In my inlaws newly formed colony society s first get together, it was decided that all festivals will be celebrated with regional songs singing, kids races poem recitations and pool lunch with each one of the house owner of newly formed Goswami Vihar which had 10 houses with enthusiastic residents, proud owners of their newly built houses and also responsible and co- operative extrovert citizens! In march there was a generic phone call when a self appointed Cultural secretary the chirpy Laughing buddhaa stomached Kuhooo madam assigned holi menu to each residents of all 10 houses …Mrs Gupta was assigned to make bhandare waale aaloo sabji, Mrs Shrivastava..Kaanji ,Mrs Sharma…Meethaa Kaddu, Mrs Banerjee…Mishti Doi , Mrs Sood Rajma , Mrs Iiyer..
Masaala idlees, Mrs Parminder…Jeera rice and my Mother in law was asked to get MattarPaneer for Pool lunch….so 3 days before the Holi lunch peas peeling activity took over our house ,4 kgs extra full cream milk was purchased a day before Holi to make most Soft paneer..
A receipie book of Neeta mehta…all paneer was purchased too to get that perffect taste..
Ofcouse mdh old uncle s garam masaala was part of our receipie! On Holi day before wearing our oldest and discarded synthetic suits My mother inlaw prepared most delicious matar paneer with tej pata ,daal chini, green ilaichi ,garlic ,red tomatoes ,green chillies and onion ofcourse our Peeled Peas and Paneer made it perffect! We seasoned it with rose petals to give it the Royal Mughlai look and packed it in the biggest caserol we had. My father in law was most generous asking ladies of the house to reach the central maidaan of our houses which had a red ,blue and white tent on top ,woooden tables from Subhash tent house with white sheets and Mangal halwaaee with sooper big mustaches frying kachauri and pooris to be enjoyed with all dishes.There was ice cold water in Mayur jug which Kuhoo madam brought herself with thermocol divided thaalis! There were big pedestrian fans to make sunny wether pleasant. So my father in law said u ladies go and enjoy singing and dancing at holi mahotsav, and I ll come in an hour with caserol of piping hot Matar paneer! We all enjoyed Gulaal ,gujiya and Gun gunaana .
The mice in our stomach started jumping till our tongues and most aunties opened their big caserols for us to enjoy, Mangal halwaaee was frying round round pooris too..
Where was my father in law???? Oh there…he came proudly with our white coloured big caserol and kept it on the wooden table with a row of other delicacies with a big karchhee in it! We whispered in his ears …why u are late and he in most comforting style said ,dont worry..enjoy! When we peeped in most people s plate every dish but Matar paneer was there….when we went to pour it for ourselves….it was a swimming pool of gravy from which Paneer had to be fished and peas were hiding as a submarine..
My mother in law stared at my innocent father in law in Phoolan devi style and he kept grinning…no one ate our Matar paneer…when we came home and asked father in law how this blunder happened…he said while putting the casserol in thailaaa, he opened its lid to check the quantity as he felt more number of people for pool lunch than we had predicted as many s relatives were there too..
So he smartly put one pateela drinking water in matar paneer to make it Swimming paneer! From that day onn as soon as any gravy vegetables ,or daals are cooked in our house specially for special occasions all taps of house are banned for my father in law to touch!