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Mouthpiece #54

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Vibha Sharma

June 30 · Issue #54 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

काश...
काश…
आज फिर वही छोटी सी बच्ची बन जाऊँ,

जिसे प्यार से बुलाने के अनेकों ही नाम थे,
स्कूल में लिखवाए नाम को कम ही जानते थे |

जिसे झालर वाली फ्रॉक पहनने का शौक था,
फ्रॉक पर बने फ़ूलों से भी ज़्यादा खिला चेहरा था |

जिसे खूब ज़िद करना आता था और मनवाना भी,
जिसकी आँखों में ही बसते थे अनगिनत सपने भी |

काश…
आज फिर उस समय में वापिस चली जाऊँ,

जब एक सादी रोटी-सब्ज़ी दावतों को दे देते मात,
जब ख़ुशी मिलती खाने में बाँट के सबके साथ |

जब होंठों और हँसी की दोस्ती बहुत गहरी थी,
जब एक अनोखी चमक आँखों में ही रहती थी |

जब समय अपनी कोई पाबन्दी न लगाता था,
दिन का ढलना बहुत सहज मालूम पड़ता था |

काश…
आज फिर एक बार उसी जगह पहुँच जाऊँ,

जहाँ आँसुओं का दर्द सिर्फ आँखों जितना गहरा था,
जहाँ रिश्तों के छूट जाने का आभास तक न था |

जहाँ अकेलेपन से कभी रूबरू न हुई थी,
जहाँ अपने से बातें करना एक मजबूरी न थी |

जहाँ जा फिर एक बार सीखूँ दिल से खुश होना,
जहाँ एक बार फिर याद करूँ पाठ मैं जीने का |
Reading time...
What's cooking
Read ‘The Last Gambit’ by Om Swami this week. I have read some of his earlier books too and cannot emphasise enough how wonderful his 'If Truth be Told’ is. 'The Last Gambit’ is his first fiction but I feel it is a great self-help book and the fictional plot lends the narrative a lightness which makes it much easier to read and to relate to. 
What's cooking in the kitchen? Classic Aloo-parantha
Nothing beats a good aloo parantha as a breakfast delicacy in Punjabi homes and the good part is, it can be prepared all through the year, as the main ingredients - potatoes and onions are always available.
When I talk about aloo parantha and whenever I make them at home, I always picture my mother in my mind as her aloo paranthas made me fall in love with them in the first place and this love has remained unflinchingly true all these years. When I mentally picture her working in the kitchen, she looks like a person deep in meditation or worship. She truly lent her heart and soul to every dish that she prepared and would go to any length to ensure the perfection in the simplest of the meals. For this particular parantha she always kneaded the flour fresh and never used the already kneaded one. She emphasised that the pliability of the potato mixture and the dough match perfectly when both are prepared fresh.
Over the years, nothing has or could replace the special feeling that I have for the aloo pranthas and I am happy that now my son shows the same love for them.
But frankly speaking, we are not the rare breed who love aloo pranthas so dearly. It is actually one of the most traditional breakfasts in most of the Punjabi homes, at least that was the case till people started looking at the calories that they consume even at home while the allure of outside food conveniently pushes the thought behind.
Potatoes : 5-6 (boiled and peeled)
Onions : 1 medium size (finely chopped)
Green chillies : 2 (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves : loosely packed ½ cup (finely chopped)
Ajwain : ½ tsp
Anardana powder : 1/3 tsp (optional)
Garam Masala : ¼ tsp
Salt : to taste
Oil : to fry the parantha
Mash the potatoes in a big bowl and add all the ingredients to it (except oil). Mix the whole thing really nicely so that it forms a smooth, consistent lump of mixture.
Heat the tawa and keep it ready for the parantha. Take a small ball of wheat dough, roll it into a flat poori sized roti. Place 2 tbsp of the potato mixture in the middle. Now wrap all the sides of the dough on top of the mixture and press them together to seal them nicely. Now start flattening it with rolling pin but gently so that the potato mixture doesn’t come out. With slow and gentle strokes, the roti will start getting flattened without the mixture peeping out from the dough layer. When it is sufficiently flat, place it on the hot tawa. Turn its side when one side is done. Turn again and spread some oil on it. Fry it so that it is crispy from the outside on both the sides. Serve it hot directly from tawa along with white butter, curd and mango pickle.
Some things are irreplaceable and I would put homemade white butter in this category if one is to derive the most authentic pleasure out of this meal.
An important tip : Take the potatoes out from the boiled water as soon as the steam in the cooker gets released. Put them in the sieve and leave them for half an hour or so. This allows the excess water to drain off from the potatoes completely otherwise the potato mixture will be more soft and a little difficult to manage. 
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