Schezwan noodles

Schezwan Noodles | “Who’s the right one?” tips for Valentine’s Day

Jagan is going to be away for 2 months on a business trip. He left last week. 2 months is a long time. We’d miss him. Romantic and ever thoughtful guy that he is, that evening he suddenly pulled me aside and showed me.. .. .. How to disconnect his car battery. He also showed me all the places under the hood where I should place the rat repellant. He made me practice opening and closing the hood. That reminds me – Happy Valentine’s Day! Never one to honour stereotypes, he has never recognized Valentine’s day. Jagan not in town also means lazy breakfasts, lunch leftovers for dinner, less chicken and little to no restaurant hopping. Hasini is already sad about the restaurant bit. As if on que, the day after he left, the light bulb in the study died and needs changing now. I read in bed till 3 am the other day like back in my single days. I woke up shrieking because I had to pack lunch for 2 kids in 20 minutes. If Jagan had been here, he’d have grumbled enough for me to switch off the lights by 12 and I would have woken up with a full 30 minutes in hand. I’ll need to wait 2 months to change my Mookuthi. Jagan is my official Mookuthi (nosepin) changer. It’s too tricky for me to do it on my own. He comes armed with two sets of pliers from his tool set to change my teeny mookuthi. He triumphantly changes my mookuthi and sits back. I look in the mirror and don’t like the new one and want to go back to the old one. He knows from experience and hasn’t put away his tools. He deftly does his thing one more time and switches up the mookuthi again. He’s an engineer after all. I write unhindered. The music is on the entire time. I am catching up on my reading. I am left to administer cough medicine to the kids and take full and complete charge of making them study for the exams. I have stories to tell him but I can’t remember them all by the time our timezones intersect. I have the TV remote when I manage to bully the kids. I need to drive everywhere and park myself. You cannot do with or without him. That means he’s the right one....
Teriyaki Noodles

Teriyaki Noodles

Before whatsapp groups happened, how did women show off their Krishna Jayanthi decorations to relatives and friends? Did they just do something simple that appealed to them and let that be? Wow. That must have been peaceful and boring. Those days, they didn’t try to make it look pretty. A heap of mangoes would lie in a corner of my grandma’s Poojai room, left there to ripen slowly. A motley set of photos and figurines lined the window sill and wall around it in no particular order.  The Kamakshi Amman vilakku (lamp) stood in the middle. A stack of Sami-books lay in a corner. A godrej bero stood in a corner unrelated to everything else in the room. This was the set-up the whole year round. I can only imagine what my Ammama would have said if I had asked her to make it look cute for a picture. Remember this is the family that cannot sit together for a family picture, the family that will not change out of lungis and crushed cotton sarees, children were always just in jattis, a family where some will grumble about photos shortening their life-span and others who cannot smile and still others who’re just too busy for this shit. If I had asked my Ammama to pretty up the poojai room for a picture, the old lady would have kicked me out on my butt and given me the toilet brush and phenoyl bottle and asked me to start from there. She took no nonsense. She ran a big busy house. She cooked round the clock, served coffee, Maltova and Horlicks to different people at different times of the day without anyone asking, remembered to sprinkle sugar on my upma for my school tiffen, told me stories and dozed off midway but started off right from where she left off once I woke her up and let me plait her beautiful long hair while she took her afternoon nap. She didn’t care what people thought of her. I think the world of my Pattamma Ammama. I am not there yet. I still feel I need to show the world when I’ve worn a saree.  When I get to her state of un-care I would be fully free. Her unique brand of cynicism and wit have rubbed off on her grandchildren as also her love for good food and cooking. This teriyaki Noodles...