What are you cooking during lockdown?

Letter from New Delhi

In prolonged lockdown, cooking takes centre stage but what’s cooking your mind and heart?

Photo – img.etimg.com

By Kul Bhushan

What are you cooking? I texted a young lady in my WhatsApp group after I received a good number of photos of mouth-watering dishes shown off by numerous friends.

Cooking has taken centre stage with these extended lockdowns in most countries hit by the coronavirus. Confined to one’s home, many men have entered the kitchen to help with the cooking. Women have explored the net to discover new dishes and started baking too!

When asked to send some baking soda, our grocer replied it was out of stock due to heavy demand, so much so that a substitute has been found in Eno’s Salt! The internet is busting with literally hundreds of ‘Lockdown Recipes’ for all types of dishes, a new global trend indeed.

Back to the simple question: What are you cooking? She replied promptly, ‘Kidney beans and rice.’

Nah. Another question was texted: ‘What are you cooking in your mind and in your heart?’ Aaah! The reply came a couple of hours later: ‘Guessing, not sure.’

A life coach-cum-housewife replied, ‘Baking cakes, doughnuts and sometimes bread. Trying out new dishes almost every day. Teaching cooking to my twelve-year-old daughter.’

When asked about cooking in her mind and heart, she wrote, ‘Calligraphy. Learnt it sometime ago but now practising it every day and uploading it on different calligraphy groups. Very interesting and satisfying.’

Sent the same question to a documentary film-maker and a pot, pat came the reply, ’Basic food.’ Nah. No reply to the follow-up question but sent two poems.

A nursery school teacher replied, ‘We are preparing a recipe for sharing meditation with children.’

A dancer replied, ‘Vegan pizza, whole wheat with cashew sauce.’ And also sent its photo. But what’s cooking in your mind and heart? Can you go deeper? The one-word answer was cryptic: ’Sure.’

A few days later, she wrote, ‘Now I understand. Lockdown situation is extremely confusing as no one knows the reality behind it; how it is progressing and what’s the future. In my heart, I feel lockdown is a good time to pursue desires of my heart for which we normally do not get any time. I enjoyed the lockdown pursuing some old and new hobbies.’

A 20-year old university student answered, ‘Nothing, I was resting today.’ When asked what’s cooking in her mind and heart, she replied, ‘Hehe! Cooking plans in my heart to visit the mountains.’

A key member of the management team of Osho activities wrote, ‘Sometimes cooking, sometimes office work. Tread mill, yoga, White Robe meditation. In my heart, Osho and my papa.’

Now sent this question to a surgeon who replied, ‘Boiled vegetables with sprouts with some homemade butter.’ Plus, a video arrived of this yummy dish.

But what’s cooking in your heart? ‘Love for Venus, birds, trees, sky, and working on my chakras and nadis (arteries but in yoga they carry life force energy). Being out of the body and one with the all.’

When prodded for the second time, a paramedical replied, “Cooking daal sabzi (pulses and vegetables) for both of us. Occasionally, fish or chicken. Kids do groceries for us. Not sure if I answered your question.’

A dance instructor wrote, ‘Today stuffed mushrooms and pizza.’ In your mind and heart? ‘When the pizza goes in the mind and the heart is in bliss.’ More seriously, ‘I am doing yoga and meditation every day and listening to Osho before going to bed. Life is good. XX.’

Sure. It all depends on what you cook in your mind and heart.


Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi

* Published in print edition on 26 May 2020

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