“Humans are what they eat”- A random colleague of mine said that on a sunny summer day! Is it logically true or philosophically false? I don’t know for sure. But, I know certainly that, Food is the most essential substance in this lively planet. We all are working for diversified motives. We invest or spend many amounts of our earning on consuming bread & butter every day around the globe. No matter how rich or poor we are. Based on our capacity, we purchase, produce foods. In any way, our activities laid on an indirect path to a food system at all.
For me, food is a commodity fallen from heaven & I really love it. In fact, a love word is inappropriate to describe the importance of food. Do you think why I exaggerated about food like this! Am I a food-addict person! Do I always have a raw interest in food! Or, I am a greedy person who always craving something free!
Nope! I am not like them. I admire food, always feeling thankful to Almighty, graceful to this earth for giving me enough meals to survive. In my early childhood, I was out of my home to a distant town to study. I was staying in a boarding school for a long time, a decade mostly. Hostel’s meals were always roughly horrible in my experiences. When I was at home, my mom was feeding me by her own hands. In addition, foods were apparently delicious.
In the boarding, I can’t consume any of that’s items. The breakfast table always being a warzone for me. Grumpy hostel superintendent was walking with a brown colored cane beside our table. We were standing in a line to collect the meal. The maximum time we got two dry pieces of bread prepared by unrefined flour, one extra small-sized bowl; filled with a soup of pigeon pea. I can remember, every time I thought about the reasons for the naming the pulse by pigeon pea.
Sometimes my eyes burst into tears. I was calling my mamma in silent prayers. My mum never came. Day by day, my surviving capabilities were building in extended measures. After three or four years, I was very able to consume any type of food even if these were partially rotten or smelly ones. In present, when I think about my past days’ struggles about food, I feel scared alongside grateful; because now I can at least buy a minimum amount of meal I chose.
After leaving boarding school’s hostel, I was shifted to a bachelor’s mess in a joined room tin-shed with my classmates. That time our total budget for food is not enough for four of us. We were tried to manage a decent meal for a day. Usual three meals in a day was a kinda daydream for us. On Friday lunch of every week, I was going to the restaurant nearby, order a royal-sized fish curry or gravy chicken with two plates rice. This amount of food was excessive for my tummy. However, I never wasted any bit of it. That is why Friday was always my real holiday then.
When I was starting to earn, we moved to a comparatively better flat in a poor downtown area in old Dhaka city. With all of haphazard, my life was amazing in many senses. Our earnings were slowly increasing with time. Therefore, the food quality was on a balanced level. We share our flat with a little family. I can remember, we called the wife of that family ‘APA’ – Elder Sister. She was an angel for us. I didn’t ask her name ever. Her neighbors called her ‘Ziader Maa’. APA was cooking our meal and she was sincerely caring.
In Kamrangirchar (kam-rangir-char), I was starting to cook in a little bit. At first, I tried to make snacks items for my own. Sometimes, the food going to horrible in teste & visuals. But, I kept me trying. That was a momentum I got my freedom in the foodie journey. I was spending a slice of my spare time in the kitchen. You must be thinking after reading this long preface, I became a cuisine expert or something in the meantime. Actually not. I can’t cook a proper meal in confidence!
But, my love of the kitchen is growing. I love to spend time, cooking something for my people. When I am being busy in making unusual items or trying to any self-thought recipe, I feel alive, concentered in a motion of spice and smoke. I feel like anchoring in a shore where times flow in the symphony of bowls, spoons & cooking spud.
Whenever I am chopping onions, slicing potatoes, whipping eggplants, marinating portions of beef, or kneading smashed tomatoes, my mind presents the opportunity. I am getting the precious hidden key to connect with a void world, laid on the way of foods and souls. The sights of different colors of spices, vegetables, different types of frying sounds, smells of ingredients, and textures of the culinary tasks always calm my discomposure and unrest.
For me, at this point, cooking is meditative. The inner persona of mine blends in a deep string of rhythm in a trashy kitchen in this mega-city. It’s like meditating. When my cooked items are having with love and contentment by peoples whom I care, I feel pleasures. In my life, I have witnessed sufferings about food, experienced cravings for a delicious meal. So, I can truly understand, how lucky you are, if you have had a proper food channel. Be thankful.
In present, we are passing our days like golden rush hours. No one has any leisure, any vacant moment. At this destructive span, I can seek refuge in my untidy kitchen. I can sense the tranquility of souls where my meditation stands. It is my space, and my time, where collective works of cooking elements get lives with loves & passion. Maybe someday, in a faraway land from chaos, I will start a little sack or canteen on my own, where Melody from a trashy kitchen gives you a bit of peaceful moment.
You will be warmly invited there, my friend!