I never had a sweet tooth. In fact, the only desserts I liked until a few years ago were Tiramisu, rum-soaked plum cakes, caramel custard and chilled lychees marinated in vodka. But since I quit drinking, I quit these desserts too. Of late, however, I realize I’m developing a bit of a sweet tooth for Indian sweets. Now, I’m not sure about this, but I think Indian sweets are more fatty and unhealthy than other kinds of desserts – what with all the deep frying and syrups and stuff. In fact, even against my better judgment, I have started liking chocolate. (I don’t like chocolate too much. Or cheese for that matter. I find them both too obnoxious – like bullies in the food group. They just get in and take over every other flavour in the assortment. Which is why, I can never understand why people claim they want to go for ‘fruit-based desserts’ and order chocolate and fruit fondues instead.)
But my lineage involves several dessert-inhaling diabetics, and I think it’s catching up with me now. My mum and her sisters are all diabetics. They also have a natural flourish for drama.
A couple of years ago, my aunts had come visiting. In the mornings, my cook would make sooji pooris, a spicy dal and potato sabzi, freshly prepared sweet boondis and large, brown rasgullas. (The Oriya variety of rasgullas are a little different from the regular ones. They are massive – you can smuggle a squeeze-tube lipgloss in it.) My aunts and mother, however, had earlier had their breakfast of porridge, fruits, and toast. After that they had chatted and laughed and genially complained about husbands and children. (It’s a competition of sorts, to see who has the most worthless family. They have all won at some time or the other.) But the moment, the other breakfast was brought to the table, all of them suddenly started feeling ‘weak’.
Mom: Oh! My head is spinning!
Sister 1: Really? Mine too! Must be the weakness.
Sister 2: Yes, we must be weak. It’s been ages since we last had something to eat.
Mom: I think our sugar levels must be dipping.
Sister 1: We should eat something.
I hand over a few bananas. My mother slaps my hand and lunges for the rasgullas. So I tell her that she or my aunts are not weak. They are only greedy and they were fine until they saw the rest of the food. Three horrified faces turn to me and stare. Next thing I know, they’ve carried the good breakfast up to my mom’s bedroom and closed the door.
I was later informed that my mother had won the ‘who has the most ungrateful child’ competition…hands down.