“Why are you late?” I ask the girl who comes in to wash dishes.
“It became late,” she says, under the impression she’s giving me an answer!
“I know!. THAT is why I’m asking you” – I am exasperated!
She stares at me – she’s just told me so what on earth does this akka want???!
We move on – to the vegetable vendor. I meet my neighbour there.
“Oh, you’ve come to buy vegetables, is it?” he queries.
“No, not at all. Actually the onion seller is my best friend and I came here to give her a good morning hug”! – naah, I don’t actually say it…
Then I go to the doctor’s clinic. Bump into yet another neighbour! Don’t mistake me – I love my neighbours but they are rather ubiquitous this morning!
“Oh, you’ve come to see the doc, is it?”
I am used to it by now… resignedly, I make all the right noises… the inside noises are singing a different tune though…
“Actually, I’ve been well for a while now so I thought I’d get myself a little MRSA (hospital- acquired infection), just for a change, you know!”
And it’s not just my neighbours (in case you’re wondering if the common factor in all these is me!) but companies and governments who do it too!
Like this sign in an American diner (well, in a sense America is our neigbour. Look at the little bit of land that connects America with Russia – there, right at the very top of the globe. Yes, yes, the same one that Asians walked across during the last Ice Age and became Red Indians!). Russia is in Asia and so are we – so we are neighbours! But I was getting away from our diner which lists…
“Freshly squeezed orange juice… and below… made from freshly squeezed oranges.” Really, who would have guessed??!
How about that classic one ALL of us across the globe say when we meet a kid we used to know after a gap of a few years…”OOOh, look at you, you’ve grown so BIG!” The correct response (from the kid) to that is not to look down and shuffle your feet, trying to look twelve inches shorter… rather, look from left to right at the person saying it to you and retort, “Well you haven’t exactly shrunk either!”
But then we are like that only – we get by without answering but also by not being impolite – thus – “I got late!”
Jugaad – the art of making do/getting by – all people with Indian genes in them have a built-in PhD degree in it!
Like this answer to… “What’s for breakfast?”
My breakfast today – a makeover of the Marathi thalipeeth… made primarily from leftovers and better than the original!
MADE-OVER THALIPEETH akin to Sarvapindi
Left over bhutte ka khees (recipe given earlier – basically sweet corn cooked in milk with ginger and cumin) – 1 cup
Left over whole moong dal (green gram) cooked – 1 cup
Atta – whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Jowar flour/bajra flour/red rice flour (any multigrain flour will do!) – 1 cup
Kasooti methi (dried methi leaves) – 1 tbsp
Green chilies – 2
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Coriander leaves – chopped – 2 tbsp
Chopped onions – 2 – very finely chopped
Sesame seeds – white – 2 tbsp
Oil – 3-4 tbsp
Grind the corn and the dal along with the green chilies, kasooti methi, red chili powder, salt and asafoetida to a rough dough.
Mix in all the dry flours, chopped onions and coriander and knead to a soft dough consistency – adding water if needed. Mix in coriander and onion.
Set aside for half an hour.
Divide into large balls – see pic for size.
Take a plate-sized sheet of foil and grease it. Place the ball of dough on it and flatten with your palm. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and flatten – either with your hand or a rolling pin – using very little pressure – into a chapathi.
Invert carefully on a heated, greased pan (tava) and remove foil carefully. Reuse for the next roti.
Drizzle a few drops of oil all around the thalipeeth. Poke holes in it using a ladle – this is great fun!
Cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium flame. Turn over and cook again for 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve with a mint-coriander-mango chutney.
Mint – 2 cups
Coriander – 1 cup
Raw mango – 1 cup
Green chilies – 3
Sugar – 2 tsp
Grind everything together. Lasts for 3-4 days in the frig and can be eaten with abso anything!