Dabba chronicles


Weekend reporting time again. Not the usual of movie reporting this time as I usually do because I did not watch any movie this weekend….. I had been to Pune and yes I was lucky to attend my sister’s birthday after a very long time and guess what I finally convinced my parents to come and stay with me for sometime…… believe me it was not an easy task to do rather something that I had to really work upon and that is not the end of it….. I am really going to work hard to get them to stay here for some time. I remember a story that I was told of a child who hid the shoes of people, when he did not want them to leave him….. guess I should try that!! I don’t think that it will work. My parents might walk out on me bare foot that would be badder than anything else.

Unlike Mumbai’s glorious two hours of winter that we usually have in the mornings, Pune is in its full winter glory. It was between 9 and 10 degrees Celsius this weekend!!! For us Mumbaikars that is a great deal!!! It was so beautiful because Pune is my favorite place on earth and in winter it is truly resplendent in its full glory. I love winter…… my favorite time of the year.

Rajdeep was not a very happy person though!!! He hates winter and anything that is cold. While he remained totally swamped in woolens and layers of clothing. I trotted around enjoying the warmth of the blankets which I must say we never ever use in Mumbai. So these weekend I spent my time with my family and between cups of hot tea, Rajdeep and me exchanged our notes on dabbas……. you know the ones kids carry to school. Here I must mention that Rajdeep is an absolute foodie. So after watching a commercial on television where a kid was absolutely adored and respected by his peers and the bullies in his class because his mom cooked the best food.

I am not a foodie so I could not remember what people carried in their tiffins and it was suddenly amazing to note that Rajdeep could remember all the people by the tiffins that they carried to the dot. It was amazing!!! and as we were exchanged notes on tiffins I realised that I did not have much to say on the topic as I never ever bothered what anyone else ate around me. I usually opened my lunch box gobbled the contents and got on with my work….. which was usually completing some homework.

Rajdeep’s stories about tiffins is marvelous. In his class the lunch boxes were plundered. He visually described the food that each of his classmates so graphically and that too after so many years that I was amazed and he could recollect that one of his classmates like the protagonist in the commercial, was respected for the food that his mom sent him, which was yum and which usually constituted of different types of parathas and chole and rajma and all the stuff that he loved and it seems to be a unanimous decision because everybody vied for this particular tiffin. Surprisingly non-veg lunch-boxes and rice based lunch boxes were not on the hit list nor were the jam and butter sandwiches. The top ten included all the stuff with parathas (different types) omelets (both veg and non-veg [tomato]), idli, dosas, grilled sandwiches, puri bhajis, besan puris etc etc.

It is somehow amusing to note that the kid in question was somehow known and remembered till date for the lunch boxes that he carried. Rajdeep does not even remember the names of some of the students but definitely remembers the food carried by them. Mothers do note this and send your kids yummy food for in the future your kid will be remembered for the goodies that your labor to make for him every morning.

As for me, being a bengali my ma (who is an excellent cook) used to send me lots of aubergine and cauliflower preparations with chappatis or parathas and since both of them are my favorites I was happy all through. Sometimes I did receive comments like do you have a khet (fields) of cauliflower and brinjal !!!…… that never spoilt my spirits. I was happy to eat cauliflower and brinjal day after day!!! The occasional okra and beans and other veggies did have me complain but then ma put me back onto my favorite diet. Ma used to give me idlis and dosas too….. I loved those as well specially the coconut chutney.

As far as other peoples lunch boxes are concerned, I never ever noticed them. Rajdeep was totally aghast when he heard this……. then after a lot of brain-storming I remembered this person I don’t really remember from school or college, who carried this lovely tiffin and she first removed a serviette and spread it and then she opened her lunch box on it and then she separately removed the chappatis which were wrapped in a muslin cloth, then the veggie preparation from a separate tupper ware tiffin, then salad from another, chaas from another, and lastly fruits and she used to relish the food and spend time on it. The whole tiffin was very small but very nicely comparmentalised with small little boxes. I liked to watch the whole procedure of her relishing food…….. almost spiritual while i normally made a dash for mine I would make a roll of all chapatis and veggies and gobbled it…… fast work.

We sat together and marvelled at both our totally different perspectives and while I loved the paraphernalia involved with the eating Rajdeep went directly for the kill…. the food. He was amazed that I never ever noticed the food!!! I have never been interested in the food aspect…. it has always been eat to live not live to eat for me…… Well we are different!!!! guess that is what keeps us happy!!! not the same boring similarity!!!!

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One Response

  1. I think getting to eat (or having the option to eat)at least 40 different dabbas is one of the greatest perks of school days.Every body’s mother cooks differently.Since we had classmates who were from all communities getting to taste an idli , a batura , a biriyani or a sandwich all in a day was fun.There was no point in being restrained or moderated by good behaviour or social norms during school days, one has to do that in later years.School life is meant to live as the heart pleases, with no regrets.I still remember those parathas which Rahul Sinha brought, Rajmas from Aalok’s dabba, Luchi torkari from Pinaki’s dabba , the list is pretty long.

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