To All The Cooks I've Hired Before


My ex-cooks,

House in Indiranagar,

But rent of Halasuru,

Bangalore - 560 038.

Respected sir,

Subject: Tum toh thehre bawarchi, saath kya nibhaaoge - Altaf Raja, circa 1997.

Greetings for the new year. Sir, my friends want me to write a post on my recent vacationing in Kerala. To them I politely reproach - this is not a travel blog. My friends also want me to publicly voice my opinion on the CAB-NRC fiasco. To them I ask, what are you - my enemies? I'll write what I want to write. And today I write this letter to you.

Sir, it has been brought to my attention that I did not end on a good note with some (alright, all) of you. Now you don't even take my calls. This was the only way I could reach out to you and explain why I did, what I did.

One's first time is always special. Jaya Amma, I ate your unsalted dal and spiced roti without complaints because I could not bear the thought of losing you. But it had to end. It was toxic. I'm really sorry. Still relish the times we had your paani do pyaaza.

Pitambar, you broke my Hawkins Contura anodized aluminium pressure cooker and I said nothing. Then, you broke my heart. Lekin uski warranty kahaan thi?

Prahlad. Every day was a surprise with you. When I said Bhindi, you heard Tinde.

When I said Paneer, you heard aaj khaana bahar se ayega.

Raghu, people told me not to trust a suave like you. The signs were always there. When I had guests over and asked you bhaiya chai, you were not supposed to reply mere wali mai cheeni kum daalna.

Heera, I was charmed by your online bio. Fluent in sautéing. Not here for cookups. Looking for a kadhi to my chawal. But no, you can't just pass off your khayali pulao as veg pulao. You turned out to be an imposter.

Sunil. I catered to your every demand. From Holi to Halloween, I gave you leave for every festival. I am a true believer in Bangalore's progressive work environment. But for how long could I permit you to work from home?

Ramakant. It's not you, it's me. You deserve someone better. I had to leave you before you could leave me. I'm glad you moved on to opening your own thela. (The police raid at the thela was nothing personal, I swear!)

Rakesh ji, you were at my beck and call all month, until you got your first salary. The next day you sent me a new phone, who dis?

Go rot in hell you insensitive jerk! (Maaf karna gusse main todha idhar-udhar nikal jaata hoon)

Sanjay, I used to believe that all cooks are the same, until I met you. You showed me what true clove really is. One day, out of the blue, you tell me you are going back to your village to audition for Indian Idol and follow your passion? Did the last three months mean nothing to you?

I pity those who have to put up with you now. I also pity myself because I can't cook to save my life.

Thanking you,

Yours ravenously,


P.S. - Swiggy, are you the one?

Inspired by (mostly) true events from my life's last two years of struggle trying to employ a half decent cook in Bangalore.

Is it aloo? paneer? baingan? gobhi? You decide.
I'm still on the lookout for a cook. If you have someone in mind (who is not my ex, obviously) please let me know.

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