I came down with a cold. I had a high temperature on and off throughout the day and had spent most of the day sleeping at my aunt’s house, instead of spending time with my mom like I had intended. After dropping my mom off at the airport, I headed home. I was hungry and tired and not looking forward to the fact that I would have to cook my own food. I can’t cook Indian that well and kadhi and khichadi was what I was wanted and of course I don’t know how to make kadhi.
When I got home, my housemate’s mother offered to make kadhi, in her own style. So I got the supplies. On the way back I saw some boys from the community/card project and called them in to give them fruit snacks my mom had just brought. They came in and were hanging out with me and my housemate’s mom for a while, when we finally got up to cook. When they found out I couldn’t cook very well and aunty didn’t know how to make kadhi and khichadi Gujarati style, the 12 year old immediately says, “I know how to make it, let me.”
Pretty soon, all three boys, Vijay (11), Ajay (12) and Utsav (11) were in the kitchen – cutting potatoes, making the appropriate spice mixes and washing the rice. When I tried to help, they’d respond, “Didi, you aren’t feeling well. Sit.”
And so the chef and his assistants went to work. When three whistles blew on the pressure cooker and I turned the gas off, I got scolded for doing this prematurely. “Didi, there is still water in the rice, let it cook. I’ll turn it off when it’s ready.”
So aunty and I were resigned to watching and learning.
“Didi, you don’t know how to cook,” they asked in surprise. I can cook, just not Indian food, especially since I haven’t made much Indian food in the last four years, especially not kadhi.
As the food was prepared, a wonderful aroma begin to fill the air. As Ajay happily made the kadhi, I began to throw away the vegetable peels and other waste.
“Didi, leave it, we’ll clean up.”
In the time we waited for the khichadi to be cooked and cool, the three boys had thrown away all the waste, wiped all the surfaces clean, including all the stuff that spilled, and washed all the dishes.
Finally the food was ready.
Ajay looks at us as we take the first bite.
“How is it?”
Absolutely delicious. They each try a little and have great fun taking pictures of entire experience. As they get ready to leave, they turn around to remind me.
“Didi, make sure Anchaldidi tries some when she gets home (referring to my housemate). We’re going to ask her tomorrow what she thinks.”
After the boys leave, Anchal’s mother and I sit in the living room. “Look at God’s blessing. You weren’t feeling well and wanted kadhi. I thought that you should have garlic and you got garlic. We got the food, and God sent the chefs too.”
The next morning I woke up feeling 100 times better than the previous day. How could I not? After all, God had sent his own angels to prepare nourishment with such love and care.