“Doctor, my wife is not eating anything.”
“That’s not a problem”
“Doctor, she’s not keeping down anything she’s eating.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Doctor, she throws up even water.” (Ultimate irresponsibility!)
“It doesn’t matter, Venkatesh!”
Doc’s turn now: “What’s that little book you keep reading out of?”
“Oh, doc, I made a note of all the questions I needed to ask you.”
“Give it to me. Let me have a look,” and he has no choice but to hand it over.
The guy with all the questions is my husband, soon to be a father for the first time. Being one of those hardcore engineering types, he’s made a note of all the things his wife is recalcitrant about – like not eating and drinking and throwing up everything she eats or drinks!
The doc is also my aunt and a seasoned gynaecologist with decades of experience in dealing with anxious fathers-to-be. But even she hasn’t met a more antsy yet-to-be-dad! She takes the little book he hands over as though he’s signing off his inheritance and promptly tears it into little pieces and throws it into the dustbin.
My spirits, which have been rather low so far (throwing up your innards every half hour or so is not conducive to happiness, compounded by a hoveringly anxious husband!) begin to look up!
She then lectures him on being overly anxious and so on forth! He is unusually silent as we leave the clinic – it lasts for all of an hour! But now, I’ve learnt the dialogues and can parrot the doc’s words without a pause!
The phase passes, now I can’t get enough food, eating a huge meal every few hours and eating almost everything in sight! Baby is born and hubby’s latent anxiety resurfaces – with every sniffle she makes, if she doesn’t finish her second bottle of milk, if she so much as sleeps an extra half hour…
….now we’ve got a new doctor to hassle – the paediatrician! And she is an altogether gentler woman – till the sixth visit or so. Then it’s her turn to ask for the little book and… you know how it goes!
Over the decades, we have hidden and deliberately lost a few of those little books (I think engineers are born clutching on to these!) and managed to reduce their numbers but not eliminate them altogether from our lives! They keep resurfacing in mutant forms – talk about survival of the species – Darwin needn’t have travelled halfway around the world to stumble on Galapagos and its turtles. He could have taken a little detour to Madras!
The one thing I have managed to keep down consistently through pregnancies is roasted corn on the cob – Marina beach style – with just sea salt and red chili powder smeared on with a lemon half for garnish. And so every evening after work, the same anxious hubby has patiently taken me to the beach, eaten two of these to keep me company and gone home to a frugal meal of curd rice which he has to make himself as I can’t stand cooking smells!
Here’s a corn patty to celebrate…
CRISP CORN PATTIES (OR PATTICE IN MY NATIVE HYDERABADI!)
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels – microwave on high for 4-5 minutes.
- 2 tbsp spring onion greens -chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Capsicum – 1/2 cup – chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten – optional
- 1/3 cup maida – plain flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Green chili – minced – 2
- Mint – chopped – 2 tbsp
- Chaat masala or Himalayan salt – 1/2 tsp – optional
Mix the maida, milk, salt and a little pepper together. Whisk and set aside.
In 2 tsp oil, saute the green chilies, onion and capsicum till wilted. Cool.
Mix in everything else and the egg if using.
If you are NOT using an egg, grind about half a cup of the corn and mix back into the mixture to bind.
Drop 2-3 tbsp of the mixture on a heated griddle and pour a few drops of oil around. Turn over and fry till crisp on both sides.
Serve with ketchup or a Thai style sauce.
And a craving for corn does not mean you are pregnant – I know lots of men who have these cravings!