Abhi and the Uthappam saga

If you are under the assumption that a 21-year old Tamil girl should know her Dosai and Uthappam, Abhinaya is here to set the table right. Irrelevance and Exuberance are the twin engines that Abhi runs on. ” Irrelevance?”, you may wonder. What else can you call it when the reason for someone’s action is not the most logical and obvious one that can be?

When Abhinaya is not busy working in NewGen SoftTech Inc, she is busy learning to play the Veena or to speak German. It may be a good idea to take a step back and understand that the key selling point for the job was the cafeteria and a very good looking college senior, who doubled as her boss. The Payroll department could very well skip a month’s pay and Abhi would hardly even know.

How did the universe sell Veena to Abhi, you may ask ? Well, Veena and German went hand in hand in the war for abstinence from the kitchen. Abhi was quite passionate about the causes she fought for. The dusky beauty had excellent foresight and could sense trouble brewing at a distance. So when her sister was engaged a couple of years ago, she had nightmares of loneliness What else but music to cure the poor, frightened soul? (An enlightened reader will know that she saw herself stirring pots in the kitchen, assisting mom and that gave her many restless nights about her sister’s wedding)

But then one day, the inevitable happened. Amma had to attend a wedding and would be away for 3 days , leaving dad and daughter alone! “Abhi, you have batter in the fridge. You can make dosai or uthappam. Please don’t do takeaways early in the morning and spoil appa’s health. The batter is fresh, stir it well and make your breakfast please. And look up the internet for sambar and chutney recipes. You need to graduate beyond Maggi and Curd rice “, amma warned. There! Boom! Dad was hiding his face behind the newspaper. He knew his daughter, and he laughed mischievously.

So the next morning, appa found his little princess holding out a bent ladle , standing in a sea of creamy white, fermented batter. He took out a wooden spoon and offered to stir it, while she changed to cleaner, batter-free clothing. “May be if I sincerely try and botch the next two steps, appa will be able to serve us Uthappam”, she thought.

“Kanna, can you sit in the dining hall and chop vegetables ? I will scrap some coconut for the chutney”, he told her. “But appaaa! I want to make everythinggggg!” , she feigned.  “Let us share the load da”, he told her, chuckling. Sometimes genes speaketh more than the tongue.  How else can one explain his visits to the kitchen, which more or less coincided with the release of a Rajnikanth movie?

In the next one hour, appa had the cooker in place for the sambar and the chutney ground and ready to go. Now that the bigger duty was sorted out, it was time to pull Abhi’s leg a bit. “Let me go bathe now. I will have piping hot Uthappam , served by my DEAR daughter , when I am back”, he told her. “I need thin Uthappams with extra onions and green chilli. Just remember, pizza style, ok? “, and he grinned his way to his room. “If you get this right, we have pizza for dinner”, he told her. “Make sure the pan is really hot when you start kanna”, and then she heard the sound of the bathroom’s door creaking.

Abhi put the iron kal on the gas stove. After a few minutes, she splashed some water to check if the water sputtered. And with no further ado, she poured the batter on it and began making a galaxy. My sweet dad, she thought, he deserves the best! And she went on stretching the dosa until the end of the tawa.  As the satellite reached the outer boundaries of the galaxy, a small back hole appeared out of nowhere. Just a little correction, she thought, and tried to cover up the hole by borrowing from the surroundings. The hole only got bigger and bigger, dragging along the batter from around it, until it resembled a tennikoit ring.  This first mission had to be aborted now. She tried to scrap the whole thing off , but the batter at the edges wouldn’t budge.  She took a handful of water and splashed it on the iron kal. The kitchen closely resembled the site of a tear gas attack against violent protesters.

She quickly switched on the chimney and opened the windows,  and prepared herself for round 2 in the meanwhile. She opened Google and looked for ‘Why does Dosai stick to the pan?”

One reason looked plausible – Batter too thick. She quickly took some batter in a smaller bowl and poured a glass of water into it. With renewed energy, she resumed. As she poured the batter over the dosai kal, it began flowing and accumulating at the center and then slowly boiling. When the dosai presented itself like a stray idli, Abhi dragged the kal and washed it in the sink.

When round 3 began, her father was looking over her shoulder, suppressing his urge to burst into laughter. The ipad on the kitchen counter and the open windows were enough to tell him the story. “What kanna! Uthappam enga? Don’t tell me you are done with your breakfast without me!” , he quipped.  Abhi turned around to see him holding his belly and laughing.

“I am sure your stomach is full now. Do you really want breakfast pa?”, she asked. “Ok, let us do this”, he said. “I will make the base, you add the topping and bring it over to the table. Does that sound ok?” Abhi gleamed. “Appa. Promise! I will make the best Uthappam tomorrow!”.

Appa demonstrated the entire process now, bragging about King Nala and how men make brilliant cooks. Abhi watched enthralled, as the galaxy formed on the kal, without a black hole. Appa then clapped his hands, snapped his fingers and went to the dining hall, asking Abhi to bring the Uthappam to him.
As dad went out, Abhi garnished the Uthappam and then tried to remove it from the pan. The flat ladle went flying out of the kitchen window and Abhi opened the door leading to the yard from the kitchen, and ran to pick it up before the Uthappam burnt. Appa was watching the whole show , thoroughly entertaining himself.

When Abhi , huffing and puffing, served breakfast that day, all appa had to say was, “Hope the reason you go to office knows how to make Dosai! If not, don’t worry. We can sort it out”. Abhi’s eyes almost popped out, as appa winked and went ahead with his breakfast.

#Kitchen #Funny #Comedy

First published by Nithya Rajagopal in her own blog : InkSpear Inc.





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