I was in the first throes of love. The moong daal that was being cooked on the stove jump-started my affair. “Is my breakfast ready?” bellowed my husband from the study in the far corner of the house. He was unaware of the khichdi that was being prepared in the kitchen.
“It sure feels like it's getting hot and steamy out there,” he continued. Hunger pangs can bring out the worst in all of us. My husband gets garrulous when he’s hungry. I barely heard him as I was in a trance-like state. With gentle fingers, I removed the cooked daal and looked frantically for a placemat. After locating one that had seen better days, I placed it quickly near the stove making sure my hand didn’t get scalded. There stood my pride and glory — not the daal but the saucepan.
“I’m looking for that perfect saucepan that meets all my cooking needs.” I still remembered the day I’d shared my secret desire with a friend over dinner. “Just name the day and I’ll be ready to tag along!” my friend responded enthusiastically. My husband, who had suddenly developed a fascination for the roti and curry on his plate, was silent.
“I want something not too heavy and yet...” I began to enumerate the points gathered after my intense research of cookware. “Have you looked at cast iron?” asked my friend and chef extraordinaire. I didn't have the heart to tell her that when I’d tried lifting the one in her kitchen, I’d almost keeled over and seriously considered joining the local gym for weight training.
My mother eventually got wind of my problem. “Let me give you my eeya chombu,” she insisted. The eeya chombu, a pot made of tin, was a popular utensil passed down from one generation to the next. The last time I had looked at the one in my mother’s safekeeping, it seemed to be more of a showpiece (after several polishes) rather than cookware.
The shopping trip for that perfect saucepan never materialised as I had to travel overseas. But then the new year brought not just resolutions but unfulfilled desires to the forefront. My friend who had volunteered to be my shopping guide was attending to family matters and I turned to online shopping. I poured over images of utensils in every shape and size and read reviews till my eyes grew heavy. When there were network problems, I seized my husband’s computer and continued the search with renewed vigour.
“Let me help you,” said my husband who was missing his laptop. In less than a week, there was a package delivered to my home. I tore it open with the frenzied excitement of receiving my first Valentine gift and placed it reverentially on the kitchen stove. As I planned the menu for the day, my husband was busy congratulating himself as it had all panned out well.