Happy New Year and happy Sankranthi, Bhogi, Pongal, Bhigu or whatever to all of you. Hope all my friends had a lovely vacation spending the time whichever way you wanted. Getting back to the routine from the vacation does require an extra push and hope by now all of you are running a rat race seeing the next vacation in the horizon!
The year 2017 just whiffed past with the usual mix of memorable and forgettable, pleasant and unpleasant incidents. We are almost through half of January. Though there were innumerable incidents, calamities, political happenings last year, nothing much suddenly strikes my mind except the arrest of V. K Sashikala, the personal and political companion of the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Smt. J. Jayalalitha. Her death has ensued the political instability in that state with no leader of her standing and charisma. With both prominent parties DMK , AIDMK in chaos and lacking a clear vision, the superstar Rajinikanth seized the opportunity to plunge into politics, though he is 68 years old and comparatively a late entrant. The month of December was notable for the star studded wedding of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma in Italy, though they tried to make it a private affair. Also notable was the death of the yesteryear's romantic hero, Shashi Kapoor. The Playboy man Hugh Heffner's death was both mourned and laughed by world all over, but if there was a death that touched me it was of Hindi actor Tom Alter who acted in Hindi films and serials and died an Indian! I may have to read the diary of events that happened in 2017 to write more.
But I am happy that I have come back to my beloved space at the start of this year. The last year, I felt, was simply not mine. Nothing much was happening personally except in the singing area. My blogging almost stopped with pathetically 3 or 4 articles last year, when it should have been 14 to 15 articles. My other area of creativity which is drawing/painting is at a standstill with one oil painting waiting to be finished. I look at the expectant eyes of the bird that I am painting and the one which is remaining idle for the past 10 months! :( I wish to finish it and move to new ones! Hopefully, I will restart soon!
I kept this relatively simple topic to lie still for about two months or more for no reason other than the fact that the writer's block in me was at work! I love to cook, though I do not like to spend hours in the kitchen and so I do not make an infinite variety of dishes like my mom and mom-in-law make. Dosa, the ubiquitous South Indian one, is my favourite to this date. Before the onslaught of non-stick tawas, our previous generations used to make dosas on thick iron tawas. The advice that we were given by my grand mom was that you should first pour less batter and make a small dosa, so that if the dosa sticks and becomes one with the tawa :p, the batter will not go waste. After about 4 to 5 fractured dosas, the 6th one may start to come out like a glove and by that time, we, ladies will be tired feeding our family members and waging a war with the sticky dosas, that I will turn off the stove the moment the 2nd dosa is flipped over. Before the advent of non-stick tawas, we have fought long battles with hard-bottomed iron tawas by greasing it with oil, scrapping those stuck bits and pieces of the 1st dosas with the help of more oil and water. And of course, those pieces were very tasty! :) I have observed over a period of time that the dosas get broken because, generally too much water is added to the water or we do not have patience for the tawa to get sufficiently and uniformly heated.
The non-stick pans are teflon coated and lightweight and the first brands were that of Prestige, Premier. The pan or tawa will be packed along with a detachable handle and a plastic scrubber to clean and maintain it. The ads showing thin, crisp delectable dosas coming out clean from the pan is anybody's dream. But when we start using it, we know as the time passes maintaining it is not that easy. If we want crispy, mouth-watering dosas, some oil needs to be poured. Cleaning it first few times with the scrubber and the liquid cleaner will be easy. But after some days of successfully crossing about 100 dosas, the grease will accumulate around and on the rim of the pan, and the patience wears off to clean by scrubbing it hard. Our maids clean it in a hurried manner, so it does not remain grease-free. After a few months, the coating starts to wear off and the dosas start to stick on the greasy parts. We stop using the wooden ladle and use the steel ones to flip over the dosa, and it removes the teflon coating faster. We just do not have patience to follow the proper method of uniform heating of tawa, adding right amount of water to the batter. The dosa making is the test of patience and art. After a year or so, we get attached to those pans by 'seeing' them everyday, though they are not attached to us. We will be reluctant to dispose them, despite knowing the harmful effects of tawa in which the teflon coating starts to come out. Finally, we part the ways with it in an exchange offer for a brand new tawa. And the show goes on.
P.S...This post which I should have finished writing about a week back got postponed due to my grandpa's demise last week. :(