“Your Order, Ma’am”


Whenever our generation has to refer to any good time, we always talk about our “Good Old Times”. So let me also begin with “The Good Old Times”.

There was a time when children would wake up to the smell of stuffed parathas being cooked for school tiffins, come home to the aroma of freshly cooked dal and rice for lunch, run out into the streets in the evenings, munching home-cooked snacks and binge on fragrant chapattis and curries for dinner. Kitchens would be abuzz with frantic activity from morning till night.

They still are, not of our homes but of the countless restaurants open at every twenty steps we take as soon as we leave the house. The brain commands to ignore their existence but the five senses commit the sin. The smell of kebabs on charcoal grills succeeds in invading my nose, which is otherwise closely guarded by chronic sinusitis.

Forever in need of reading glasses, my eyes have no trouble in deciphering the brightly-lit neon signs.
Heat radiating from fiery orange tandoors caresses my skin.

My ears readily gather the alluring sounds – staff passing out takeaway orders, waiters shouting – ‘One chicken tikka, ek dal makhani!’ That does it. The conspiring elements are far superior to my will to resist. The walls of restraint crumble. My mouth waters. I find myself seated at a table, looking at the menu. My eyes gleam like a four-year old girl being served her favourite ice- cream scoop, even before I order.

The top priority on my bucket list when I first came to Dubai was to check out each one of them – Lebanese, Chinese, Indian or Persian – you name it and I wanted to have it. My forehead would be plastered on the window pane of our car whenever we crossed the length or breadth of this city, neck craning to read the name boards, hands pressed together in an earnest plea to pull into a parking – in front of a restaurant, of course!

Now having said all that, I want to bury any doubts that may have crept up regarding my culinary skills. With the finest collection of vessels and spoons and ladles in my kitchen, I dare bend any accusing finger pointed at me. I love to cook… But you see, Thursday is end of the week. Watching a movie at home is incomplete without Chinese or Mughlai food ordered from outside. Friday deserves an outing with lunch or dinner at one of my favourite joints. Saturday is officially the Sabbath Day, a day for rest and a break from routine work, specially cooking. Sunday is hectic with all pending jobs to be taken care of. Ready-to-cook meals are there to save the day. Monday is a rush affair as groceries bought over the weekend are exhausted by now. Tuesday is middle of the week. The monotony of home-cooked food has dulled the palate. So Tuesday nights have to be Pizza nights.

The week cannot be complete without a visit to the next door Chennai Express serving delicious South Indian fare. That takes care of Wednesday.

Doesn’t the week fly? It is Thursday night, again. I am sitting on my sofa, relaxed, watching the latest movie, with a bowl of – oh yes – Schezwan Hakka noodles, the rest of my family feasting on Hyderabadi chicken biryani. Of course, we ordered – through Zomato, they offer a discount for ordering online!

So, happy eating guys! Wherever you get the food from; because, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the way to a woman’s heart too is through her stomach, but with food which SHE doesn’t have to cook!

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