I never believed I was one of those kinds who would cling to my baby or blurt out tears at the drop of hat. Before being a mother myself, I did not see myself connecting well with kids. Naughty kids at supermarkets irritated me to the core. I wondered why parents did not teach them how to behave well. (I was a naughty one myself and got enough punishment for that). I hated cranky babies. I wondered how difficult it should be to make a snobbish baby shut up. I blamed their parents latently… till I had my own, who cried till her throat wouldn’t give up. Unbelievable!
And then I despised beggars who carried their crying babies around and went begging for money in cue of sympathy. I never encouraged begging and mercilessly believed that one should earn the hard way rather than beg easy way out.
A strange thing happened last evening. I was at my tailor’s shop getting my jeans altered. Right next to this shop is a small mosque where the evening prayers were being offered. A mother sat at the entrance pavement to the mosque begging for alms. Perfecting the timing and a wailing baby in hand, I could figure out she seemed to be a regular there. She tried her best to pacify him by rocking the baby in one hand while the other reached out for alms. As I waited for my job to finish, I stood there observing. The baby wouldn’t keep quiet.
Had it not been the maternal instincts in me, I wouldn’t have moved an inch by this sight. As I stood waiting, a couple of thoughts raced my empty mind. Why would any mother hurt her baby only to earn a few bucks? Though the mother looked shabby, she seemed healthy and hefty (reasonably, if I had to judge by a beggar’s standard), while the baby undernourished. May be the baby was unfed and hungry. May be it had a stomach ache. My heart went out for the yelping baby as it cried incessantly. With pitiful thoughts, I reached out for a change and handed it over to her with a hope she would buy some food for her starving baby. She accepted it monotonously.
I walked back home, my mind unrest, wondering what led to this deed of mine. I was never the one who was stirred by these actions in the past. Beggars never took my first glance, forget a second one. Then why was I moved? Was it the wailing baby? Or was it the baby’s hunger? Was it hurt to cry for driving sympathy? Was it unwell and not cared for properly? Was it borrowed from someone else for begging? Or maybe it was just sleepy. Was I assuming? Was it my own maternal instinct that led me to worry for it? I don’t know. I thought of my own baby and cringed to her. I don’t know where these emotions come from, I had never known them before, but they have taken over me now… Motherhood is such a warm, embracing feeling, but it makes you act stupid at times. Forgive me if I say this, but it does.
I sought an instant rescue from these cluttering thoughts in these Classic Dark Chocolate Brownies, adapted from the cookbook Chocolate: Food & Music. It’s a one pot recipe and takes hardly any effort apart from microwaving the chocolate and butter, now if you call that an effort! The original recipe has it made from white chocolate, but then these cakey brownies are wicked, filled with love from butter, sugar and decadence from dark chocolate and can be even better. How about some walnuts for some nutty bites? Sinful!
Adapted from Chocolate: Food & Music
115g unsalted butter
225g best dark chocolate
115g plain flour
75g chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
115g soft brown sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Lightly grease a square baking tin.
Roughly chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and microwave about 175g of it along with the said amount of butter till molten, approx. 2 mins. When melted stir together and then set aside to cool slightly. Next whisk the eggs and sugar well and beat into the chocolate mixture. Tip the flour and chopped chocolate and walnuts, then gently fold together with a spatula. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180 deg C for 25 minutes or till the brownies are just down. Take out of the oven and allow to cool, cut into rectangles and serve warm.