◊ Revoking My Statement

Dear mom,

I’m on my way back to DC after a week of being stuck in Destin with you and dad, avoiding Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. I’m writing this letter on my slow, clunky computer and hadn’t realized how bad it is until now, after working on your brand new one all week.

I understand your excitement. Your new computer is so fast! And beautiful! And though you’re still slow – really, it’s painful to watch –  I’m proud you’re taking a stab at new technology. Projects are fun.

I can’t stop thinking about how beautiful Dani’s wedding was. The beach weather was perfect, her dress was amazing and love was in the air. It made me think about what kind of wedding I might want to have. The dress, the venue, the food, the… boy?

Ew.

At the beach we had a conversation/tiff that was prompted my adamancy of hating boys.  I feel like I need to clarify.

I said that I hate boys. You said that I don’t hate boys.  Dad asked if I like girls. You said I only hate boys because I’m afraid of being visible.

I still don’t get the visibility thing.

But I hate to admit it – gritting my teeth – you’re right (you don’t know how hard it is for me to say that publicly), I don’t hate boys.

I do hate when boys I don’t know talk to me at bars like they’re trying to get to know me. I hate when boys smile at me and think they’re doing me a favor. I cringe when they tell me I look pretty. And when strange men look me up and down or try to brush up against me, I just. can’t. deal.

You tell me that it’s my fear of visibility. In your mind, my rage against boys is somehow linked to the fact that I posted pictures of Arielle picking apples instead of me on my last post on this blog. You think that I don’t like boys because I don’t like to be seen?

I don’t like to be seen as an empty shell.  And when a strange boy says hey at a bar, it makes me feel like exactly that… A small empty shell. I’m sure you understand.

But you are probably going to say that I need to get over it. That it’s my own problem and no one else’s. And you’d  probably be right… again.

So I’m going to revoke my I hate boys statement and replace it with right now, at this time in my life, I am disturbed by x, y and z actions of boys. Because for now, that’s the most I can muster. Next time I state my hatred for boys, there’s no need to get all worked up.

Anyway. The recipe I’m sending you is linked loosely with my boy-hating.

It’s an Indian recipe, Kichdi.

Where I lived, in Kutch, Gujarat, people slurped big bowls of Kichdi under pools of ghee as an after-meal digestif. One of my neighbors routinely brought me a big bowl around 11 pm, claiming that it would make me stronger. In Gujarat, where many stick to a pure vegetarian diet, this simple combination of mung beans and rice is considered an everyday essential. Most of my neighbors ate Kichdi with ghee, curd, sour pickle and chapatti (flat bread). But I ate all sorts of Kichdi preparations that varied from state to state and restaurant to restaurant.

When I got home, it took my body awhile to adjust to not having Kichdi in my system. It’s now my favorite comfort food – a remedy for illnesses of all sorts. It also has Ayurvedic relevance… Some of my friends talk about doing a Kichdi “cleanse” (I can’t imagine) to rid themselves of impurities. I like to spice it up, add a lot of veggies, and cool it down with plain yogurt.

I hope you enjoy this small dose of India. And that you’re closer to understanding what I mean when I say I hate boys.

With love, hate and everything in between,

Shaina

Spicy Kichdi with Veggies

  • 3/4 c whole green mung beans
  • 1 c white rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3/4 tsb dill seed
  • salt
  • 1 or 2 chilis
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • other veggies to taste

Bring rice and beans (in same pot) to boil. Let stand for 25 minutes. Pound spices together. Cook onion, pepper and veggies in oil, cumin seeds and dill seeds until brown. Then add spice mixture and tomatoes. Add to rice and beans. Garnish with chopped cilantro and eat with plain yogurt (curd).

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