Urmii Bhattacharya and their work

Urmii Bhattacharya is a digital marketing strategist who also is greatly involved with blogging on company assigned projects.

This is what she has to say about herself

Though I love doing what I do, writing for myself is what excites me most. I do not find a lot of time and inspiration to draft what I feel in stories. I have added a few to my collection and hope to take it forward with time. Also, I have ventured in the arduous project of writing a novel though I end up pushing the targets out of sheer laziness.

Pudina Chutney is a candid expression that will take you back to school. Hope you like reading this. Looking forward to your comments.

Pudina ki Chutney


Urmii Bhattacharya

Pudina ki Chutney

Pop flew the lunch box lids as the Std 8th group of four calling themselves the Qourageous Quad sat opening their lunch just above the basketball grounds. The mouthwatering delicacies sent their fragrance to the tips of the tall pine trees and the wind around them felt happy to be laden with the delectable aroma. Aloo ka paratha with Pudina ki chutni, Makki ki roti with Sarson ka saag, Rajma Chawal and peas pulao with paneer butter masala…Umm, quite a treat!

Spoons dipped from one box to the other as each scooped mouthful of the goodies. The chummy sounds of lip smacking, finger licking, and munching were the sheer profits of a mother’s toil in the wee hours of the morning.

“My mom makes such delicious pudina ki chutney, no one can make it like her.”

Alok said these words as he fastidiously licked the small box that contained the last residual green stains of the chutney.

“Stop bragging Alok, my mom makes it better. I am not saying your mom’s aren’t good, but there’s something better in my mom’s chutney. In fact, every thing my mom makes turns out just wonderful!”

“Hey, who’s the bragger now? My mom makes it a lot better, Kinchu, there’s simply no comparison!”

“Wanna bet? Let’s have a competition between your mom and mine.”

“Hey, you guys would you stop betting. This is crazy. Both your mom’s cook well.”

“No way, Arvind, my mom cooks way better and there’s really no comparison.”

“Uff Jassi, drill some sense in them.”

The bell rang and brought an end to the argument temporarily.

The last three periods dragged as slow as an afternoon siesta. The last period was PT and the kids were relieved to rush out of the class away into the basketball field.

The class was divided into two teams and Alok and Kinshuk, or Kinchu, as the class preferred to call him, fell in the same team.

The two were now not on speaking terms and each refused to support the other. They refused to pass the ball to each other, and tried to basket all by themselves. The opposition walked all over them, and they lost by 5 baskets to 20.

The way back home was filled with equal animosity and one could hardly miss the hostility among them. They hardly spoke to the other, a complete reversal from other days when they returned home hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. They lived in the same housing society and their fathers worked in the same office.

But now the bone of contention was whose mom made better Pudina ki Chutney!

As the kids got back home, the Pudina ki Chutney incident was disclosed and soon every mother in the community laughed and shared jokes on the common WhatsApp group.

“So, Mrs. Chaddha, why don’t you both, you and Mrs. Sharma have a contest. Let us judge whose chutney is better?”

“Come on, you people are turning out just like our kids right Mrs. Sharma?”

“No, actually, Mrs. Chaddha, my son is right. I do make better Pudina ki Chutney than anyone else. My mother’s special recipe, you see. It is quite out of the world.”

“I am sure it is Mrs. Sharma, but there’s really no greatness in making Pudina ki Chutney. I am sure every lady in our society churns and blends the ingredients just as well.”

The conversation was never ending, and all the ladies pitched in to make the discussion reach no conclusion at all. And finally, it was agreed that a contest was the only way to resolve the discord on who had an edge over the other when it came to the making of Pudina ki Chutney.

It was decided that on the coming Saturday afternoon, when the husbands would be in office and kids would have a holiday, all the ladies in the community would meet in the community hall to decide if Mrs. Chaddha’s Pudina ki Chutney could oust Mrs. Sharma’s.

Mrs. Sharma had a rumbling pot in her balcony where she grew her fresh, green juicy pudinas. She was absolutely sure that this was her sheer secret of clinching the trophy from Mrs. Chaddha.

Meanwhile, next day at school things were okay and quite forgotten between Alok and Kinchu. The boys got into their usual jocund mood and played with all their heart.

The week seemed to be closing quickly and the chats in the WhatsApp group grew more intense.

“Just chutney, what else with it?”

“Exactly, on such a day one just needed an excuse to plan a grand lunch. Let’s all pitch in with whatever goodies we can make or bake.”

The undercurrent of dissent between the two ladies surfaced at the mildest provocation and was savoured by all.

“I was thinking of making some samosas with the Pudina ki Chutney. I can’t make you all have the chutney by itself.”

“That’s so thoughtful Mrs. Sharma.”

“Oh! And I had already decided on making aloo ke paratha for all of us and our kids.”

“That settles it. You people make paratha and samosas with Pudina ki Chutney, while some of us will make rice, paneer and a sweet dish.”

“What are we going to wear?”

Something in green, was the natural response.

Saturday arrived. Mrs. Sharma’s Pudina pot was fresh with the juiciest large leaves. She plucked them in the morning.

While Mrs. Chaddha told her husband several times to bring four bundles of Pudina leaves from the market. He must not forget and bring them for sure.  However, upon his return it was found that Pudina leaves weren’t available that day.

Surely, she couldn’t allow Mrs. Sharma to have a walkover.

But under the circumstances what else could she do?

After her husband left for office, she wrote in the WhatsApp group – ‘No pudina leaves was available  in the market, how do I prepare the chutney? ‘

Responses came pouring in, are you backing out? Some volunteered to give their pudina leaves to  her, but they weren’t ripe and fresh.

She replied that ripe leaves would bring the right taste. She will go to the nearby market and check if she didn’t find them then would have to use theirs.

All this while Mrs. Sharma read the messages shared in the group. She didn’t respond, wondering what to do.

Finally, she decided, come on, this is all in fun. There was enough pudina leaf in her balcony for the two of them.

“Why do you need to go to the market?” she wrote, “There are enough leaves in my pot for both of us. Send Alok to take some.”

The response was met with restraint.

“Okay. Thank you”, came a short answer.

The rest of the members clapped for Mrs. Sharma. Patted her for her sporting spirit and everyone agreed that she had the right essence of competition in her.

Mrs. Chaddha sent Alok to Mrs. Sharma’s house to fetch the leaves. Mrs. Sharma had already plucked a bowlful and kept them for Mrs. Chaddha.

Alok was more interested in playing with Kinju than taking the leaves back home, but Mrs. Sharma  sent him back telling him that they could play all afternoon.

Finally, it was time to meet.

The chutneys were ready and so was the samosa, aloo ka paratha, pulao, paneer, gulab jamun, dahi vada. The ladies were dressed in their greens. Some wore saris, some salwar kameez, some western frocks, some green tops with jeans or pants and some made a greater attempt to fuse styles and be enigmatic.

The community hall was also decorated with fresh white linen on two separate tables for each contestant to display their culinary expertise.

Before the contest began a short speech came from the group admin who appreciated each for their  effort and assured that this is all in zest and ladies should just savour the moment in the right spirit.

The kids in the backdrop were least interested in what their mothers were doing and were more concerned about the food.

But waiting wasn’t easy, and they began to play while the mothers finished the formalities. Complications set afoot by them were so easily forgotten by their uncomplicated minds but were carried to great lengths by their mothers.

Engrossed in cricket Alok hit the ball hard that landed in Mrs. Sharma’s pot full of pudina chutney.  The green paste went flying out of the glass container on the white tablecloth and the samosas kept  beside the once delicious chutney.

The whole room looked aghast and Mrs. Sharma looked at her worst. She really had put in great efforts to stand out with full marks.

When Mrs. Chaddha noticed that it was her own son’s doing, she poured her anger out on her son.

Mrs. Sharma immediately came to Alok’s rescue.

“It was an accident. Let it be.”

And on that good note, everyone enjoyed Mrs Chaddha’s Pudina ki Chutney.

Mrs Sharma, deep inside, still felt that the little bit of her chutney stuck on the samosas tasted much better than Mrs. Chadda’s chutney.

(c) Urmii Bhattacharya

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jolly Good Fellow

    Such is life. Even everyday happenings can be made as tasty as Pudina ki Chutney. Kudos. Well-written.

  2. Amitesh Mukherjee ( Tabun da )

    Beautiful story. I loved the part where Mrs. Chadda in WA group volunteers to share her Pudina with Mrs. Sharma. Very well written. Got my attention from start to finish. I was wondering who will win. How will it all end. I also loved the last paragraph – what was in Mrs. Sharma’s head.

    But Bui writing a story about chutney , I could not help but think about my Manu Pishi. “Tabun , ekbar Shimla ay. Ami tokey Amar ‘opurbo’ chutney khaowabo “ ( my apologies for writing Bengali here to honor and quote my Pishi). She was on my mind as I thought about the chutney story.

    Keep writing Bui. This could keep my attention from start to finish – a credit to the way it was written and narrated.

    1. SloWord

      Thanks on her behalf!