Friday, June 24, 2011

Wrong Estimates

In Anpara, the quarter where I am staying with my husband, is fully furnished. There is a kitchen with all necessary equipments except a gas or electric stove to cook food. So I asked my husband if a stove or heater could be arranged, then I could cook because the mess food is not good for us at this age.
So next morning a man came home with a coiled heater and placed it in the kitchen. I smiled. He hung his head and folded his hands and said “Please madam I could not arrange for a hot plate so I am setting a heater here. As soon as I am able to lay my hands on a hot plate, I will replace it.” I said nothing.
Looking at the heater, I remembered my first kitchen at Haridwar. In Abhijit’s E.T. Hostel quarter, he showed me a room and said “This is your kitchen”. There were lots of things already there - a coiled heater, some crockery, beer mugs, empty beer bottles, motorcycle tires & tube, empty tin, pile of news papers, hammer & tools, etc.

I cleaned up the room. I threw out the things which I thought (at that age) were not needed. The coiled heater was the only source of heat to cook food in the kitchen. I love to drink tea. Before marriage I drank cups and cups of tea, but never made a single cup myself. Now I had to make tea. In the morning, after Abhijit left for office, I placed a pan filled with water and milk on the heater. I thought that it would take too much time to boil so I went off for a nap again. Meanwhile, the milk boiled, swelled and overflowed on the heater coil and the heater went off. After Abhijit returned from office, he repaired the heater and only then was I able to drink tea.
Those days we (I and Abhijit) were eating "Chand’s"  tiffin career  food. I will tell you the story of this man in particular some other time. Right now I can tell you that he was the only food provider for the big bunch of bachelors and I was also added to his client list.

Ten to twelve days passed. I felt that I must start cooking. I didn't know the A B C of this subject, yet I felt that I had to start. In the mean time Abhijit arranged a kerosene stove because he was fed up with every day complaint of the coiled heater and cooking gas connection was not easily available those days.
Now I had two major things in my kitchen - a stove and utensils.  Next I needed groceries, so my husband asked me to make a list. I spend the whole day in making the list and whatever I knew or could remember I wrote in that list. In the evening I gave the list to Abhijit. It was too long a list. He asked me “What is this?”  I got an impression that he was not familiar with these things. His ignorance caused my  confidence to grow out of proportions. I said “Groceries list.”  He gave back the list to me and said, “Write down the amount or quantity of the each item.” I asked him “In which unit?” He said “In kilogram because in India we follow the metric system”. I wrote the amount of each item in kilogram. He went out with a large size of canvas bag. When he returned he had three large bags with him.
He placed all the bags in the kitchen. I was happy and immediately started emptying the bags. One bag contained only bay-leaves (tej-patta) and the second bag was also half full with bay leaves. I was confused that what I will do with large volume of bay leaves. The third bag was full of rest of the things of my list.  At that moment Chand came with tiffin boxes in kitchen and was surprised. He exclaimed “Too much bay leaves”. He giggled and went off. I did not understand anything but felt that something was tremendously wrong. I asked my husband “Why did you purchase this volume of bay leaves?”  He said “I purchased whatever you wrote in the list”. I saw the list. I had written: Tej Patta (Bay leaves) -  1.5 kg.

News spread in the township that Mini has purchased 1.5 kg. bay leaves.  Abhijit’s friends gave him sympathy that his future was going to be so pain full with this dumb wife. Ladies laughed and cracked jokes. Days passed and this incident became a tale. Very often my friends talk about my first groceries shopping and have a hearty laugh. This incident has almost become a legend. My Haridwar friends who attended my son’s marriage, narrated this story to the newlyweds (my son and daughter in law). 
The phone started ringing. It was my son is calling. I said “Hello beta….” He said “Good morning Maa….what are you doing?”  I said “Cooking and remembering the good old days.”  He asked “Now you have a kitchen in Anpara?”  I said “Yes… with a coiled heater and new utensils.” He said “And 3kg. bay leaves ……” and laughed. I said “No, I will not repeat my mistakes…”.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Painkiller Funda

The day was 1st of May and it was my husband’s birthday. Birthday wishes started pouring early in the morning from his friends and colleagues in the form of SMS and phone calls. At around 8’O clock, I was sipping my morning tea when the phone rang. It was Anindo-da his college friend. He gave his heart full wishes to Abhijit . They talked for over 15 minutes. I requested my husband  give me the phone as I wanted to talk to Sumita (Anindo da’s wife). He gave me the phone. Sumita is a sweet and intelligent lady about my age. She is one of those persons with whom I'm impressed “How are you and how is your family doing?” I asked her. She said “My family is fine by God’s grace and now I am alright as well." “NOW?” I asked. The word hit my brain it means she had something wrong in past. I asked her “What was wrong with you.?”

The she told me everything in detail that happened the day before yesterday. After dinner she had a bad tooth ache. It was already 10 pm. At this hour of the evening (actually night) she would not find a doctor for medical help. So she had to endure the pain. It was very difficult to sleep with the pain. She spent about one and half hour but neither there was even an ounce of relief nor could she sleep. Anindo-da was fast asleep. She got up from her bed and then sat down with her computer searching for an easy household remedy for tooth ache or some kind of pain relief. After a good search on internet she found a remedy.

The remedy was  - “If you have a tooth ache then rinse your mouth two or three times by whiskey.”

She came back to her bedroom and started searching for a bottle of whiskey in her husband’s almirah. Luck was on her side as she found a bottle. As I know them personally I knew Sumita never drank and Anindo-da does not drink on a regular basis, but he does indulge occasionally with his close friends. So Sumita took the bottle and came to the kitchen. She poured a good amount of whiskey in a glass then she took a mouth full of whiskey then she rinsed her mouth thoroughly and spit it in the sink. Mean while Anindo-da woke up and came to the kitchen. When Sumita was spitting he was shocked. He screamed, “What the hell are you doing??? Do you know this is one of the costliest whiskey and you are spitting it in the kitchen outlet?” Sumita was confused. After a mouth wash she was feeling good. This time she took another mouth full whiskey and rinsed her mouth. But this time instead of spitting out, she swallowed the whole amount. This time she felt better. She repeated this until the glass was finished. In her own language she told me “Entire kitchen was rotating ……I did not know what happened after that.” I asked her “How about your pain?” Sumita laughed and replied “What pain?? Yesterday I was suffering in headache but today I am perfectly alright.” I said “Sumita you truly valued your money."