Of how to wage righteous wars!

So… I’m in the hospital with my mom who’s being discharged after a bout of pneumonia. Been on a diet of hospital food for three days so am quite fed up but looking forward to going home. All pepped up, I do my stretches in the hospital corridor, being stared at by every trolley pusher who passes by… but tra-la-laa, who cares??!!!
I eat my hospital regulation two idlis and bam… half an hour later… am groaning on a bed in the ER with a severe case of food poisoning! From idlis – I swear!
There’s no one else to help my mom, so in between bouts of running to the loo, I’m on the phone (for once, I bless the mobile phone’s inventor!) calling for reinforcements in the shape of family and friends to help – get my mom discharged, take her home, someone to stay with me in the ER, get me clothes and a million other instructions flying out of a hospital bed and the corridor leading to the loo! I’m hooked up to two drips – one on my wrist and the other on my ankle…
…and there we are, needing to “go” every few minutes and calling for the nurse to disconnect the drips this minute, clutching various pipe and tubes and running – like something out of Richard Gordon’s “Doctor” series.  A professional juggler would have had nothing on me that day, I swear!
Now, this ER loo also happens to be the one used by the staff – necessitating some seriously urgent banging on the door. Remember all those lectures in B-school on how to prioritise – the urgent, the important, the neither and so on – well, this was both very, very urgent and very, very important to me, at least!
In the middle of all this – the doc checking on me ( young, handsome chap btw), a fact which I note only incidentally, I promise 😉 – I am sure that it is the hospital food that has given me food poisoning since I’ve eaten nothing else! I threaten to sue them…
The dietician comes… then the catering head comes… then the general manager of the facilities makes a combative entrance, saying there’s nothing wrong with his hospital food. I am adamant. My aunt, herself a dietician and equally adamant, supports me, carrying on the fight every time I have to take a – ahem – needed break!
We are a formidable pair – they back off! Finally get discharged after they present me with a bill which is hurriedly withdrawn after some serious threats from my side!
And then I realize that this is exactly what the Mahabharata was all about – righteous indignation! Am feeling like all the Pandavas and Krishna rolled into one!
One word of caution though – you need some serious muscle building to fight a righteous war – here’s one for the building – the protein-rich…
  • 1 cup toor dal +1 tbsp chana dal – soaked for an hour and drained
  • 2 tbsp fried gram/putani/pottukadalai/putnala pappu (this makes the matodi light and fluffy)
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 red chili
  • Peppercorns – 5-6
  • Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 3-4 sprigs
  • Salt
  • Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Methi seeds/fenugreek – 1/4 tsp – roasted

Grind the dals along with everything else to a very crumbly, grainy texture. Set aside


  • Beans or custer beans or methi (fenugreek) leaves or banana stem or banana flower – any of these – chopped very fine – 1/2 cup
  • Oil – preferably sesame oil – 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Microwave the beans on high for 3 minutes and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the ground dal mixture.

Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes till it begins to dry up.

Add the beans and continue to stir till well mixed.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 6-7 minutes.

Taste to see if the dal is cooked.

Serve with and majjigapulusu/mor kozhambu as a side along with rice and ghee.

Watch the Kauravas at the hospital shiver!

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