Tuesday, December 18, 2012

79. Kutch mitha ho jaye

Is this the last jalebi or will there be a chance to cook more? In less than two days, on 21.12.12 to be precise, we will know if at all jalebi shall remain uncoiled thereafter or not! Although the Mayan prophecy, which some consider as a timeless fantasy, has nothing specific on jalebi, the chance for it to survive when the 'world will not' may not be a fantasy. As it could still be cooked atop Bugarach, a mountain in France said to be the only place that will survive the apocalypse. 

Howsoever unrealistic or weird prophecies might be, these linger in human psyche for long. No wonder, there are dedicated websites selling gas masks and tinned food for those who wish to escape to a 'safe' place. Chinese manufacturing cannot miss this opportunity, an innovative furniture-maker has come up with a range of hand-built glass-fibre survival pods for £30,000 apiece. Even doomsday cannot stop the Chinese from keeping up with the growth rate!

Why couldn't the Mayans wish well for us and why have we been fascinated with end of the world scenarios? Without doubt, the Mayans ran out of rock while carving their prophecy in stone. And how would they care to whom would it concern in 2012?  For the rest of us, it is a bit comforting to think that when we go the whole thing goes. One tweet read: 'I'm not as much worried about myself but would be happy to see my boss gone'. Aren't we at a special point in history," 

Indeed, it would be special day in history when everybody would be a bit 'anxious' than the other. Wal-Mart has announced that its stores will open till midnight for people to finish 'christmas' shopping. Special Mayan discounts will be on offer in leading stores. If the world slips through the apocalypse 'friday', the Mayans would have gained more than their share of popularity giving all of us a chance to say: Kutch meetha ho jaye (Let's have something sweet)!      

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

78. What is cooking?

Don't get me wrong if I say that best chefs are (invariably) men. And, yet best of these culinary masters scorn at the idea of cooking at home. Occasionally, they do tickle the taste buds of their family with some exquisite preparations. But with kitchen being the traditional bastion of women, men don't cook dinner for their wives in this part of the world. Even if enterprising men try their hand in the kitchen, their women tend to experience pangs of guilt!

Not anymore as there has been reversal of roles in the changing urban environment. A new breed of men are redefining traditional gender roles and embracing what has largely been a preserve of 'woman'. While women are rubbing their shoulders in corporate corridors, men not only foresee menu for the day but plan the dinner before women return home. Their new found motto is: 'you are what you cook'! In fact, these men are not complaining but are welcoming the change. It is trendy to be a stay-at-home husband, a win-win situation for both.

The experience, however, is mixed. A thirty-something is cool about his cooking skills. For him, cooking is the only thing he has done in his life where he attempts to do something and has results to show for it. For a office-going-near-sixty, however, it has been a daily ordeal because his wife hasn't got a keen sense at cooking. To justify his ordeal among peers, not only does he portray himself a 'real man' (much to their amusement) but doesn't miss any chance to present 'cooking' as a euphemism for a kind of therapy. Else, how could it have got going with him for decades?  

Despite winds of change blowing across the kitchen window, many middle-age men still shrug at the idea of cooking. Much to the chagrin of their younger colleagues/friends, they prefer restricting 'real men cook' discussion for drawing room conversation only. For them there are two aspects to cooking: their wives 'cook literally' whereas they settle for 'literal cooking'. After all, who would want to stand the quickest result oriented (cooking) test wherein you either fail or pass! It would be best to cook jalebi instead!