A fluffy golden omelette was my introduction to the world of food.
I remember standing in the kitchen with my mother during a Suratgarh winter – must have been around 7 or 8 years old – when she showed me how to make an omelette.
At that time, I thought I was well ahead of all my friends and puffed up in my own sense of responsibility because 1) I was pretty sure none of my friends from school knew how to make an omelette and 2) my mum had finally let me use the burner. I could do some real cooking… and had finally graduated from messing around with my doll’s tiny pots and pans for make believe dinner parties.
My grandparents were visiting us around that time. Grand mum, aunt and dad were chatting, uncle peeped in from time to time rubbing his hands together to share some news he caught on TV, I was feeling very important serving the omelettes that I had flipped and my brother was looking suitably grumpy early in the morning with such uninteresting chatter at the table. Everybody had omelettes that day. I made 3 of the 7 served.
While flipping them, I remember how the early morning light caught the glow of the golden yellow side. With the pan safely back on the burner, I looked up…the window across the kitchen sink showed a sparse brown clearing, a fallen tree trunk on a bed of dry brown leaves and the fog breaking to allow a ray or so of the sun from time to time… a cool, grey winter morning.
That old tree trunk used to be our rickety wooden bridge and that clearing, our playground when the fog cleared in the early afternoon. My grandfather would often accompany us and walk alongside as my brother and I walked from one end of that log to the other, treading carefully, maintaining our balance…the first one to fall off would lose that round only to run off to the other end and start all over again. Somehow, we never tired of this…
All the while, the wind whispered in those trees and few of the fallen leaves crackled as my grandfather’s foot trod on the dry ones. I loved those afternoons.
Decades later, I am older by far and wonder if am wiser by as much…something of that old perseverance is there still but clouded and seen through webs of doubt and questions associated with ‘practical reality’. I wonder if by growing up we actually hem life in and consider the wonders that this world has – and there are far far more than the 7 old or new – unreal.
Maybe the version of realism and practicality that I am used to, are actually just my thoughts and doubts…curbing not only the freedom I seek but also the one I had. If so, I will break that shell this time.
You see to make an omelette, one has to break that egg.