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My Husband And I, Maid For Each Other In Our Lockdown Kitchen

Posted: May 14, 2020

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.

March 2020

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

The PM’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 fish is also 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 cooking virgins.

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 an SRK for the hapless damsel but, I was not 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 feelings. I never knew I loved her so much.

As the world fought with Covid-19, I panicked: what will attack us first? The virus or the hunger?

*

“Rice and chicken. Our first venture.” The partner announced. And I knew no better.

After a quick look up for the recipe on 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, and the blueprint needed a change. Fifteen minutes later the would-be chef zeroed in 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 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, but our maiden chicken dish. Only the rice was still left.

Quarantine Day 2

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

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 parathas 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 these ‘healthier’ foods. The stomach was shocked at the change, and the heart and tongue were both revolting vehemently. Pizza, burger and biryani 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 almost three times. But, at last it was a success.

The inference – “We can visit Masterchef next year, I guess.”

We had conquered the fear-of-cooking demon, and Covid-19 couldn’t do anything to us. 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 that someone had 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.

Image source: video hive

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Sreeparna Sen is a Banker by profession. A Computer Engineer by education, she is a

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