Is it hot yet?

Given that I live in the Bay area, I have grown used to the fact that waiters at restaurants ask you whether you want ‘Water With No Ice’ a term that is so jarring in its construct, that the first few times I laughed every time I heard it. You ask for ‘water without ice’ or you ask for ‘water-@-room-temp’. How do you make water with no ice. Is ‘no-ice’ a thing that you plop into the water? But ‘no-ice’ is nice and like so many other lovable quirks in the USA, I have embraced this one over the years.

Water-with-no-ice however brings me to a question that I am sure has occupied the mind of every attentive waiter in the Bay area at least once. Why are folks who hail from a hot country like India not going in for a cold drink? I’ve wondered this quite often myself. Why are we this obsessed with hot food, hot tea and hot milk, not to mention the piping hot coffee? 

Given how much we enjoy the hot food, imagine my chagrin then when the microwave danced out on us.

On a side note, I wonder whether you notice a trend here. The dryer showed us what it is capable of, the oven hasn’t been on talking terms with us the past year and now, the microwave. (I don’t wish to offend the dishwasher by not dedicating a few blogs to it. It has been begging me to do so with its recent behavior and I have been holding firm thus far, but I may just have to write it up too) All very wearying and worrying and all that. Sigh! Where was I? Yes. The Microwave.

So, one hot evening I walked into the kitchen to make myself a hot cup of tea. The microwave started humming, rotating slowly and the dull lights inside showed me it was working on it. A full minute later, I picked up the cup gingerly expecting it to exude warmth, but it was stone cold. I mean porcelain-cold. It hadn’t done its duty. I gaped at it, and tried again. (Did you expect different behavior when you try the same thing? I see your censorious question and say, “Yes. “ Maybe the heating coil was taking a breather and the gentle nudge that I gave on the bottom of the microwave may have spurred it to act again) However, gentle nudge or ferocious roar, the microwave had retired. As unobtrusively as it seeped into our lives, it retired.

I have lived without a microwave in a very cold place for two decades and I can assure you it is possible. Yet, it is only when it isn’t there that you realize how kindly and painlessly this device helps you lead your life. You put in a cup of milk and a minute later, there you have it: a cup of hot milk for whatever use you have for it.  Every morning now, there was definite hungama over the coffee:

The milk took its time to boil.

The water took its time to boil

The coffee took it time to drip.

Then the coffee and milk together, was not hot enough.

Ask any proud South Indian coffee drinker and he will tell you that directly heating the coffee dilutes its flavor. (For the record, I see no difference.)


More than any of that, the microwave knew to stop heating the milk in 30 seconds. The stovetop didn’t. The entire three minutes that I  stood watching the milk, nothing happened and the moment I turned to pick a spoon, a loud sizzle told me that the milk had boiled over. Morning coffees were a milk-bath.  They were becoming long-drawn affairs in molly-cuddling the milk, comforting the coffee and  soothing the drinkers. One morning, the mother-in-law, a sturdy lady who has taken life by its horns, could be seen sitting with her hands on her head with the morning coffee routine. Needless to say, the milk boiled over at that very instant and all hands great and small gathered around to help clean the mess.

That was how the husband and I went shopping for a microwave without a penny on us, and still managed to bring a gleaming microwave into the house. (We both forgot our purses at home – coffee-less people do that apparently)

4 thoughts on “Is it hot yet?”

  1. “As unobtrusively as it seeped into our lives, it retired.”
    I keep finding these kind of gems in your funny blogs.

    And I learn new words too.

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