Shruti’s mother-in-law (MIL) suffers from a phobia that her son is not being well fed by Shruti. This anxiety is shared by majority of Indian Moms especially the Bengali and Punjabi variety. If a Punjabi or Bengali boy eats even one roti less than the usual quota the mom behaves as if there is some medical emergency. Each time Shruti’s MIL comes to visit her, the first thing she says to her son is “roga haye gechis kato” (you have become so thin…emphasising on the word thin). And immediately jumps on a mission to rescue her son from obvious undernourishment and thus enters the kitchen in warlike precision and starts rolling out parothas, fish curries, mutton, mixed vegetable chochhori and desserts. MIL is convinced that the malnourishment index in DIL’s house is lesser than Somalia and therefore her job is similar to World Bank or Red Cross in the African country. Like them she also enters armed with relief materials which fill up her XL Samsonite suitcase.
MIL also suffers from a strange fear that in metro cities all food materials are adulterated so she finds it safer to carry everything from home, and doesn’t mind carrying the extra baggage despite her arthritis. Her Samsonite suitcase can give Pandora’s Box a run for its money. This particular baggage contains everything from chola shaak, ajwain, mauri, brinjal, cauliflower, potoler loti, kolaiyer daal, gandhoraaj lebu, jaggery, matar daal, country eggs, narkel er poor, patisapta, naru, chaski pitha…etc etc etc. Although the right to this stuff is strictly reserved for her beloved son nevertheless it is enough to feed the whole of Africa.
The MIL is happy to cook endless dishes for the hungry son. She also sends the maids on leave as they are mere disturbances in this noble mission. Her forty something son is slowly reduced to an infant under her care and affection. With each morsel of food that she serves her son becomes “gadogado(mushy)” the scene has the potential to beat any saas bahu serial’s TRP. She feeds and keeps telling “kha” “kha” (eat) with such desperation as if he is eating after coming back from Kargil and will have to leave for Afghanistan soon after finishing. After each bite hubby dear keeps praising Mummyji and every time he praises some more food finds way to his plate. To all Indian men the Mom is the best cook, so no argument in this respect “she was, she is and she will be” the best cook even if she had cooked nothing more than maggi in her entire life. Shruti is a smart girl she never tries to compete. MIL looks at her with sympathy as if Shruti has some learning disability in the field of cooking.
It was a happy happy situation, Mummyji was happy cooking, betaji was happy eating and Shruti was happy not cooking. That is precisely when disaster struck, MIL realised that she has forgotten her bottle of ghee behind. Where would she get pure ghee in this adulterated city of thugs? She was desperate blaming herself for this undesired amnesia when Shruti came to her rescue. Shruti offered her a bottle of homemade ghee. MIL was unable to comprehend which one was the bigger shock…her forgetting the ghee bottle…or the fact that her DIL can prepare something as difficult as ghee. She was always happy thinking that she was the better cook but this ghee from DIL’s kitchen shattered her world. One item that MIL could never manage to prepare has been mastered by the DIL was a shock big enough to give her a cerebral stroke. Shruti was enjoying her MIL’s desperation but then she felt pity for the old lady and promised her to teach this and also assured that MIL would certainly make it far better than her.
Linking this post to #FlavoursomeTuesdays hosted by Shilpa.
Long back I used to run a weekly post called Tasty Tuesday for my blog Wanderful, where I used to write a fiction/anecdote that revolved around food. I also used to share the recipe. The above story was first published in November 2014. Here I am not posting the recipe. If you wish to know the recipe you can visit my earlier post for the same.