Vegetable cutlets: Of squeaky voices and ‘grown up’ sisters

“Excuse me, Sir, but could i talk to my sister?” one absolutely cherubic 4-year old’s countenance presents itself at her 8 year old sister’s classroom door. The face belies an iron will not to be done out of her share of goodies which her mother has inadvertently mis-packed.
A very embarrassed older sister comes to the door of the classroom. Loud hiss: “What do you want? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of a maths class?”
“But, Akka, I think you got my cutlets and i got your salad!” Imagine this in a 4 year old voice which is way off the pitch scale, earning consequently for its owner the nickname of “Squeaky”, audible to the whole class and you have  a classfull of 8 year olds rolling about in laughter – very happy for the comic relief in the midst of algebra! As also an “Akka” who by now looks as though she would cheerfully murder the 4 year old sibling.
The younger one has her lunch hour at noon; the older one half an hour later and the mom in question (me) having packed tomato rice and cutlets and a salad has – in the morning rush – packed two dabbas of salad in one’s lunch and two dabbas of cutlets in the other’s, to the younger one’s intense disappointment but like i said earlier, she wouldn’t be diddled out her favourite cutlets!
End result – one very upset 8 year old stalks home in the evening: “Amma, you have to teach Kanchana to behave – tell her she can’t come to my class”! No harm was done, however, and the story passed into the school’s folklore!
So here’s the dish that Kanch couldn’t do without!
Veg cutlet
Potatoes – 1/2 kg – the floury variety – boiled and peeled
Carrots – 2 – peeled and boiled
Peas – 1 cup – boiled
Coriander (dhania) powder – 2 tsp
Cumin (jeera) powder – 1 tsp
Himalayan pink salt (kala namak) – 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 large pinch
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Finely chopped green chilies – 1 large
Chopped mint and coriander – 1 tbsp each
Juice of 1/2 lemon or raw mango powder (amchoor) 1/2 tsp
Cornflour – 1 tbsp
Mash the potatoes and carrots together along with all the spices and salt. Mix in the peas. Fold in the cornflour without overworking it. Shape into flat discs about a cm thick and fry on a flat tawa (pan) with a few drops of oil on each. Serve with ketchup, of course!!! And watch your pitch rise from alto to soprano!