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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Among the multi-hued inadequacies I am endowed with and I struggle to conquer/mask/hide/mitigate, my lack of culinary skills must be the one most debilitating. After all, the epicurean palate of an elder child carefully nurtured and bountifully fed must necessitate perpetuation and prolonging like no other. Having grown up to an assortment of gastronomic delights in the truest Army tradition, I had always assumed that this blissful existence would continue uninterrupted.
( The merest dolt would know that in Army parties, dinner is not served until the wee hours, if at all, and hence it can be exasperating for a lurker to chew through endless continents of peanuts and kababs, wafers and tikkis, and then wade across oceans of soft drink plied by untiring bearers )

Decided to make some steaming Hot & Sour Vegetable Soup the other day to simulate those B & S hazy shades of winter ( Sorry S & G) ( EdAlso, clearly in contravention of the Company code that Thou shalt consume only Company Products, and not ignobly patronize clunky competition ). Checked the Code date chuckling at my customary presence of mind blending Theory & Practice.

. So far so good and I even remember humming a jaunty tune as I effortlessly slashed away at the packet and was on the verge of pouring the mess into a vessel before realizing that like Madras, the vessel was parched. A few unsteady moments later, ( For some inexplicable reason all the AquaGuards I have been associated with lately are the material alter egos of Bianca Castafiore—piercingly shrill and unbearable loud in their incantations which I am powerless to turn off )( Ed—Serves him right, No Noise, No Work ) , there was water in the vessel, the sheep’s in the meadow and we were away.

The babbling brooks ran on and presently the cup(s) of Joy runneth over. Following the instructions meticulously, I stirred and stirred till the concoction seemed just right. Found a covering plate easily enough and made myself four steaming helpings finished at one go. Yummm !!

Manzilen aur bhi hain. Was hungry still ( expectedly so ) and rummaged through the cupboard to unearth a sachet of MTR tomato rice, These were early days and I was sucked into imagining the project to be equally simple. So began the now-familiar act of bringing the vessel to a boil. Smugly looked around as the water splashed around me and apprehended belatedly that pair of scissors needed was buried under an indescribable pile of kitchen stuff. As the tension mounted, felt increasingly helpless as overturning one vessel after another failed to bring forth that elusive pair. Found ‘em just before the kitchen turned into a sauna, hacked away at the outer covering and quickly transferred the sachet to the vessel and found—That the sachet was much too big for the vessel

Had the onerous task of transferring the foil to a bigger vessel. Another fishing expedition for the vessel-holder. Then a potential blistering later, miraculously found the larger vessel , even more miraculously avoided one single drop of water spilling ( Ed—How he struts over trifles ) . Just my luck to have the larger vessel short of the required reservoir levels requiring yet another trip to the AquaGuard . Singing lessons now over, lit up the stove , engulfed the poor sachet in scalding water, found the scissors ( now available, as if on cue )
to nip up, found the holder ( now available, as if on cue ) and it was a Happy Meal at last.

Say “Grace:” !
Or as the dyed-in-the-wool Army brass mutter “ Bhojan prastoot hai shriman


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