The first time P and I had bhutta (or fire roasted corn on the cob) together was about a week into being married.
It was the monsoon season in India then. We were a newly married couple who in this time and age had chosen the path of “arranged marriage”. We were still adjusting to the idea of living with each other, often totally puzzled by each other’s presence.
That evening, we had had a difference of opinion. A slight tiff which made me all teary-eyed. And the lump in my throat grew bigger when I saw P walk out of the main door to deal with the crisis his own way! But I held back on my tears.
Half an hour later I called on his phone, only to hear it ringing in the bedroom. I was hoping it wasn't a deliberate move by my new husband.
I kept sitting on one of the rattan chairs in the balcony. The balmy air of a Delhi evening in the month of August mixed with the smell of fresh rain somewhere filled the twilight air. Sometimes whiffs of the Rajnigandha flowers from one of the vases inside would caress my senses, reminding me of the wedding day floral garland I was decked up in. This I tell you was the tear jerker! I slammed the door to shut out all memories of my wedding.
I did not hear my new husband return. It was only when I felt my hands pressed against the warmth of a corn on the cob that I smelt his signature cologne mixed with the earthy smell of bhutta. Heaven.
He knew I liked a little squeeze of lemon mixed with salt and one green chili with my bhutta. It was all there. The evening just got complete with the most adorable and heartwarming smile P could ever give me. Through my muffled sobs and opening my mouth to bite into the nicely roasted bhutta all at the same time, I heard him say, “Naa-o, bhutta khujte giye deri hoye gaelo.” (I got late looking for the (perfect) corn on the cob.)
Nothing has changed since then. I still am addicted to corn. He still forgets his mobile phone at home. We still fight. I still use tears as a very potent weapon. He still has the most adorable smile.
And the ingredients of our bhutta-eating experience have remained the same too. Lebu-Lonka-Noon-aar-Bhutta! (Lime-Green Chilies-Salt-and-Corn on the cob.)
Its the beginning of the corn season here. Today was my turn to return his bhutta favor, and my broiler seemed to be agreeing to my plan just right! Except that there were no embers flying from the pieces of charcoal the bhutta wala fans. Or smoke getting into our eyes. But looked like some sparks were still left…
What’s your corny story…errrr recipe?