It was my 3rd day at the flat – baby’s day in you can say. I had locked myself down from Friday night itself. Yes, people had started the lockdown thing in Bengaluru much before they got implemented in the country. My company had started it last week but few of us had to go as the mission was important. Yes proudly call our work as a mission. To actually make sense out of locking myself in the house, I had stopped taking food deliveries and also the cook/maid were asked not to visit. Both my flatmates had left for their hometowns. For these 3 days, I tried my hands on the famous 2-minute noodles and some ready to eat food at this time.
I work at Jumbotail – it is a food and grocery e-commerce company for retailers/Kirana. Because of the sudden panic, the demand from Kiranas had changed suddenly. At the same time, the reality on the ground to supply had been quite different. So suddenly the three days I had practically done nothing but to work and read the news. I hardly moved from my bed once in a while. By the end of the third day, finally, my panic buttons were turned on. I started messaging my friends that the world is about to end. How do you control this thing when there is no solution. blah blah blah. Somehow few of them calmed me. (Without my consensus but because they angrily asked me to do so 😛 ). I managed to sleep.
On fourth day I woke up late. Finally, my hunger started taking priority. The noodles no more looked like a long term solution. But I had never cooked myself (except Poha and Upma long back during my 12th standard. So I thought I will at least have Poha, Upma. If possible will try my hands on other stuff as well. So I stepped out. It was all quite. Hardly any shops were open. Even the vegetable thelas were not there. I panicked even more. I finally found two Kiranas open. Suddenly in 3 days, the world had changed, so do Kirana owners. Their behavior had changed. They were making sure the rows were well maintained, there was a distance between customers, hygiene was taken care of, etc. I realized they were struggling a lot to serve the customers. Regular items were not available to them. So I stuffed anything and everything I thought is used in the kitchen and also matched with availability in the shop.
As I came back I thought I will cook. But suddenly the phone started ringing. There were enough things going on that kept me going for 5 hours on the laptop or the phone. Because I had seen the struggle of those Kiranas (my customers) myself I felt the need to work even more. Every one of my colleagues was on war front to make sure people do get the essential in such times. Then I finally found my little pause. Obviously the ground staff much more than us.
I somehow thought as it was 4 pm the Poha and Upma will not work anymore. I really need a proper meal. It’s not that I hated cooking. I always had thought of learning it but I guess I had more excuses than motivation. Today with no option left I directly jumped a few steps and decided to make Roti and Sabji. I called one of my friends and took some steps to make ‘bhendi ki sabji’ (Lady’s finger). Then I called my sister to understand how to make Rotis. It turned out quite an experience. All the fears I had turned out to be false that day. It was turning out to be much smoother than I had imagined. Rotis even turned much more circular than I could wish for 😉
Somehow it took 1.5 hours just to make 4 Rotis and sabzi. By that time, I had spent enough time. There were tasks at hand so I served myself and I started working on those parallel. While working I took a bite and could not believe myself. The Lunner (in between lunch and dinner) had turned out to be amazing. It never tasted better than this. I am quite a demanding person when it comes to food. I am so demanding that I used to be very specific about what kind of food I needed, who need to cook what, etc. Eg. at home milk/tea shall be specifically prepared by dad, rotis should be of specific thickness and prepared by my sister, etc. But today without being it that way it tasted so much amazing. It was the tastiest meal I ever had, definitely without any complaints.
While I kept working on the thing for the next few hours. Late-night I started thinking, why it went well. Why the food tasted so well. Maybe it was taste was not just of food, but of the efforts and of that small accomplishment. Or maybe it was out of sigh of relief or the way we say it when you are actually hungry everything it tastes well. One thing for sure, having a feeling of being engaged in a much bigger purpose-made sure there were no complaints.
I understand the Corona crisis and the lockdown will be tough on many of us. But then it is an opportunity for us to understand what is really important in our life – with respect to people, things we spend money on, things we spend time on, etc. I understand it looks like a hurdle to do regular things but it may be an opportunity to work on that one thing you always dreamt of or are afraid of the most.
Stay strong guys. The times are tough. As they say, going gets tough, the tough get going. I believe you all will explore a stronger side of you during this time.
PS: Even if it may not have been tastiest the way I say, I will definitely appreciate someone’s efforts taken in preparing food next time.