Think of S. Think of S’s mother. Think of S’s mother’s gaajar ka halwa. Focus on the gaajar ka halwa. Realise that a year has gone by since you last had some. Miss it. Crave it. Realise that it is the only form in which you consume carrots. Remember that carrots are rich in Vitamin A. Wonder how you’ve survived a year without Vitamin A. Resolve to procure some gaajar ka halwa to fulfil your body’s Vitamin A requirements. Wonder why you think of such stupid reasons to have gaajar ka halwa. Wonder why you need any reason to have gaajar ka halwa. Resolve to have gaajar ka halwa. Now.
Be an idiot. Ignore the sweetshop on the next block. Choose to make it yourself. At home. Alone.
Look for recipes online. Dismiss the one that fast-tracks the process by employing a pressure cooker. Scoff at the suggestion to use condensed milk. Decide to start from scratch.
Buy half a kilo of carrots. Marvel at how cheap they are. Wonder why you haven’t cooked gaajar ka halwa before. Cradle five carrots, each as long as your forearm, in your forearms, and hum lullabies as you walk home.
Wash carrots. Drop one in sink. Wash carrots. Drop one in sink. Wash carrots one by one.
Peel carrots. Hey, this is easy! Wonder why mother rarely accedes to requests for gaajar ka halwa.
Chop carrots into pieces as long, as grater is wide. Commence grating first piece. Keep grating. Continue grating. Glance at clock. Note that ten minutes have passed. Notice that only half the carrot piece has been grated. Note that twenty-four pieces remain. Realise why mother rarely accedes to requests for gaajar ka halwa.
Accidentally grate fingers against grater. Drop carrot. Cry out in pain. Stick fingertips in mouth. Repeat until most of your dermis and all of your epidermis have been similarly processed.
Grate grate grate. Become aware of stinging pain that started off from fingertips, camped in joints, migrated up phalanges and finally settled in knuckles. Wipe palms on boxers and check if titanium knuckles have been invented. Ponder about what would happen if you bunged all carrots in mixer and gave it a spin. Realise you would end up with carrot juice. Resume grating.
Resume acquaintance with pain, which has now garbed itself in guise of ache and crept up to biceps which, after eight months of living incognito in gym, have chosen this moment to announce their existence. Attempt to dry palm on soaked vest and Google average waiting period of Zonal Hand Transplantation Program.
Turn grater around, scrape carrot towards you instead, and manage to stab yourself in stomach. Imagine tomorrow’s headlines:
Authorities broke into the house of a deranged young doctor after neighbours reported his screams of ‘S’s MOTHER IS MA ANNAPURNA’, ‘WORSHIP WOMEN WHO COOK’ and ‘CAPITALISM RULES!’ The police have registered a case of attempted suicide as the victim was found impaled on a carrot stick, which he had evidently tried to insert directly into his intestines via his belly button.
As paramedics provided first aid, the victim allegedly overheard a policewoman say that she might take the grated carrot home to make a salad. Psychiatrists opined that this may have caused the victim to jump out of the stretcher, tackle the policewoman and knock her out cold.
The authorities have additionally charged the victim with assaulting a public servant.
Finish grating carrots. Admire an hour’s worth of labour. Consider cryopreserving few strands to show off to great-grandchildren. Wonder whether some can be embedded in glass paperweight to place on mantelpiece. Begin transferring strands that had fallen on kitchen counter or floor into dustbin. Pause. Laugh dementedly. Add to heap.
Slap some ghee in saucepan. Melt it. Fling in copious amounts of raisins, and indiscriminately chopped cashews and almonds, to at least increase, if not double bulk of dish. Fry until raisins resemble cataractous lenses and other two look like they hiked mountain but forgot sunscreen.
Dunk in some more ghee, because this is dish for Gods. Add carrots, and mix until shoulder dislocates. Wonder what average global temperatures were before you started cooking. Wonder if sweat is chef’s secret ingredient. Wonder if carrots should be sizzling, roasting or frying. Look at saucepan, and recoil with horror at modest lump of carrot mush trying to hide in corner. Read Wikepedia article which informs you that carrots are 88% water. Fling phone away.
Add milk. Be grateful that you didn’t have to buy cow and milk it. Let it condense. Bury it all under heaps of sugar, because Indian dessert is essentially sweetened cholesterol.
Peel few pods of cardamom with your toes because fingers are on sick leave. Pound them in mortar with pestle between your teeth because you can’t make fist anymore. Add along with fried dry fruits. Mix well. Call your mum. Tell her you love her. Pass out.
Halwa is…perfect. Cool. Put in freezer. Have one teaspoon a day and give thanks that your fingers, after months of daily physiotherapy, are beginning to regain motor function.
Buy gun to shoot people who want to taste some of your preciousssss. Gollum gollum.
Think of S. Think of S’s mother. Think of how long it’s been since she’s had a chance to make you gaajar ka halwa…
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