Saturday, March 19, 2011

Project Popcorn *•.*•.✿.•*.•*

Few days ago, I went for a walk alone along the serene river bank. It was quite a refreshing and lovely walk with the cool breeze blowing from across the river making the boughs of trees sway and the leaves hustle and rustle. It caressed my face and my hair giving me the breadth of fresh air which I was longing for. The air smelled sweet and the chirping of the birds made the evening more delightful making my heart and mind swell with joy. I really really enjoyed my walk. Only thing I felt missing was Mom walking alongside me. If only Mom had been with me, to share the lovely atmosphere and surroundings, it would have been The perfect walk on a perfect evening. I've always been close to my mom and shall remain close forever. My time spent with her are some of the most wonderful moments of my life.  So thinking about Mom and Dad and all the people I love, I turned back home. As I neared home, I saw a guy selling corn in a makeshift stall and stopped to buy some. Once I  reached home, I sat down, pulled away the covering skin of the corn and began loosening the corn seeds. While doing so, I remembered something amusing which I did when I was 14 yrs of age. 

Kanglapat..Photo by Yaikhomba.
     Those days, me and mom used to go for walks almost every evening if it does not rain. And as our home is situated at the heart of Imphal city, normally our route happened to be via the market place and then along the Kanglapat moat. As we walk along, we come across the popcorn sellers who go around pushing a handcart upon which the guy had a gas stove, on the stove a big iron kadhai(pan) which contained a large amount of salt to be used as a medium to pop the corns and at the same time give them a salty flavour. He used to pop his popcorn right in front of his customers and it was always fun to watch him do so. Mom loves popcorn and me too. So often, we used to stop and buy whenever we come across one such seller. While waiting for him to pop the corns for us, I used to watch him with due interest as he adds the corn seeds on the heated salt in the pan, stirs the salt and corn holding a long iron ladle with his right hand while he holds with his left hand, an aluminium pan cover a little above and over the pan so as  the popping corns do not escape from the pan and fall back within the pan. It was a delight to watch each seed going pop* pop* pop*...and bursting into lovely white flower like popcorn until almost all the seeds get done. Soon the huge iron pan gets filled up with these lovely white popcorn and the aroma was just Mmmmmm...... tempting!! With undivided attention, I used to observed him as he turns off the flames on his stove and using the ladle scoops out the popcorn. He then would put them inside a Potlang(bamboo basket woven with spaces in between)and shake the basket over the pan so as all the extra salt fall back through the spaces in between the weave of the basket. By this time the popcorn have cooled down a bit from being pan hot to deliciously warm. He than packs for us in packets for all those waiting around his cart. 5 Rupees per packet was the cost. I used to walk home beside mom, a delighted girl full of glee, munching the warm and delicious popcorn. No butter, no pepper or any other added flavor but Simple Classic Salted.  We used to bring extra packets for everybody at home too. This became a regular thing and each day I used to watch the popcorn guy's every move as he makes the popcorn for us to buy. One day it finally struck my mind that I now know how to make popcorn so, why not try at home? Why not make on my own and serve them to the people I love most? That would be just wonderful!! 

    Now now, *Project Popcorn* is beginning to take shape in my mind and decided to implement my project and accomplish it as the earliest. I made a mental calculation of  what the things that I would be needing to put to task my idea. Then started looking for them in the kitchen and the storeroom......1. Big Iron Pan, it is there in the kitchen...not so big as the one the popcorn guy has but would still serve the purpose. The ones in the storeroom were huge ones, two or three times as big as the one the Popcorn Guy has and are meant for use when there is a big luncheon or dinner at home and Brahmin Cooks would use them to cook for the guests on firewood. No way a young girl could lift it up and place on the stove.  2. Long handled ladle and aluminium pan cover,... found those that matched the pan in the kitchen. 3. Potlang,... found many. These bamboo baskets, every  household in Manipurkgs". I asked Mom to buy me 2 Kgs of corn. With an amusing spark in her eyes, Mom asked, "Are you going to pop all of them?" I said "YES! Am going to make for all of us at home and who soever might be visiting us today." With a smile she bought me 2 kilograms of dry corn seeds from a store. Holding and hugging my precious corn seeds this excited girl walks home to begin work on her new project.

      Soon as we reached home and while mom went and sat beside Granny talking about something(nothing went into my mind. All my concentration was on the implementation of my project at the earliest) I walked straight inside the kitchen, placed the packet of corn on the kitchen counter, hurriedly drank a glass of water and began my task without waiting for mom to join me and guide me. I thought I have learnt all by watching the Popcorn Guy. Did not have the slightest idea about what is going to happen in the next few moments.

      Finally I began my task. ....One, two, three... lighted the stove. Four five six.....placed the pan on the gas stove. Seven, eight, nine.... opened a 1 kg pack of iodized salt and poured all onto the pan. Happily I kept stirring the salt with my ladle for some time until it became very hot. Ten, eleven, twelve... here we go,.... I scoped with my palm the corn seeds and added them in the pan not just once or twice but 5 times!! Whoops, the pan is 1/4th occupied now with the 1kg of salt and 5 heaped palm fulls of corn!!. Still not realizing what the result of my over enthusiasm is going to turn out to be, my excitement increased with each passing moment. I strained my ears to hear the first magical popping sound of the corn. Geeeeee ..soon all these seeds are going to pop and I'll be serving my family with my very own popcorn!! I kept stirring in the pan and the first magical popping sound came Pop* was music to my ears. A white  popped corn jumped up and landed back in the pan. My eyes sparkled and anxiously waited for more pops. The second  popped soon and a third...and a fourth....and a fifth... pop*.................. pop*................ pop*........... pop*.....pop* .....  A few landed outside the pan and some even hit me.  I reached out for the pan cover and tried to prevent them from landing outside from a height but by that time, the popping became faster and faster and many began to pop at the same time......... pop*... pop*.. pop* ..pop* pop*pop*pop*.... Some remained in the pan and more and more escaped and landed all around in the kitchen. I managed to control  for sometime but after a few moments I could no longer control as I could not keep them covered and also had to keep stirring. The pan soon filled up and overflowed and if I continue to stir, all came out and fell outside. I could do nothing but watch helplessly as the corns continue to pop at a super fast rate hitting me now and then. Was at a lost for a few seconds, then with a quick reflex, switched off the flames and went a few steps backwards away from the erupting volcano of popcorn. Even though I had switched off the flames, the heat retained on pan and the salt caused the corns to continue popping and the whole kitchen was being strewn with all those freshly popped corns. After a while the popping slowed down as all the seeds were done by that time. I looked around in dismay at first but suddenly a smile curved around my lips. As my nature is, I never lose my cool even as a child. I was in my early teens that time so even more composed. Instead of panicking, I began admiring the beauty enhanced in the kitchen by my popcorn. What a pretty sight! What an art I created!! The floor totally covered by white popcorn..lovely!! It appeared as if hundreds of small white flowers are being scattered on the the otherwise grey floor enhancing the beauty of the kitchen. I was not worried about what mom or granny or dad would say to me but kept looking and smiling at my work of art. What ever happened, I have finally made my popcorn and I still had a pan full even though 10 times the amount in the pan are all on the floor, table, counter and one of them even  found its way  into my pocket which I took out and popped in my mouth. Delicious!! Its perfectly salted!! At that moment mom entered the kitchen and saw what has just happened. She stopped short on her steps as she could find hardly any space to put her feet down. Her eyes roamed all around the room, on the stove, at the pan and finally looked straight onto my eyes. I looked back at her and remained still, not showing any emotions and preparing myself to hear what my Mom has to say. She suddenly broke into a smile and said "I knew something of this sort is definitely going to happen. But you did make your own popcorn on your own without help from me or any other and that's fantastic! So what if the floor is covered with popcorn. We can always scoop up everything and give them to the fishes in the pond. There are quite a few big ones in the pond which can swallow the them whole and the smaller ones can nimble on them and they will break up in the water making it easy for the fishes to swallow. But next time you try to do so, do it with smaller amounts of corn and it won't happen again. As of now, Well done!!" Then both of us burst out laughing. 

Popcorn girl moni animated alphabet gif fille ragazza Pictures, Images and Photos   Together we scooped up all that had scattered on the flour onto a bamboo basket and kept it aside so as it be given to the fishes later on. Mom gave me bowls to put the warm popcorn from the pan and told me to serve them to everybody in the house. A delighted Baby Di (Baby happens to be my nickname given to me by my elders at home) served her first homemade popcorn to her loved ones.Whoop whoop I finally succeeded in making popcorn on my own. I made for everyone I love. I made for both my two Granny, my Dad, my Mom, my Brother, my Cousins and even for the fishes in the pond. In fact I made the popcorn erupt from the pan  like a volcano and created art in the kitchen. My Project Popcorn has been accomplished even though I had to get a surprised shock during the process. Thanks to my Mom who made me feel as if I had performed a great act despite the mess I created in the kitchen. The next time I made popcorn, I made sure that mom is by my side judging the amount of corn I have to add in the pan and so there never was an eruption again accept the lovely popping sounds and the aroma of freshly popped corns. From that day onward, I used to stand beside her while she cooks and watched the way she cooks and I am proud to say that my present culinary skills has been brushed off from Mom's style of cooking even though my travel and love for cooking added more flavors and styles to it. 

Smt. Shantibala Devi
 My Mom is the one who gave birth to me and showed me the light of the world. She is the one who taught me how to walk and to talk and then to Walk the Talk. She and Dad are the ones who gave me the best brother in the world. She is the one who sculpted me to be the person I am today. She is the one who supported me and my brother every time we decided to work on something which others think it to be impossible and makes sure we are successful. She is the one who taught us to dream and to weave our dreams into reality. She is my mom, She is my best friend and She is the one who loves us, her children unconditionally. Always ever ready to do anything to protect us and to enlighten us. Today 19th of March happens to be your Birthday and I wish I could be with you to celebrate it! 

♥♥Happy Birthday Mama!!♥♥ We love you lots! Wishing you many many many more such specials days to be counted by you!! Hugs and Kisses to you Mama dearest!! Thank you for being the best Mom in the world to me and Ibungo and also to the many who lost their parents/husbands and seek your love!! We love you lots!! And we got miles to go together!!♥♥♥♥

✿A mother is not just the one who gave birth to you. She is also your best friend who loves you unconditionally and guides you throughout your journey of life.✿ - DRK

No comments:

Post a Comment