JALEBI

Storizen Magazine - - Cover Story - By Mukesh Ri­jh­wani

“What’s her name”, I asked.

“Cousin Jalebi”, wifey replied.

“Funny name,” I com­mented, “is she sweet and twisted.”

“Jalebi is her daak naam (pet name). Paromita Di is her Bhalo naam (good name). All I re­mem­ber is that she used to eat Jalebis with ev­ery meal, when she was a child. She was that one child who pre­ferred Jalebis over Bar­bies.”

“Good lord! Is she still con­tin­u­ing three times a day?”

“I haven’t seen her for the last 15 years, but what I hear from com­mon rel­a­tives is that she still con­tin­ues the rit­ual”, she replied.

“How the hell does she gets fresh Jalebis in Lon­don to eat thrice ev­ery­day and how does her hus­band take it?” I asked.

“Don’t know much, they are com­ing on Di­wali night. Ask them.”

“How long will they be stay­ing?”

“They will be here just for a night and then will be driv­ing to Scot­tish High­lands in the morn­ing!”, she paused. “So Mr. next-big-chef, would you be mak­ing Jalebis for her?”

“Nawwww,” I replied, “quite busy, since it’s a week­day and I have to work”.

She gave me a pissed off look.

I said, “Don’t worry, we’ll buy some ex­tra spe­cial jalebis from the In­dian store.”

“Please get it to­mor­row, just a re­minder, Di­wali is day af­ter.”, she said.

“Don’t worry”, I paused, “Bharosa hai?” (trust me?).

“This DDLJ di­a­logues, keep it for your ex-girl­friend”, she said. The fol­low­ing day, I vis­ited the In­dian store, there were no Jalebis. I called up wifey and she gave me her piece of mind. “See, you never get what I want. It is such a com­mon thing, Jalebis. I don’t know from where you’ll get it. I want Jalebis for dessert on Di­wali din­ner” I checked al­most all the Asian stores in Edinburgh, none had jalebis. At 10pm, I gave up and reached home. I qui­etly had din­ner and sat in front of the tele­vi­sion. Wifey seemed very an­gry, I had to do some­thing.

Dur­ing the com­mer­cial break, I seized the op­por­tu­nity and said, “All right, all right, I will make Jalebis for her. You know I can make it”.

She gave me a sur­pris­ing look, “Are you sure? Don’t you have of­fice to­mor­row?” She paused, “And don’t you have to make the bat­ter at least 1 day in ad­vance.”

“Don’t you worry about that, I will make the bat­ter now and to­mor­row even­ing I will be back at 4, which will give me am­ple time to make the jalebis”, I smiled.

“Are you sure?”

I just gave her a re­as­sur­ing smile and said, “Bharosa hai?”

“Make sure they turn out to be good”, she paused, “Now stop show­ing your shiney teeth and get the bat­ter done and I hate this filmy di­a­logue, Bharosa hai. Yuckk!”.

It took me an hour to get the bat­ter ready and I kept it for fer­men­ta­tion overnight.

On Di­wali morn­ing, she said, “Re­mem­ber to come back home at 4pm, they will be ar­riv­ing any­time af­ter 7”

I reached home on time and gave fi­nal touches to the bat­ter. Once the oil was heated, I held the bat­ter bowl in my hand and started mak­ing cir­cles. My phone started vi­brat­ing, I asked wifey to check.

“Your mom”, she said, “talk to her”. She shoved my new iphone 6s on my ear. I barely man­aged to hold it be­tween my shoul­der and my ear.

“Hello ma”, I said. There was a faint hello I heard. To check, if the phone was placed prop­erly, I ac­ci­den­tally re­moved my ear. Chaos en­sued. The phone dropped. To res­cue the phone, I jerked my shoul­der but it was al­ready too late. The phone was al­ready on the floor. To make mat­ters worse, the bowl of jalebi bat­ter slipped out of my hand and dropped on to the wooden floor.

All hell broke loose. She gave me a piece of mind which I qui­etly lis­tened to while do­ing clean­ing up. Now it was not pos­si­ble to make any jalebis,

since there was no more bat­ter left. Af­ter I made the floor shiny, I ap­proached her very cau­tiously, “I am go­ing out to get the in­stant Jalebi bat­ter from Gitz and I will be back in 10 min­utes.”

“Do what­ever you want,” she said, “you never lis­ten to any­one”.

I said, “Ev­ery­thing will be al­right, trust me, I will get the Gitz bat­ter and will make Jalebis in no time. Bharosa hai”. She took a deep breath, with­out say­ing a word, she went off to do some other work.

I got into the car and within no time I was in an In­dian store. To make mat­ters worse, there was no stock of Gitz bat­ter. I des­per­ately asked the owner to check in­side, if there’s even one packet in the stock. He did what I re­quested, but there was none. I felt like a loser.

I called her, “Could we serve them ice cream in­stead? They have some won­der­ful choco­late flavours”.

She said, “Do what­ever you want, you have al­ready ru­ined my mood”.

I picked up the ice cream tub and left. Af­ter reach­ing home, I slipped into the house, took a bath, got into my di­wali clothes and sat on the couch read­ing a mag­a­zine. She sat on the op­po­site couch, watch­ing tele­vi­sion. She looked smash­ing in a green sa­ree.

In the com­mer­cial break, she said, “Don’t you ever give me that Bharosa hai di­a­logue again”

I nod­ded.

“And don’t you dare make jalebis or en­ter into the kitchen”

I nod­ded again like a school boy who did not do his home­work.

The bell rang, I gave a sigh of re­lief.

“It must be them,” she said and opened the door.

She was cor­rect, they greeted us in their tra­di­tional di­wali clothes and handed us a packet of sweets. Af­ter cus­tom­ary greet­ings, we sat down and con­versed on weather and world pol­i­tics. The women were truly elated to see each other and were en­grossed in their own con­ver­sa­tions. Af­ter a while, it was time for din­ner.

We all sat on the din­ning ta­ble and ate to our heart’s con­tent. It was time for dessert. I no­ticed that wifey didn’t make any move to serve the ice cream I got.

I nudged her, “Ar­rey why don’t you get that yummy ice cream that I got for dessert.”, I said, “You know, we get some real good flavours in Scot­land, you must try.”

Jalebi di said, “Sorry I don’t eat ice cream. My throat is giv­ing me some trou­ble.”

Wifey said, “Sorry to hear that Jalebi di,” she paused, “we know you don’t eat any­thing else but Jalebis for dessert. It’s just that...”

“What?”, Jalebi asked cu­ri­ously.

Wifey said, “We tried to get jalebis…” She told her the full story.

Jalebi Di started laugh­ing. Shubrato Da joined her. We were clue­less, why were they laugh­ing!? Af­ter their laugh­ter subsided, Jalebi Di got up from her seat. She des­per­ately looked for some­thing in the draw­ing room. It was same packet of sweets that she brought.

She opened up and said to wifey, “Bhag­wan pe bharosa rakh chhothi. Aur moohn meetha kar”.

Wifey looked at me with a mix of sur­prise and apolo­getic look. Tak­ing a mo­ment to score. I said, “Bharosa hai”

Mukesh Ri­jh­wani

Co­founder Storizen.com

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