This is MY life with THREE most important people -- I call them, I, ME and MYSELF
Mar 18, 2009
dinner smelt of Raju tai
as i cooked the green moong curry, i could sense a familiar aroma, but knew after a while that it was part of an embedded memory from long time back... with memory cells ageing, i could not place the smell... i shoved the thought and carried on, kneading the flour for methi paratha... i actually have started liking my cooking sojourns... i plan ahead, and quite like myself in the kitchen, like an adept cook... for one, over the more than two months, i have forced myself into this habit, but would not have dared to venture, if i was not sure with and of myself... so when the moong was almost cooked, i asked R to taste... to see if the salt was ok, if it needed more water, etc. she tasted and instantly said, "salt needed... but where have i taken this before?" my doubt was sealed... it was after R came along and before we left Mumbai... and bang, the image of Raju tai flashed on the mind's eye, the extremely efficient lady who could have been a corporate boss had life willed it that way, with a big red bindi on her forehead, a warm smile, armed with an umbrella and strutting in her starched cottons from home to home, spreading comfort for 18 hours a day to run her own family... she was one blessing that i had in my last leg of Mumbai stay, when we moved next door to R's creche so that she need not have been carted in an auto in the monsoon (those who are familiar with Mumbai will realise the ferocity of the city's monsoons)... Mrs Nadkarni, R's Mamma (that was what all the creche mates called her) was next door... she ran the creche and looked after at least 20 kids of various ages... from three months to 10 years... she offered Raju tai when she saw me struggling with R's food... and there was no looking back... Raju tai would come early in the morning to cook R and B's lunch (menu decided by her), take R's daily bag to the creche. she would come back again whenever she had the time and we had given her the keys to the flat... so many evenings when i came home from work and got back R in my tired limbs, i found dinner cooked and left on the dining table, ready to be eaten... Raju tai was also my interpreter for all the Marathi that R picked up at the creche... so she told me what R meant when she said, "mandi paar" (come to my lap) or "Mamma la sangu kai mi?" (should i tell Mamma what you have done?)... and it is Raju tai who cooked green moong with methi paratha... where are you Raju tai?