She pondered at the prospect of cooking for self. An idea remotely familiar to her! She was considering it for the first time. Cooking for self! Her earlier preparations have all been fostered by her previous attachments. This was her time, as she sat contemplating the pros and cons of not eating. With a mouthful of reasons to eat, she decided to prepare the humble mushroom tofu chilli and chapattis.
She darted into the kitchen as a warrior but stood panicked as a lost child. Juggling with the thoughts of what, where, and how she felt like a novice and stranger in her own house. Thoughts snapped her tranquillity and restored it too. Gearing to start, she picked up onions, capsicum, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, tofu, and mushroom and kept them on the dice. First to be slayed was onion. Thoroughly mediated strokes, as though operating on a human, passed through the body of onion. She closely observed the layers of onion turn into small, thin, independent films that would add taste to the dish. Soon capsicum, ginger, and cloves of garlic, were shredded to pieces. She wondered, “how is cutting of vegetables different from ‘cutting’ of relationships, a part of one’s self, one’s identity, hobbies?” One is physical, the other is metaphorical. Former brings flavours while the latter consumes an individual, on low flame.
Thoughts poured in from a brimming container of oil, as she placed the glass pot in oven for heating. Seconds passed and a loud beep awoke her from dreamy slumber. She added finely cut onions to the heated oil and set the oven to 01:00. She quizzed as seconds fluttered, “Am I really cooking for me?” Sarcastic smile! “How often will you do it?” “It isn’t so bad, cooking for self,” she marvelled at the thought. Onions were accompanied by tomatoes and capsicum. Timer on the oven read 02:00 and she wiped her teary eyes. “If only he was here beside me to enjoy the preparation, inhale the aroma as I brought the pot in and out of the oven, compliment my endeavour, tease me lovingly on my basic culinary skills, to hold me from behind, if only he was here,” she mulled as she watched the turntable rotate at a uniform speed. Beep. Spices, waiting patiently at the corner, were introduced generously along with boiled and chopped mushroom and tofu. This time the timer read 05:00. An overwhelming sense of completion, triumph, letting – go, self – awareness, dawned on her. It was a lesson that he taught her. The lesson of life. The art of living for self. He taught her to be independent, to be alone yet complete. It was an achievement. Yes, it was a pot full of steaming mushroom and tofu. She swelled with pride as she breathed in the spicy aroma. It indeed was a treat.