One from the childhood

On a hot day, Papa would set us on errands to scavenge lemon,salt,onions,chillies and water from the kitchen and then prepare the cooling beverage with sattu. Sattu is flour prepared from roasted gram. It formed an important part of our food while we were growing up, regardless of it being summer or winter.

It’s November and the chill in the wind is becoming more and more perceptible each day. Today, I wanted to cook myself sattu paratha and sure enough, I did just that.

Sattu paratha, as I’ve seen my grandma, my mother and my dad prepare it, consists of sattu stuffing inside a dough made of wheat flour, which is then cooked on the tawa, with or without oil. 

The best thing about stuffings is the flexibility they provide in customising them according to your palate. Add what you like and remove what you don’t.

The filling should neither be too dry nor runny, so be careful with the water!

For filling I used one small onion chopped, chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chillies and a little grated ginger. Add to that a little mustard oil, salt and some water.

Used around 3 cups wheat flour to prepare dough for 4 parathas. 

Took some dough and made a ball of it. Flattened it on my palm and used my fingers to extend the periphery, pulling outward so that we get a depression in the center.

Stuff as much filling as will comfortably let you roll the ball by a rolling pin.

Use some dry flour on the ball before you use the rolling pin so that the dough doesn’t stick to the pin or the board.

Its entirety upon you. You may not add oil though you might need a chutney of some kind because it will taste a little dry. I used mustard oil though you can use butter or ghee as well.

And thats the basic step by step account that one can modify according to their preference. I team this up with sweet curd. I find that heavenly! You can opt for tomato sauce, pickle anything you like!
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Distance

I know we are miles apart: you and I. Yet I’ve been thinking about us. Distance does nothing to lessen what I feel for you and that is what I am concerned about.

What if, when twenty or thirty years later, we do not even know where the other one is and I am still stuck in time, thinking about you?

This is a trying time when we exist after having said our goodbyes because we have so little a chance of meeting again, though that is as good a chance as me wearing my favorite shirt tomorrow. And yet, if years later, when we’ve forgotten all about what brewed between us and you have forgotten I exist, 

If years later, I am still trying to extricate your name out of my memories, wouldn’t that be sad?

Because it will remind me how lonely I have been all these years.

The smell of Ink

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A few days back, I got the most beautiful gift from a friend. This apple of my eyes, a fountain pen 🙂
What a long time it seems to have passed since I held another betwixt my fingers.Identifying this smell, that has a hint of rustic vagueness, takes me back to school. We were supposed to use ink pens. The daily ordeal of filling them up with ink! And in retrospect, it almost feels magical to have done so, religiously.
And I lost that habit to time, and convenience.
But today, when I filled it up and the smell reached me, it was an avalanche of memories that came tumbling down the little hillock that had been my childhood.
The smell of a classroom painted grey,
The whiff of air that invaded it on a humid August morning,
The everyday drill,
Neat lines,
Blue skirts.
Vigilant seniors,
Hands at the back.
And the halls echo,
With prayers and hymns;
Raised on high we lift the Carmel banner,
The corridors it fills.
And the day, passes by in a haze,
The rest of it,
Is burnt up in a devious blaze plaguing my memory.
But what I remember,
Is not the chatter,
But the rusty breeze,
That has followed me here,
Seven years later,
Oh the smell of ink!