I had yet another interview yesterday. Shifted lock, stock, padukkai and paathram for the 8th time in the last twelve years in Mumbai and thus yet another hunt for the cook and the bai (domestic help) .
The Maharashtrian cooks always come as Koundamani-Senthil.. in pairs, for interviews. One is your prospective cook and the other, her friend who comes as oppukku chappani for moral support.
The interview with the cook is more boring than your Corporate "..So.... tell me about yourself" interview with your prospective employer.
After the first few questions like "What's your name?" "Where do you stay?" etc. comes the maha boring bit when you ask them questions on their culinary skills (if at all they have one)
Me : "Kya kya pakate ho?" (What all do you cook?)
Cook : POHE, UPME... (Poha = Aval, Upma...)
Me : Aur... (And...)
I tell you, nothing can be more irritating than listening to tenji-poana record saying POHE, UPME... again and again.
Cooks in Mumbai are not your traditional (good ) cooks like our Gomathy mamis and pattu maamis who are all -in-all anantharaamis in preparing Vadai-payasam samayal for the entire family. The 'Pohe Upme' ones in Mumbai are housewives who have decided to make a quick buck with their Pohe, Upme and minji minji poana Dal , roti and one curry which is usually potato. Almost all curry items will have onion added. Your vendakkai, kathrikkai , beetroot and any known/ unknown veggie will be cooked with lots of onions and will taste similar.
These cooks are usually olli-picchaans between 20 and 40 with a neat dress sense. They are clean and you won't find them eeshifying their saandhu pottu on your kitchen laminate along with their sweat. They usually work in atleast five houses managing the kitchen. Some even do the dishes, wash clothes etc for an extra sum.