When somebody hears the word “concrete”, the first thing that comes to the usual mind is a building material which can be spread, poured into moulds and forms a stone-like mass on hardening much like what’s become concrete jungles in recent times in metropolitan cities. If you get to speak to a South Indian and ask him/her what’s for breakfast, you’d be surprised to hear a majority of them say “concrete” with a grief-stricken face.
What really is concrete? Well, let me put you out of your misery. It’s a quick, easy to prepare, simple and very popular breakfast dish called rava uppit or upma. This humble dish has earned it’s good reputation among Indian women only because it’s very easy to prepare and is quiet often an Indian alternative to the lazy woman- easy cooking of the infamous Maggi noodles! Over time, it has been a saviour for working women, women who are too lazy to cook for the day and an indirect punishment to the husband and kids.
The worst punishment you can get in India when it comes to food is when the Lady of the house decides to pack upma in your tiffin box and the pain and humour you have to undergo when you sit down for lunch! The distress is often because the upma would have magically turned into concrete in your tiffin box when cold. That day you are doomed because nobody would want to cut through the concrete and join hands with you to finish your meal, your colleagues would mock while you try your best to gulp down the material down your throat. Simply put, your break time just becomes the time you get down to thinking and reflecting on “What did I do to provoke the Lady to savour this agony?”. You have the whole evening or time after the meal to reflect on this critical question. Chances are that you would go out of your way to make amends or at least be nice to postpone the next upma dose.
I have always had my catastrophic days from the time I was a child where I had to eat upma because of my dad’s mistakes and my mom getting back at him by packing the tiffin box to attempting to eat different varieties of the same upma! Over time I have been conditioned to eat this intensely disliked dish and will most likely serve as useful tool to condition my future husband and kids. Probably, the reason behind me writing this is that I know I’ve done something wrong and it’s My Lady’s way of saying “You are wrong” or “I want it my way”.
Well, it’s a paradox now for I have been conditioned to like Indian concrete over time and I quiet enjoy eating upma in the evenings off late. Infact, My Lady had just packed concrete for lunch and guess what? I just savoured Avrekaal uppit for breakfast while it was still hot!
Are you seasoned yet?