The milk curdled, the washing machine groaned and sagged, the rotis on the tava twisted into papads instead of phulkas, I burnt my fingers when I dashed to pick up the pathetic rotis before they burnt to a crisp, my son yelled from the loo asking for towel, the other son couldn’t find the project work we’d sat up half the night to complete, the maid didn’t turn up and the sink was slowly disappearing from view thanks to a mound of dirty dishes slowly piling up. The final nail on the coffin was when the power snapped shut promptly at 9 am on dot! An argument with the spouse on the ill-effects of the wet towel on the bed just added to the turmoil. The kids and husband rushed out of the house with an urgency that relayed they were only too glad to be out of home and my hair!
I sat with a thump on the dining table chair tears of self pity threatening to implode! The brain conjured up the image of Lindt Swiss chocolate lying in my fridge! No! I don’t need chocolate to make me feel better!
It was at that moment that my mob beeped. A message from my dear friend, just the usual ‘What are you upto?’ That was enough for the torrential downpour that had been threatening to follow. She is used to my hysterical antics. She heard me out patiently. A few understanding mmms and uh hmmms from her, I felt distinctly better.
I dropped in at her house two hours later, after the pile of dishes at least were behind me. The rest could wait. She was cooking. She is a great cook and she can whip up a storm in her kitchen! But she left her cooking halfway through to lend a shoulder to my lamenting. In between, she went inside the kitchen and came out with a small bowl and handed it to me, urging me to try. I sniffed at it suspiciously. ‘Its seppankizhangu roast,’ she announced triumphantly as I sneezed when the overactive chilli in the curry assailed my nostrils! ‘I don’t like seppankizhangu’, I said screwing up my nose, remembering the slimy process of removing its skin after it’s steamed. ‘I am sure you will love this, just try it, I have added a few different ingredients,’ my friend said smiling at me. I couldn’t say no. For her sake, I did! And God! It was awesome! The vegetable had been exquisitely sautéed to crispness in a mouth-watering bed of delicately combined aromatic spices. The spices coated the vegetable in its uniqueness, transforming it into the most delectable delicacy! I was stunned! I looked at my friend in awe! The transformation I felt was instantaneous!
My grouses for the day just evaporated with that one bowl of curry! This felt like my comfort food. I hurriedly took the recipe from her!
On the way back home I stopped to buy the Seppankizhangu. With great enthusiasm I steamed it in the cooker. But its sliminess returned to torment me. And the final result was a giant kadai of gooey mess!
It was at that moment that a truth dawned on me. My friend had added couple of important ingredients, which I hadn’t seemed to have added. Dollops of patience, a handful of her willingness to listen to me when I was down, a pinch of faith that I could face anything in life and a heart full of love that added the punch to pull me out of the doldrums! Comfort is not so much in the food as it is in the heart of the maker/giver. It assails the nostrils and reaches the heart! Somehow!
Another truth also dawned on me! If you are destined to have a rotten day, you will, no matter what! Just give in!