I wrote an adapted version of this article for Dawn earlier in the summer, when the heat was relentless and respite was nowhere in sight. Now, thanks to the lovely Lahori monsoon — God, I love that heady scent of the rain hitting the soil — things are cooling down and the idea of starting the day with a warm slice of crusty bread is calling out to me like a forlorn lover. And what will I be topping my choice of carbs with, you obviously don’t ask? Only the BEST breakfast spread of all time!
Not to sound like a dinosaur, but I miss the good old days when Ramzan would roll around in the cool, crisp winter and we’d wake in the middle of the night shivering, the tips of our noses frozen numb. Those were simpler times of racing my brother and sister to the lounge, hoping to claim the toastiest spot in front of the enormous gas heater. Those were the magical years of sitting down, still sleepy-eyed, on a colorful dastarkhwan laid out with a sehri-time feast.
Of course, now, thanks to record-breaking heat, I have no such notions.
I mean, is it just me or is consuming anything more than a dry piece of toast and gallons of water at a pre-dawn meal actually a very real struggle? Plus, with the holy month coming to a close soon and temperatures still soaring, I’m guessing the prospect of breakfast isn’t going to inspire much enthusiasm either.
Thank God, my grandmother taught me well and I’ve finally got a fix for all those early morning woes.
See, on those chilly nights, while we all sat cross-legged on the floor, crowding around bal-wala parathas, and spicy desi-style scrambled eggs studded with soft tomatoes, sweet onions, cumin, and plenty of green chilis, and leftover saalan and daal, and sticky-sweet french toast, Nano’s pre-Roza ritual defied all the norms of stuffing oneself silly.
She would quietly spend a few minutes pretending to nibble on the stodgy fare and then, sure as the rising sun, she’d abandon ship for her standard bowl of fresh unsweetened yogurt.
I found her minimalist choice earth-shatteringly boring!
Why would you eat a bowl of bland white goo when ghee-shakkar and makhni roti were up for grabs? Really, why?
Well, now that I’m older and smarter and have serious acid reflux issues, I’ll tell you why.