The day was warm, and the sky was china blue. Bees buzzed among the foxgloves, and Daisy wandered down the lane, humming a little tune to herself. Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a beautiful yellow butterfly stuck in a spider’s web. As she crouched down to take a closer look, a black spider emerged from beneath a leaf and began crawling across the web towards it.
It was time for her bedtime story and cuddled at one corner of her bed
with my arm wrapped around her, the butterfly (my butterfly!) and I were reading her
favorite book “Daisy Dawson is on her way”. A book about this little daydreamer Daisy, just like the one squeezing my arm sitting next to me.
With her feather soft, plush, pink hello kitty blanket drawn till her nose,
and her legs slowly curling towards her chest, I could see that she just
couldn’t take the thrill. “Do you want me to stop and maybe we can read it later?” I suggested.
“No, no… go on”, she insisted shaking her head, fast, sideways, with eyes still glued on the yellowing pages of her book. And started whispering softly along with me as I smiled and continued …
“Oh, no, you don’t!” said Daisy, cupping her hand protectively around the struggling insect. As the spider scuttled back to its hiding place, Daisy scooped the butterfly out of the web and carefully pulled some sticky strands from its wings …
” Yay!”, she shouted and repeated again after me.
“There you go,” she said. “Back in the world again.”
Then she smiled and opened her palms toward the sky….
And with her plush pink hello kitty blanket thrown to a side, I could see her two arms open wide in the air and then a loud clap. “That is such a nice thing to do Maa. I like Daisy, a LOT! But Maa, why does anyone hurt anyone?”
“I’m really not sure honey”, I responded rather hurriedly for I had no good answer to that question.
“Well, they should not, because its just not nice!”
And just like that she left me feeling proud, blessed and guilty all at the same time. Wish we looked at life with the eyes of a four year old. Things would have been so much simpler and better.
With her belly still warm with the pav bhaji all of us made together for dinner that evening and her heart content, she hugged Pinky, her pink pig, closed her curious eyes and fell asleep. I kept exchanging glances between her peaceful and innocent sleeping self and the moon and stars coming out of the ladybug lamp on her side table and reflecting on the walls of her room.
Ingredients: Serves 6
For Bhaji (vegetable curry):
4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled (any kind is fine)
1 1/2 cups carrots
2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sized bell pepper, cleaned, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 cups tomato, chopped
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (fresh is fine too. Adjust cooking time accordingly)
1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust according to taste)
Cilantro for garnish
Dinner Roll, approx. 2-3 per person
2-3 tablespoon butter for buttering dinner rolls + extra to be served with bhaji
1-2 teaspoon chili/cayenne pepper powder
Bring first three ingredients together in a pressure cooker or a pot. Boil till cooked through. Drain excess water. Mash. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large thick bottom pan on medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Saute till soft, 3-5 minutes.
Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato. Turn the heat to medium low. Cook until the tomatoes are soft, 5 minutes.
Add peas. Cook for a minute. Add mashed vegetables. Mix well.
Add pav bhaji masala and lemon juice. Mix well. Cover and let simmer for 5-8 minutes until flavors marry well together.
Turn heat off. Uncover. Garnish with cilantro. Top with a dollop of butter and lemon wedges on the side.
Slice pav horizontally into two cutting from the middle. Brush cut sides liberally (as liberal as you can get!) with butter and sprinkle some pepper powder.
Heat a thick bottom skillet. Toast both sides of pav on the skillet till lightly browned.
Serve pav and bhaji together with a side of simple Indian salad.
Heat a thick bottom skillet.