For the first time I made a Punjabi dish with my dance teacher Suman. Julie and I wanted to learn to make a dish and she said we could come over, practice, and then she would show us how to cook. We made potatoes with puni, fried bread; everything was vegan and also very tasty. We started with the potatoes, she put them in the steamer and walked away, then she took out a few cloves of garlic, onions, jalapeno, and tomatoes. She cut all that up on the floor and stuck it in the food processor; she then started on the puni, which is just water, salt, and oil. She kneaded the dough and started pinching off small pieces and made them into balls and smashed them flat. She took out her rolling pin and the small table that goes with it and taught us how to roll the dough. We both tried it but she laughed and told us it was wrong, apparently if you do not roll them out perfectly round they would not fry correctly. So she rolled all of ours over again and fixed them. The potatoes came out of the steamer and the skin basically fell off and instead of cutting anything with a knife she just pulled the potatoes apart with her hands into perfect squares. The sauce was already on the burner and she threw that on top of the potatoes and dinner was ready. I took video of the whole process just in case I couldn’t remember, so I will probably show some of it here as soon as I get home. The dish was delicious and I might actually make it when I get home. It’s funny, Suman is only 23 years old and she seems so much older since she has a family and household that she takes care of while teaching dance. We cannot communicate by talking but she has taught me a lot in the past month.
Another first was watching my translator, Ojasviba, ride a plane for the first time. In order to travel to the Taj Mahal Bapa said we needed to take 2 people with us since there are so many pickpockets and con artists. Ojasviba was one of the people and I found out later that she had never been on a plane. She is 31 years old and has never left India and is pretty innocent by American standards. She was very excited and it wasn’t until we got to the airport that she realized she forgot her ID. All I thought was she will never get on, in America you forget your ID then go home and get it, no if, ands, or buts. Not in India! She managed to get into the airport by using her mobile number and then when we got to the desk she told the attendant that she was pickpocketed in Ahmedabad. They told her she just needed a copy of her ID and that would be fine. She called her brother and he sent me a copy and we were on our way. I have to say I was a little nervous we wouldn’t make it, I got the email as the plane was boarding so we were rushing, but being that this is India and nothing is ever on time we got to the gate and they hadn’t started boarding yet, thank goodness! We got onto the plane and I gave her the window seat and she was like a kid in a candy store, it was so funny. She asked me to take her picture and then she couldn’t stop looking out the window and asking me questions. She said that the windows should be the whole side of the plane so that you could look out and see everything. She wanted to be outside on the wing so she could look down and see the land. When we finally got into the air she was so amazed that she was in the clouds. She told me, “When I was a little girl I always wondered how I would be in the clouds, now I am in them it is like a fairy land.” The whole ride she would look out the window and tell me what she saw and when she got excited she would grab my hand and tell me that she saw a mountain or a river. It was fun to see it anew, I have been flying since I was a little girl — the wonder was lost on me a long time ago, and it was nice to see it through someone else’s eyes. It was as if I was flying for the first time and it made my trip to Delhi that much more memorable.