Fiction Fragment: Vendekkai Curry

He was perfect for her. In every way. Her parents were liberal so they didn’t mind her asking him questions about what kind of music he liked. They spoke about their common interests, and he was taken by her appearance. Rumour has it that some men judge how a woman ages by looking at her mother. But it’s a little unfair. Anti-wrinkle creams are so much more effective in this century.

The first sign of worry was that he refused the vendekkai curry. They were sitting next to each other, their first meal together as husband and wife. The camera was zooming in on the rivers of rasam on their banana leaves. Their banana leaves were identical, even if hers was a little smaller. They both had the dots of payasam, the mounds of rice, the several coloured vegetables. But there it was. No vendekkai on his leaf.

She had no idea why they were called Lady’s Fingers, but whoever the lady was, she loved her. As the bare-cooked version in Madras, or the chaotic mix with onions and potatoes in the North. She remembered how she broke the ice in her first work place. She went and asked a coworker how she always wore matching Bhindis. Which made everyone laugh. Everytime someone got a Bhindi Ki Subji for lunch. She never liked the absurd name Okra. Sounded very wrong for an elegant vegetable.

In a month it was clear he hated vendekkai. He never ate it. He said it was too gooey. He said it became all squishy in his mouth. She gently told him, tears brimming in her eyes, that she would cook it so well that no goo would appear. That it would be firm. Almost dry. But he hated the vegetable.

Everytime they went shopping, she would look longingly at the slender vegetable. Lady’s fingers. Piled on top of each other. She would look at him, eyebrows slightly raised. He would refuse. The goo would not enter their kitchen. She would then satisfy her craving by ordering a vendekkai dish in every restaurant. But it would ruin the evening. And one day he said ‘Can’t you sacrifice this much for me. If you love me, don’t eat vendekkai ever again’. She then decided to stop loving him every once in a while in the afternoons, and eat the vegetable (secretly) instead.

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23 Responses to Fiction Fragment: Vendekkai Curry

  1. Primalsoup says:

    Rumour has it that some men judge how a woman ages by looking at her mother
    Really? But I hope the guy will be able to put it more positively, like a gentle blow. I don’t like people who mess with my mom. 🙂

    And Vendakkais are lovely. I hope that when she has it secretly, they are nicely cooked and lightly burnt.

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  2. Sri Harsha says:

    He he, Very funny!!!

    Like

  3. Nandini says:

    Vaary vaary nice.

    Thank God, I did not read this before I got married. Otherwise, my mom’d have surely flipped 😉

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  4. Suman says:

    Its brilliant!! And I’m dying to eat slightly gooey vendekkais, fried with onions with a dash of red & green chillies. Oh I miss Indian food!!

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  5. FirstRain says:

    Oh I love bhindi! Absolutely luurve it. And now I can cook it too.

    Bhery niesh shtory.

    Like

  6. WA says:

    Enakku pasikudhu ippo

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  7. Aravind says:

    am now reminded of vendakkai chips.. oh yeah…

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  8. Kavi says:

    Rivers of rasam ! LOL ! That metaphor stuck to me ! And of course, her loving him a little less for the the four peices of an odd vegetable is so ‘connectable’ !!!!!

    Lovely !

    Like

  9. Nilu says:

    Your fiction fragments are wonderful because they have a slight evil edge to them at the end. I was eagerly looking forward to it in this fragment as well — but was disappointed.

    Maybe this is the Baba of Rajini padams. That is, if you believe those who claim Baba was well made.

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  10. apu says:

    loved the ending…though I know throwing in that “secretly” was making it a bit too obvious.

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  11. Rada says:

    How can she continue living with a guy who shows such poor taste?

    She should dump him! 🙂

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  12. Chengizkhan says:

    Actually, his pure vegetarian senses did not allow cooking a lady’s finger. Or maybe he was just plain weak in Inglees.

    But how can one not like vendakkais, seriously!

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  13. Aadisht says:

    He must have grown up in a household where the bhindi was made early in the morning before everyone rushed to office and then reheated half an hour before dinner in the evening. That’s the most horrible thing you can do to a vegetable, but especially to bhindi.

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  14. Ankur says:

    I quite like the way you don’t ‘end’ your pieces the way many fictional pieces end with a definite finality…you grab a ‘slice’ of life and present it for the reader…dunno if I’m generalizing, but that’s how I feel everyone (at least those who don’t proclaim to be idealists) adjusts…with a slight twist here and a little compromise there…with a dash of dishonesty (a harsh word sometimes) thrown in to make some delectable Vendekkai Curry!

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  15. buddy says:

    beautiful!

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  16. moukound says:

    lotsa couples are for and against vendakai…. soem are for and against porichaappalm too…. 🙂

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  17. Blue says:

    I love okra. Now you’re making me crave some. But, like you noted, it’s so hard to cook well… and I can’t cook it well at all!

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  18. jeyashreeravi says:

    How I hate the word okra for vendakkai ! You nailed it on the head.

    Like

  19. AKM says:

    #1 Overheard in typical TamBram phorensettled kid family:- ” Nekku wedding le andha thiruttu muzhi (shifty look) scene vandappove pattadhu, Indha ponnu is one of those secret-le rebels nu. Enakku sandegham thaan, vendakkai venumnu appapo paavam avankitte innkiki lunch illai nu solli anuppichidraa.”

    #2 The gent is probably one of those who were hammered with vendakkai cos it was “good for maths”. If ya’d grown up in Chennai, you’d know.

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  20. Ah! War of the Bhindis.

    and
    Nilu: BABA late aa vandalum, Latest!

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  21. inbavalli says:

    If ATP had married that dumbo Nano Boy this story would have been hers, I’m sure 😀

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  22. I quite like the way you don’t ‘end’ your pieces the way many fictional pieces end with a definite finality…you grab a ‘slice’ of life and present it for the reader…dunno if I’m generalizing, but that’s how I feel everyone (at least those who don’t proclaim to be idealists) adjusts…with a slight twist here and a little compromise there…with a dash of dishonesty (a harsh word sometimes) thrown in to make some delectable Vendekkai Curry!

    Like

  23. dipali says:

    lovely! A nice slice of fiction, after quite a while.

    Like

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