I love my lunch box. I truly do. I love its steely shiny exterior and the hot rice packed within. A helping of a curry in a little container. A glass bottle of ‘moru’ to go with it, a ‘touching’ of pickle nestling by the side of rice and a lot of aroma and homeliness.
In fact I look forward to my lunch and I might just gobble it up in my free time without even waiting for the lunch hour, that is if I don’t have classes to teach.
I dearly miss my favorite companion to work when I haven’t cooked decent stuff or forgotten to pack it in the morning hurry.
Every time I open the lunch box a sense of pride rushes into me, no, I am not Sanjeev Kapoor, or ‘chefly’ in any sense, but I do feel a sense of achievement when I dig into my food. Some times if I am in a good mood, I do go around sharing it too!
Talking about lunch boxes, one of the most elaborate ones that I had seen was in my school time when a certain friend would bring to school, a complete package of rice, vegetables, curry, rasam, ‘moru’, pieces of pappad and a bottle of ‘chukku vallam’ or cooked water or boiled water to go with it.
There was a time when I too had to carry food for the two of us, my brother and myself. I was in 6th standard and he was in senior kg. Lunch time was pretty elaborate an affair, when I had to get him to my classroom, spread the towel, scoop food and see that he ate. The little fellow would invariably drop food on the floor and that meant I had to clean it up too. Slowly though amma started giving us two lunch boxes and I was relieved of my duty of attending to him at lunch.
My father would carry in his (otherwise empty!) suitcase a lunch box, a bottle of boiled water, a container of curry and a bottle of watery curd or ‘moru’. Some times amma would pack him a sweet as an extra treat.
One of my father’s friends once sent my mom and his wife on an errand while we stayed in Ottapalam, ‘to find the biggest lunch box available in the market’. So, off they went and came back with a huge circular box which was perhaps never intended to be used as a lunch box, but Damodaran Uncle, my father’s friend was more than happy. It is said that he carried his wife’s prized kitchen delights to work for many years to come!
Some of my colleagues do bring pretty hefty large important looking lunch boxes with many accompaniments that would make it look like a feast every day. Well, we know who does that for them,right?
Oh! I am not jealous, just that mine is rather elementary to say the least.
There are times I would get to take the ‘vazhayila poti’ amma would sometimes pack, the added advantage being the aroma of banana leaf in which the rice is packed and the fact that you don’t have to wash the dish! Wow! that was a winner!
While studying at Govt. Victoria College, Palakkad and when I had to stay in the hostel, my good friend, Sudha’s mom would sometimes pack a lunch box for me. That was a special treat, imagine getting that when you are famishing on the dull boarding house stuff!
In fact, packing a lunch or food for someone might look like the most mundane of tasks, but you will surprised at the thought and effort the person puts into it so that you have a good experience.
While you go on long journeys by the train, when you go on outings, when you devour food packed and presented to you and go on to lick your fingers, do take a moment to go back and thank the person who cooked that food for you and packed it too!
Amma never forgets to ask me of my opinion of the food she packed for me for an over night journey from Calicut to Bangalore and she beams when I compliment her, and goes on to explain why she did what.
Recently while travelling back from Dehradun to Bengaluru, me and my daughter looked at each other, giggled and smiled happily as we bit into some amazing sandwiches we have ever had. All thanks to Monu and Remya!
Food connects the best!
But how was your lunch today?
Go on say a thank you, it won’t hurt!