This is an entry for My Weekend Party with Gourmet Food contest of Indiblogger and Kitchens of India
This story is inspired from some real-life incidents
"Yaar, aunty ne kya subzi banayi hai! Tu bhi kuch seekh !" (Aunty has made such a great dish! You also learn something from her!)
"Abe, tu seekh le. Mujhe toh aata hi hai. Meri paneer ki subzi toh itni tasty hoti hai ki ghar mei sab do baar toh lete hi hai!" (You go and learn! I already know how to cook. The paneer curry that I cook is so tasty that everyone takes atleast a second helping!)
"Acha? toh kabhi hamare liye leke aayiyo na" (Ya? Fine then, get it for us as well.)
"Haan pucca! Next week le aaungi!" (Sure! I will bring it in the next week)
This incident took place several times during my two years of masters. The "next week" never came. It couldn't have ever happened as I am not even a "novice" when it comes to cooking. It was not like I never tried. I always wanted to be a good cook as I love to eat, specially, junk food. I love to watch cookery shows and read recipe books. But the truth is that the only thing that I can cook are stories. I have realised this over some years of seeing mute expressions when people would eat my preparation and hearing the sudden change in tone when I would announce that I plan to make something. I have got more direct indications when a friend told me quite directly that he has had enough of gulping down bits of the "cake" with tons of water and his consoling me that one cannot and should not even try to be perfect in everything. I have realised this truth but this is not to say that I don't "cook" at all. I have continued to cook paneer subzis (curries) as even if no one else would eat, I will.
I have also continued to cook "stories" as harmless fun. But little did I know that one day, it would backfire. I am talking about the last month of my post-graduation when the entire class had started getting emotional. Farewell parties, photo sessions, the last class of post graduation, the last lecture and the plans for the "last" get-together. And here was the big blast! My friends decided that since I am a native, I should get some manners and invite them for lunch. I do not have a problem with being the host but they wanted me to cook! "Yaar, ab toh hume tera shahi paneer, mughali paneer kadhai paneer khila de" (Now that we are parting ways, it is the last chance to try those paneer dishes that you cook), they all said. I was rendered speechless but I could not show my true expressions (it was as if all my organs were trying to slap me) and an invisible hand (of Karma?) pushed my head down in a nod.
I was in a fix. I just didn't know what to do. I started searching the internet for some miracles. I read some recipe blogs and there was it! No, not the recipe, an advertisement! It was an advertisement of Kitchen of India Ready-to-eat dishes! Thanking "All the gods of the universe", I clicked on http://shopping.kitchensofindia.com/ Even the agnostic in me was tempted to use the imagery of heaven to describe what I saw. Paneer Darbari, Paneer Malai and Mughlai Paneer...I was reminded of my convent education and Jesus's saying, "When one door closes, another opens". And not just another door, there was a third one with halwa!
Feeling proud of myself, my ability to brag and the luck to save it, I started planning for the other aspects of the party. Since this would be like a farewell party that would invoke nostalgia in the future, I thought of using this party for invoking nostalgia of our childhood days. I decided not to put any dress code as dress codes can be problematic and can conflict with people's ideologies. As about the ambience, I decided to clean up my room. It would have been perfect it would have been a godown party. Going by the theme of nostalgia, I decided to make it appear like it used to be some years back, when I shared the room with my sister who was quit hygiene-conscious and had an aesthetic sense. But more importantly, the stack with music cassettes, the old stereo system, those dumb posters of our favorite actors would be back. As for music, radio zindabad! And added to this past "glory" (disaster?) would be those school bus, trip-time games like truth or dare.
The big day is approaching. I have sent out hand-made invitations to my very excited friends. I hope that they will enjoy the delicacies and the time that we will spend together, definitely not for the last time! We will definitely meet, not regularly but we will. And yes, I hope that they will also enjoy my "sweet" and "delicious" lie which I will confess to them and would tell them to try the amazing ready-to-eat delicacies of Kitchens of India.