Kids Corner


To Parantha ...
Or Not To Parantha





Chandigarh, Punjab

Every morning, I try and pick up my backside and ask it politely to walk.

I have now gone from asking it politely, with minding my P’s and Q’s, and now its been reduced to powerful expletives.

But nothing works.

It’s always tomorrow, pucca promise.

And, then the day begins with the decision of what to eat with the chai. It starts with the rusk and the customary 6 almonds, half a walnut (all dieticians swear by this; to kick start the metabolism). It is a miracle that the stomach starts rumbling and I start cooking up various gastronomic delights and fantasy of food.

I do try to control things with the help of the large precision, military-lined cereal boxes.

Did you know that, if you took up the K challenge, you lose weight in 2 weeks and get a sexy die-to waist and perfect proportioned body and that too draped in a chandini type chiffon sari! 

There is the miracle muesli, a mixture of dry fruit, rolled oats and all sort of dried cereals added, to make you feel good, give you the right balance, energy and to kick start your day in the right way. Man, so boring!

The bland, dried, shriveled, an-excuse-for-raisins, dried up fruits, that look and chew like leather. They just don’t do anything for me.

The oats, Weetabix, well they look like congealed stuff, so not good. And then, there’s porridge. I grew up eating it as dallia but its graduated to the fancy ‘porridge‘.

Society also dictates that it’s not fashionable any more to say that you eat roti or parantha. It’s very rustic and plebian to choose the lowly roti over the fancy schamncy pancake or the muffin.

Also, you have arrived in the pseudo-society we live in if one says, no, no, I would never eat a parantha, there are so many calories in this!

But, then being the pure Punjabi I am, my heart sings, smiles and dances a beat when it hears the word ‘parantha‘.

However, times are achanging, my age is catching up and as I enter the cardio-risk group, my doctor says I should take it easy.

But, what a lover’s sight it is, a stuffed parantha with what else, potatoes, cooked slowly, made crisp, served with freshly churned butter, a bowl of chilled dahi(n), and some chilli achaar.

Tell me, truly, doesn’t it make your mouth water?

However, Friends, Punjabis, Countrymen, I come to bury the lowly parantha with my hands and with my stomach … not to praise it. It’s been diagnosed as unhealthy.

Sadly, now we need to part ways, what with my doctor telling me how the slow cooking in gheo is killing my arteries, sending me to a slow but sure death.

I part with you not because I don’t love you but because you’re killing me!

I know I’m mascara-ing Shakespeare here, but time and tide wait for no one and I need to beg leave … 

However, with a spring revolution on the cards in this country, I might just join the AAP band wagon not for their ideas but the aam parantha and live-life parantha size!

May 8, 2014

Conversation about this article

1: Bicky Singh (Ontario, Canada), May 08, 2014, 12:18 PM.

I disagree - how is a parantha (or two or three) worse than other food such as sugar, fast food, etc? The thing with eating any food is that you have to work it off. 50 - 60 years ago, people had huge breakfasts consisting of paranthas but they worked it off - they walked to their work, did not sit around at work and were not glued to their iPads every night. The thing that is killing us is a sedentary lifestyle and not the parantha. Long live the mooli, aaloo and gobi paranthas!

2: Gurpal Singh (United Kingdom), May 08, 2014, 4:45 PM.

Thank you, Bicky Singh, for an excellent analysis. I do believe you are right! My grandparents all lived into their 90's and ate paranthas and ghee-laden daals every day. However, they lived a very active lifestyle; the opposite of mine! Let us all try and enjoy our paranthas on the rare occasion and strive to burn the calories off.

3: Sangat Singh  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 08, 2014, 6:36 PM.

A Pathan making a short-cut through a cremation ground stopped to see an old woman being prepared for cremation surrounded by her sons and relatives. What amazed the Pathan was that they were pouring a four gallon peepa (can) of pure ghee over the body. He asked: "Sardar, what are you doing?" to which the Sardar answered: "It was the last wish of our mother to be cremated in khalas gheo." "O Sardar," replied the Pathan, "if you had fed her the pure ghee when she was alive she wouldn't have died. With a ghee-laden generous helping of stuffed paranthas, she would at least have departed from this world laughing."

4: Surjit Kalra (Pleasanton, California, USA), May 09, 2014, 12:59 AM.

With parantha, of course: "jo kare gheo na kare ma na kare peo ...!" "What gheo does, neither can mother, nor can father!"

5: Harinder Pal Singh (Patiala, Punjab), May 09, 2014, 4:42 AM.

#4 - Surjit Bhen ji: your father and our adorable massar ji once asked me to take him to Amritsar for his eye check up and afterwards wanted to have lunch at 'Bharaawan da Dhaba'. Since his vision was compromised and I didn't know the way, he guided me to thereabouts and then asked me to identify with this sign on it: "Sau chaache ik peo. Sau daaru ik gheo!" - "A hundred uncles equal one father; a hundred medicines equal the one gheo!" He enjoyed his paranthas. Secret of his century of years?!

6: M K S (New York City, USA), May 09, 2014, 12:50 PM.

Ravneet ji, I loved your essay. It was hilarious. I agree with the other commenters that dietary input/output has to balanced. However, I believe this balance is as unique as a finger print, which changes with age and requires each individual to find his/her own and constantly recalibrate it. As a life-long parantha and matthaaee (Punjabi sweets) lover, I'm trying to find that equilibrium without being forced to eliminate either food group completely from my diet. One of the things that works for me besides exercise is smaller portions, and the time I take my meals. Ever since I've started having early dinners (6-7 pm), it has eliminated my after work chaa (tea) time which invariably included samosa, pakora or other finger foods. I've also pushed up my breakfast (8 am) and lunch (noon) times. Would like to hear from others.

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