The Case of the Missing Naans




The case of the missing chur-chur naans, to be precise. To this day I cannot hold back my laughter whenever I hear the name of chur-chur naan. And yet, what trauma we had five years back, all thanks to that seemingly innocent order we had placed on that fateful day in Delhi.

Let’s have a flashback!

We were in Delhi in 2010, immediately after my marriage, with all intentions of settling down there. Dwarka was a beautiful neighborhood at that time, with neat roads and well-planned retail precincts. While I missed the hustle bustle and the energy of Mumbai, somewhere in a little recess of my mind I was covertly pleased with how life was shaping up in Delhi. There was no running after local trains, for God’s sake!

We were just a month old in Dwarka when my sister-in-law (SIL) decided to pay us a visit along with her husband (BIL), a fervent foodie. They were newly married, too, having married just two months before our own. During conversations one day, we realised that it was their 'first meet-up' anniversary that day. Apparently, these kind of anniversaries were quite special in their own way. 

I was chock-full of enthusiasm to carry out kitchen experiments then and wanted to win my guests over with my supposed culinary skills. Hence, I offered to cook the couple a special dinner, instead of going out to dine. I was happily unaware of what was to follow.

Wait a second, how about telling you the story in the form of a play?

THE CASE OF THE MISSING NAANS

Setting
Act 1, 2 and 3 takes place in the dining room of our apartment.
Act 4 is an outdoor scene.

Time
Late evening, at around 9.30 pm.

Act 1

The scene starts with a blood-curdling scream, and the light comes on gently, showing the perpetrator of the scream to be Me.

Me (to the husband, distraughtly): Oh woe is upon us! Calamity has struck my kitchen!

The husband (trying hard to hide his impatience): Do tell, woman, what is the calamity that has befallen your kitchen?

Perhaps he thought that I had seen a cockroach.

Me (tearfully): Our gas cylinder is over and my precious chicken in white sauce is still far from being cooked. What will I serve my guests now?

The husband (cheerfully): Why worry when there is home delivery! In fact, BIL wanted to taste chur-chur naans from the new parantha place. He would be glad to have them today!

Saying this, he rummages through a load of paper, comes across the menu of the said restaurant and places an order for eight chur-chur naans.

The husband (with glee): The food will reach us in half an hour. There you are – problem solved. Case closed!

Act 2

45 minutes since the order was placed.

SIL (whispering to the BIL): Are you hungry?

BIL (forgetting to whisper): Is that even a question? I was hungry half an hour back. I am absolutely famished now!

SIL pokes BIL in the ribs and motions him to keep his voice down.

BIL (rubbing the area around his ribs, and whispering): Do you think we will get dinner today?

Me (in the shadows and a witness to the whisperings): Oh woe is upon me!

Act 3

60 minutes since the order was placed.

The husband (rubbing the area around his ribs, where I had jabbed him angrily, and screaming loudly over the phone): What do you mean your person has just left with the order? You told me the same thing half an hour back! I want my food delivered now, do you hear?

Another 30 minutes later. The clock was showing 11.00 pm.

The husband (on the phone again): What? Your person has delivered the naans? To whom? But we are still waiting for him! Ask him if the naans are sitting in his own tummy! I want my food now!

(Waits to listen to the person on the other side of the line.)

What? You cannot deliver now because you have closed the kitchen? But what about us? Where do you think we will get our…. Hello? Hello? Damn! He has cut the line!

Me (almost fainting): Now what?

Act 4

The time is now 11.15 pm. The four of us are out on the street. I could almost hear my BIL’s tummy rumbling. Dogs howl at us. 

SIL (to me): Do you think the dogs are barking at us because we are in our night dresses?

I shrug my shoulders.

Suddenly we see a mobile van, the type that made Chinese food, in the process of almost packing up. An oasis! We sprint towards it with unexpected energy.

All of us (in unison): Bhaiyya, kuch khaane ko milega? (Can we get to eat something?)

The staff looks at us in wonder. Perhaps they were wondering if we were beggars or people fallen on dire straits. 

The owner: You have money?

Us: Yes! Yes!

The owner: Okay, but we have only veg fried rice left. Err… Not too much veg left either. Will do?

US: Yes! Will do!

And so, ladies and gentlemen, that’s how the special anniversary night ended, with all four of us chomping on leftover fried rice. We were in a food fix alright, that day. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what happened to the missing chur-chur naans. The case remains unsolved.


**********

I know I can laugh about it today, but trust me, it was not so cool back then. I had the husband’s own sister as guest and I was under tremendous pressure to impress her on her special occasion. I wanted to play the perfect hostess, basically to imply that the husband had made the right choice in marrying me. 

Perhaps things would not have been so bad if in those days we had food delivery apps such as TinyOwl in our phones. It would have saved a lot of embarrassment and we would not have had to step out into the streets in our nightdresses. 

Here, take a look at why TinyOwl would have been the perfect savior of that disastrous evening:




Also, the app’s interface is pretty easy to navigate. 




So, the next time I decide to entertain house guests, I will make sure that I will keep TinyOwl in mind and not let history repeat itself!




PS: This has been written for the contest held by TinyOwl (android link here and iOS link here) in association with Indiblogger.

2nd and 3rd image source: TinyOwl.com





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