My boss was a man of few words one day when I was about to leave, he called me and asked me to come to his house the coming Sunday. My entire night went into thinking about the probable reason, but I could find none.
I reached his house and he made me sit and brought himself a glass of water. I was seeing my boss first time in a casual dress. Before I could ask him anything, he asked me to follow him to the Kitchen which was full of raw vegetables and a lot of cutting instruments. I asked him, ‘sir, are you cooking something?’. He smiled, ‘Yes, and I do it every Sunday’ and this day my wife and all cook in the house are on compulsory leave.
‘We have so much of official burden and pressure in the office and that makes us monotonous and the mind is over stressed. We meet so many people of different nature daily and deal with their issues. By the end of week, the brain raises its hands – no more. Like we need to relax our body, mind too needs to unwind this pressure. It needs break from the monotonous office schedules. Break from the meetings and disposal of cases & issues. Break from all official procedures. Even break from laptops and mobiles. It is not that I am preparing just lunch, it is actually my way of unwinding myself and while doing so, I am also doing something constructive’ , he continued.
I asked him, ‘Sir, why don’t you go for a movie or to the club or to meet your relatives or probably watch TV programs of your interest. They may relax you from the burden.’ He smiled and replied, ‘these entire things are kept for Saturdays, not for Sundays. Sunday is my curry day. Nothing relaxes me more than my Sunday Curry.’
He could see that I had a lot of queries in my mind, after all, I have been working with him for long now.
Finally, he started talking, ‘Look, the mind needs to do something different from the routine work to get relaxed. We watch TV regularly, but I do not like watching movies, so my mind is not relaxed. We also meet relatives once in a month or probably two months. What is creative and constructive about all this? This entire food preparing activity relaxed my mind, my heart & soul. By cooking new dishes, I am actually breaking my routine by doing something different, something that is unexpected out of me. Right from bringing vegetables from the market, to washing them, chopping them, and then cooking, putting all spice – everything is done by me. I apply my creativity in every aspect.’
He continued, ‘Whenever you do something which is already been done by someone else, you try doing differently. You add your special input to give it a cutting edge. You try all kinds of experiment and apply all tricks and gimmicks. The food that we eat almost every day has a pattern. They are cooked in similar way and the spices are also no different. Now analyse this scientifically. Washing vegetables is like addressing different issues, cutting vegetables is like dealing with different kind of problems, cooking food is like finding solutions, serving food on the dining table is like disposal of files.’
I immediately asked, ‘And sir having food?’, to which he laughingly replied, ‘kaam khatam’.
Before, I could react, his wife entered into the kitchen and asked him, ‘How much time for the lunch Mr. Corporate Chef?’, and prompt came his reply, ‘another 20 minutes madam.’ And to my utter surprise he got onto the job like an obedient cook. I was also given a knife in my hand to cut salad and to cut differently.
His punctuality works in kitchen as well. The food was ready in 20 minutes and served to one and all.
I could understand now why my boss had invited me. Perhaps he could understand the pressure on my head and that I needed to relieve this pressure to further sharpen my skills and efficiencies. The speed of my knife automatically increased as I started unwinding. I was chopping salad like never before, or was it cutting through the problems.
But the irony is, whatever I cook even today, ultimately comes out to be a ‘mixed vegetable curry’. Perhaps, there are too many things chopping my mind and its time to unwind.
Pavan Kaushik is an Author and Column Writer.
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