You might have travelled far, and you might have gained bountiful success, but it’s the simple things that you will long for always. Think about it!
The little things, like looking at the sunlight as it filters through the trees in the morning; the heavenly feel of winter sunlight on your skin; the sweet smells of moist earth after the first monsoon drizzle; the flavours and aromas of home-made dal, rice and subzi; the comfort of lounging around in well worn clothes…
Tell me dear reader, aren’t those the things we really long for? If yes, then let me elaborate with something familiar… like eating out in fancy restaurants, for instance. At swanky eateries, a meal for two costs you an arm and a leg—not to mention dishes on the menu with names like, ‘Angel hair pasta with porcini essence or Tartiex-le- xrita con funghi!’
An elaborate buffet at a five star hotel with a lavish Indian spread has you with hundreds of dishes to choose from—Shahjehan, and his Mughal ancestors feature regularly in most of them. There is a Shahjehani pulao, chicken Shahjehani, paneer Shahjehani , Shahjehani biryani, Akbari kebab; and just so that Jahangir doesn’t feel left out—the Jahangiri korma. For a day or two you may get excited, wanting to try everything. But the Tartiex-le-xrita con funghi and large slices of the Mughal history on your plate soon begin to pall and you crave for simple, home-made food—ghar ka khana, just the way your mom cooked it.
There is something wholesome and comforting about home-cooked food, the kind that you can eat daily and that, even if you overeat, doesn’t play catalyst in making embarrassing noises. This is the food that you are close to; there is a pleasure in it that’s coded into your DNA. It’s so soothing that you feel compelled to call hours in advance of reaching home, to have it ready. You can slap it about into any combination you like, and even raid the fridge at midnight for second helpings. It’s that simple!
These choices made from the heart are pure and simple but we complicate them. Part of this complexity arises from the bewildering range of options that modernity throws at us. Like in the new era coffee shops or malls springing up almost every day in Indian cities. You go into one of these places wanting just a plain sandwich and a cup of coffee/tea. For a start, the waiters in these places are highly trained—American style!—to confuse you. I can recall [and I am sure you will too] countless conversations I have had like this one:
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