“That guy at the counter has a gun. He is robbing us.”
As I sat across the Assistant Bank Manager in her office that was an enclosed glass structure, negotiating on interest rates and going over various policy potentials, I heard a commotion behind me, in the common area just outside of her office. Donna, the banker, looked up too, and I saw a her smooth forehead form a few furrows. Following her gaze, I swiveled my chair slightly and looked over my shoulder. I noticed a teller talking to a customer. Another teller pottering around behind the teller’s window. Shrugging, I turned back and went back to my perusal of spread out documents in front of me.
Donna excused herself and stepped out. She was back almost immediately. “Don’t Move!” she whispered urgently, her harsh tone sending warning bells jingling down my spine. “That guy at the counter has a gun. He is robbing us.”
Now, I envisioned myself galvanized into action, reach the man in a flash, and unman him of his gun in a very stylish fashion. Become a hero, you know. TV lights flashing in my face, reporters in suave high neck polos and coiffed hair shoving microphones at me, wanting to know how I felt rescuing the bank. (You see, according to the reporters, you are always supposed to process how you ‘feel’ when something happens to/around you and then file it away at some corner of your brain to recount those feelings at a later appropriate time.)
I did nothing of the sort. I kept sitting, and looked over my shoulder, not even moving my chair this time. The guy wore a high neck jacket that concealed much of his neck and the hair at the nape. A white cap covered the rest of his head. I turned around and kept sitting, the whole scenario still feeling a bit fantastic to me. If he turned, I would be in his direct vision. And a potential victim of a direct hit were he to discharge his gun.
Shudder. The remanant feeling of heroism just vanished through the shuttered window of Donna’s office.
Then he was gone. All this happened in three minutes, or less. The police came in almost immediately after. From what I gathered, the police might have delayed their entry by a few crucial moments to avoid a potential hostage situation. Wow! I never looked at delayed police arrival from that standpoint. They took my statement, and left. We went back to business as usual in minutes. The man was apprehended within the next 24 hours.
That day, my insides stayed mushy almost through the entire day. A weird kind of mushy.Not at all like the mushiness of this melt in the mouth eggplant recipe, that is succulent and soft.
Eggplant is called ‘Begun’ (the u is pronounced like that of toon). ‘Bhaja’ means fried. It is an accompaniment for dal and rice in a multiple course meal of a typical Bengali family. Normally, it is deep fried in a lot of oil, which makes it quite unhealthy to eat on a regular basis. My Aunt taught me to add sugar to marinade the eggplant before frying. It prevents the eggplant from soaking in oil, and also makes it taste better. I agree with her wholeheartedly.
I prefer to pan grill it in Oil spray. Non stick helps. And slow fry it to ensure even cooking on both sides.
Marinade the Eggplant in turmeric, salt, sugar, and red chili powder.
Coat a non stick pan with Pam oil spray, and fry the eggplant till done.
- 1 medium sized eggplant sliced into ½” thick slices and cut each slice into halves.
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp oil
- Oil spray for frying
- Marinade the eggplant with all the ingredients and keep it for 10 minutes. (Any more and the eggplant will start oxidizing).
- Coat a Non stick frying pan with Oil spray generously.
- Fry the eggplant on slow flame, each side for about 10 minutes.
- Spray the eggplant with more oil if required.