Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pappu Can't Cook Saala....

I suffer from 'cookslexia' . For the benefit of those scratching their heads and butts in perplexion, cookslexia is 'cooking dyslexia' - the sheer inability to cook. It is the condition where a man just cant cook even if someone were to point a Colt .32 at his thick skull. It is a condition where the poor male cant distinguish between sugar and salt, between tomato soup and tomato puree, or for that matter cant tell a jar of Glucose powder from a bottle of cocaine , just because they happen to appear similar. While inside a kitchen, the cookslexic male feels like Alice in Wonderland , going oooh and aaah at everything around him ( Oooh... is that thing over there really a potato peeler?..Wow! What do they use it for?)

I've been suffering from cookslexia all my life. Till date I don't know how to boil water, forget making a glass of lemonade. My room is reverberating with loud sounds of 'Thwack' - that's all you people collectively slapping your foreheads... I know I know... But, sadly, I still remain a cookslexic. All through my life I have survived gluttoning on Mom's cooking, roommates' cooking, roommates' girlfriends' cooking, inadequately subsidised office food, Hotel Swadisht Aahar, Kakke Da Dhaba, roadside thrash cans etc. Make no mistake, I am not trying to howl away my condition on the blogosphere in vain... There have been moments where I have tried to pull up my pants, turn a blind eye to my disability, and still enter a kitchen and try to cook. Unfortunately, the only person who had the courage, conviction and the will to taste a sample of the hotch-potch delicacies that I prepared was Golu - the streetside doggie. Even Golu used to refuse my dishes and take pity on my condition sometimes. "Bow wow, Parikshith..." he used to say to me "... you poor human being, you will have to eat that all that stuff yourself? Oh poor you, you don't have to. Here, let me offer a share of my dinner... Look what I picked from the garbage can for you. Have this, this should taste better than the stuff you made". Golu is a nice dog.

Anyway, despite my disability, I strongly believe that there are times when I can cook well, regardless of what others think. There are occasions when the dishes that I had prepared turned out to be truly tasty and mouth-watering. Since these occasions were very rare, I have photographed some of the excellent ones that I prepared, which I am proudly sharing with you all. Have a look.

Masala Dosa.

Green Salad


Butter Chicken

(I'm sorry, but the chicken flew away before I could photograph it)

My female friends are quite aghast at my cooking skills, or rather the lack of it. They don't understand my fight with cookslexia. I have heard them say "That Parikshith, how can he be so dumb in cooking yaaa... and he doesn't even know how to switch on the gas stove. I mean how yaaa?? All he knows is computers, sports and sex" . Point noted, dear ladies. Well, speaking of sex, there is a gross misconception among womenfolk that sex tops a man's list of desires. That is incorrect. Sex comes in at a close #2. It is food that occupies slot #1. If you need proof, then go approach a genuinely hungry man at lunchtime and ask him if he wants to enjoy a dressed salad or an undressed Paris Hilton. You will always see him beggingly opt for the former.

To top my long list of ironies, I am a vegetarian. In other words, I don't eat anything that walks on its legs or crawls on its belly. And I would prefer to leave the fish in lakes, ponds and Oceans rather than convert my stomach into a marine aquarium. Strictly and technically speaking, the only non-vegetarian food I consume is the ubiquitous white liquid that is squirted out of a buffalo's nipples. But I must say, I have a grudging admiration towards the non-vegetarians. Hats off man!, I mean those non-veggies can survive anywhere, anyplace. Even if they were to be shipwrecked and marooned on a remote uninhabited island, they can still survive by eating 'tadpole manchurian' for dinner. But I, oh boy, am a masterpiece, ain't I? Can't eat non-vegetarian, can't cook vegetarian. Ha! Actually, I shudder to think what would happen to me, if my job requires me to be posted long-term in places where the availability of vegetarian food is as scarce as water on Mars. These places include parts of the U.S, Europe or why, even Kerala ( During a recent visit to Kerala, I approached a stranger on the roadside and asked him if there was any pure vegetarian Kerala-style restaurant nearby. He died of a lung failure caused due to excessive laughing) . Thus, common sense says that I should learn to cook. But I cant cook because I am cookslexic.

As I type away, flashbacks of a cookslexic incident from the past come rushing into my mind. It was a romantic evening in the winter of 2004, and I was flirting with a beautiful (read dumb) girl from college, at a swanky neighborhood diner. Like a typical man, I was in my elements, literally on cruise mode, interspersing smooth talk with boastful rants about extra-ordinary qualities that I possessed. Smooth talk included "Hey, isn't it cold in here? Let's go sit on the tandoor to warm things up". Boastful rants included " I have 24-inch biceps, you can't see it because the shirt is kinda thick at the sleeves..." , and " Hey did you know I am an artist too, I helped Leonardo draw Mona Lisa's eyebrows..." etc. etc. I could see from her rolled-up eyes that she was really enjoying my company and getting really impressed with me. And that is when I took it a bit too far. In a moment of pure foolishness, I told her how great a chef I was , and how friends just adored the wonderful dishes that I made. I realized my mistake a split second after I let the last syllable out of my mouth. "Oh shit, you fat-ass" , I silently screamed to myself. And just as I feared, the girl believed me and took up the matter.

Girl: "Wow, oh wow Parry. You cook too? Really haan? Wow, you know I love cooking too".
Me: "Oh nice, same pinch"
Girl: "So what dishes do you prepare? Any good Italian dishes?
Me (thinking in private:) : Italian, yeah right. I don't know how to roll a chapatti here and Mamma mia has reached Italy.
Me (responding) : "Italian, well I know just the pasta. That too only two or three varieties. Its so boring to make pastas, you know. And it is messy to make. Its been long time since I cooked pasta..."
Girl: "Oh... yeah pasta is messy. Hey you know yesterday I was trying to make samosas..."
Me: "Umm... hmmm?..."
Girl: "And I simply am not able to get its stuffing right..."
Me: "Yeah, you should know how to 'stuff it'..."
Girl: "Yeah, and I was trying and... hey do you know how to make samosas? Do you have a recipe?"
Me(thinking in private): No, no, Say no, say no - you moron
Me(responding) : "Yes, definitely."
Girl: "Oh wow! great... Can you share your recipe with me? Pleeeaase? Puh-leease?"
Me(thinking in private) : Last chance, say 'NO' , you idiot
Me(responding) : "Yes, of course! Making samosas is child's play. I know the recipe by-heart" Girl: "Oh thats great. Can you mail me the recipe tomorrow? Puh-leease!"
Me: "Sure"
Girl: " I am soooo happy"
Me(mumbling under my breath) : "And I am soooo fucked"
Girl: "Did you say something?"
Me: "No, was just wondering if I could kiss you"
Girl: "Of course not!"
Me: "Thank you."
Girl: "Ok, don't forget to send me the recipe tomorrow. Awww, you're so cute".. Nighty 'night.
Me: "Err... OK, bye"

I walked back home silently that night, fiercely resisting the urge to bang my head against every concrete structure in the vicinity. Darn,what a spot had I put myself into? Now this was a queer situation- I could not ask my folks or friends for the recipe- they would have laughed themselves to the moon and ridiculed me silly had they they got to know the reason. And I couldn't Google for it, as the girl wanted something original from me. Darn my honesty. Now- men would understand this bit of emotion- I had pride at stake. I mean here was a girl who had asked me for something , and was I going to wander about town asking for help? Certainly not, sir. I was going to do this myself. I had to do this myself. Sadly, that's what happens... when you mix boisterous male ego with unnecessary bravado and an unadulterated dose of stupidity- what you get is a dangerous moron like me. So, I rolled up my sleeves and wrote her the recipe myself. The original, delicious samosa recipe, straight from the kitchens of yours truly. I think I did a good job, I am sharing the recipe that I had sent her with you all. Have a look.

Recipe: Samosa.

Ingredients: Nothing specific, any choice of ingredients should be fine, as long as they all add up to make a samosa.


1) Take a clean pan.

2) Politely greet the spider and promptly chase away the cockroaches hiding inside the pan.

3) Pour some oil into the pan and heat it. Any oil should be fine- cooking, lubricating, sewing etc.

4) Make sure that the oil heats for a few minutes. Be patient.

5) Add 1/2 teaspoon of whatever powder that is in that little box on the shelf.. yeah that one. And then add 1/4 tablespoon of that whatchamamacallit green colored thing over there into the mixture. Gently keep stirring the pan.

6) And then pray, pray and pray. Pray to the Almighty. Light candles, chant verses, do whatever, but pray real hard.

7) If your prayers have successfully registered in the Internet servers of Heaven, then a blinding flash of white light will appear from the skies. And voila! the samosa will be found ready in the pan.

8) Serve hot.

I mailed her the recipe. Sadly, I never heard from her again. I don't know why. These stupid girls have no courtesy, I tell you. I thought she didn't like my recipe, so to make up, I sent her a lovely bouquet of cauli-flowers. No response, either. *Sob* :-'(

Well, coming back to me, I must say there have been near and dear ones who've tried to extend a hand of help , and made an effort to teach me the art of cooking. Mom was the first person to try, but quickly gave up after I burnt part of her kitchen down. There was however, one dear friend of mine- a fellow bachelor who happened to be a mindblowing cook. Now this guy was a bloody modern day aberration- a bachelor who cooked like a dream. Bah! Anyway, one fine day the great chef decided to take it on himself to teach me, his culinarily illiterate friend, the fine art of cooking. What followed next was a Commando-style training, which included fetching vegetables from the market, learning to wash them ( I always forgot this part) , using a knife in a non Bollywood-style etc. I learnt to deal with the mood swings of a pressure cooker, I went about identifying the right mix of ingredients to make edible food. Slowly and steadily I began to make progress. I started recognizing grocery items and vegetables.... the Radishes, the Beetroots, The Cabbages. I learnt to look at a Lady's finger without exclaiming "Hey no engagement ring, so she should be single!" .

But as they say, all good things must come to an end - and that's exactly what happened to my cooking sojourn. A week later, my trainer friend decided to test my knowledge. The bastard. The task he gave me was simple - "Make a bowl of sambar". That's it... I just had to prepare some sambar without any one's help or supervision. Okey-dokey, I thought. What's sambar for me... a stupid liquid that can be prepared in a flash. I sauntered into the kitchen with the kind of swagger, that would've made people think that I was Mr. Alexander going out to conquer the world. And that's when disaster struck- I had a severe attack of cookslexia. The brain went into screen-saver mode, the hands stayed firmly inside the pockets, and I stared around the kitchen, blank, perplexed, and wondering what the hell were those little boxes of ingredients doing on the kitchen shelf. I regretted the condescending opinion that I accorded to sambar a few minutes back- making sambar now seemed to be an exercise of Herculean magnitude. But I still went ahead and prepared it.

First, I boiled some water in a vessel and waited. And then I waited some more. Just before the water entered into the evaporation mode, I quietly added some yellow and orange colored Holi powder into the vessel. I stirred the mixture with a spoon until the mixture acquired a brilliant color. Then, I plucked some leaves from a nearby tree and added them for garnishing. Voila! My sambar was ready! I thought I had done a decent job. But my trainer buddy, who happened to taste it, certainly didn't think so. In fact, I had a tough time in restraining him from killing himself - he desperately wanted to jump off the terrace when I told him what the recipe was. I don't know why. But anyway, that was the last time I tried cooking.

Ok, now that you have read so far and empathize with my condition ( please suppress those smirks and the tee-hees, will ya?) , I have an earnest appeal to make. This appeal goes out to all the single and eligible ladies reading this post. Doctors say that there is only one possible medical cure for cookslexic men - MARRIAGE!!!! . No, no, I am not trying to be a chauvinistic pig here - this is really a scientific, medical opinion... I can show you the note from the illiterate doctor who diagnosed my condition. Well, all you wonderful ladies out there are so naturally endowed and blessed with extraordinary cooking talent. That is a wonderful, wonderful thing for you ladies to have. And cookslexic men like me need support, care, love, Butter Roti, Green peas masala and gajar ka halwa to survive. So, putting 2 and 2 together, dear Ladies, will anyone of you please marry me?... ( Just a sec, since this is an emotional moment, let me go find some canned tapes containing sounds of 'Awwwwww' to fill the background).

But please be forewarned, dear ladies, please don't get seduced by my rock star looks or my Greek God body. Please always remember that the package called myself, comes with a caveat of being a severely cookslexic moron. But one thing I will promise you. I will eat anything and everything that you make without a murmur of a complaint (at the count of 3, lets all go 'Awwwww'). I promise, I will eat the sandwich prepared by you, even its as burnt as charcoal ( 1-2-3 Awwwwww). I promise I will eat the curry prepared by you even if you've added all the salt from the Arabian sea into it ( 1-2-3 Awwwwww). I promise I will shower you with eloquent praise and sweet kisses, for each dish you've made for me ( 1-2-3 Awwwww) , ...even if the dishes you prepared caused me to spend an entire day in the lavatory (1-2-3 Aww... oops hold on hold on , this is the wrong line to go Awwwww) . So there, thats how it is, dear ladies. I am sure it will be a very long time before medical science discovers a new drug to cure cookslexia, so till then, I am heavily relying on one of you to marry me. :-)

OK, people. I presume the issue is settled, the matter is done and dusted. I have bared my heart, soul and stomach. I am a cookslexic. I guess that's how it will be. I am the Pappu who can't cook. And lets raise a burnt toast to that!

Culinarily yours,

*************************** THE END **********************************
**************************** GO HAVE YOUR ASPIRINS*******************


gayathri-vishwanathan said...

Awwwwwwwww (in background), i suffer from advanced stage of cookslexia kitchen resembles hiroshima, nagasaki after I finish my cooking session. And my rotis look similar to your masala dosa...burnt and well in the shape of srilanka. But just as some wise, useless man said: try, try until u succeed...we patients suffering from cookslexia should try, try and succeed until one day we shall make better stuff than Sanjeev Kapoor and Tarla Dalal. Until one day someone like Aamir khan will be inspired by us and will make a film called atta zameen par :)

And please dont give such weird receipes to anybody...pleaseeeeeeeeee. And kindly deliver some aspirin here in Mumbai.Cheers! keep writing!

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

another thing...there is this poll in your profile, wherein, one has to choose a pick up line for the hot babe sitting in a I am a girl, and despite being called GAY3 I am not a homosexual u make a poll for us girls too pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

damsel said...

we are all birds of a feather..well, i guess i am not that bad..i can cook maggi noodles. hmm..seems like everybody has blogged about cooking at least is like mathematics...the person you first learn it from has a lot to do with your future attempts at it.
tht marriage thing ws the only unpleasantry in the post..
concentrate on writing,something you are good at. trust in maggi.

Satyajit said...

Whoa! Ha ha ha ha ... Hilarious man. This is too much... If I laugh any more, I fear I will end up with the same fate like that man you met in Kerala. Cookslexia, eh? I think its a very rampant widespread bimari.... There is really no harm in hoping that marriage would save us. After all women are zillion times better than men when it comes to cooking, they have got natural talent , and we can hope they show some mercy on us men. It is a harmless little wish.
And this is the first time I have heard milk being referred to as "ubiquitous white liquid that is squirted out of a buffalo's nipples" ha ha ha ha ha ha!! ROFL!!!

Parikshith Kumar said...

Dear Gayathri
You saw that my yummy Masala Dosa looks, in parts, like SriLanka?.. Wow! I myself had not noticed that! Ha ha ha. Must say I am impressed... either you have eyes that were transplanted from an eagle or you've exhausted bottles after bottles of midnight oil, studying for your Geography exams :-)
Fellow cookslexic, eh? Good. And yeah, we cookslexics should get together and rally for support. For starts, you and I can hold hands and raise awareness about cookslexia. But that would immediately beg the question "If our hands are held, then how will we do the cooking? " :-)

Dear Gayathri
GAY3... ha ha ha ha Lol!! Aw, don't be so hard on your name and give it homosexual connotations.. Look at the brighter side, GAYA3, when translated from Hindi, can mean '3 cows'. Moo moo moooray!! Just kidding, Gayathri is a beautiful name. Oh you want polls for women too? Please wait until Mid-april... We have a BIG poll coming up, and that poll is for both men and women :-)

Dear Damsel
Hey! How ya doin gal? Done with all ur exams? Maggi? Make Maggi? Nooooo... It takes Einsteinian skills to make Maggi. Tearing off the packet, adding that crispy thing into boiling water and see them transform into yellow coloured earth-worms? Oh man! so tough.
Regarding the marriage thing being unpleasentary... well point noted, and respected. But as Satyajit rightly said in the next comment, it was just a harmless little wish and not an exhitbition of chauvinism. :-)

Dear Satya
Thank u buddy! Keep laughing! It gladdens me! :-) And I don't know how many more harmless wishes should cookslexics make to surive in this big bad world!

damsel said...

lol..yeah,it was harmless alright, you are not yet qualified to be an MCP, but still..

me doing,exams not over. you could've just visited my blog!
usually, everyone knows that wen you get a comment,the other person must've updated!
i do update my blog every month,sometimes twice a month. feel free (please) to visit and comment.

damsel in distress said...

btw,word verification,is that necessary..i first loved them,used to get weird words that souded cute..but no longer. i'd rather listen to baby talk if i need weird words!:)

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

no yaar i flunked in geography everytime (finally my teachers got bored of me and passed me off)...probably that srilanka effect remained with me, thanks to the thousands of time I by-hearted the srilanka map for my 10th grade egg-jams (i was told we will be getting that map for egggjams, but we got australia and i had not by hearted that). Btw the rally idea is not a bad one...
As for waiting for the big polls in mid-april...yaa right i am waiting for mayawati to do her poll dance during the elections...

Btw you kept your promise of updating your blog...good. I got something to read and laugh about. Thanks for entertaining us! keep writing, write-up comedian :)

Bullshee said...

The moment you have a BOTTLE of cocaine at home, gimme a call. I need to do something.

Haven't been much of a cook myself, but like you tend to praise myself to the stars regarding aforementioned non-existent talents.

May the roomies, girls and wifey of your life survive!!

Parikshith Kumar said...

Dear Damsel

Thank you for enlightening me. I hope buying the new million watt bulb didn't cost you much. I visited your blog, laughed out loud reading your posts and left a modest, little comment too :-)
Regarding the word verification, heck I am strictly against it. Word veification is socially discriminatory too - how will all the illiterates reading my blog be able to key in the word? . The procedure is demeaning to the illiterates. I will take out an andolan against word verification and similar discriminatory practices :-)

Dear Gayathri
Thank you :-)

Dear Bullshee,
Ha ha ha... I am afraid I've emptied the bottle of cocaine, buddy. Consumed all of it myself. Take one good look at my blog... only a person high on drugs can dish out such absolute thrash time after time. I have some Glucose powder left though, would that help you?

Di said...

Nice post.I can relate to most of the things u've said here coz unfortunately,I too am a patient of 'cookslexia' :-)

Sandeep said...

tu sala ekdam nautanki ka nautanki hai sala!! tab bhi aisa tha ab bhi aisa hai.. hass hass ke pagal ho gaya main!