that dirty kitchen
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that dirty kitchen

Rice: My Soul Sister

(Said by some rich bastard who stomped on others while he was rich {I am pretty sure this was the case as no one gets philosophical without some character-altering backstory, and money is the only thing which can do this}).

I have grown up hearing this, knowing this and I always thought I understood this. But what do you know, you never know its worth until it’s gone.

I have always been surrounded by simplicity when it comes to food, at least most of the times. Our lunch and dinner, sometimes breakfast too, consisted of steamed rice with this or that. Sometimes it was rice with cholar daal and aloo bhaja, while at other times it was begun bhorta, ilish paturi, choto maacher chochori or scores of other things out there. Everyday witnessed a different accompaniment with that plate of rice. It was the staple component of our diet. My brother and I kept complaining about why we couldn’t have noodles or pasta for dinner every night. We were utterly bored of this white substance showing up on our plates without fail every single day. It felt like the boring guy you have been trying to ditch for a while but can’t figure any way out because he keeps showing up whenever you need him.

In this battle between boredom and dependability, which do you choose? Well, I chose laziness. My mother made it very clear she could only make such unhealthy stuff for snacks and not main meals which meant either me or my brother rolling our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. The choice was simple of course. Both of us preferred simply going for whatever there was rather than getting off the phone or computer, or TV, or anime, or books or whatever the hell we would be doing. Now don’t go frowning at us for opting for the simple pleasures of life because complaining and throwing tantrums about having-the-same-thing-everyday requires quite some effort. And thus, went on our days and nights and mornings too sometimes. This white stuff just hanging around listlessly like the Earthbound spirits stuck between life and afterlife not knowing what to do, hands in pockets and aimlessly kicking away pebbles on the road.

Then came the turning point of my life. I moved out from my domestic bliss and landed in the lap of cafes and smokehouses. I was ecstatic. And my brother coveted me. Spaghetti, penne, macaroni, fusilli, farfalle surrounded me. I hopped from one joint to the other getting high on exotic flavors. Nothing could stop me from my weekly pilgrimages. And so, I continued my rampage. My tummy was already showing by the second trimester. Before I knew it, I ended up with a bump on my hump. But the burgers and pizzas started losing their fascination as happens with all things new and shiny. My body couldn’t take it anymore and craved for something plainer, something dull and boring to cleanse my taste buds of the world’s faux glory that lasts lesser than 15 minutes. My appetite was filled but not my soul. My body craved for something but didn’t know what. All of a sudden, the Earthbound spirit found its way towards the light. I realized the soggy white stuff is what I needed. I was apprehensive at the beginning. How do you approach the old friend you gave up for new hip friends? I knew I couldn’t stall. This was the time to set things right. So, I approached the situation head-on and took my first morsel of that white boredom after what seemed like ages. It found its way deep into my heart and soul. It was like I had found a home away from home. Everything seemed alright with the world yet again as the underappreciated and unloved grains filled my mouth. They didn’t feel soggy or boring anymore. The soft, plump rice grains were pure joy entering me. She still gave herself completely to me uncomplaining of my prolonged absence. She just welcomed me back with open arms and let me in instead of chasing me away for my past sins. The ghee mixed with the hot steamed rice needed nothing else but the aloo bhaaja sure accentuated the entire meal. From slow and dainty morsels to huge balls of ghee rice followed by rapid gorging and munching of the crispy, deep-fried grated potato. With every mouthful, my entire being started to reclaim its existence, and with every mouthful, I realized I had found the one, my love and never was I ever going to part from her again. This was my manna. Still is and forever will be.

an ordinary, garden-variety gnome too high on marigold tea to climb over the Weasley wall!! View all posts by barnali nandi mazumder

Originally published at on December 2, 2017.



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barnali nandi mazumder

a desperate attempt to sound scholarly while I eye the cup of tea over there. fancy some food reveries? visit https://