destination india

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

brides on test

True to tradition, Indians bite the dust yet again.

This time it is in the ICC Champions Trophy in Edgbaston ODI.

The defeat was a foregone conclusion from the moment the toss went against the captain. His body language read abject surrender. Be it cricket, football or hockey or any other team game, it has been established that, as a team, we deliver very seldom. As individuals, there have been some remarkable exceptions like in chess, billiards etc. but the fact remains that Team India, as an entity, has yet to emerge even after more than fifty years of independence and a variety of political combinations experimented with at the centre!

However, Indian bites can become a rage of sorts and can capture the imagination of millions if marketed aggressively. We can be assured of the highest of honors should such a competition ever be organized. The offerings on ‘khana khazana’, ‘mirch masala’ and so on pale into insignificance in front of the ingenuity of simple village women who have to churn out dishes with the barest minimum of ingredients in the shortest possible of time.

A favorite question put to would be brides of yore was aimed at trying to ascertain the extent of creativeness the girl was endowed with.

The question would be a simple one – ‘suppose some elderly relatives suddenly descended upon you and planned to stay over for the night, what would you serve for dinner?’ It has to be remembered that the scene is a remote village where bullock carts are the only means of transport, where kerosene lanterns provide the only source of light after sunset, where shops are absent hence, getting something off the shelf is also absent and where no one would venture out in the darkness to pluck vegetables from the field or throw a net in the pond to land some fish! The girl had to, perforce, rely only on what was physically available in the kitchen at that moment. Naturally, her options were extremely limited. In some cases, the girl would be told what ingredients were to be used, in other cases, the choice would be left to her. If she was able to conjure up some good recipes and managed to obtain pass marks, she would be assured of favorable placement in her new house – after marriage. In order to pass such examinations, these girls were taught how to make umpteen plus one preparations out of a simple vegetable like potato. It can be fried. It can be boiled, mashed and converted into quite a number of mouth watering dishes. Small freshly removed potatoes can be boiled and cooked with green peas to present a fantastic dish called ‘aloor dum’.

Girls today do not have to face such critical examinations and undergo humiliation. Questions asked of them would probably be like – ‘do you know where pizzas originated from?’ or ‘how many varieties of pizzas have you tasted? Which is your favorite?’ or ‘how many pizza outlets are there in your locality?’

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