I am very fond of buying lunch-boxes. I have a few Tupperware ones in various shades of yellowness, two circular casserole kinds which were originally meant to keep the food warm and even a fancy translucent box-cum-matching-jacket to keep the winter chill away from the rotis inside, the couture way. And just like any middle class home, which wants to march ahead with times and technology yet carry something from its deep history, I also own an old-and-faithful stainless steel triple-storied lunch-box. Zipper bag included. Quite a collection, and to which I lovingly add every time I come across a lunch-box which will help convey to my husband, every passing office afternoon, how much I love him.
The only problem is that while I love to collect lunch-boxes, I just don’t like to cook. So usually there is no fancily cooked lunch in the box. And more often than usually, the lunch-boxes remain at home – clean, untainted, unused.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to feed people. That is, when I’m in the mood. Those days when I want to chop-stir-cook are precious, like rare truffle even pigs can’t find after spending days, weeks even, walking in truffle territory. Getting in the mood to cook is tough work, and tougher for me than the most expensive Teflon can ever be. Some days are too cold to wash those vegetables, others too hot to stand beside a fuming tava. (Maybe the curd never getting ‘made’ in the fridge despite 6.5 years of trying to set it is an omen that I should quit cooking altogether. Including, buttering the toast.)
No wonder then that if I were to dedicate such a post to someone I will think no further than the one superhero that is my husband, who has uncomplainingly left his dear lunch-boxes emptily adorning my kitchen shelves, while he has managed working overtime with hunger raging in the stomach but a heart so sated with love that where is the need for mere morsels?
I really love him for his patience, his gastric fortitude and the undying hope that one day when he opens his lunch-box it will have the finest pasta made by his wife’s hands. Or maybe makki-ki-roti and sarson ka saag, which he loves, or something more Cheeni-Japaani that he equally adores. Or hope there will be biryani in his lunch-box, steaming and flavoursome and something that he can eat standing upside down.
In hope we live. Hunger can wait.
But I’m working on it, you know. First, on the ability to get myself to get up and cook and second, on my ability to cook edible. I really, really am.
Just today the couture-lunch-box carried sandwiches made from the subzi my husband relished last night, which he couldn’t eat the day before because he wasn’t that hungry. With this special tiffin, made with a resolution to keep it up, I also sent a note. I wish I was there to see his face when he reads it.
You want to read? Here goes ...
I hope this lunchbox finds you in the best of health and fitness. I know I have not been able to learn how to cook like a Master Chef, but neither have you. So all-in-all, we’re a well-matched couple. Even though we didn’t find ways to each other’s hearts through the stomachs, let’s use this lunch-box as a symbol of our love – where you buttering my bread and me making jam sandwiches to eat in office are more celebratory than a five course Punjabi meal in a five star restaurant. (Unless, of course, we’re invited to that party. With family.)
I promise to use this lunchbox to feed you the world’s best delicacies as soon as you begin feeding them to me. May our love and friendship always remain this strong, this mutual.
PS – There is no salt in the house. I broke a nail. We’re ordering in, tonight.
Your dearest wife,
There! That's my #lunchboxANDyou story. Your turn now.
['The Lunchbox' Premiere on Valentine's Day at 8 PM on &pictures. This is a sponsored campaign review.]