I hated Upma. For years my mother forced it down my throat, sometimes with love, sometimes by force and sometimes by being dramatic. She’d say every day can’t be chicken curry and poori day. I could never fathom why this glob of cement was so integral to Andhra cuisine. After all it had no taste, the veggies and peanuts were made to look like they went on a trip to hell where they were cooked until death.
Decades later, on a Sunday morning, I found my answers and a rationale behind my mother’s thinking. This morning when I woke up, my pantry was near empty. I had one onion, half a tomato, some dying curry leaves and a quarter of bell pepper. To add to the drought like situation, I noticed I was running out of eggs and my comfort cereal too ! Upon strategic ransacking of the kitchen, I found semolina — which I would otherwise ignore, but today was its time. Its 15 minutes of insta/FB fame. It became the medium for the vegetables, cementing them into a motley edible mix.
The thing about life is, when you think it’s all over, you look at the leftovers and some of them when put together with love can make something beautiful. Armed with all the ingredients, I decided to make Upma today. And happy to inform you it turned out well. Now I know why my mother was so dramatic. Because everyday can’t be a chicken curry and poori day, there are days like these — the Upma days, where you make do with what you have and be grateful that your pantry is never really empty.
Thank you for the Upma and sorry for disrespecting it all my life, Mom. I’ve learnt my lesson.