Today’s post is a memory from 20 years ago. A memory that has stayed so fresh, it feels like it was just yesterday that I found myself in a soup, or rather, fish curry!
I was a new bride on my honeymoon to Srivardhan, a coastal village of Maharashtra. Hubby and I were staying at his bro-in-law’s house in a quiet lane that wound all the way to the beach. Coconut trees dotted every corner of the village which smelled of the sea. In the dead of night one could hear the waves rushing towards the coast, drenching the golden sands with its salty waters.
The peace and quiet of the place was bliss after all the hullabaloo of the wedding and we lapped it all up hungrily. As there was no cook in the house we were staying in, we would go to the market, buy stuff we needed and cook it ourselves, Well, hubby cooked mostly as I was really not a great cook back then.
The first time I cooked rice in a vessel instead of the rice cooker, I burnt it! So, after that episode I preferred playing the role of the sous-chef and helping in cutting and chopping the veggies and kneading the dough for the chapatis (which I could prepare, thankfully!). So, the days were passing by beautifully, discovering the sights around and relishing the local food.
One fine day, hubby’s uncle who had a house nearby dropped in when he learnt we were in the vicinity. And, to make us feel welcome, he invited us for lunch at his place. I was glad we didn’t have to cook, so we grabbed the invitation with both hands and landed at his doorstep at lunch hour.
He was in a buoyant mood as he had cooked the lunch himself! He kept on boasting about how he had learnt to cook since aunty stayed in Pune most of the time and he at Srivardhan so he had to be independent. I felt in awe of the men of this family since they all seemed to be such good cooks…until..
Until the food arrived.
Now, it being a village in the coastal region, you can guess what the staple diet of the locals can be! Well, it was fish curry and rice. ONLY.
I being a Brahmin, was not used to eating fish, at all. All I knew was dal, rice, veggies, salads and chapati, and here there was just fish curry and rice! Those not used to eating non-veg food can understand my plight, I hope. I was in a dilemma – to eat or not to eat, was the question. But, there being nothing but fish and rice, and me being a new daughter-in-law, I had no choice but to eat what had been served. And, be a good girl!
So, I ate it…fish curry and rice – the very first non-veg lunch of my life! Hubby, being the straightforward guy that he is, gave a candid opinion about the lunch being so vegetarian-unfriendly. I nudged him to keep quiet and let it be, but he is not diplomatic, like his wife. Uncle – the poor old man – was embarrassed no end. He apologised profusely, making me feel so much more awkward. But, there was really nothing he could do either.
I just thank God I didn’t retch that day! It would have been too much for the old man to handle!
I began eating non-veg after that incident. And, relishing it, too. That’s a different story, altogether. But, I wish I had been initiated into this whole diet change program with a bit more planning and all. It would have been easier on the nerves. Or, rather, my stomach!
That’s all for today, folks!