There's something about Ma's cooking

There's something about Ma's cooking

Mother's Day special

The alarm clock rings at 5.30 am and Sunita Bhandari pulls herself out of bed fearing that even the slightest sluggishness wou­ld end up in her children missing out on home-cooked lunch at work.

Her daughter and son have different likes and dislikes in vegetables, so the preparation is even more elaborate in the Bhandari house. The routine is the same for homemaker Pooja Arora, and equally challenging since her tiny tots express more explicitly if their friends’ mothers’ cooking turns out to be more delicious.

Stretch your memories back to school or college days and almost all of us would have had moments, where we liked the tiffin brought by our friends so much that we gave our lunchboxes a miss.

“My daughter Surbhi’s colleague cooks well and brings yummy sandwiches with various fillings to her workplace. When Surbhi told me why I don’t give her dishes from different cuisines, I told her, your friend makes it herself so pro­bably you can do that too. I can give you only what I know how to cook,” says Bhandari with a hearty laugh as the lunch bell rings at her workplace. In addition to preparing lunch for her two children, she also packs one for her husband and one for herself.   

At a different place in city but during the same lunch hour, Arora drives her child­ren back from their schools who fill her in with tales of which classmate brought what for lunch. Says Arora, “Their behaviour is unpredictable. For the longest time my elder one, Lishika who is 11 years old, used to say that her best friend’s mother makes amazing cutlets. She could any day bargain her lunch for those cutlets. But today, when I gave her a footlong, she is telling me ‘Mumma itna tasty tha sab kha gaye mujhe to sirf two pieces mile and I’m feeling hungry now.”    

Mothers do feel disheartened when their laborious preparations are dismissed by their children. Besides, when they praise what they ate at their friends’ place, every mother starts thinking ‘Where am I going wrong?’

“Tiffin box comes back empty. Now, whether they eat or they feed it to someone else is not known to me,” says 48-year-old tuition teacher Manisha Verma who is ready to experiment if required. “When my 24-year-old daughter tells me that her colleague brought bhindi cooked with amchoor, I add it to my recipe too.”  

Bhandari shares that as adults we too get bored of eating something that is prepa­r­ed by one individual, even if it is tasty. Thirtyfour-year-old professional Vartika Sethi is guided by what she learnt during her growing up years and has been successful so far.

“My five-year-old son, Vakshin, isn’t fussy at all about eating now. Initially, he said that he doesn’t want to eat what is cooked and I kept the plate aside saying when you feel hungry you can take food from here because I’m tired after work and can’t cook anything else. As a result of being heartless few times, he now eats everything and even his teacher praised him in front of the whole class that he gets the healthiest lunchbox.”

While the new generation believes in training children right from the beginning, the older generation is still struggling with the ambition to fulfil the expectations of their children’s hunger pangs with their limited knowledge of cuisines.

However, when we are away from home and our mothers, the first thing we miss is Ma ke haath ka bana khana. This proves that every mother coo­ks incredibly tasty food. Hen­ce, the best gift you could give to your mother this Mother’s Day is to take back home an empty tiffin and praise the food that she cooked!      

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