A couple of weeks ago, I was reheating my dinner in the kitchen at this place where two of my best friends and I stay as paying guests. Roti, bindhi, and boondi raita (I love boondi raita). I was looking for a spoon and could not find one, because no matter how many spoons you get when you are sharing your kitchen with other people (talking about strangers here, not my friends. I absolutely love my girlfriends!), you won’t find any when you need them the most. Honestly, I would not have felt bad if it were not for the boondi raita.
During the spoon-search, I was thinking how my mother had given me so many of those on different occasions to take along with me, and how this would not have happened if I were at home, and how I am in this other city only for my job, and how things at work are not as good as I had expected. And how I have realized that no matter how sincere you are, you will have to prove yourself over and over again, and how some people work half as hard as you and yet, don’t have to struggle to make things happen for them. In those few moments, I was reminded of so many things that were not right in my life, and there was so much that did not make any sense.
That’s the thing about adulthood; sometimes, you manage to stay strong through disasters, and sometimes the littlest thing triggers you in impactful ways. Honestly, it’s never about that trivial thing that pushes the final button within you; it’s about what it stands for; it’s about how it makes you face the questions you had been escaping.
When I calmed down, I realized something really important (that’s why I decided to write this; I am not dramatic enough to bring it up without having something actually significant to share).
I let a missing spoon make me think of so many things that did not feel right, but I rarely let the food on my plate make me think of all the people who go to bed hungry across the world, little kids who die of starvation, the people who do not mind looking for something to eat in dustbins, the ones who leave their houses every day in the hope of making enough money to bring their family something to eat but can’t afford to make any promises.
India ranks 101 in the Global Hunger Index-2021 out of 116 nations, and as per the stats, the hunger issue is SERIOUS in our country.
A couple of years ago, I updated my Whatsapp status to Grateful, and I never changed it after that because I really am grateful. But I forget sometimes. I forget that while I relish tiny portions of expensive white sauce pasta at a fancy restaurant or try different flavors of ice creams because I can’t resist these beautiful things, or when I overeat kadhi chawal made by mama, or bake cakes for no reason at all or put extra cheese in the sandwiches, or when my mother uses food to express her unconditional love for me, and I savor every bite of it, there are people who are crying out of hunger in my own country, maybe not too far from me.
The missing spoons made me think of a dozen things that were not okay, but the presence of spoons rarely makes me thankful for everything that I have in abundance.
More than 800 million people go to sleep hungry every day. Maybe if we all do our bit, things will gradually begin to change in a positive way. Maybe if we all let our spoons become the daily reminders of everything that we have, we will gradually begin to complain less about everything we don’t.
I didn’t decide to write this blog because I could not find spoons that day; I am writing it because I want to remind myself and all of you reading it that we should share food as much as possible, and when you are hosting a wedding for 200 people, please don’t get food cooked for 250 because your relatives are anyway going to spot flaws related to the salt content, crispiness of dosas, and consistency of chili paneer; I want to remind myself and you that while eating our favorite food is like therapy for many of us, dal-chawal is a luxury that millions of people can’t afford.
P.s. I did eat boondi raita that day, and I have spoons, all safe and clean.