My home in Karachi had a cricket ground next to it.
Once I arranged a match for the neighborhood team but the local players didn’t show up. After doing a typical eleventh hour calling and rounding-up of players, I was able to field a ‘pakaR dhakaR XI’ (rounded-up XI). It is called pakar-dhakkar XI because players are put in such a team from anywhere you can find them.
At lunch break all the players gathered around me and demanded lunch. Some claimed that I owe them a lunch because they have done me a favor by coming to play to Federal-B-Area from far flung areas of the city such as North Nazimabad. Those familiar with Karachi geography may know that North Nazimabad is located right next to Federal-B-Area. Only a 30-feet wide drainage stream called ‘Gujjar Nala’ separates the two localities.
Being outnumbered 1 to 13, I gave in to their demands. I walked inside home to see what was ready for lunch. I found a pot of cooked ‘aaloo-shorba’ (Potatoes with curry) on the stove. It was of course not enough for 14 people. Since necessity is the mother of invention therefore I took a huge bowl out of closet and poured all the curry in it. A quantity, that was just enough for probably 4 people.
Then I filled up a jug with water and mixed it in the curry. Curry’s volume now increased by a gallon and its density decreased to a state of matter called ‘Bose-Einstein Condensate.’ See to the left.
I then sent our 12th man to the nearby ‘Gharib-Nawaz tandoor’ (poor people’s clay oven) to get a few naan. Twelfth man was an aspiring young cricketer and in his zeal to debut from our team, he happily went to get the ‘naan’. In our team 12th man was not only for on-ground services but for running off-ground errands too. Long story short; when bread came; 14 people ate my specially prepared ‘pani-shorba’ (water-curry) without any complaint. I do however remember some of the remarks made at the occasion. They were a pure delight to hear such as this famous one coming right out of Urdu literature:
‘kiya piddee aur kiya piddee ka shorba’
(What little bird and its little curry)
Then there was a remark given in a complete state of denial and astonishment:
‘ye kis cheez ki yakhni hai bhai?
(What is this soup made of?)
Note: In an ideal world of culinary delights, a curry is supposed to be thicker than a soup.
ye tou shorbay kay shorbay kaa shorbaa hai
(This is an extract of an extract of an extract of a curry)
And yet another was when somebody called this curry in Punjabi as lamma shora (tall curry).
The voices of dissent soon died down as getting free food was an incentive enough to shut up and eat whatever was available.
Conclusion is that curry is such a form of food which can be diluted as needed and can be fed to a varied number of people ranging anywhere from 1 person to many (or any).
For the welfare of general public, I hereby key down the recipe’ of curry in a hurry.
Recipe’ of Curry in a Hurry
1. Volume of already cooked curry (any kind): 100 ml or as much as one can afford.
2. Count the people available: x (say)
3. Glass of water: One. It doesn’t matter if it is half empty or half full.
4. Curry bowl: One and empty
5. Pour 100 ml curry in the empty curry bowl and pour a glass full of water into curry ‘x’ times.
6. ‘ae-lo mazaydaar shorba tayyar hai’ (lo-behold. tasty curry in a hurry; is ready)