In every practical sense, a grinder functions here as a malicious bot, smart enough to strike at the right, uh, wrong time.
Hurrying halfway up the stairs, which land in the mouth of the kitchen, he motioned for his mother to stop whatever activity she was indulging in. She seemed comfortable with the chaos and bustle of typical Indian cuisine that precedes these incredible times. of contentment at the table.
She fiddled with the switches of the instrument she was using, mimicking the accuracy of music maestro AR Rahman’s finger movements on the piano. Like a pedantic and picky composer, she applied herself to satiate her soul, while her son waited crescendo for the concert to be able to reason with his mother.
She didn’t quite understand what exactly her son wanted as he gesticulated frantically. As if the roof of the “concert hall” had caught fire. Horror and disbelief were part of the cocktail of emotions etched on his face.
Half asleep after churning out a landmark 108-page edition, I sat on the edge of the couch like a backstage usher, watching the drama unfold. Wifey was in no mood to move. The joy on her face reminded me of the Walkman player poster girl. Lost in a world of her own, unaware of all the evils in the world.
” What do you want ? I asked him in sign language, without risking meddling in my wife’s cooking business. Almost in tears, he crossed the kitchen floor and literally unplugged his instrument, the great Indian blender-grinder.
“This is one of the terms we agreed on when I came to work from home for six months,” he shouted in a low voice.
“For the love of God, please don’t run a mixer between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. when I’m on a conference call,” he explained.
“Food won’t come to the table unless I use it,” reasoned his wife, pointing to an Indian-made grinder. “Idli, vada and dosa all need spicy condiments,” she said as she wiped white spills of grated coconut onto the grinder jar.
“Why do you always get a noisy Indian machine? There’s no shortage of international brands that won’t wake up the whole neighborhood.
“Indian spices need a rough and tough machine. No matter how loud it sounds.
“It’s not just noise, it’s commotion. It’s hell. You know this is one of the reasons why the Germans in Munich refuse to rent their apartments to the Indians. The noise and spices in your kitchen not only pollute the air, but also break the tranquility of the place.
“Kadavule, Europe has corrupted this boy,” his wife lamented.
No matter the brand, Indian food grinders seem to have an ingenious mechanism for springing to life on their own – at the wrong time. When the daughter-in-law struggles to put the baby to sleep with a soothing lullaby. When the breadwinner husband is about to start his morning Zoom calls. When the girl, who studies literature, struggles to memorize the last stanza of Ulysses. When the husband’s colleague calls to ask for a car lift. When the son and his girlfriend meet one weekend, sharing their AirPods. When the cute hospital nurse calls to check husband’s latest blood pressure. When the husband on a night shift struggles to sleep. When the last over is thrown in a breathless IPL match or when a Premier League shootout has just begun.
In every practical sense, a grinder in the Indian kitchen works like a malicious robot, smart enough to strike at the right, er, wrong time.
“Amma, the thing is, all the appliances you own, except for Dad, are cacophonous. They make life miserable. He then explained to his mother how technology has made life easier and how silence has become the sixth element. Even grandma had the old grinding wheel which made less noise than the modern machine.
“Noise is never forgiven in Europe,” he added as he returned to the upstairs office to resume his conference call.
He came downstairs at lunchtime screaming halfway through. “What’s for lunch?”
“Shawarma from last night’s order. I can make a silent club sandwich if you want.
“What the hell, Amma. Give me rice and spicy sambhar? »
The hubbub of the grinder in the nearby Ukrainian kitchen broke our newfound silence.