How important is food for our survival?
I’m sure we agree that this isn’t one of the smartest questions doing rounds and the answer is pretty obvious but the other day I realized that good food can do much-much more than nourishing our body.
Last week was full of those especially crazy days where the world and all that it entails tries its best to pull you down, where every effort you make to resist and rise is met with a double-counter force.
After putting in over 60 hours at work, marking attendance in a wedding in the family (across the lengths and breadths of rituals, without short-cuts) and squeezing in every bit of energy that remained, into giving shape and form to a start-up dream- I was exhausted by the time weekend presented itself…
All that kept me going through the week was a dream to snuggle in comforter, keep a book and a mug of coffee handy and move enough so people knew I was alive. But true to the week-theme, everything that didn’t find space on week days, parked itself in the weekend ‘to-do’ list. By Friday afternoon, the unusually long list ran into pages!
From visiting our folks to executing the seasonal shift in wardrobe to ironing clothes and stocking up groceries; each task on the list seemed as undesirable as the other. The bleak truth stared at my face, my weekend dream was just that… a dream.
Another impending task was to do market research; which was a full-day’s job in itself… By Friday night, my grumpy-levels must have put Garfield to shame as I snapped and made a face at every kind word said to me. I was exhausted and there was no way in hell that I was going to get any rest!!
Grudgingly, we (me and my partner) woke up earlier than our usual time, to wrap up the routine chores and leave in time for Old Delhi. Stifling yawns and trying to motivate each other; equipped with a water bottle and a couple of stapled ‘to-do’ lists, we sat in Delhi metro and began our journey… certain that it was a beginning to another long, tiring day!
By the time we reached, the market was more than up and about. We took the Chawri Bazaar exit and switched on the GPS; (how did we even function without google maps?) confidently handing over all sense of direction to it. Unquestioningly, we followed the series of lefts and rights for the next fifteen minutes, (excluding the time it took to reroute) before realizing that we were back to the start point.
I looked at my partner with can-it-even-get-worse-than-this look and he said, ‘you know what, I think we should eat first. We need all the energy possible to get through the day in this bright Sun.’
My first reaction was, ‘food is not an answer to all problems! Let’s get a rickshaw and get to work’ but checked myself, if there is anything worse than being in a foul mood is to be with someone who reflects your mood. So, without wasting another precious moment, I sneaked out a separate list of ‘must-eats’ and winked.
With some more hard work, we reached Shyam sweets (i followed the aroma for last 50 mtrs). I looked at the displayed menu and used-up the entire quota of will-power to resist asking for every listed item and settled for the quintessential bedmi-poori and nagori halwa.
My partner went to grab a table while I tip-toed next to the halwai; and watched him toss the happily swollen pooris in hot oil with ill-concealed excitement. My eyes followed his every move with utmost interest as the heady aroma stealthily put all other senses in the background.
I almost jumped at the tray he plated when he signaled me for the order and headed to the only vacant table where my partner stood waiting. He looked amused by my behavior but i was beyond caring and plunged into food as soon as the plate touched the table-top.
And boy was I in for a surprise! As the flavors of the first bite played magic with my taste-buds; i was transported into a realm of weightlessness. With closed eyes, I rolled it over my tongue, trying to extract every-bit of deliciousness it offered.
Not only that, I wasn’t even grumpy anymore. Suddenly, Life started making sense. Every challenge, each moment of exhaustion and every little stress that had been plaguing my mind either disappeared or seemed inconsequential. It probably sounds stupid in hindsight, but at that moment, I was convinced that this experience was God’s way of saying he loved me and that this meal was the silver lining to my week-long grey cloud!
It was a different kind of high than what alcohol gives. Whereas that reduces our guard and displaces our orientation; each subsequent bite of that food injected adrenaline into my soul. It made me feel alert, alive and and full of gratitude. I couldn’t stop thanking God for all his blessings and the gentlemen who fed me a sumptuous meal.
Standing on the roadside, around a wobbly table (which had to be supported by the free hand) with blaring horns in the background and surrounded by stray dogs soaking the Sun; I felt recharged. I felt ready to take on the world and more than anything I felt loved.