The Rise of The New Condiment

In a society where arranged marriages are still the norm not an exception, the plight of the star crossed lovers in the Indian subcontinent is as old as the Himalayas! The matter takes an ugly turn when diktats and decrees are meted out by the elders, religious and castes  heads.  These self – appointed custodians of their brood  feel they have every right to play with human emotions and lives. Nasty and unnecessary violations of human lives follow , where love and acceptance would have easily made a warm home.

In this day and age there are many families who take a weird pride to oppose the lovebirds by emulating the strictest bollywood parents , wily aunts  or scheming uncles !  As long as they do come around in the end, all teary eyed and contrite to bless the happy union, the matter remains contained and personal. Still this appears needlessly dramatic to an outsider, alien to this strange phenomenon of arranged marriages.

Winds of change are blowing though! As I very recently discovered, one more such alien resides in my home. Yes, that makes three of us .  I, my husband and our lovely bright young teenager. On a recent road trip , she and her granny, were having an animated discussion on our various family members. She loves to meet and know them so was making the most of this annual opportunity.  Just  about into her  teens and still fascinated by happily ever after stories, she was goading her gran to divulge all the family secrets, like who met when and how and of course the great Indian wedding drama that ensued. After peppering the family tales to entertain her, my mom teasingly mentioned to her grand daughter that her parents match wasn’t the normal one.

Instantly there was a bewildered protest by my daughter. After listening to all the tales , she found that her parents, had had the most normal marriages. Boy and Girl meet, fall in love, get married. What can be more normal than that, she queried her gran!

Bemused ,my husband and I looked at each other,  thinking only if she knew the stiff opposition we had confronted then.

Well, after having surpassed the hurdle of family drama , we embarked on the mundaneness of running a household, after all one cant eat love and fresh air. I particularly remember the time  when we were both in the kitchen trying to make an everyday Indian dish of “Daal”  (lentils). At the end this humble dish requires seasoning of clarified butter (Ghee)  with condiments. That’s when the confusion happened , while he thought it had to be Mustard seeds, I was confident it was the Cumin seeds. It was the North and South divide playing out in full force to save our soul food.  Living and growing up in the same country we both were strangers to our  typical food, language and rituals.  At that moment we were quite certain any change in this crucial condiment would ruin our home cooked meal.

Today after two decades and two kids later, I profess that my awareness on condiments has risen. I can now rustle up a mean “Daal” with both or more condiments thrown into the crackling Butter , happy to report it has only tasted better. What I find heartening and now take pride in is that our children find this condiment mix normal.















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