The One with The Roti

After a tiring semester where you bunked half the lectures and then cried through the exams, you would think a person would deserve a nice relaxing holiday.

Just sleep in, binge watch some tv shows, eat junk food, go out with friends, etc.

But welcome to the typical Indian household. We do things a bit differently here.

The minute my father heard I would be getting a one-month holiday, he made up his mind to transform me into the typical, ‘sanskari’ (traditional), cultured daughter that the family would be proud of.

Step 1: Cooking. And this fell on my mother’s shoulders.

Now, I like cooking. I like making a mess in the kitchen and leaving it for the grumbling bai to clean the next day. But I do that voluntarily. The minute I am told to cook, it starts to seem like a burden and I burn the kitchen down.

Given that my cookery skills only consist of tea, toast and Maggi, my mother had her job cut out for her.

More so, when my dad instructed her to teach me how to make an entire typical Gujarati lunch, consisting of rotis, rice, dal, vegetables, salad, papad and chaas(buttermilk). Of all these, I can only roast the papad. That too after it has caught on fire a few times. This was definitely not how I wanted to spend the vacation.

Anyway, the next morning, my mother tells me she has struck a deal. I only have to make a few perfect rotis, not the entire lunch. I still tell my father to keep the fire extinguisher ready, just in case.

At 11 a.m.  my mother hands me this huge bowl of flour, and I question her as to how many armies are we feeding today. She then hands me one glass of water, which after I drink, she tells me it’s for kneading the flour. We’re already off to a bad start.

By 11:15, she has instructed me on how exactly do I go about this, and I have listened to precisely 2 minutes of the entire lecture. She leaves, and I do the only thing I know to do. Make a mess.

I pour the entire glass in all at once (maybe I should have listened) and start mixing the flour. In 5 seconds, I know I’ve messed up. I’ve now got flour soup. Father comes in, chastises me about wasting all that flour, taunts mother on her excellent teaching and leaves. Mother enters, furious, gives me another bowl full of flour and threatens me I better do it right or this is what I’ll be doing the entire holidays. Not wanting to spend one month being covered in flour every day, I do a decent job this time.

11:45, I have wasted my entire day’s energy to make one lump of dough. The next step is to make the actual food.

Mother hands me small balls of dough and tells me to start rolling it out. I thought this would be easy. It’s just what we used to do with play-doh, right, roll it out into perfect round shapes. However, this dough has personal vendetta against me. It sticks to the rolling pin, and forget circles, I can’t even create ellipses. Math and geography come to life as I re-create Africa, America, Australia, rhombuses and triangles. Meanwhile, my mother announces there will be no lunch today, and my father disowns me.

12:45, after 8 more disastrous attempts, I manage to create one round roti. When I put it on the pan, it falls and transforms into a 3-D figure resembling a sine curve. This is the equivalent of receiving a KT in a paper you were expecting full marks in. I throw the apron away, and declare I am never making rotis for the rest of my life.

1:30, after my mother has threatened me again, and 5 more 3-D figures later, I finally get the round roti cooked and ready. My father, who has been sitting at the table since an hour, has almost fallen asleep. I am just about to serve my entire day’s hard work, when it falls, and my dog gobbles it up.

Excuse me while I go chase him with the broom now.

Next time: Ellie blasts the house apart when she tries to cook dal.




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