes that the refrigerator is the most dangerous invention of all times. “Remember those days when your mother would cook just enough for one meal, which would be delicious because there was just enough of it to nudge the taste buds?”
“No, I don’t!” I would shake my head at him, “When I was born, refrigerators were already in circulation!” After all, he was talking to a veteran planner, one who would cook in a giant cauldron so that she wouldn’t have to cook for the next few days, and more importantly, one who would pore over menus at restaurants, and refuse to go home without a doggy bag. The one embarrassing moment was when daughter dear, who was tiny but canny, said in ringing tones. “But Ma, we don’t have a dog!” a statement which I tried to cover up with a loud unmusical cough. However, the mocking gaze of the waiter kept haunting me for nights after, but didn’t cure me of the habit, much to the chagrin of my husband.
And so I peered into my cavernous refrigerator, unable to recognize many of the little pots of gold within. What on earth would I cook, I wondered. And then came the “Oh, blimey!” moment, the Newton moment when the apple dropped, much akin to the penny dropping.
“How would you like to have gosai rice?” I asked my better half, who had his head stuck in his laptop.
“Hmmm, OK... fine!”came the mumble.
So I set to work with a vengeance! All the pots came out, with their little lids of blue, pink and yellow, looking as pretty as a set of poster colours. After all, wasn’t I an artist of sorts? (I did not say “out of sorts”, mind you!) It was a palette of culinary delights – mutter paneer, chicken curry, potato and sausage rounds, garlic curd and an assortment of Continental mixed vegetables. (Which continent? I have no idea!) In went cut onions and garlic, sautéed with ghee, till the aroma wafted out, and then went in everything I had, like little swimmers diving off the board, one after the other. They swam in perfect harmony, as I splashed the dry powders in, creating ripples of colours that swirled and bubbled over. Finally the rice was put in, a dollop of ghee dropped over and given a good stir, Now all I had to do was have a cup of my green mint tea and wait for the applause.
The applause was muted, but appreciative. My husband loved the gosai which looked exotic and tasted divine, even if I did say so myself. The satisfaction was in seeing all those tiny pots empty, and I patted myself on a good job done. There was a twinkle in my husband’s eye, but he refused to comment as he saw me putting in a huge vessel filled with the rice that contained all the little goodies that had been in the same pans that now sat on the counter! Whoever talked about reducing and reusing certainly knew what he/she was talking about!
That night as I sat watching my favourite serial, the “Oh blimey!” moment came back, albeit in a different form. My gosai had sparked off an idea deep within me. I thought of all those little dishes within tiny containers, each vibrant and delicious in its own way, yet so individual in itself. How could a mutter paneer be eaten with a continental vegetable dish, or a sausage round be savoured along with a garlic curd? The mind shuddered at the idea of certain combinations.
And yet, when they were all treated in the same manner and put in together to form one dish, didn’t they all work perfectly, adding their own flavour to enhance the end product?
It took me some time to sleep that night, Wasn’t this exactly how a democracy functioned – a vibrant nation which believed in unity in diversity? My last thought before sleep overpowered me was again “Oh blimey!”