Tuesday, October 7, 2008

home food.

Is the food ready?
IS the food ready?
Is THE FOOD ready?
14 pairs of eyes gaze hungrily at the dining table. 14 plates, 14 glasses, and 14 spoons. But no food. Nothing.

tick tick tick tick

And then it reaches them. That aroma, that unmistakable aroma of khichdi – steaming hot yellow khichdi. Not just any steaming hot yellow khichdi – but steaming hot 'dada ni khichdi'. 14 people charge towards the table. No one wastes anytime - finding their usual place at the table, handing over their plates to Ma, accepting the heaped plate back with a word of dhanyavaad. Those 14 people – spanning 3 generations – relish every morsel of rice, wheat, dal and vegetable in their plate. For them, anything concerning 'dada ni khichdi' - is more than just good food.

'Dada ni khichdi' literally means grandfather's khichdi. Khichdi being a rice preparation – with dal. Dada ni khichdi, however includes broken wheat grains and vegetables. Thus, it becomes a one dish wholesome meal standing for simplicity. I'm quite sure lots of people out there make it. But, this particular recipe, the one that everyone at the table was so hypnotized by, was given to Ma by Swami Anand.

Swami Anand was a mentor, guide and teacher for the family. There were never any pictures, photographs or ceremonies and rituals conducted by the family in his name, just this sort of quiet, peaceful, inner respect and dedication shown towards him.

So the day the swami, who was lovingly called Dada handed over this recipe to the family, it held great significance. It is one of the few things this family is united over. For them its about, the philosophy, the simplicity, the beliefs and the love. Once in a few months, the entire family comes together at Ma's place and more than enough is prepared. There are rules. It shouldn't run out. You don't fuss over it. Even, if you don't like it – don't say a word, simply eat it.
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