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Maid(Made) for Each Other

March 2020

“There is no need to be panicky. Stay home and keep safe.”

The chief minister’s  speech was repeated on the news channel for the fifth time in last one hour.

“Didi, I made Dal sufficient for at least three days. Some fishes are there in the fridge.” The maid announced.

Only three days! What awaited after that? The country was going for a lockdown for the impending Corona terror. Our maid was taking a leave. And the online delivery, uncertain and unsafe. It was a disaster, with both the inmates, a cooking virgin.

I looked at the man of the house, helplessly. He gave a very confident look of, “Don’t worry, Main hoon na,” trying to be a SRK for the hapless damsel but, I was least assured.

“Wait, Masi, take your salary. You may need it.”

As I bid her adieu, for God knows how many days, I felt like hugging her and confess my feeling. I never knew I loved her so much. 

As the world fought with Covid19, I panicked, what will attack us first? The virus or the hunger?

                       ********

Quarantine Day 1

“Rice and chicken. Our first venture.”

The partner announced. And I knew no better.

After a quick look up for the recipe in Google, out came the onions, ginger, and garlic and all other weapons to start the ordeal of the day.

“Potato, where are the potatoes?”

“Gee, this recipe says nothing about potato!”

“Discard that shit already, will you?”

So here we were in the middle of the project, the blueprint needed a change. Fifteen minutes later the would-be chef zeroed on one of the recipes. Of course with the word potato written in black and bold. 

The routine of cutting, washing (extra vigilant with the virus lurking everywhere), frying and boiling ensued. 

Then, as the two champions ultimately finished the cooking I slyly looked at the watch. The whole operation took almost two hours of our time. 

He did not miss the action. 

“With two manpower one dish took two hours. How does Masi manage all in forty five minutes?”

It was class VI unitary method sum once again. 

“I bet she doesn’t wash properly.” I gave my expert comment, my eyes still fixed proudly at the slightly overcooked, our maiden chicken dish. Only the rice was still left.

                             ******

Quarantine Day 2

The soldier returned from his essential duty at the bank front. After the mandatory sanitization procedure – all clothes to the laundry bag, a bath, sanitizer on hand, the person was allowed to seat on the sofa.

“I’m glad you are not boiling me to sterilize.”

I deliberately ignored the snide. 

“The dal turned sour.” I blurted out. 

He looked at me in a quizzical way

“I forgot to put it in the fridge, yesterday.” I confessed.

“Oh, this is nothing new…”He stopped mid sentence, understanding the consequence. To

We have to learn dal now. 

                              ******

Quarantine Day 4

The dal was a hit. So was the new chef’s Aloo jeera  and fish curry. The new cook in the house was beaming with confidence. I was also getting pro at the assistant-cum-taster-cum-cutter job.

“We need to make paratha now. Eating rice everyday is boring.”  I was not so sure.

A few hours later, as we both struggled to break the not-so-soft paratha, we were both disappointed 

“ Well, all experiments cannot be successful. Can they?” I tried to boost the morale.

With no reply, I tried again.

“Did you see the number of Corona affected are reaching 1000?”

“You should stop following the stats. It is not the cricket score board, you know. It is just adding to your anxiety.”

“Then ask your friend to stop sending hourly updates on the WhatsApp group.”

“He should start cooking. Won’t have time to spread the negativity. His mother and wife are spoiling him.”

My mouth refused to close from gaping.

                               ******

Quarantine Day 10

We were tired of continuously eating the healthier foods. The stomach was shocked at the change and the heart and tongue were both revolting vehemently. Pizza, burger and Biriyani were attacking our dreams.

At that critical juncture, a decision was made.

“Polao must be easy. Ma cooks it in no time.”

I wanted to protest. His mother was the best polao-maker we knew. She can cook it for an entire battalion, without a helper. So the comparison was far fetched for these novice duos. But, well,  there was always a thin line between confidence and overconfidence.

And, stuck at home, as our heart cried for a change of taste, we didn’t have many other options. A quick phone call and we got ready for the battle.

To our utter surprise, the polao turned out awesome. So was the accompanying Kosha mangsho.

Obviously, the recipe needed tele assistance from my mother-in-law. The usual TAT increased from forty minutes to almost double as the two struggling kids needed to revise the theory over the phone with the teacher for almost three times. But, at last it was a success.

The inference – “We can visit the master chef next year, I guess.”

We were glaring with aplomb. We had conquered the fear-of-cooking demon, Covid19 couldn’t do us anything. But, first we must wash our hands with soap for twenty whole seconds.

                                ******

Quarantine Day 12 

Enjoying the steaming noodles, made by none other than, the only cook available, I was thinking, someone correctly said,

“The test of a true friend is during misery,

Kids during old age and

A husband, during lockdown.”

“Did you count the whistles?” The sudden question jolted me out of trance.

“Um, two and a half, perhaps.”

“Huh? It is three or two? There is nothing like two and a half.

“Yes, there is, the last one was faint.”

As we both rushed to rescue the dal, I was sure of one thing, there is a silver lining to all tough times and we shall overcome. 

***

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1 COMMENT

  1. When u can imagine the characters while reading a story that is when u know you r in love with the writing..ur story made me feel the same..loved the message that there is truly a silver lining to all the tough times..

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Sreeparna Sen
Sreeparna Sen
Sreeparna Sen, a Banker by profession and a Computer Engineer by education, finds her solace in writing. Aspires to become a published author someday. When she is not poking her nose in the bank documents , you can mostly find her nose in a book or Facebook.
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