It’s sometimes difficult for me to understand my sister Jane. I purposely forgot how old she is but yes, she is the eldest of us 3. We lived together in Bombay for 3 years, just us, in a two-room flat. (That’s two rooms not two bedrooms). I would be lying if I said it was perfect. We fought a lot and I think it was mostly always my fault (Yes Pain, I’m taking the blame).
As the eldest, I think it has always been her instinct to protect us. As the middle child, it was my instinct to pretend that I didn’t know what that sound was. She cooked for me, forced me to eat, made me taste the vegetable dishes she made for salt, and kept me in line. I know I was a terrible roommate. Most days I’d work 10 or 12 hours, six days a week and when I came home, I just wanted to be asleep or a vegetable. The one day I got off work, I preferred being the same way. I thought that was my free pass to get out of doing stuff. Right now, I can’t believe I was like that.
This is not an apology. Our family has a hidden way of saying sorry and I know she knows what I know. This is about our Sundays in Bombay.
I worked on Sunday, oh yes I did. Almost every one of those Sunday mornings, I woke up to a room filled with people on every surface. They were common friends but closer to her because she was the best host. She’d wake up and the rest of them would follow like sloths after a hard night of foraging. Except foraging means drinking in this case. I like to think that her breakfasts were what they came over for. Complete with chai, toast and eggs, she fed the masses on our limited collection of melamine (and one ceramic) plates and mugs with most of their handles broken. Everything was laid over the previous day’s Hindustan Times, which was spread over the tangled bedsheets that kept everyone warm.
Jane HAD to have something to eat and tea the moment she woke up (here’s proof). So as soon as she rose, she’d put her toothbrush in her mouth and a pan on the stove. She scrambled whatever was “scamble-able” and leftover from last night’s binge-eating. Chicken manchurian from Mama Mia was her bestseller. I never tried it (I did not like Mama Mia’s Chinese food) but I was a big fan of the sorpotel and xacuti version.
I am a big fan of hers. For taking so many risks, for taking care of me and for introducing me to a world of wonderful messy eggs that fit so well in our wonderful and messy lives.
Jane-style eggs and toast
This is the easiest thing in the world to make. I just scrambled two eggs and at the very end, I added some of the guacamole I made last week, some leftover mince and rajma (red beans). Oh yes, and just a dollop of sour cream on the top for fun.
Jane the pain, this breakfast was for you.