Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tiffin Tales

The 15 years of our schooling was perhaps devoted more in cultivating our olfactory senses. I guess that's the reason why when we met each other, we rushed on with our “Hi! Hellos!” to relish the food packed in the tiffin boxes. Not literally!

Meeting Pari triggered the memories of her mother's kabuli chana sabji – black chana garnished with finely chopped onion and coriander leaves. Seventeen years later they smelt, tasted just the same.

Hugging Balambika/Priya, now Priya Seshadri, reminded us of the mouth-watering dosas and the gun-powder chutney, which we had labelled as “cockroach chutney.” I can't remember why we labelled it so. The recall of the name only succeeded in whetting our appetite.

Ruby's Ammi's biryani is remembered every Eid. Ammi, said Ruby, will now be unable to cook biryani for so many of us, but she (Ruby) is willing to feed us with her preparation. We wonder if it's going to taste as good as Ammi's biryani which we gobbled with tamatar and kuchumbar ka raita.

Nupur's “methi ki sabji” was the class joke. A few sprigs of methi to plenty of aalu equated to methi ki sabji. The unpolished red rice in the tiffin helped classmates place Savita Kharkar now Pillai.


Do you realise that marks, ranks and even careers (or maybe they did) did not make a cut at school reunion? What matters most is what did your dabba carry? Were the contents so good or irresistible to merit remembering your son/daughter?

I guess that's a warning to us – those who have become mothers and those who are planning to become one – brush up your culinary skills and master at least one preparation. Our child's friends list depends on that.

I did have a ball at my school reunion last week. I couldn't have imagined that I could still scream like a banshee, cry hoarse, cheat at the games and gobble up two Dairy Milks in quick succession. I wouldn't mind another 15 years of school, minus the exams and tests. Throw in tiffins packed with good food though!

School memories, I have discovered, are full of tiffin tales.

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