Cooking is an art. Men, in general are better cooks than women. Women are good too. I am talking in relative terms. I don’t want to lose my female readership.

You know why men are better at cooking? Cos we learn it the hard way!! We always do. With our grad students, there is no dearth for new experiments and lots of fun. πŸ™‚

Disclaimer:- All characters,events, incidents etc., quoted in this post are purely non-fictional. Any resemblance to a particular set of grad students you might know is solely intended and is not a work of fiction from the author. So take your guesses.

A bunch of grad students (4 to be precise) went on a cooking endeavor a couple of years ago. Those were the times, when cooking was an exciting task for those grad students. Yeah, they had landed in the United States of America just a week before. Ask them what cooking is all about now. “Whatever!!!! It just needs to be edible and should get done in less than 30 minutes.” – one possible answer. “Food?? we have got ramen, maggi, tortilla and instant side dishes” – another possibility. “Oh, why bother about food, when you have a whole bunch of restaurants and a good form of financial aid to support yourself” – one of the rarest possibilities in the electrical engineering department. πŸ˜‰

Anyways, let us not digress from our main story. Cooking it was – the agenda of that evening. The menu was fixed to be sambar with okra fry. (Okra = Ladies Finger). Why is it called ladies finger in india? I just can’t make out the reason behind that. Any ideas? Enlighten me!!

One of our grad students never knew that cooking okra was that big a deal until that day. Sambar as such was easy to cook. But frozen okra could be really tricky at times. But our poor innocent bunch were unaware of these details. Our “big grad student” (bgd) and “please da grad student” (pgd) who has been named so for the sole reason that he uses “Please da” for every practical reason except pleading , set about defrosting the okra in the microwave oven. Our menial grad student (mgd) and “solu grad student” (sgd) who shot to stardom withΒ  the previous post, cut some onions and started frying them in oil. “sgd” had heard somewhere that, onions and tomatoes can be used as a base for cooking anything. Alright!!! No arguments on that.. After the onions were fried, the defrosted okras were added to the pan along with some chilli powder, salt and then started the long process of frying.

Midway through, one of them suggested that, they should taste the okra to make sure that the spices were in the right proportion and also to make sure that they were fully cooked. Our “bgd” took up the responsibility. One piece into his mouth and he spat it out right away. The okras weren’t fully cooked. Our “pgd” came up with a thought. He had heard from various reliable sources that, most vegetables take lot of time to cook and if they don’t get fully cooked, water must be added. The other three thought, this “pgd” really knew his bearings in cooking and followedΒ  him. Thus, they added water. Not just one or two cups. Enough water to drown all the okras and make their cadavers float.Β  And closed the pan with a lid. The rest is history!!! πŸ˜›

After 5 minutes, the pan was opened. The gd’s were expecting to get something like this. 535570229_2a5be9c0fd

But the okras had other plans. Probably they were angry with the gds for cooking them wrong. Probably they were angry that they were bathed in water. Probably they were disgusted at being thought about as any normal vegetable. Probably they wanted to show off that they were one of a kind. Probably they wanted to punish the gds for thinking that okras were easy to cook.

What remained there in that pan was beyond description. Something that strongly repelled the word “edible”. However, our poor “mgd” who was having hunger pangs, summoned the courage to take that lumpy mass and put it on his plate. He even tried to put it in his mouth. What happened after that is left to the reader’s imagination. ;). It took the gds more than a week to get the utensils clean. On the brighter side, the gds learned how to make cheap glue.

PS:- Things to remember 1) Never add water to okra. 2)Never trust a fellow gd’s cooking advise, especially if he landed in the USofA on the same day as you. 3) You always learn it the hard way!!!