Perils of mosaranna obsession

When I said I needed white rice and curd, Mrs Gupta said that they didn't have 'dahi.'

True to my South Indian upbringing, no meal of mine would be complete without the mandatory “mosaranna” or “curd rice”. However, I had not imagined that this habit of mine might land me in trouble some day.

Once, my colleague Gupta called me for dinner at his home. After serving me sumptuous food, he announced that dessert would be served in the drawing room. “My meal is not complete!” I exclaimed, at which he asked me if I needed more rotis or biryani. When I said I needed white rice and curd, Mrs Gupta turned red  and said that they didn’t have “dahi” at home. I gave a sheepish smile and left the table.

From that day on, I would request my hosts to keep some curd for me whenever I was invited for a meal. My love for curd rice became so well known that whenever I went for inspection as a Senior Police Officer even to the remotest village, my subordinates would make extra efforts to please me. 

However, when I had to travel outside India, I faced difficulties. When I went to Brussels to visit my son, he said I could buy curd in any departmental store but I must ask for “yogurt.” I went to a store and the sales girl smilingly gave me a few packs. Triumphant, I came back home and sat for a meal with white rice and pickles. I poured the contents of a tub on the rice and as soon as I put a morsel in my mouth, I grimaced. The curd was sweet and had fruit pieces. My son, who had a hearty laugh, told me that I had to ask for “natural yogurt” specifically.

Having learnt my lesson, my subsequent trips to Europe and US were quite comfortable. But my trip to a remote African country posed a problem. I was told that there is no chance of getting natural yogurt there and I was worried. My secretary suggested that I could buy tubs of probiotic curd in Bengaluru and carry them with me. I bought half a dozen tubs and packed them in my cabin baggage. I didn’t face any problems at our airports.

After landing at my destination, I confidently moved towards the customs green channel. Suddenly, an officer accosted me and asked me to go with him to a room. He made me open my suitcases and did not find anything. I was getting nervous as I had heard about the strict security rules there. When he asked me to open my handbag, I gave i to him and asked him to open it himself.

He slowly opened the zipper and a popping sound, like a bullet from a silenced pistol, emanated. He peeped in to fi­nd the source of the sound. When he lifted his face, I could not control my laughter. His face had turned white! Two of the yogurt tubs had popped open because of the change in pressure and its contents had spurted out. Wiping his face, the officer shooed me out of the airport. From that day on, I have learnt to live without “mosaranna.”
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