We were meeting for the second time. We decided to have breakfast because we were early for the movie we intended to watch. We had Dosa and Uttapam. She asked for a lemonade to go with her Uttapam.

When she tasted her lemonade, she made a face. Turns out it was a sweet and salty lemonade, not the only salty lemonade she had asked for.

So, I spoke to the guy who had taken our order and asked him to replace the it. When he said “This one’s already made. We can’t change it” ata maaji satakli! (Then I got angry) “We explicitly asked you to not put sugar. I heard her say it. I saw your head nod in acknowledgement. You should have just said No if it is not something you make! We would have taken ourselves to another place” I almost scolded.

People started turning and looking at us. The guy apologized. I calmed down “We are not asking you to waste anything, I just want this changed. Get us the salty one, I’ll pay for this one too. But please don’t treat us like you are doing us a favor”.

We eventually got the lemondae we has asked for. But with it, came a Coke. So we tried to send it back, thinking this was going to be a long morning.
But it was sent to us as an apology for “ruining our morning”. On our way out I apologized to the manager for having spoken to harshly.

It was the first time I had felt such anger. On our ride back, my friend said “God save the world if you get pissed!” I chuckled because I am actually that guy with a ill-fitting jacket at the back of his closet, that he didn’t return so he wouldn’t have to talk to the guy who claimed that “This size will surely fit”

So, I guess, the deal is: I am a fattu (scardy cat) until you mess with my food or someone I like. Lakhnavi tehzeeb with a hint of Sunny Deol I call it.

My experience making, drinking and serving Nimbu Pani

  1. I am the overtly confrontational girl. All confrontations for my family and partner are diverted to me. On the scale of will not return a badly-recommended jacket and returning food, where do you lie?
  2. Lemons are beautiful. Their smell, their color, the taste are perfect, next only to coriander. I envy any family/household that has a lemon tree in their yard. I am sure they have talking pets and secret worlds in their closets. Whenever I pass such a house on my walk, I search the tree for lemons, not to steal but to appreciate.
    If you ever pass a lemon tree, take a leaf (preferably one fallen on the ground, not plucked), crush it in your palm and smell it. You’ll understand my love.
  3. Perfect Nimbu pani is hard to come by. People always get the amount of Gin wrong.
  4. And making even the banal, work-hour Nimbu Panis is arduous work.

    This is what my recipe looks like:

    Ingredients: water, lemon, sugar, salt as per liking

    Step 1: Add sugar, salt, lemon juice to water
    Step 2: Stir
    Step 3: Taste. Doesn’t taste right!
    Step 4: Add more sugar
    Step 5: Add a little salt
    Step 6: Add more water.
    Step 7: Did not mean THAT much. Now add more everything
    Step 8: Add much more sugar
    Step 9: Now just a little, teeny tiny bit of lemon. No no, not that much dammit!

I have fallen off the ‘healthy relationship with food’ wagon. Breakfasts have stopped because dadi, my breakfast companion, left for gaon and parents+sister have lunch food for breakfast. I have been forgetting lunch too. I eat dinners. But I suspect the night medicines have something to do with that.

I hadn’t even noticed this a-meal-a-day schedule till papa pointed it to me. These -lack of hunger and mindlessness- usually signify a slowly crumbling mental health.

Good thing I am taking time out from work. It gives me a hope of energy and time. I may be able to course correct before hitting a low.

So I tried fix my food schedule for 4 days days, thinking all the motivational thoughts Oprah left in my brain and Nada. Through this, Via Dil and it’s big ‘to-cook’ list kept tugging at my heart. I believe it had a role to play in the breakfast I finally cooked myself on Sunday: Fussili in pesto (also inherited from a Via Dil story for Rohini). Then thanks the fresh berries (the other half of my lemon-coriender soul) I designed a sunny side up with a side of lemon cake breakfast platter around the berries. There was no breakfast today because all the ‘breakfast cooking’ energy fund was diverted into ‘getting out of bed’ department.

But I am a determined cookie with a plan to fix this food behavior one breakfast at a time.

Breakfast schedule for the week:

  • Omlette Bread
  • Missal Pav
  • Dhokla
  • Thukpa
  • Hummus stuff (which basically means I will dip anything in hummus and eat it)

I know many people, mostly ones who stay away from family, tend to skip breakfast. I am told breakfasts are important, not only for physical energy but for your mind. It helps set a schedule, bring a semblance of control to an otherwise unpredictable pandemic day. So try with me. We’ll send each other photos and encouragement.

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