Thursday, January 24, 2013
These days Mumbai is experiencing some truly awesome Weather--the Tempratures are hovering between 8-15 degrees Celsius--which for Mumbaikars is cold and chilly!!My sister Ritu--who was born and brought up in Chandigarh is wearing Socks,a Cardigan and uses a Cotton stuffed Quilt every night to cover herself to combat the Cold---besides these days our Meals consist of one Dish Specials----hearty bowls of steaming Laksa or Khau Suey for Dinner--courtesy Madame Ritu and her I Pad--which provides the Recipes!!Unfortunately we have not been to the Fish Market to buy Fish from Sarla--one of Sudhir's trusted Fish Vendors nor have I been buying it at the Door--The Kitchen was in various stages of taking shape earlier and later of being assembled.During this time we made do by ordering out and also having my friends sending us a steady supply of home made Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Food--leaving my Kitchen flooded with Containers that have to be returned--but cannot be sent back empty--just not done in our Community!!
Of these the largest number of Containers belong to my dear friend Pushpa--who'd keep sending us plenty of Food regularly.Now she is a Fishatarian who really relishes Fish and eggs--but does not eat Poultry or Meat.Besides she really relishes my Curries and since yesterday was Wednesday I made some Dry Fish--"Sungta" Curry to send in one of her Containers.While talking to Vanita I told her to send Asha----the Fisherwoman who makes the rounds of our area--for I wanted to buy some Mackerels for a Curry.Imagine the coincidence when Asha rang the Door Bell literally moments later--carrying a depleted Basket of Fish--and all it contained was some Prawns/Shrimp and about a dozen small Mackerel and about 12 pieces of assorted other Fish--6 pieces each of Kingfish and Black Pomfret locally called "Surmai" and "Halwaa".Now while I'm not too fond of Fish anymore it had been a long time since I'd cooked some--and while I don't much relish Fish these days I love my Fish Curry and Rice like any other self respecting Konkani--specially on a chilly Winter's day!!As she cleaned and gutted the Fish and shelled and deveined the Prawns for me, we chatted.
She too lost her husband about 5 years back and she was commiserating about how things change after the loss.As we compared Notes she said a surprising thing.She said that her husband was very fond of Fruit--she'd buy a regular supply of every Seasonal Fruit for him and it was his favourite Snack.However she couldn't bring herself to even touch the Fruits after he died--for it just saddened her terribly and made her cry.It was her grand daughter who gave her the reason to buy it once more--she asked Asha "Aaji don't you love me enough to buy me Fruit anymore?Or was it only Aazobaa that you loved?" Asha says that it was as if something hit her hard on the head--the child was her Grandpa's favourite--and since then Asha makes it a point to carry Fruits each day when she makes her way home after finishing the day's sales.It is not the same but she says the fact that the child looks forward to it makes the effort she makes worth while!!I guess it is the same with me over Fish--Sudhir loved it--specially fried Fish--his favourite Meal was Dal-Rice and Fried Fish--and he just couldn't get enough of it!!
Later as I cleaned the Fish I asked Vanita to get me Pushpa's Containers--I thought I'd send her some Dry Fish Curry immediately and on Saturday cook the Mackerel Curry she relishes so much--when once more the Door Bell rang.This time it was Pushpa herself--and she'd come to visit me unexpectedly!!I was extremely happy to see her--and insisted she stay on for Lunch.The two of us ate a very simple meal--with Vanita making steaming hot Multigrain Flour "Phulkas" and frying the Fresh Mackerel crisp for her to enjoy--for me it was loads of hot steaming Rice with generous doses of Fish Curry--accompanied by the Potato and Fenugreek Leaf Vegetable Curry I'd cooked that morning!!It was a leisurely Lunch followed by two hours of Gossip--most of it inconsequential--but highly entertaining!!
It is the very simple things in Life that can light up one's day--spending a few hours with Pushpa and the unexpected pleasure of feeding her favourites myself instead of sending these over really made my Day!!!