“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”, who knew that these words by Charles Dickens from the classic A Tale Of Two Cities would come to ring true a century later?
These are tough times, let’s accept that. I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks that we’re being too harsh and judgemental at times towards people and the stuff they post/express on social media. Now here’s what I feel, and some of you might disagree with me, and that’s alright – we are all confined inside four walls and there’s only so much one can do to pass their time, so if someone takes the initiative of going live with simple activities or just to connect with others – let them. If someone wants to channel their energy into cooking, singing, painting, writing – let them. Who are we to judge? I mean, at some point or another, we are all falling apart in moments where the anxiety and uncertainty takes over. There are also moments when you’re most thankful for having your family and loved ones close to you.
In these times, do not forget that there are many on the roads finding their way home, there are many at homes who are alone and craving for company, and then there are many who are surrounded with people at home and might just be looking for a place that’s completely their own. Be more empathetic and kind, please. We’re all in this together and we’re all looking for ways to cope and come out of this together.
Meanwhile, over the last few days of the lockdown I’ve noticed a shift in the change of perspective of people, in terms of how they perceived food. Food that was taken for granted, food that most weren’t thankful for, and most importantly, cooking as a skill that is still largely expected to be a woman’s domain inside the four walls of the household, is now seeing new takers. I guess it had to take something as extreme as this to realise that cooking is an essential lifeskill that everyone should posses, gender no bar.
My blog and Instagram feed have unique visitors every day who come seeking simple recipes and ideas. I have friends who once didn’t see the insides of their kitchens, messaging me, sharing the ingredients they have in their pantry and seeking suggestions on ways they can best use those. It warms my heart honestly when they share the end result with me!
Once a profession that wasn’t taken seriously, food writing and blogging today has come to the rescue of many. In these times a lot of us are finding a sense of comfort in food – food from our childhood, food that reminds us of better times and good days. Food that is not just about two square meals, but food that feels like a warm tight hug in bad times.
It’s Baisakhi today, one of the most important festivals in Punjabi homes. Celebrating harvest, a shift in the season and happiness, no matter what the circumstances. In February when I spoke at CUSP festival in Chennai on food of hardship in the context of evolution of Punjabi food post-partition, I didn’t know that at some point we’ll get to experience this first hand, to an extent.
Though, I have to admit that what most of us are going through in the comfort of our homes is not anywhere close to hardship, because we aren’t really facing shortage of any sort – the only thing we are doing is that we are being more mindful, and have given up the luxury of choice, but we aren’t starving, or fighting to exist. So let’s be thankful for that, and be more helpful towards those who need our support right now – through donations and by the simple act of staying home. Today, as you take a bite of your food, be grateful to the farmers who toil away in their fields to put a meal on our plates.
Let’s hope that when this is all behind us, may we never take for granted the small joys of life and all that nature has bestowed upon us. May we still value the time we have with our loved ones, the food that we eat, the roof over our head and that place we call home.
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