What does one do upon coming home after three weeks? I tell you what one does, one walks in the house and gets tackled by one’s dog, that’s what. Then when one finally disentangles one’s self from the clutches of a large, over-enthusiastic and wiggly dog, one trips over one’s suitcase and then falls through the front door and into the house with the dog following close behind. One then scolds the dog for entering forbidden territory (the house), but gently, and closes the door.
Then one wanders up the fridge, opens the door, and grows despondent at the lack of food therein. It is at that point that one learns that one’s father has been living on instant noodles, fried eggs, and canned mithai for the five days he spent in the house alone before you arrived. Then you switch over and get back to typing in first person again.
Right, so 45 minutes ago I got home, was tackled by the dog, and found the fridge to be depressingly empty. So I went into battle-mode: changing into my flannel pajamas, cranking up some nasheed and rummaging around the deep freezer for something edible.
I found a bag of frozen beef cubes. Mmm, delish. There’s not a lot you can do with a bag of frozen beef cubes, even when you ARE wearing flannel pajamas. You really only have one option when there’s nothing in the house but beef cubes- nihari. Ok then, so I started a pot of nihari. When it was done, I tasted it. And it was disgusting. Tasteless. It was nothing but hot. So I added more spices, some salt, coriander, etc, and tasted it, and it was still disgusting. I was in the process of standing over the pot and menacing it with a box of fish masala when my father came home and dinner had to be served. Time for further improvement (if that’s what you want to call it) was up. He served himself a plate, dipped a piece of fresh bread in it, popped it into his mouth and made a face that looked horrified and morbidly curious at the same time.
“What is this?” he asked, swallowing dramatically, “I thought you were making nihari?”
“It is nihari,” I said feebly. “See, beefcubes?”
“It tastes somewhat…different from how it usually tastes,” my father said, choosing his words tactfully.
“No,” he said, shaking his head, “Horrible.”
I sighed and dutifully deposited myself at the dining table with my own plate. “I don’t know what happened daddy, maybe it’s because I haven’t cooked at all in the three weeks we spent in Karachi.”
“Or maybe,” Aniraz said, “It’s because you have a cold and you can’t taste anything, you genius. You ruined what might have been perfectly good nihari!”
I sadly concurred. If I had remembered that my head was more stuffed up than a Thanksgiving turkey, I would have let Aniraz do the cooking. I brought back some mean germs from Karachi, evil and sneaky germs that took over before I even realized what was going on. And I brought enough to share, so I’m feeling generous. Hey everybody, imported germs at my place, and free nihari too. So don’t say I never gave you nothin. :p
*cough, cough. teeth*