Monday, October 22, 2012
Sudhir---Planning some Mischief
Sudhir was a great one for throwing Parties---but celebrating his Birthday was a big no-no for him.The same courtesy however did not extend to me--he'd loved celebrating my Birthdays!!!I'm going to recount here the tale of two Birthdays--my 40th. in 1993 and his 50th. in 1994---something that still makes me laugh today--in retrospect!!Then--I was furious and hopping mad!!!I'm not one for big Celebrations on my Birthdays either--for me the ideal way top spend the day would be with Sudhir--just him and me together--on a long drive preferably---leaving in the morning and returning home late at night.This was exactly what I told him when he asked me about what I wanted on my 40th.He however had other Plans.Early in the morning of my Birthday he quietly invited a mixed crowd of 45-50 people over for Dinner---Lotta had married earlier in the year--14th.February to be exact---into the Gujarati Community. There were her sister--in--law's people who ate Vegetarian Food without Onion and Garlic,then her in-laws who were Vegetarians but ate Onion and Garlic flavoured Food and finally the rest of our Family--- Non-Vegetarians----for whom the Menu included Fish,Meat and Chicken!!The best part?I was cooking it!!
Luckily I was used to handling huge quantities of Food---so I got everything assembled and began Cooking. The Veg. Food was cooked last because it took less time to cook.The Non-Veg. went first---spicy Kolhapuri Mutton, Chicken Curry and Prawn/Shrimp Pickle were ready by afternoon and then the Veg. cooking started---and I was finished by 6 p.m. with 3 different types of Food--in equal number of Variations!!By 7.30 p.m. I was refreshed and perky--for I hate looking tired and fed up whenever I invite Folks over--as the Hostess it is my duty to make my Guests feel welcome and ensure that they have a good time!!That done it was a really good Party--ending way past mid-night!!By the time everything was cleared up it was past 2 a.m.--and as I laid my aching body next to Sudhir's, he turned round and told me I should be very pleased with the great Birthday I had!!!That statement of his hit a very sore spot--but since I was too tired and lacked the energy to argue I just let it go!!!
However his Birthday the following year was something I'd been planning for a long time!!As Luck would have it,it fell on a Monday---and Monday means purely "Saattvik" food--cooked without Onion or Garlic!!I planned an extensive Menu,spoke to Ram Krishna--a young Decorator nearby about putting up a Marqee in the Condominium Garden--keeping it hush hush for I knew Sudhir would throw a Spanner in the preparations if he knew.Unfortunately one of Lotta's friends named Padmaja wholived in the Condominium, asked Sudhir himself about whose Birthday Party was being planned with such meticulous eye to detail--and that just did it!!Sudhir tore into me with his quietest,steely voice--ripping me apart with deadly precision--reducing me to a quivering jelly of tiny pieces--so thorough was he!!I spent the entire week crying my eyes out--for he clammed up on me and would talk to me coldly only if he needed something--otherwise there was no communication between us!!However there was nothing I could do about the Guests--his Siblings, Uncles, Cousins had invited themselves over along with their entire Family--and that meant our entire Flat was overflowing with people---since the Marquee had been cancelled!!
Son Chaaphaa or Michelia Flower with a lingering,intoxicating Scent
The Bakula Flower has an elusive perfume that it retains even after it is faded and dry!!
The entire Flat was scented with deep yellow "Chaafa" flowers for I had had these strung into Garlands for the Pictures of Sudhir's and my father's Pictures.Not just that,I had placed these Flowers in each and every corner of our Rooms---turning our home into a beautifully scented Paradise!! I had also hung strings of the tiny "Bakuli" flowers at regular intervals---turning the entire Flat into a fragrant Bower!1 I had cooked the entire Meal according to the Traditional Menu---and it was served in the Traditional way--with people sitting on flat wooden planks with short legs called "Paats" in Marathi.There were "Chaurangs" which are four legged square stools to place the Banana Leaves acting as Platters on and each person had a "Taambyaa" or small Steel Pot with an upended "Bhaandey" or small Steel Glass to keep and drink Water in.I had drawn "Rangoli" or a free hand pattern with fine White Marble Dust and filled in the colours in the Pattern to make it a bright circular border around each seating arrangement.As per Tradition, the Children were served first---then the Men and finally the Women.While the Arrangements and the Menu got me plenty of Compliments the only one that really counted for me was when Sudhir held me close and apologised for being so beastly to me during the entire Week--and then thanked me for putting in such a massive effort in cooking the entire Meal by myself--it made my aching back and tired body feel rejuvenated with the intense Pleasure it gave me--everything was right with my World once more--because Sudhir was happy!!!