Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Saw Paw Do

(For the Tamizh-illiterate, Saw Paw Do = saappaadu = food. Because when I type saappaadu, the red squiggly line refuses to go away.)

                I wake not to the Suprabhatham; not to the buzz of an alarm; not to the call of the milkman; not to the chime of the temple bell. I wake up to the sound of food cooking. FOOD - the monosyllabic word which brings with it, multiple sentiments. Food is love, when grandma feeds me. Food is sacrifice when Dad gives up his share to make me happy. Food is oxygen after a day's fast. Food is the only escapade during Physics classes. Food is luxury to a beggar. Food is saviour to the unfed.

               Give a man a coin; he might want a bundle of currency notes. Give him a gram of gold; he might want a kilogram of it. Give him a shirt; he might want a tuxedo. Try serving him a full course meal. If there's something that can elicit as rare a response as 'Enough', from a mortal, it is food.

               I realized I am fan of food, when I found a third of my journal entries to be food-centered. I found myself waiting for descriptions of food, whenever I read a novel. I would tiptoe to the pantry more than once, when on a train journey, just to savour the unmatched odour of food. I wouldn't mind staying tuned to a channel if Shakti Masala was the sponsor. When the whole world was ranting about chauvinism in the recent Airtel ad, I was busy devouring the dishes with my eyes. (Oh come on! Don't judge a person's appetite by their waistline.)

               To me, every festival, every wedding, every outing, every tour brings memories of food. Food signifies the warmth of family, sisterly giggles, brotherly squabbles and yes, the only remedy to my perennially starved tummy.

               I'm the kind of person who would couple Biryani with pickle, sweet paniyaram with chutney, noodles with sugar and rotis with milk.

               A teacher, I must become not, for I might bore students with food examples. A chef I should become not, for I might eat up all that I cook. The Prime Minister, I should become not lest I should trade Kashmir for a box of Gulab jamuns.

               Food can turn friends foes; siblings sworn enemies; acquaintances arch rivals. Food unites Hindus and Mussalmans during Eid; Brahmins and non-Brahmins during Janmashtami.

               It would take a kidnapper nothing beyond a lollipop to lure me into his trap. Food invites. Food delights. Food unites. Food fascinates. Food satiates. Food heals. Food intoxicates. Food soothes. Food for anything; anything for food.