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Anita walked by her children’s room one morning and overheard their conversation during a break in their online classes. Both in their late teens, their conversation reminisced about the time before lockdown; about how they were missing – apart from routine activities – the resto visits, takeaways and even the dal tadka from their next-door Pushpa Aunty.
Anita walked thoughtfully back to her adda – the kitchen.
Later that evening, as the family gathered for dinner together (another advantage of lockdown) she watched as her children ate the food in front of them in silence first and then in wonder.
Reena looked slyly at her father and said,”So dad who’s cheating? Couldn’t resist ‘outside food’ after all! It’s back to Takeaway finally!”
Anil said, “This isn’t takeaway….”
“Oh boy,” chipped in Rohit. “Does that mean Pushpa Aunty is back? Thank God. I really missed her regular food parcels!”
Anil shook his head, “Wrong again. It’s still Lock down and your Pushpa Aunty is Locked up in the middle of nowhere apparently! This delicious Dal tadka and butter naan are your mother’s efforts!”
His children’s eyes grew wide and their jaws dropped onto their plates.
“Wow mom!” said Reena. “Not bad.”
“Yes mom,” added Rohit. “Actually it’s very good!”
Anita smiled and said, “What about tomorrow’s dinner? Care for some home-made pizza?”
The two looked doubtfully at each other. “Mom! And PIZZA!” said Reena rolling her eyes.
“Yeah dude,” said Rohit with a wicked wink. “With kadipatha and lal mirchi tadka I bet!”
Anita smiled again.
Next day a gentle aroma of baking bread wafted from the oven through the hall into the rest of the house.
Pizza night, needless to say, was a success.
As Reena licked the cheese off her fingers, she said, “Hats off mom. Loved it!”
“Me too,” added Rohit. “Best home-made pizza!”
“Yes” agreed Anil. “Ages since you made something like this. Remember you used to really cook it up before!”
“I remember.” said Anita. “I’m surprised you do!”
Anil looked at his puzzled children and said guiltily, “My bad guys. Your mom is an excellent cook. I think it’s my craze for takeways and eating- out that has spoilt me, you two and mom’s talents! Right Anita?”
Anita nodded and thought back to the years before.
Her love and natural talent for cooking ran in the family and culinary traditions and recipes had passed from her grand mother to her mother and down to her. But eventually without any takers all that was slowly forgotton. There didn’t seem any point in sweating over a hot stove with frequent ‘eat-out nights’ and ‘takeway evenings’ and of course Pushpa Aunty!
But not any more. With new found admirers, support, encouragement and helping hands from the whole family, Anita’s culinary talents blossomed and thrived. So much so that in a few weeks delicious dishes made their way to next-door neighbour Pushpa Aunty’s home too.
Wow guys! What a feel good story right? I’m almost tempted to end it with “……..and they all lived happily ever after!”
However this does not have to remain just a story. It can be a reality in our own homes, neighbourhoods, localities villages and cities.
Aptitude for anything – cooking, art, handicraft, in fact even manufacturing of every day goods and products – in order to sustain, improve and flourish need encouragement, support, propogation, exposure, patronage and above all – a sense of pride in ‘what is ours.‘
Disclaimer – This post is not prompted by the Boycott wave sweeping the country today. Rather the seed was sown some months ago when I happened to turn over a cute little idol of Radha Krishna (a gift from a friend) and I read a label – Made in China!
This is just one example of the stuff made by people from across The Wall which has flooded our markets and entered our homes. Mine too I admit.
Not just the Big Stuff like TVs, phones, laptops, not even PubG or TikTok; but even little things like diyas and festive lanterns, pens, pencils, erasers, cells and countless other seemingly innocuous gift items including our deities.
Like the Virus, these ‘Made in elsewhere’ things have robbed our people of their self confidence and displaced people, livelihood and homes.
When we reject things made by our own people, then, we deny our craftsmen, artisans and other workers the opportunity to grow, improve and eventually to compete with ‘Phoren’!
Just shouting ‘Boycott/Say No…..’ from the rooftops is not enough; let’s do our best to promote, support, patronize, in simple words BUY “Made in India” things; initially the little things which matter and make a difference to the lives and livelihood of our people. The big stuff will follow.
It’ll take time, but we could just see a day when our goods flood markets across The Great Wall.
Just like Anita eventually beat her neighbor Pushpa Aunty at her own game…………..! 🙂