Monday, June 18, 2007

Onion soup serving 20 *

Kitchen is not my favourite place in an apartment. The rule that I strongly enforce when it comes to the kitchen is this: Visit seldom, if and only if when in trouble. I like to think of the kicthen more in lines with a holy ground than any other useful addendum to the apartment. I set foot on this holy ground only as a last resort.

But a great man once said that one day every soul finds GOD and when HE beckons you, you blink your eye like a deer caught in bright red beacon and make your way to HIM. But when HE does call for you, he doesnt do it himself, HE prefers a proxy, something/someone called a prophet. The LORD after all likes to work in mysterious ways. A case in point being Sri Ramkrishna. Without him (the proxy aka prophet) imagine what would have happened to Vivekananda. Would he have ever left the hot humid sultry Calcutta summer, and made his way to a shitty, ice cold, frigid Chicago winter to attend some God forsaken religion assembly?? Would he?? Would he have given up his promising football career with Mohun-Bagan for writing incomprehensible "Vaanis" (mind twisiting religious one-liners) for which he would be cursed in the foulest possible tongue by generations of Grade VII- X students all over West Bengal. Think about it. would he???

Anyway, while you contemplate these heavy thoughts and proceed to lose your sleep in the process, let me tell you that over the weekend, all of a sudden, straight out of the blue moon, like tigers dancing in the rain and peacocks roaring in the Savannahs, one such afore-mentoned prophet paid me a visit. HIS name is SANJEEV KAPOOR (of Khana Khazana fame). Straight out of a modern "Born again" religious fanatic fable he appeared on my Mozilla web- browser and said:

Chicken Korma for 10, Hyderabadi Biriyani for a dozen, Rajput saag in bhumihaar daal (Award winning National unity dish) worth a grand.
Come son, Take my hand, come back to the (holy) kitchen land.
Let me see you Cook.

Thus at long last HE had called for me. But Aesop had taught me slow and steady wins the race. And so I wanted to pace myself properly during this new found pilgrimage of mine. Once again I looked to the prophet Sanjeev Kapoor Nothing fancy O prophet, only something that would point me in the right direction to begin with. Tathastu, he smiled, a few more clicks on the web browser, and there it was Onion soup for 20. Easy to make, delicious in taste, just like utterly butterly Amul butter.

Pick a big vessel and fill it to the brim with water, the prophet commanded. Filled I did. Now son put it on the stove and let it boil. Yes my messiah, let it. Let all thy damnations be boiled out of thee water. Grab 10 large onions and start chopping them down. This is the crusade not some kitty porn remember son. So Chop Chop. Holy shit. Dont take the Lord's name in vain son, remember you are in the holy land. But O great Sanjeev Sir, it has been ages since I have chopped anyone down, and while I chop this damned onions I feel pain, I feel sorrow, my tears wont stop, I miss my Mummy, my daddy, my auncle, my aunty, my dog and my cat. Dont sob like a girl, you useless bastard keep chopping. And chopped I did, and in the process of chopping down 10 onions I re-lived the pain, the pangs, the sorrow of 5 million years of human history, my shirt was soaked, my pants felt like wet sponge. I was crying for humankind. The pilgrimage had started.

Now get 6 large skinless potatoes. Quick. God damn it. I rummaged through my kitchen looking for these skin-less wonders, but alas none were to be found. I ran to the local grocery store, rummaged through sacks and sacks of potatoes, but not one skinless variety did I find. They all had this brown/red skin attached to them. Holy potatoes are indeed difficult to find. In a mode of desperation I finally knocked on Ellen's door (my next door neighbor and a hermin often found deep in meditation in the holy kitchen). Ellen do you happen to have skin-less potatoes, I couldnt find any, not one. She laughed and came back with a handful of these skin-less wonders. I looked at her amazed, Now here was a true believer. Throw these potatoes into the water, commanded the prophet. I tried. I promise you I tried. But my aim was never that good. Not one of those holy skin-less potatoes made their way into the pan. Some landed on the floor, others hit the wall making a splosy smudge in the process, one flew straight out of open window. The pilgrimage is never easy, I realized.

Idiot now put those chopped onions into the water. I did. And then doomday struck. The water was definitely not holy, it was the devil incarnate , boiling with rage as soon as the onions hit the water it snarled it hissed, it swore at me, and then made its way out of the pan and lunged for me. SHIIIITTTT. Damn the thing was angry, it burnt my foot, but still kept coming at me, hissing and snarling as it made its way out of the pan.

And so I ran, the crusade be damned, the pilgrimage be damned, the devil's after me now. But you can never outrun a pan of spilling, boiling, snarling water can you?? You cant. And so I tripped on that water and found myself covered in those chopped onions and that boiling water. I had to get to land, to safety. And so with one last effort I made my way to the chair and jumped on it. The hissing and snarling onion filled boiling water all around me chanting their devil hymns and trying their best to get at me

I was safe. I looked at the browser and the prophet smiled. And now you are ready to serve delicious onion soup good for 20. Enjoy. I looked down on the floor, at the onion soup, dazed, the LORD truly works in mysterious ways.

* After Shibram