Akanksha Damini Joshi
On Mamas, Mahabharata & Madness
This was early 90s. My Mama (mom’s bro) was working in the Kumaon Hills. My fauji parents were posted, not so far, in Bareilly, UP.
Mama would often ride from Bhimtal to Bareilly some 100,120 kms - on his phurrphurati mobike. His sister would freak out. Dad would giggle. And tiny me would feel Just So Happy!
I loved him and his visits home were particularly exciting.
You see, while for Duryodhan, his mama was making strategies, clearing his path towards the kingdom of Hastinapur; my mama was a master strategist for clearing my path towards … culinary adventure! Read, Mast Masala Food which was banned by mom for my rather tender stomach.
So, it happened.
Parents had to go for a fauji formal party. Mama suddenly arrived on his bike. I went ballistic with joy thinking we'd go out, have some gol gappas-shuppas. Mummy, true to her nature, wanted us to eat 'healthy' food.
Now, Healthy food for Mama-Bhanji meant MahaBoring Food.
Mother trotted into the kitchen. Taking it on as a challenge. "I will make you some very tasty Maggie".
Bas ji! He looked at me. I looked at him. This was going to be the end of our Party-Time!
Noises kept coming from the kitchen. Khatar patar of utensils. Chopping of veggies. This was no 2 min maggie. This was going to be mummy's version of manipulation "Nutrition slipped into unhealthy Food".
Mama and me? Oh lord! We just wanted that UNHEALTHY FOOD. Period.
Ma stepped out of kitchen carrying a beautiful serving dish.
The unhealthy Maggie, looking very bechara was peeping from under Good Green dhaniya. Red of gajar somwhere, lighter green of peas. Another shade of capsicum. Glaring at us. “Fooled ya!”
I sighed. This was IT. Mama smiled.
Ma looked at her artistic creation, "Aaj to ungliyan chaate reh jaoge tum dono! Kahan bahar ka ganda khana. You dont even know how those people would have made that horrible food outside! Tch."
Parents left. I looked at Mama. Like all eternal Mamas. He too was now changing colours. Suddenly that very sweet polite smile, vanished. He grinned, that familiar EVIL GRIN.
"Chal, Akku! Let’s go!”
Where? How? What are we going to do with mums Maggie Healthy Art?!?!
With the skill of a professional serial killer, Mama first asked all helpers to go out on some errand or the other.
Then, when him and his criminal side kick - me - were alone, he went into the kitchen.
Grinning, that same evil grin. He got a white poly bag. Sat near the dining table where the Maggie Art was lying. Looked at me, grinned again. And in three large scoops. Polished it all .... into the Polythene bag!
I looked. AGHAST. The Maggie had been killed! The Maggie had been Killed!
I felt scared. And elated. Now i did not have to eat the darn thing. Buttttt. What about the body? He smiled. That all knowing, mama-the-strategist smile.
"Hah. I will take care. You go."
I went to get the keys and soon... we went to PARRRRTY. We had burgers, gol gappas, tikkis ... All the UHEALTHY BAD FOOD we could imagine!!! 😊
Loaded with masalas and secrets in my blood stream, Mama dropped me home and left. Phurrrurrrrrrrr....
Next morning as i woke there was a commotion in the house.
Hundreds of crows. Maybe thousands were hovering around the roof. Mummy was in a tizzy, Dad was wondering and Dajoos - bhaiyyas- were on their way to the roof when i stepped out half asleep.
There was a Roof Top Crow Party it seemed! Dajoo shooed the crows, and flung their feast on the ground. And there it lay, on the ground… the murdered body.
A white poly bag with Mummy's Maggie Healthy Khana … and so began the Mahabharata!
“Whatttttt? I thought you loved this. You liar!!” Ma freaked. Dad giggled.
The chief criminal assistant, Little Akku, was left alone to deal with the consequences. Mama, with the evil grin, had already fled!
On me it dawned ... Mama Mia! Shakuni? Mama. Kansa? Mama. Bhushan? Mama!
Oh these Indian Mamas! Without them, no Krishna, no Mahabharata!
Happy Birthday my dearest Shaku… yane, Bhushan Mama! Here is to more masala and more madness in life! 😊🥰