Saturday, June 14

The Dog's Umbrella

The plan was set. The time decided. The venue was some newly opened restaurant in T-Nagar. The gang was the usual- my best friends which included the sardonic TJA and the goofy LAS. The more we hung out together, the more we found out our potential to hog. We took an oath to try out all the restaurants that has ever been printed on the daily supplement of The Hindu, “Metroplus”. Food in whatever form or shape, when presented in front of us had the tendency to disappear within seconds. Even though maami was a strict veggie, she used to join the rest of the gang without hesitation.

Till her higher secondary, maami never used to go near non-aacharam foods; for that matter, not even a veg-non-veg combined restaurant. Enter TJA and LAS…not only did they introduce me to the delicacies of the world, they introduced me to the world’s yummiest food item…the Mushroom. Now, the entry scene of the exotic mushroom in my life is much earlier. It was around circa 1996, if I remember right. My dad had just come back from one of his tour trips and was bugging my mom to try out some new food item (of course!!) he had had earlier. Though mom was a bit hesitant, she finally agreed onto it. So, one glorious day, he bought a whole packet of button mushrooms and kept it in the fridge. A whole 5 minutes had passed when I heard a blood curling scream from the kitchen. I and my sister ran to the source, to find my paati heaving about the new weird bulb-like that had been kept in the fridge. Our explanations were to no avail and my paati had already decided on its penalty. Thus, by the next day morning, it was sent off with the garbage. The whole episode was kept quiet from dad so that he wouldn’t get upset.

More mosquito coils…soin soin soin…..circa 1990. As grandpa’s place had a huge garden attached to it, this turned out to be the ideal place for mushrooms to grow during rainy seasons and that’s where I had my first class on the subject when I accidentally plucked one.

Lesson 1: Mushrooms are not be touched; they are supposedly toxic!

Lesson 2: it’s a non-veg food item

Lesson 3: Its called “Naai kodai” (translated as Dog’s Umbrella)

Well, of all the above lessons, the last chapter intrigued me. My paati being my venerable tutor, I asked what that term meant. She frowned at me for even asking about that. Then, she told me a tale which gave a gist of something that would make me not go near that thing- that it’s a plant which grows when dogs pee on it!!!!! And this is the same reason she gives me even to date.

After a couple of months of joining college, I used to cringe at the thought of my friends having it as a delicacy. Not because, I didn’t know what it was, but from the thought of my paati’s explanation would make me feel sick. I tasted it first when I had my first pizza- and fell in love with it!!! Have become a great drooling fan of mushrooms and always make it a point to order at least something with it. I still do not clearly understand why my paati had to give such an explanation for it, but I do respect her (and her weird theories) and don’t mention about the food items I had had with Naai kodais!!! As to how we spent our hard earned money at that ridiculously expensive restaurant in T-Nagar- that would become a separate post altogether. Till then…d goodbyes……


Idling in Top Gear said...

Gotta love aacharufied households! My parents hate mushrooms, to the point where I couldn't even get in on the pizza I order for myself! Their logic is that it's non-veg coz it can't produce it's own food, and sometimes grows off animals! "Enna karumamo!"

Also totally relate to veg/non-veg combined joints. I haven't set foot in one of those until I was here in the States! Even here, at home, I had separate pans, plates & cutlery than my Omelete-loving roommate for the first year! What can I say, I was such a Mama! Of course, adjusted to it now - though I still cringe at establishments where they put your veggie-burger on the same grill!

Pettai Maami said...

@idling mama- he he..veggie-burgers?? i keep thanking subway for having separate counters.. :P