Remember when you were 7 and splashed some paint on a huge piece of paper and cliamed it to be a masterpiece? Your mom put it up on the fridge and foresaw pure talent in you, while your sister guffawed and said you'd be useless? But you didn't care.. You continued to paint and finally became an excel sheet mugging analyst. No, didn't happen to you? What about the time you made a complicated sand castle on your annual beach vacation and your dad claimed you'd be an architect some day and you persevered from then on, only to grow up to sell diapers in Bihar? That didn't happen either? Lucky, you!
Well, it didnt happen to me either. But the reason behind that isn't that i followed my dreams and became what I wanted. It's because I never quite figured out what i was good at. I could sing a bit (until my sis shouted at me to stop), I could dance quite some (but my mom convinced me that's no future to pursue), I could write (but I give it up in breaks), I could play quite a few sports (but I succumb under the slightest pressure), I could speak (didn't get me anywhere other than a few GDs), but I didnt have any real talent. And so I followed my true calling.. and became a fin ghissu. I can still tally any balance sheet, given a few free hours!
But the point behind all this rambling, is that I don't remember a single memory of accomplishment from my childhood. This might be because my parents were slightly cynical about most things. But still, I can't remember a single instance of my folks nodding their head, their lips drawn in and patting me on my back.
It was a few weeks ago, when I stood back and stared at my achievement, amazed at the time, patience and energy that had gone into it. Awed by own sense of judgement and the symmetry with which everything had fallen into place and blended so well. I looked up at my partner in crime and I could see he shared the feeling too. We had done it. Our Channa Masala was perfect. True, that night we felt too tired after that effort to make rotis, so we stored the dish overnight and we pushed ourselves to make some rotis the nexy day. But still, it was fantastic. Over time, several other scapegoats have tried our cooking.. family, friends, innocent batchmates, scared juniors. I couldn't really read through all their contrived facial expressions, but I'll take them as compliments. Thank you, every one of you. Please feel free to take your seat while you applaud!
Ah, when your chapati comes up to a perfect *cough* oval *cough*, when your curry turns deep red, when your idlis don't stick to your fingers, when your chutney doesn't lack taste.. Pure bliss. It makes me so proud that I even cry sometimes, but that's only when I chop onions. And when we sit down for dinner at the end of it all, we tell ourselves that we might still be hungry after the meal, but so what! It's still our meal. It's made out of the tomatoes we squished with our own hands, the salt we sprinkled with our very own fingers, spices sent across by our own mothers. It's still our meal.
Life, as always, throws the most pleasant surprises, when you least expect it.
That's why it's called a surprise, by the way.
Note to reader: Do not consider the text above as an invitation to dine at our place. We're not into that kind of socialising.