I walked down the street, to the other side of the city, in search of the one thing in my life that I knew would bring me the sheer bliss that would entirely and utterly be beyond compare. I traced my steps to that place, where I knew my presence had been awaited for so long, consciously trying not to trip over the thoughts of my precious. They say love is beautiful. I agree. It is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. It does bring you pain, but the kind of pain that you would so wilfully inflict upon yourself, it is bitter yet sweet. It is a beautiful contradiction. it is nearly inexplicable yet here I am, expressing my love for the single most amazing thing in the world (on Valentine’s day! Coincidence much?), for I firmly believe that there is no love sincerer than the love for food.
I very clearly remember that moment, the first time that I had laid my eyes on that beautiful thing. I was three years old. It emitted happiness, I could sense it. How they brought it close to me while I had my gaze set on that beauty, wondering what it was that seemed so heavenly, whether or not, I even deserved to be laying eyes on it.
“Here, take this”, my mother whispered into my ear and handed me over a piece of what they called naan, covered in the orange colored gravy that smelled like Christmas in a bowl to me. I placed it in my mouth, still contemplating whether or not, I was qualified to be experiencing such unearthly beauty. And in just a fraction of seconds, I could feel the spices dancing around in my mouth and hint of sweetness shying away from all the spices, yet somehow leading them on. I was enthralled. As a child, it was the first time that I had felt something like this. I was fascinated…
And after what seemed like to me a thousand long steps, I finally reached my destination. I looked through the glass doors, at all those people who had been waiting for so long, at their longing eyes, and as I walked inside, a whiff of sweet and spicy bliss embraced my senses and almost lifted me off the ground. This was one of those times when I knew it was almost beyond control for me to wait any longer for my precious. Controlling the almost uncontrollable urge to run for my love, I walked towards an empty table like a civilized adult and looked longingly at the waiter to approach me. My face lit up like that of a child, looking at him walking towards me. He took his pen and his notepad out and gave me the look, suggesting that I tell him what I wanted. So, I obliged and excitedly said, “One butter chicken, two butter naans”.
After twenty minutes and forty seven seconds later, I finally caught a glimpse of my love being walked to me. It was dressed in a very beautiful orange. The waiter brought it and kept it right on my table. I looked at it. The shimmery orange suddenly made my heart skip a beat. The creamy white, stealthily meandering its way through the top layer of the orange and a hint of sprinkled mint was all that it took for me to know that I was irrevocably in love. The sheer beauty with which this gorgeous blend of such delicious colors mesmerised me was nothing less than utterly amazing. The absolute intricacy with which this was designed was impeccable. This was beauty. Complete and flawless beauty :’)
I bent down a little and breathed in. A hint of spices and a sweet, sweet fragrance hit my senses, and my mouth started watering consequentially. I so did not want to ruin this exquisite piece of art, but I couldn’t help the urge that had been building in for so long. So, I took my hand and reached for the naan and gently tore a little piece off. I dipped that piece into the orange river of beauty that there was right in front of me and carefully placed it into my mouth. I thanked the Almighty for bestowing upon this world the greatest blessing of all-tomatoes. It was as if the gravy was melting in my mouth, the spices and that little hint of sweetness cheerfully playing together inside my mouth which I swallowed so contentedly. I could feel the gravy going down my throat and this honestly felt like the first drop of rain after an eternity of drought. I could almost feel my soul, that had been dead for so long now, resurge from the ashes. I was beginning to come back to life.
And with that I knew it was time for me to reach the climax of my meal. I couldn’t care any less about those eyes around me, whether or not I would be judged for what I was going to do next, or if it would be frowned upon, but my love was calling out to me. So, without any inhibitions, I reached for the bowl of joy in front of me with my hand and impatiently took out the one piece that is the most sought after- the chicken leg. I took it right of the bowl and saw the lovely gravy dripping and it just made it all the more difficult for me to cover the distance between me and my love. I swiftly brought it close to my mouth and dug my teeth right in until I could feel the bone hitting my teeth and plucked a piece of meat wrapped in the orange gravy into my mouth. And it was that moment, that moment of contentment, that moment of pleasure, that moment of sheer ecstasy when I could feel myself getting absolutely rejuvenated :’)
I could feel the three year old calling out to me, for this was the only way we could possibly defeat the conundrum of time and be united for once. We could be far away from all the pandemonium for once, and curl up together, in our happy place, where we know we shall discover tranquillity without the fear of the world. The three year old embraced me peacefully, for she was happy. This moment was pious. We were happy.
It’s true. Love really did change my life :’)
By Dhwani Mohan