Reviewed by Lakshminarasimhan & Padu.
Shantanu signaled the Auto driver to stop. He stopped, and asked for the place. Shantanu gave him the college name. “Sorry sir I am going home in the opposite direction.” And he left.
I wanted to jump, and thank heavens like a Pakistani bowler, who had just acquired an important wicket. But I restrained myself.
After a few minutes of restless waiting just when I was about to say that, he did, “Hey it’s already too late, and even if we get an auto now we wouldn’t be able to reach college by time.”
I thanking all the Gods in the Hindu mythology, walked back with him.
“Hey you keep going. I will get things for dinner, and will come in a few minutes.”
“I will come with you”
“Don’t annoy me like a kid. We don’t want to be found out hanging around together in this area.”
I continued walking, wondering, why one would have to hang around to get dinner. He came back hooked up with carry bags.
One bag had groceries, only then it struck me ‘so he was about to cook something. Well after all it would be the 2 minute noodles.’
The next bag had atta. WTH. I looked up at him. He said, “You have never tasted anything that I cooked, have you?”
“So what are you going to do now?”
“Nothing much, just chappatis and curry.”
Before I could ask him anything he walked into the kitchen with the bags. “Don’t just keep looking. Chop the onions.”
Chop Onions?!!! I was clueless as if I had been seated in the exam hall for an exam on Mexican History. He got busy with the dough preparation. I took the knife, with my hands shaking.
He turned to my side, “What the hell are you doing?”
“I have never chopped onions before.” I didn’t know whether to blush or bend my head down. So I gave a mixed expression.
He sighed, “Well the potatoes must be ready. Skin the potatoes”
Again!!! No!!! I managed to bring down the boiling water bowl with potatoes down from the stove with the waste cloth. I absent mindedly plunged my finger into the water to take the potatoes out. Ouch!!! The tip of my finger turned a deep pink.
“Idiot! Don’t you have any common sense?”
“You are bad. How come you scold me when I am hurt?”
“Oh dear. So you have never been to the kitchen before.” I expected him to say ‘Go have some ice for your fingers and watch TV. I will call you when everything is ready.’
But he didn’t say that, “Pour down the hot water in the bowl, and fill it with cold water.”
I frowned, yet I did what he said. I touched the potatoes, another ‘Ouch’. I didn’t want to be chided by him again, so I controlled the pain, and slowly started peeling off the potatoes skin.
He was chopping onions like he had been doing that for a lifetime. He finished half a dozen onions before I could finish a single potato. He was in the first phase of the curry preparation. I could smell the south Indian spicy dish in the making.
He started preparing chapattis. “Smash them, the potatoes”
Somehow we finished off with the cooking. Man I must confess the dish was delicious, may be because I was famished by our hostel mess.
“How did you do that?”
“I used to help my mom with cooking, and I could very well see neither you nor your mom gave any thought about you learning to cook”
“Why should I?”
“Cooking is not just for someone to eat. It’s a method of expressing your love for the one whom you cook for.”
I realized it then. There always used to be a difference in the feeling that I get when I have food prepared by mom, when compared to the food I eat at mess or canteen or any hotel for that matter.
We had coke as dessert. A fantastic 2 course dinner was over. Shantanu sipping coke, “Wish someday we have Golden Yellow Champagne like this.”
I didn’t reply anything. He continued, “Of course drinking alcoholic drinks is bad, yet sometime someday. I am addicted to the dazzling golden color of the drink.”
“So you don’t mind drinking” I smiled.
“I don’t mind drinking Golden Yellow Champagne” He corrected me.
I was a bit taken back, yet I hid the shock. We continued speaking throughout the night. We shared a lot. The night went on. Finally he got up from the couch. “Honey it’s time.”
“I love you.”
“For millenniums sweetheart.”
I went to bed, thoughts oscillating between Golden Yellow Champagne and Starka vodka. ‘What will happen of me, when he gets to know about my vodka ventures?’
How many types of friends are there?
5 days ago