Click, click again.
A puzzled look on his face, our pal walks all around his car, clicking the remote from various angles. Nada… the thing won’t respond.
The office boy is standing by his side, having helpfully brought down the boss’ briefcase, lunchbag, camera and oh… the towel… that he had forgotten to take off his head in the morning when he washed his Rapunzelian locks… oh yes, same pal!
…for those of you who missed the earlier story, here’s the link.
The boy scratches his head and makes encouraging noises at the car – clicks and giddyaps. No use! Then he makes further encouraging noises at the boss – “Click closer, saar. Maybe the remote battery is down”. The boss shakes his head – it’s a brand new BMW and these cars are protected with plans all the way from B to Z if something doesn’t work. But, being Indian, he tries clicking it hard, two inches from the door lock. Naaah… not working!
Boss also scratches his head right alongside the office boy.
Then remembers. Aha – there’s a mechanism by which the remote transforms into a key, a plan J, in fact, made just for emergencies like the current one. Key is duly produced and inserted. Still doesn’t work.
By now, seriously puzzled, also even more seriously hungry, our pal calls his ever resourceful wife!
“Call the dealer,” she offers.
“What, so late in the night?” he counters.
“Well, that’s why they sell this car priced so high – twenty four hour service on call!” she says.
So he pulls out his phone. Oops – we have run out of charge!
Trails back to the office, followed by office boy, carrying all the paraphernalia and wondering whether he should quietly drop the towel down the drain! Someone in the office is bound to have a charger.
The agreeable smell of Chinese food wafts to his nostrils as he enters. A bunch of late workers (this is Bombay, after all!) has ordered dinner and invite him to tuck in. Having secured a charger and plugged it in, he proceeds to demolish the better half of a plate of Chinese chicken wings and goes to make his call to the dealer.
Oops again – the charger is loose and the phone is as dead as ever!
Matters are repaired. Ten minutes later, he calls the dealer. The dealer, friendly soul, sounds thrilled to be woken up in the middle of the night to sort out a mechanically-impaired client’s problem! They must pay these BMW dealers a bomb!
Very gently, in words of one syllable, he takes him through the drill. Our pal, equally polite, nods his way through the drill (they are back at the kerb where he’s parked the car now by the way. But some instinct of self-preservation has led him to tell the office boy to stay back this time and he will carry everything, including the towel!)
Click this. Do this. Turn it. Turn yourself around three times and touch your toes. All instructions are faithfully obeyed. The car does not respond.
Then a faint, very faint memory of something kicks in. All is not quite well with this car. Telling the dealer he’ll call back in ten minutes, he walks a few steps, gets into the car and is on his way home. Calls the wife to tell her that the problem is sorted out and he’ll be home soon. Also calls the dealer to tell him that haan, yes, the problem is now sorted out and under control, thank you very much indeed!
Both wife and dealer are trusting souls and do not probe further – also maybe they are sleepy souls!
The next morning, the wife inquires,”So what was wrong with the car yesterday?”
“Oh, it turned out to be a minor problem after all and I took care of it,” he waves the question aside.
But something in the breezy nonchalance makes her smell a rat.
“What was the small problem? We’ve paid so much for this car, it shouldn’t have small problems!?” she asks.
“You see, the car wasn’t where I thought I had parked it. It was a few metres down the road,” he answers sheepishly.
Our pal has been trying all along to open the wrong car! What tipped him off was a faint memory as he got out of his car the previous morning, of having parked neatly on top of a speedbreaker, getting out and balancing himself right on the speedbreaker, feeling a little thrilled! Remember the childhood feeling of walking down an entire street without stepping on a single line on the pavement – well, ditto!
Well, this car was not on a speedbreaker!
Towels or cars, all are equal grist to an absentminded soul’s mill!
If I were to ever write a cookbook for our pal, I would start with something like Hannah Glasse’s Georgian recipe for jugged hare (whatever that is!): “First catch your hare!”
So for this hoary Rajasthani recipe, first make your gatte!
GATTE KI SUBZI
- Gram flour/besan – 1 cup
- Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida – 1 large pinch
- Kasooti methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1 large pinch – optional
- Oil – 1 tsp
Mix all the ingredients together, adding a little water at a time to amke a stiff dough. Knead for a few minutes.
Roll into long, 1/2 cm thick cylinders (about the thickness of your finger).
Boil water in a large pan and drop the cylinders into it. Boil for 8-10 minutes till they float to the surface.
Drain and cut into small pieces – about 1 cm long. These are our gatte.
Saute them in 1 tsp of oil for a few minutes and set aside.
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Saunf/aniseed – 1/4 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida – 1 pinch
- Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
- Green chili – 1 minced
- 1 cup yogurt – whisked
- Jaggery or sugar – 1 tsp
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Chopped coriander to garnish
Heat the ghee in a large pan. Add the mustard seeds.
When they pop, add the jeera and saunf.
Add all the masala powders and saute for a few seconds. Add one cup water.
Immediately pour in the yogurt in a steady stream, stirring constantly. If you pour the yogurt directly into the pan without cooling it down first with water, the yogurt may curdle.
Cook on a low flame for 6-7 minutes.
Add the gatte and salt and cook for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The gravy will thicken.
Switch off, garnish with coriander and serve with rice and a salad for a full meal.
Make a large batch of gatte and use a handful in any curry to add protein.
Tip for our pal: it also aids memory! Well, I don’t actually know but going by the number of ancient Indian recipes which claim to, I wouldn’t be surprised! It can’t make it worse anyway!