“The dal was heavy on salt.”, he declared as soon as he walked in to the house. Back from office, he set down the grey and black backpack on the floor, proceeded to sit on the chair lined next to the rickety rack of shoes. It was as if the salt had cast a dry spell on his day and had sucked out all charm out of it. This was of course was unacceptable to Mamoni.
Mamoni frowned and said,”It tasted fine to me.” and just like that she questioned Meera, “Beta did you add salt to the dal when you warmed it up this morning?”. The question took Meera by surprise. She had been busy typing away the course objectives of the presentation for a POC which was due the next day. All her focus was in the laptop screen; she considered herself fortunate the days she did not have to be part of such conversations. Today was not going to be one such day.
She looked up from her laptop, puzzlement written all over her face. “Are Biren said the dal was over-salted. Did you add more salt?”, Mamoni asked her in a sweet but stern voice. Meera looked at her husband for a sign and he looked away. Mumbling to himself, Biren withdrew into the inner room dragging the backpack after him.
Meera jogged her memory back to the morning hours. Today morning she had woken up late by 10 minutes and that had set her routine back. She had taken out the kaddu ki sabji and doled out a portion of it to warm it up for the lunch. Meanwhile she had brushed her teeth, collected the milk packet from the packet, taken out the dal for heating up. But she did not remember adding the salt. “I did not.”, Meera replied softly. Mamoni looked at her with a look that accused her of lying. She was a Leo, known to be a fierce woman who reigned over her household, and the kitchen was her domain. She was not going to be found lacking in handling this situation. Just this evening she had told Meera how the begunis she had made on Sunday, were low on salt. “Baki sob thik, noon ta ektu kom chilo”, she gave her critique’s feedback.
Meera was disheartened on hearing it. That afternoon, when she was serving the beguni along with hot kichudi, Mamoni had showered praises on her. She declared that the begunis had come out right, crisp and tasty. Biren was beaming with pride. He knew that it was not easy to a good word from Mamoni’s mouth. If only he knew what was on Mamoni’s mind.
Salt is a key ingredient which is used for adding flavour in many cuisines. One has to be very careful while adding salt. A little more and the food could become unpalatable, a little less and the food could go untouched on the plate. It has to be there in the correct quantity so that one can savour the taste and enjoy the food. Criticism is just like salt, a little more and you can make someone unhappy, doubtful of their abilities; little less and they would be too sure of their skills to even care for improving. Meera mused as she lay on the bed, eyes locked on the ceiling fan, blades following each other in a never ending chase.
P.S This post is a re-blog. It was first posted in my old blog.