Monday, May 12, 2014

Life is never, ever, about the ratatouille

"Because this is evening, I suppose I should ask for tickets to the Dinner Box" I said as my friend bought the tickets to The Lunchbox.

I imagine I will be punning awful groaners even when on my death bed.  "If I am dying when sitting on a recliner, why is it my death bed?" will be the kind of horrendous jokes I would tell as I exit.

Whether it is the bed or the chair, and as long as I am conscious, and as long as the neurons keep firing, I know what will fill my mind--the warm memories of experiences with people.  As Roberto observed during the day tour that in Costa Rica, "when you are lying nearing your death, you cannot take your car or house or clothes.  You have only your memories with you when dying."

Memories.  Especially of people who cared for me.  People with whom I broke that proverbial bread. The people who fed me.  With anybody who is close to me, there is always at least one unique and special food memory, even if that person couldn't care about food.

Thinking about food and the people who fed me is not anything new in this blog.  Because I blog about food, and because of the growing collection of food-related photos on my Facebook page, some, mistakenly, conclude that I am a foodaholic. Yes, it is about food. But, it is more than merely being about food. It is all about memories.  Not memories of the taste of the rasgolla or the vadai or the erisheri, but about the life that it was all about. About the people.

There is a wonderful saying in the old country, உப்பிட்டவரை உள்ளளவும் நினை.  In its literal meaning, well, we need to remember forever those who fed us salt.  But, of course, it is not really about the salt itself. It is about the people who provided the food that we eat in order to sustain ourselves, and that food becomes palatable only with the appropriate amount of salt.  But then it is not even about the salt nor the food itself--it is yet another statement on what it means to be human.

The Lunchbox is a movie that is not really about the lunch. Nor is is about the "dabbawallahs" whose highly efficient and reliable system was studied by a professor at the prestigious Harvard Business School.  The Lunchbox is about the human condition.  Men and women trying to make sense of their existence.

We create and share experiences through food. As we get older, we even relive experiences through food. Like Anton Ego and his ratatouille, we too realize that a cheesecake is more than a mere cheesecake.

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