Bhate Bagarana / To Temper Brinjals

Asmita was recently married, and she visited her sister-in-law’s house for the first time. She was very nervous. The entire family had gathered to celebrate the festival of Rakhi. Asmita’s husband, Dinesh, was the only brother. He had two elder sisters.

In India, festivals are a big affair with a lot of rituals, funfair, and feasts. Since it was the first festival after her marriage, Asmita was very conscious. Suddenly, Dinesh’s younger sister’s children wanted to go shopping. So everyone got in the cars and was ready to go. But Asmita could not go with them. Since it was her first festival after the wedding, she had already planned to get henna applied on her hands in the afternoon. So she unwillingly stayed back.

While leaving, one of the older ladies asked what Asmita would do alone at home until the lady who applied Mehendi came. Another lady replied jokingly, “unki vo jaane, ab vo aaram kare ya bhatte bagare” (it is up to her, she can rest or fry the aubergine). Bhatte bagarna is a Hindi idiom for doing nothing.

When everyone had left, Asmita quickly went into the kitchen and looked for the aubergines. But there were none. So immediately, she sent a servant to the nearby market to buy aubergines. Then, before she got henna applied on her hands, she made a nice aubergine curry.

On the way back, the ladies were discussing and were worried about the dinner. When they reached home, they were surprised to see the aubergine curry. On enquiring, the ladies understood that Asmita took the idiom seriously and prepared the aubergine curry. Initially, they all had a hearty laugh, but later they thanked Asmita as they didn’t have to prepare the dinner.

From that year onwards, Aubergine curry became a must-have dish on the festival menu for the family.

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