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| Fiction | The saucy Ketchup tales of the Baisiwala sisters

“Blood may be thicker than water, but its certainly not as thick as Ketchup. Nor does it go as well with French fries.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not For Sale

Unbelievable but Ketchup is what runs strong in the familial ties of us Baisiwala sisters. I swear if you cut us, we would bleed tomato sauce and not blood. Yes such is our consumption of this luscious condiment which for most is just as accompaniment to the main meal. I am not sure what genetic code prompted this gastronomical lust in our system, but it seems to run strong in the three of us. We unanimously concur that if we could shave off inches off our generously proportioned bodies, if we just reduce/give up eating sauce 😉

“I put Ketchup on my Ketchup.” – annoymous

Big B

We are nine cousins with a difference of 13 years between the oldest and the youngest, on our father’s side. The oldest is Big B, fondly known as Shonu di and her love of the Ketchup surpasses us all.

Food in our grandfather’s house did not follow the adjunct of eating with all the senses. So it consisted of bland and insipid watery gruels with some boring vegetable like tinda, lauki, torai, etc thrown in it. Yup the humble lentils suffered the same fate.

Big B could not relish such food as a child, and was often told to leave the dining room by our scary strict grandfather. He had no patience for such tantrums and Big B often went hungry. I guess this is how her mania developed as she would devour ketchup with almost anything to sate her hunger pangs; and I suspect the hurt pride too.

Her Ketchup combos are the most unique in the world – Bournvita and Rasgulla are on top of her list of weirdness. I have seen her scoop out the boiled yolk of the egg and fill the depression with Ketchup, before popping it whole into her mouth.

When she left home to join Lady Irwin college in New Delhi; her hostel mates renamed her “Saucila” from Sharmila (her actual name), in honor of her devotion towards the tomato sauce 😉

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” Always have an extra bottle of Ketchup on the shelf.” – John Steinbeck


Nam di is just a couple of years older than me and moved to live in the US, post her marriage. My poor unsuspecting NRI Brother-in-Law was in for a shock when he discovered her penchant for the tomato Ketchup. One night the unthinkable happened in US B’s life when she discovered the sauce bottle was empty.

Despite the lateness of the hour, my harried BIL was ordered off to the nearest (or fartherest) 711 store to find a bottle of Heinz. Such is her terror that BIL knew better than to return without a bottle.

Post this episode, there are Ketchup rules installed in the household. There is one bottle currently in use, one as backup in the larder and then another as a backup to the backup. Plus there are ketchup sachets hoarded in the kitchen drawer for high end emergency. Low on sauce rations means only she gets to eat it, till supplies are refilled.

Oh and her crazy combo is Ketchup and parantha and Indian Chinese food is incomplete without it too 🙂

“A friend rubbed tomato ketchup on his eyes. In Heinz sight, it wasn’t a good idea.” –

Shalini B

Then there is me. I can trace my lust for this saucy relish to Kissan tomato Ketchup. Oh how I used to love it with parantha/poori and aloo subzi rolls for my tiffin. Or simply Ketchup sandwiches which was basically buttered bread with a liberal dousing of sauce. Everything savory from samosa, kachori to mathri and namkeen was an excuse for me to eat tomato sauce. I have lost count of how many of my precious books hold saucy stains within them as I used to love to snack and read.

When I was in class IX, Maggi came up with the Hot & sweet tomato ketchup with a tagline – “its different”. My palate whole heartedly agreed with that sentiment and I graduated towards this chillier version. I used it liberally to raise the spice level in my food, especially pasta, rice and noodles.

To-date I am loyal to this version of the Ketchup and cant seem to do without it. My favorite is to flavor my maggi noodles with a dash of it, as they cook.

Incidentally during my school Farewell, the juniors at the bequeathed me with the sobriquet – “Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli sauce – Its different!” 😉

{ It was a passing out of school tradition to give titles to the most liked/popular seniors by the juniors. And they could be as cheeky or rude as they liked }

By a stroke of luck, most of our next generation seems to have escaped this gastronomical affliction. So the blood lust will die out with us, I guess. Do you have any such sweet or savory tales to tell me of your family or from your childhood? What did you think of our ketchup mania?

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8 thoughts on “| Fiction | The saucy Ketchup tales of the Baisiwala sisters

  1. This is such an adorable post! But, you are going to hate me now.

    I HATE, HATEEEE, HATEEEEEEE ketchup. I just can’t stand the smell of it even. It gives me a migraine. It is one of the most overrated condiment in my opinion. But, I have seen people eat so much of it. I just don’t understand the craze.

    But bournvita and rasgulla with ketchup would be quite something!

    1. Nah not hate you- I know quite a few people who hate ketchup. My USB’s youngest one runs from it as if its the devil itself. I thought we were the ones going to be laughed about and possibly hated for our fixation 😉

      I dont like the sweet one at all now- its only the hot n sweet one that I fix on a whole lot.That reminds me I need to order a bottle

  2. I hate ketchup as I do all sauces and pickles but must admit that crisp Potato chips ( wafers) taste fabulous when doused in tomato ketchup. That’s the only time I really eat lots of this goopy stuff. The tomato ketchup bottle is kept at home only for the son-in-law and we can survive with just the one for a whole year!

    Wonderful to see you back online with a delightful tale that made me smile.

    1. I love wafers with ketchup too – in our palate, most things taste better with Ketchup simply because we use it as an excuse to eat ketchup primarily 😉

      Happy to have made you smile my friend- I will get to replying you in leisure by this weekend……

  3. Love this ketch up tale Big B, US B and Shalini B of Baisiwala. There is humor, effortess and a unique experimental writing trait. I think you should and must continue the tale plus publishing as a collection of stories, Shalini.

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