By the time Ashok reached home it was 8.30 at night. It had taken him more than one hour to reach Adayar from the busy streets of Anna salai. He was so hungry that he could have gobbled up a piano with tomato sauce and chutney. He was not surprised to see his two month old wife Anitha sympathizing with a mega serial heroine who seemed to have a summation of all the problems of an entire country in her single family.
After freshening up, he opened the hot box with lot of anxiety and tons of hunger. The supper was Idli, dosa, Sambhar and chutney. Awwww. The idli looked hard enough to cause blood flow if hit on head. The worse part was that the Sambhar was so much liquefied to make it look like rasam and chutney didnt have any coconut in it. The dosa looked like some piece of rug. When Ashok had first met Anitha, her mother claimed that she had cooked all those delicious delicacies. But her brother told him that Anitha was so bad at cooking that she would read the instructions to cook Maggie noodles at least 5 minutes in those 2 minutes.
"Do you know that Mrinalini's father-in-law passed away today?" asked Anitha.
"Mrinalini? Is she from your family side or mine?" asked Ashok mechanically eating one of the idlis.
"Budhdhu. I am talking about the heroine in Kabhi Bahu bhi Saas baneggiii" said Anitha.
Ashok never understood 2 things. One, why did all Ekta Kapoor's stupid serials need to start with the letter K and have unspellable spellings. Two, why did women refer to mega serial characters as if they were close enough as neighbors next door. Ignoring these ridiculous doubts aside Ashok chomped the idli with sambhar with the expression of Narasimha Rao meeting his ministers. She was still in the learning phase and Ashok was prepared to wait. And then as he feared, the inevitable question popped up.
"So how is the dinner? Is the sambhar as nice as your mother makes?" asked Anitha.
Most of the men in the world would be ready to fight a lion barehanded or attempt IITJEE question papers rather than answering this question. Ashok’s mom had been cooking since the age of 16 and was famous in the colony for the tasty south Indian dishes she made in festival times. If he were to tell her that it was nice, then she would get the wrong impression and would continue to cook this horribly and drive him mad. If he were to say that it tasted like garbage, she may start sobbing without any glycerin and may even fight and make him mad. If he were to say that both were alike, then maybe she may get angry that her cooking was not good than his mother’s.
Hell, if he could think of so many possibilities, he could put Vishwanathan Anand out of business or topple Topalov and become Chess Master. The bottom line was that he didn’t want to hurt her as he loved her a lot.
Hesitant he played on neutral grounds “Ani..its nice. It’s not like what my mom makes...but it’s nice. Tell me one thing. Why did you have to make these when you could have simply made something like noodles that’s very easy to cook?"
"Because I want to make you happy" replied Anitha.
Ashok turned silent and kissed her on her forehead and ate silently. The sambhar did not taste that bad after all.