Okay, since I’m very very very busy packing to move house in the next couple of days, I am leaning heavily on nostalgia today. I found this in between books, magazines and general stuff I’ve accumulated for the past so many years. This is special to me; my very first byline in the Times of Oman in their weekend supplement then called Leisure on Thursday. It was published on July 16, 1998 (seems like eons ago!)
Home-made, by the husband of course (I now call this piece the delusions of a newly-married 24-year-old )
No resounding cries for help. No urgent pleas to help a damsel in distress. But still, there is a man in my kitchen.
And he is my husband. And a superb chef, to top it all. One who can hold a discourse on any vegetarian cuisine under the sun. Who can sniff a dish and reel out the ingredients like a schoolboy reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade at a competition.
The only thing here is my husband is a one-man army. The kind who peers over your shoulders while cooking. Who towers over you with uncalled-for comments and unasked-for advice. “Just saute the onions a little. Otherwise it will ruin the colour of the curry.” “What have you done? I told you to season the kootu with coconut oil!” ring the familiar refrain in my kitchen.
In the midst of it all, my culinary prowess (self-professed) has bitten the dust. Known as the samosa-specialist back home in India (the whole neighbourhood used to gorge on them), they along with my shahi aloo, dahi bhindi and the Tamilian variety of Rasams are increasingly becoming sidelined.
Replaced by exotic kheer, paneer, other savouries and snacks which I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, considering the amount of time I would have to spend in my dingy kitchen.
Sometimes, things do go out of hand. Especially when we have guests during weekends. With loving care, I would toil for hours to make that perfect meal. At the end of it all, my husband would begin his inspection tour. And just then the guests would stream in. And a friend would remark, “My, how I look forward to your eating at your place. Your husband cooks so well.”
My husband’s sense of timing was incredible. So was our friend’s. What do I do but squirm in embarrassment? None would believe if I told them the truth anyway. Which angrily prompted me to put a huge sign on the fridge that proclaimed: “The kitchen is my domain.”
The free-for-alls continued. So did the ranting and raving on my part. “I don’t have a place in this house. You dominate the kitchen for hours, etc, etc.”
Till the feelings were muffled, husband-style. Just the other day, I came home with excruciating back pain, unable to move from bed and away from the kitchen. And it was my husband who took care of me in every possible way. Cleaning, dusting, sweeping, washing and cooking. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was wrong all along. His interference in the kitchen was no big issue. He was trying to help me learn. But it was my ego in the way. My ‘I know it all’ attitude which took education for interference.
I learnt my lesson. As soon as I got better, I went to the kitchen and changed the sign on the fridge. It now reads: “The kitchen is our domain!”
Today, there is a lot of laughter and banter in the kitchen. And a big slab of home-made ice-cream. Lovingly topped with gajar ka halwa. Home-made – by the husband of course!
(Nothing much has changed, especially the first part of the story 😀 I was also itching to edit the piece but left it as it was)