Now comes the interesting part. Most of the time, we used to get by on things like sandwiches & salads or the Japanese versions of “curry”. Trust me you don’t enjoy it especially with sticky rice. So an Indian meal was a luxury and very tough to find. For my own food supplies, I had taken Atta (whole wheat flour) with me from India , since I knew it would be really tough to find there. And I had taken a pressure cooker along. I had been provided accommodation arranged by the Japanese organisation I was working for and it was available to me till 31st december 2002. Before leaving for new year celebrations, I wanted to exhaust my food supplies and also have a celebratory new year meal. In other words, I had to use ALL the atta I had and also make something really nice. So I invited some of my Indian colleagues over for Aloo ke paranthe. It took them NO time to say yes, because none of us had had a proper Indian meal in months.
The issues started cropping up when I had to actually make them. Not only does the entire world use electric stoves which take painfully slow to heat up, but they also obviously don’t have the usual utensils Indians use. In this case – those were Tawa (flat pan), chakla & belna (Indian style circular board & rolling pin ). So after boiling potatoes, I kneaded the atta in my precious cooker. In lieu of a tawa, I used a shallow pan. And to replace the Chakla, I used a thin chopping board. For belna usage, I needed something evenly cylindrical and at that point all I had was a glass bottle. So I used the glass bottle to roll out the paranthas.
As a result of all these jugaad items, a “lavish” (by our Japanese standards then) Indian meal was prepared for new year celebrations. My colleagues really appreciated the Aloo paranthe they had in Tokyo, and till this date they remember them fondly thanks to this!
Jugaad is certainly one skill that all Indians inherently possess. When the situation comes up, thinking out of the box is all it needs. We are more Indian than we think. Just like this TVC for Lufthansa shows how our Indian values are now being recognised at a global level.
** This post is part of a #MoreIndianThanYouThink contest being run by Lufthansa Airlines