Eating at home is a luxury, as all those who have stayed away from their families would agree to. Both of us come from families which love to eat, and every meal is a mini feast. In turn, we love to cook, and have friends who love to cook. My family shifted base to Hyderabad as I had just started with high school, and making new friends seemed scary. During our first visit to one of my father’s colleague’s place, S unhesitatingly called me into the kitchen to fix lemonade, and I knew we were destined to be friends forever. Since then, my definition of a kitchen changed; from a boring workplace, it became a place where we hang out.
Thus, we have spacious platforms which we try to keep uncluttered so that I can sit and chat, while A makes the salad for dinner. Drawing inspiration from our favorite kitchen pictures, we have ledges full of fancy mugs bought impulsively from different parts of the country, small artifacts (again gifted for various reasons), cutlery and wooden ladles. The many appliance that we need (or one of our many well-wishers think we need) have been allocated places inside the cupboards; a charcoal barbecue oven (a house warming gift from friends) being the only exception, as it looks like a small yellow UFO, which adds a bright splash of color in the kitchen, which is mostly grey and black.
There are some ceramic achaar bharnis or pickle jars, which A insisted on picking up while on a road trip, as it reminds him of the times he used to sit in his Grandma’s kitchen and eat the mouth watering jams, jellies and pickles. There are a couple of bamboo mugs, which we have never used and beautiful oriental inspired designer tea cups with lids which we use to keep the achaar! A conical Cambodian farmer’s hat picked up on our trip to Angkor Wat has also found its way into the kitchen!!
The wooden ladles are a birthday gift from friends who know our love for fancy rustic elements and love for cooking while the jar holding it is a wedding gift to start us off into a new journey, and has finally found the place it deserves.
There is a ceramic biker girl and biker boy kissing each other salt and pepper dispenser, given to us by my cheeky cousin who thinks it’s humorous that we both have individual two wheelers, and this apparently defines our love story.
There is also an ornate elephant in muted colors made in fiber, a wedding gift which holds a rustic charm, and its counterpart, a baby elephant waiting by on the dining room ledge, a wedding gift from my grandparent’s neighbors in Kolkata.
On a ledge on top of the fridge we have Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Shree Ma, a legacy from my mother when I first shifted into a hostel, overseeing our meal preparations. A basket of small stuffed animals have also made their way into our kitchen, all gifted one at a time for various reasons.
On the fridge we have a lion hanging on all fours (which was a gift to Ma from my brother and that I pocketed when she wasn’t looking!) and a dangling “das Mädchen” as my father calls it (loosely translated as “the maiden” or the country maiden), which reminds me of one of my favorite childhood dresses, which my parents got from Germany while coming back! And the fridge also has magnets from the places we have visited, along with an auto, a bus and a taxi, finally some Indian magnets I feel happy to own!
The other bright corner being near the kitchen window, where small buckets with money plant have been hung on the top of the sink (A has constant tussle with the daily help for keeping the soap and scrubber on the platform as well).
We knew we had achieved our dream when, during the first house party, we often ended up just hanging around the kitchen while someone fixed the drinks. As Sh remarked, “This is the happiest place to hang around, munching something, and really breezy!”