Of Coke and cupboard love and bffs!

“An-dradha. Will you be my best friend for tomorrow?” says one of my many school friends. I am quite happy to agree to anyone who asks me to be their best friend – after all, one can always be many people’s bf or bfftw (best-friend-for-the-week!), right?

Then during the short ‘interval’ in the morning (the morning school break), two more girls come up with the same request. I don’t have a suspicious nature so I nod happily. By the time lunch break is over, I’ve received no less that eight requests! Now even with my unable-to-smell-a-two-week-old-dead-rat-at-two-feet nature, something smells – rat-ty!

The thing with self-deluding natures is, you see, that you think that everyone loves you! It is not a bad thing to figure out – as I did in my late thirties (did I claim in an earlier story that I was quick on the uptake? – I was lying!) – that sometimes what they love is in your cupboard!

What was in my cupboard then was our annual class trip to a local “place of interest”. Nine times out of ten, this was the Coca-Cola factory in Hyderabad! A classmate had an uncle who was a big bug at the factory and obviously the good sisters at our convent school took the easiest way out! So what if we’d seen the factory four times already – the kids enjoyed it! Plus – and this was a VERY BIG plus indeed – they got free Coke!

We were warned about being on our best behaviour – say thank you nicely, DO NOT ask for a second bottle, do not wander out of the line and so on… we were a generally polite bunch of kids so these warnings were really redundant. But then adults have to have some occupation, no?

But none of this explains why I was suddenly so popular during the week leading up to this trip…

…..you see, I’ve always had a problem with fizzy drinks – I sip them slowly through a straw – as one is expected to – but there is an unexpected fallout – in about two or three seconds. Warm Coke or Fanta or Bovonto or whatever it is I’ve imbibed, flows gently out of my nostrils! I can only tell you that it is a most unsettling experience – if you’ve never experienced it yourself! This happens even if the Coke is cold – it’s like there’s a little processing plant plant in there which is spitting out effluent (as you can see, I haven’t been married to a process engineering guy for thirty years for nothing!)

…and so, since everyone knew that I wouldn’t drink my bottle of Coke, it automatically meant that my best friend for the day would get my bottle also – and be heroine for having wangled two bottles!

Now, if only my school had taken us to a samosa or vada¬†or masala vada factory, I’m sure I’d have been on everyone’s hate list for trying to pinch their samosa/vada/masala vada!

Or these…

KUNUKULU (LITTLE DEEP FRIED ADAI VADAS)

  • Toor dal – 3/4 cup
  • Chana dal – 1/2 cup
  • Urad dal – 1/4 cup
  • Rice- 1/2 cup
  • Putani/putnala pappu/pottukadalai /fried gram – 1/4 cup
  • Chopped coriander – 3 tbsp
  • Chopped onions – 1 cup
  • Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt
  • Red chiles – 5
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Peppercorns – 5-6
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs – chopped finely
  • Oil for deep frying

Soak all the dals and rice except the putani for about an hour. Drain and grind to a very knobbly, rough, thick batter adding everything else. At the end mix in the onions, curry leaves and coriander.

Heat the oil, break off bits of the batter and deep fry till golden brown. Don’t shape them into smooth balls – the rougher the edges the crisper the kunukus!

For a healthier version, add shredded cabbage to the mixture.

I swear everyone will be your bff if you serve them these!