You know how I was pleased that I was getting into a routine? I think the issue with routine is that it’s a lot tougher to find something intriguing to write or blog about. Your day begins to feel less interesting. This blog gives me that awesome avenue to write about all the things that are turning in my mind, but it also gives me the chance to reflect on my day and find something that stood out – something that no other day has given me, and something to be grateful for, that I can share with the interwebs – a void that I assume 17 people read, at most.
Today was the second day of the weekend. The weekend in the UAE is Friday-Saturday, which is a massive change from the Thursday-Friday I was used to for a very long time. My weeks started on Saturday. When everyone around the world celebrated Friday evening as the beginning of partytime, I slept at 8:00pm to be ready for school the next day. Gone are all those days. I still can’t believe I slept at 8pm once upon a time.
In my house, Saturdays bring with them the fresh smell of potato-onion sambhar and ragi mudde. If you don’t know what ragi mudde (pronounced muddhey) is, there’s a couple of things you need to read, of which “A Horse and Two Goats”, a short story by R.K. Narayan is right on top of the list. That piece was the first time I heard ragi mudde being described in literature, and it made the story so much more relatable for me. I digress. As I was saying, Saturdays have always meant this in my house.
The weird thing though, is that we partook in this family activity when we stayed in Dubai, and I remember burning my tongue because I tried to eat the ragi when it was far too hot, but we didn’t ever consume ragi mudde in Bangalore, a place where ragi mudde would’ve been amazing. I have eaten it during my internship – because it was available at the Court complex and I was super eager to try it out, but I haven’t eaten it the way we do at home, with both my parents, and that’s something I sorely miss when I’m at college.
You see, my earliest memories of eating at home come from eating in the kitchen. While we had a dining table, on the weekends, we used to spread out newspapers on the kitchen floor, place cork mats on the paper, and arrange all of our food. After that, my parents and I dined on the floor with steel plates. I used to be given small tasks in this, like laying out the paper properly, and arranging the cork mats appropriately, while my parents put in the hard work. And ragi mudde was best eaten like this. I also remember my father yelling at me for something, but I can’t remember what. I feel like it was mostly because I disliked something, or because I spilt water – a very common occurrence.
My memories today are naturally more vivid. Mudde day is when….Oh My God. Mudday. What a great pun. That’s how I shall refer to it henceforth. Mudday is basically the only day my father enters the kitchen to do anything apart from washing dishes and putting things in order. It’s the one day in the week he actively participates in, and thoroughly enjoys preparing food. My mom makes a pretty mean onion-potato sambhar, and the smell of sambhar powder wafting in the air can bring anyone to their knees, I do believe. Seeing my dad in action is what I enjoy the most though. Ragi mudde is basically a massive ball made out of ragi that’s cooked over flames for a while. You put some ghee at the center of this ball, plop it in sambhar, and belt it with your fingers. You occasionally spill sambhar, and then you drink all the leftover sambhar + ragi from your bowl. There is NO other way to consume this.
Spoons especially are a farce.
But preparing that ragi ball is some serious work. The substance is bloody sticky, especially as it cooks, so there’s a lot of heavy kneading involved. The separation of the massive ragi into consumable mounds is also a challenge – since the substance is hot and pretty much glued together (someone needs to research its chemical properties). Speaking of, small footnote: I genuinely wanted to learn about the specific heat capacity of ragi when I learnt the concept in Physics, but I forgot and I’ve forgotten ever since and it has now been 4 years since, and I still have no idea.
That ragi ball making is what my dad does. His face gets animated as he pounds and kneads the dough thing with a wooden spatula, and my mom is usually the one he cross-checks the “cookedness” of the ragi.
It’s a real family moment, and I genuinely feel like a Prince when I receive the first bowl.
Damn man. 3 more Saturdays and I’m out of here.
In other news, I met a very cute cat today.