As a child I detested dahi (curds). I used to eat dahi but something happened which put this food item off my list of edible things. One afternoon after school, as I was eating off my Dad’s plate, he probably fed me curd which was too sour. I was so disgusted that thereafter I would refuse to sit on the dining table if I could smell sour curd there. My brothers used this to tease me no end. There are several episodes of being chased around the house by them with a katori of dahi to offend me.
Several years later, one of my neighbours who was a doctor, decided that I needed to go on a diet and lose weight. So in all his goodness he prepared a diet plan for me. I looked at it and laughed. Half of it said thayyir (curds in Tamil) or mor (buttermilk). “This won’t work Uncle,” I told him, “I can’t stand either and I’m never going to touch these.” I probably broke his South Indian heart for he hadn’t heard of such a weirdo in that thayyir loving land. “You don’t know what you are missing in life, little girl,” he said ruefully.
Now the problem is dahi is considered auspicious in most Indian ceremonies. I had hell during my wedding. As I stepped across the new threshold of my life, half my anxiety was about how to refuse eating dahi in my new home. The first ritual between the newlyweds which is accompanied by good fashioned ribbing by the onlookers is feeding sweetened dahi to each other. There was no way I could refuse this. A frown appeared on my brow as I puckered my lips. But no, you had to eat dahi thrice! What an ordeal!
Strangely some years later, I developed severe bouts of gastritis. I suffered severe heart burn and spent several nights sitting up with nausea and vomiting. Medicines weren’t working and I had been through the whole gamut of investigations. Among the several home remedies I tried was cold dahi. And surprisingly it worked and cooled down all that heartburn. Overnight, cold dahi with a dash of salt and pepper became acceptable food.
When I spent a few months alone in London, fruit flavoured yoghurts became my favourite breakfast. I began to experiment with thayyirsadam (curd rice) and buttermilk flavoured with ginger and curry leaves. It wasn’t all that bad after all. In fact, it was delicious. Even now, my brothers raise their eyebrows when I ask for a second helping of raita.
As they say, never say never. You never know what tomorrow might bring. Incidentally I remember my rules for getting married. Not to a Bihari. Never to a too practical Virgo. And definitely not to someone with a boring ubiquitous last name like Gupta. Look where life has shoved me! Btw, it isn’t all that terrible as I had imagined!