Around two years back, a neighbour of mine came home. I was having idly that time, so I brought her a plate too. She had and said they were very yummy. I also packed her few idlis. She called me in the evening saying her husband loved those idlis. She wanted me to teach her some day. I was shocked because she isn’t very fond of cooking and she also thinks, instead of working so hard in making something, one can spend some money and eat out. There is another reason too, she thinks that it might not turn out good. Anyways, I agreed.
One day she called me and told that she wanted to make idli for dinner. So I asked her to soak dal and grind after few hours. She told me she would soak dal but asked me to come and make the batter. I agreed but I was hesitant because, I was eight months pregnant and MIL never allowed me to step out around that time. But, I convinced her. I made the batter and told her that I would teach her next day and by that time the batter would ferment too.
So next day, I made dinner at my place and left for her place. I told my MIL that I would have dinner at her place as she wouldn’t let me go without eating. When I reached her home, I saw she was watching TV and and nothing was ready. Nothing as in NOTHING. She didn’t soak the dal and she didn’t grate the coconut. I was shocked. I had to go home early otherwise my MIL would scold me. I asked her to soak the dal and grate coconut. I even asked her to keep an eye while I was making first batch of idlis. After she was done with grating coconut, I told her the way to make chutney. She asked me to make it. She was scared that she might goof up. Now don’t ask me how can anyone goof up while making chutney! I have no idea.
After chutney, I made sambar too as I knew she would say the same thing if I asked her to make on her own. After making chutney, sambar and one batch of idli, I told her that I would leave and she could make the remaining ones herself. Guess what she said! She asked me to steam the remaining idlis because she was scared that she might not get it right and blah and more blah! I agreed. After making 48 idlis (for four people *rolling eyes*), I finally asked her leave. She thanked me and said okay. That is it! Nope, she didn’t offer me to have dinner at her home. She only offered me water. No, maybe I asked for water. Anyways, I don’t remember.
So why this idli saga after two years.
Because, yesterday another neighbour of mine came and asked me to teach her idli making. I told her I would come in ten minutes after completing my work. I went there and I found that she got ready-made batter and she just wanted to tell her, how to steam idlis. I taught her and with left over batter, I told she could make dosas. She didn’t knew, so I made dosas too. I asked if she knew how to make sambar and chutney. She said that she made sambar and brought ready-made chutney.
I said okay and was leaving. She asked me to have some. I refused. She insisted. I refused again. She asked me again and the kids joined her. I refused again. She asked me for tea and coffee. I left saying, some other time.
Now, why am I mentioning this! Because, I ‘steamed’ only 5 idlis and made 2 dosas. And she wanted me to share where as for another neighbour, I ‘made’ 48 idlis and she didn’t even ask me once!
This thing touched me and I had to mention it here.
I also wanted to tell everyone (whoever is reading, obviously!) that idli can be a very good judge of character!
P.S. No, I am not the official ‘idli maker’ of my neighbours.