Masala Dosa

Under a yolk colored velvet pillow a four folded black ten rupees note drenched in savings from an explosion of memory line from slips, beads, coins, inland letters, betel nuts, dried jasmine to pictures of a Baba and a picture of Hanuman who needed protection inside a plastic sheet.
My grandmother asked me to pick up the slain tenner for two Masala Dosa from Café Shree. I saw a little red note slyly peeping out of the ten’s note, it was two rupees. It held the ten like a langur baby clinging on to mother’s belly. I secretly eves-dropped inside a fold to confirm and the vermillion colored note drowned from the sail boat that sailed rough seas of the 1989’s ten’s note. I sat behind my old grandmother, rocking on her back and wistfully reminiscing the way my mother pulled me out of bus station when I wanted to check my weight on a teleporter like machine. I wanted to see the khaki ticket that revealed my cost to the planet and behind the card were pictures in black and white of actors and actresses. I always got Amitabh, Dharmendra, Mithun Da and Jackie Shroff, but I was desperate to have Hema Malini behind. I had collected the ones my dad drew from the teleporter, but I wanted my Hema. I overheard some youths talking that it took certain weight margin; underweight: it declares you to be a female and spits out the Amitabh battalion, and anything above the mark rings out the Goddesses of Bollywood. It would take me years to get there, by then I might choose Sunny Leone. I evolved a plan while rocking, which is to ask the red templed clerk at Café Shree for a bag of onions to be placed on the feet of Café’s weighing machine and let him double the charge as I have the clinging langur at my disposal. I hoisted my knickers and kick started my imaginary Jawa motorcycle, my grandmother shouted to the world that descended until I reached the gate, ‘There is a two rupees note inside, get a vada and extra chutney as well’. The Jawa now took aeons like the legendary Luna moped pondering over the langur baby’s assassination by the vada. The clerk swept the ten and two, he had coins in cups of memorised denominations. Like a Kung-fu champ shooting playing cards he shot the two yellow and a pink coupon and a 50 paise coin.
The jute bag oozed out onions from its holes. The Café’s teleporter had a multi colored wheel, a huge tungsten, little bulbs blinked and gears did circles while a coil coiled and uncoiled, and a cleft opened to the world of Bollywood. Next to this machine, stable a ceramic horse which had an opening too, my aunts loved to see my shaven head go up and down. I wonder how they perceived their gallant nephew on a rocking horse.
If these distractions did not exist, my Jacobson’s organ would command my attention to the batter frying in ghee and oil, the little onions boiling in the sambar, the aroma of red chutney smeared at a precise epoch of a Dosa’s maturity- the ripe moment when the batter transforms from the white to creamish crisp while the pores are still white rimmed. That makes a Masala Dosa. The timing of marriage between the batter and the red chutney, the blending of two different grains, two different taste, two different texture match their horoscopes. And the best suited combination is popped to it, the mashed potato in turmeric and green chillies. After pouring three spoonful ghee, the married Dosa urges to raise by itself from their missionary position. None hurries during their honeymoon. None, not even the cook who would have million sweat beads on his forehead in a rare ready-made baniyan fitting his size while his man-boobs slips off from sleeves. He knows the right time to turn the reddened dosa, when to slide the spatula under the hot bed of delicious love and make a cone, roll a carpet or divorce when ordered ‘by-two’. And he has ample time to blow his nose and rub the mucus to his 60 inches towel viz 30 on his shoulders and 30 around his waist and also prepare the next heap of mashed potato. Flavours are important from all possible spices, natural and man-made, the secrets of Indian cuisine has still remained a secret, very few understand a perfect recipe of Masala Dosa. The ingredients may not directly involve in the mutiny but the water that consists batter particles, red chutney particles, mucus, sweat, salt and coriander afloat. This concoction is struck on the flat frying slate thrice, a broom is used to clean up the signs of previous marriage. A fresh wedding of batter and chutney shall begin after a nasal blow.
This wedded pair shall not become a tomb but it shall roll like a carpet- It shall be parcelled. The parcel officer of Café Shree pinned the coupon into a curved needle which had been faithful enough to avoid his fingers. He pulled out two half newspapers and placed a plantain leaf, he spat chutney and buried it under yellowing plaintain leaf, he rolled the dosa on it and the sides were tucked into the dosa with plaintain leaf. Like the epic image of Krishna exuding sarees for Draupadi, there would be reel of white cotton thread, that the parcel officer runs it around the parcel and cuts the blessings in seconds. Dosa is safe, but Draupadi is in the mercy of Dushyashana! When the wedding bell ringed he shouted ‘Two musssaaale single vada paarsell’.
I still had 50 paise left and I had no clue until then how I was that rich. The teleporter blinked yellow, red and green bulbs in a row, I stood on the iron platform and called for help with jute bag from another musssaaale devotee. The devotee questioned first but convinced by my innocence helped by keeping a leg with me and my Dosas and the assassin vada and we had our Rekha this time! The monstrous leg must have scared Hema.
I had to be contempt for my first juvenile attempt. I started my Jawa and rode off without indicators or rear view mirrors. On my grandmother cot, we sat to eat the hot dosas. It gave cold upper cheeks at first bite, then at second bite it turned colder when granny asked for the extra chutney! I had to say Hema Malini relished it!!


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