Vartanama, Mar '16
By Pawan Dhall
By Pawan Dhall
|Photo credit: Pawan Dhall|
“Why isn’t the milk curdling well these days?” My mother has no satisfactory explanation in response to my complaint made the nth time in the last couple of months. We try to figure out what could have gone wrong. It is the same brand of milk that gave delicious results till last year. Firm-textured curd – no, actually dahi sounds better – with just a thin layer of sinful fat! It has been my comfort food since childhood, either to be had plain, as a raita, with paranthas or rice, or as a dessert (mixed with sugar, gur, shakkar and even sugar free powder). So much so that I can wear the tag of dahi chor with mischievous pride!
A scientist friend offers an explanation for the lumpy curd – it could be the wrong bacteria at work. Mother conjectures it must be the usual winter-months problem of keeping milk mixed with jaag (spoonful of curd with live cultures) warm long enough for the curd to set. But winter is now long gone, and yet things haven’t improved. We think of buying higher-priced milk but that kind of generates a sourness of taste at the thought of my personal economy becoming unsettled – the same reason why we can’t buy tak doi (that which is not mishti doi) from the neighbourhood confectioners every day, or for that matter yoghurt from fancy retail outlets.
I’m still mulling a way out of this dilemma, but a sinister plan is already thieving around in my dahi-craved mind. Actually, I must be so dumb to not have thought of it before. The solution has been staring back at me from the newspaper headlines every morning. Today I’m going to log in on to various social media and stalk bacteria that have been messing up with the firmness of my dahi pride. Later I’m going to go out wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a slogan “Dahi devi ki jai ho!” I’m going to pump and thump my fist and outshout the baleful music playing at red light crossings of Kolkata with the very same slogan. Wherever I go, I will wag a menacing finger at bacteria who I think look likely to be conspiring at breaking up my dahi before it sets.
When I’m back home at night, I’m going to dip the fingers used for typing, pumping, thumping and wagging the whole day in a bowl of warm milk. I’m pretty sure this is going to do the trick and I won’t even need jaag to curdle the milk. All the fervour-filled typing, pumping, thumping and finger wagging going around us these days has been curdling people’s blood in their very veins. Why shouldn’t it curdle some milk?Pawan Dhall aspires to be a rainbow journalist and believes in taking a stand, even if it’s on the fence – the view is better from there!