When for the first time, we stayed at home on the Sunday, 22 March for Janta Curfew, none of us had an idea of what is in store for us. India has been under lockdown since 25th March. We have completed full two months today. The ongoing lockdown 4.0 is till 31st May. As Covid 19 is taking over our lives, the terms and conditions of the lockdown are becoming stricter.
With mounting cases , many countries of the world had closed borders. Grounding flights , railways, buses, private vehicles became the new normal. The life which we knew has been lost to this unseen enemy.
We very proudly claimed ourselves to be social animals but the new norm now is social distancing, no handshake and covered faces.
Not able to eat out or getting food delivered at home has been the biggest blow to me. We need to cook at home all the time and in limited supplies. It needs a great deal of planning innovations and lots of creativity to serve three major meals and two small snacking meals every day. I am not a hoarder by nature so I haven't kept any extra stock in my kitchen thinking that things will ease out. Moreover, announcements from government also created belief that there will be no shortage of supplies. Actually, there was no shortage in the shops but we have restricted ourselves to go out and try to make do of the things available at home.
But Ahmedabad is severely hit by covid-19 and we had a very tough lock down in May. The vegetable vendors were identified as super spreaders. We were not having any access to fresh vegetables for 10 days and that too without any prior information so the kitchen was to be run mainly on cereals.
When the government notification about complete lockdown came out, just like everybody else, we also went out to look for some greens and fruits. We avoided going to stores. We looked for the road side vendors and could get hold of sufficient potatoes and onions to get us through next ten days thankfully.
I get my requirements delivered through Big Basket for years now and since they have stopped operating in the city, their other handle BB daily proved a saviour as they used to deliver some essentials even in these lockdown periods.
My supplies were to come the next day, when suddenly the complete lockdown was announced, so I am left high and dry. I have tomatoes and some vegetables, chikoo, grapes and bananas. With potatoes and onions added to the kitchen armour, I knew things will be little easier to handle now.
Three generations live together in my family, so one single meal can not be served to all of us. My 88 years old father has his own likings and eating system, which I dare not try to change :P. His choices are very specific hence it's easier to manage his menu.
My younger son VB has been severely hit by the lockdown as his Zomato and Swiggy affairs come to stand still . Ghar ka khana is fine for weekdays but to celebrate weekends, home deliveries are the best.
Since food deliveries go till midnight he was enjoying his hot and piping midnights snacks. All this come to a halt as "ma ka dhaba" closes by 9 pm. Planning for his meals needed higher management skills.
My daily meal planning was to make a breakfast which can be relished by all four of us. Papa and sony boy VB don't have lunch. Papa take a fruit and a glass of juice in lunch and VB has dinner around 7pm. In between, he manages his own affairs like coffee or cookies or any munching snacks etc, as and when he needs. He is a software engineer and works from home.
We as family love to have sumptuous breakfasts. Usually our breakfasts are aloo - poori, stuffed paranthas ( potatoes, onions, paneer and chickpea etc.), poha, bambino pulao, idli - sambar, dhokla, handvo or sandwitches.
Me and RB are serious lunch eaters of the family :p. A bowl of salad and any rice dish is our lunch staple mostly. My basic funda for lunch is that I should not spend more than 15 minutes in kitchen. Usually RB pitches in for lunch. I only soak the rice (and dal) in the morning while making breakfast and finishing morning kitchen chores. If we were to have curd rice ( it's our current hot favourite), I cook it in the morning along with making breakfast so that we get cold rice for adding curd at lunch time.
Dinners are like rajma - chapati-rice, chane/ chole poori/ kulcha/ bhatura, pizza, pavbhaji, ghiya kofta curry-roti/prantha, gatte ki sabzi - chapati, cheelle / salty lentils pancakes with paneer filling, paneer in different forms ( butter paneer masala, kadhai paneer or paneer tikka etc) or dosa, idli, vada with sambar and other accompaniments to list some. We also love moong daal pakodi curry.
We also had some chatpata spicy dinner dates too. Pani puri, aloo tikki and dahi vada- papdi chat is also one of the family favourites.These are accepted by all four of us as meals.
Regarding satisfying the sweet tooth cravings, I had made the routine custard in different avatars ( fruit custard, pudding, jelly custard etc.) , rice kheer, suji halwa, atte ka halwa, shakarkandi (sweet potato) ki kheer etc.
Since food is the only thing which brings some happiness and romance in these lockdown days, I tried to make some dishes which I had never made earlier. I made kalakand and banana cake too. How can I forget to add balushahi. It was awesome.
Ice cream has a special place in everyone's life. Our favourite brand was not available or I would say, it went off the shelves faster than we reach up the shelves. So we opted for what was available. And it was horrible. So I tried to make kulfi after a long gap of 2.5 decades. I knew papa, RB and I will like it but was not sure about VB (sonny boy). He does not like anything made from milk :( . And the magic happened when he approved of the kulfi. It was soul satisfying.
Slowly, the restrictions are decreasing but I do not think, we will be able to order food from outside. The Corona fear is looming strongly over all of us and we do not want to take any risk. Risk is too big to be taken. With time, supply chains will start functioning at their full strength but the habit of going out and buying things off the shelf may take some more time.
God knows when will we be able to reclaim the life we knew ?