Every husband unfailingly is an accomplished architect of his wife’s monument of grouses.
My husband is certainly one. He has a large number of such creations to his credit. Fortunately for him and unfortunately for myself, inundated by the large numbers of such creations – I have lost count.
Not every husband is that lucky however. My Dad certainly isn’t.
My Mom has only one lasting protest to date and it occupies a place of pride in her museum. Forty years later she still lights a lamp to it every wedding anniversary. My Dad knows he will never be forgiven that one grievous offence.
It was an ill timed offence. It happened on their honeymoon when they were on the Scan Tour.
When I first mentioned the Scan Tour to my own husband he instantly assumed it had something to do with the interpretation of CT Scans. He imagined it would be a heritage walk through a jungle of CT scans and he was instantly hooked. When he found out that it was a tour of the Scandinavian countries of course he instantly acquired partial deafness and I added a storey to my latest magnificent monument of complains.
The straight forward X rays of the seventies fortunately did not have much room for sightseeing. So unlike my prosaic husband, my gynaecologist father remained a poet at heart.
His romantic wedding gift to his bride was a poem. The verse waxed eloquent about how they would now always sip their morning cups of tea together. The poem ended with the surprise he had planned - a trip to a place where the sun did not set.
They landed in Helsinki in Finland.
Early the next morning, they rang for bed tea.
Tea what tea? This was the land of Coffee drinkers. There was no tea here - bed or otherwise.
A chaste Calcuttan who had to be kissed awake every morning by her cup of tea, Mother was scandalised.
The exploration of the new land soon morphed into a quest for the elusive cuppa, as a splitting headache followed her around.
Finally as she relented and sipped the coffee she looked daggers at her new husband. His promises in his elaborate poetry were already coming apart.
Not Sweden, not Denmark, not Finland and not Iceland. No one in the peninsula served tea.
The incident scarred my Mom forever.
She replaced her tea cup with a beer mug.
She still drinks beer mugs full of tea every morning to make up for the tea she didn’t drink that week.
There is something about December. Maybe it’s the chill in the air (though it is almost imperceptible in Mumbai) but it makes me want to bake. I would gladly join my husband in the category of people who only like to eat bakes but if I did who would bake? So I bake – but of course I cheat there as well.
1. Open a packet of boneless breast of chicken.
2. Chop it up into small pieces (as small as you have the patience for – is all I’m going to say). Then wash it well.
3. Peel a good number of potatoes. I used five. Chop them up as well.
4. In a pressure cooker, add two tablespoons of oil.
5. Tip the chopped chicken in and then add some pepper and salt to it. If you like masaledar continental khana go ahead and add some garam masala as well.
6. The chicken tends to stick to the pan and so you need to stir.
7. Then tip in the chopped potatoes. Fry for a few seconds and then add about 1 and a half glasses of water. The water should just submerge the potatoes.
8. Now close the cooker. Give it one whistle at full flame and then another four at minimum flame. Keep the cooker closed for a while even after you turn off the gas.
9. Now open the cooker and find that the potatoes are over cooked and crumbly. Be cruel just pick up the nearest spatula and murder them. Stab until they turn into a kind of a mash. Since I am taking a shortcut I forgive myself even if the potatoes are not uniformly mashed.
10. Now sprinkle two tablespoons of maida over the contents of the cooker and mix it in vigorously.
11. Then add half a glass of milk. You will find the mixture coming together and the water disappearing. This is a time to be really cautious so spend those 2-3 minutes stirring.
12. Now you should have a gooey mixture. Tip it out into a baking dish. Grease the dish for easy washing later.
13. Just before you want to eat it put it into the microwave and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
15. Admittedly it is not golden on the top but to get that golden effect you need to put in butter or cheese. I settle for this version because I am unable to afford a new wardrobe.