It was Friday - me and my boss were working late in the office. Just as I was about to leave, my boss asked me to come to his house for discussing a very urgent matter on the coming Sunday.
My boss was a man of few words and I could feel that if he has asked me to come to his house, there must be some thing very important and meaningful. My entire night passed in thinking about the probable reason, but I could not find any.
On Sunday, as directed by him, I reached his house well on time. He made me sit and than he himself brought a glass of water. I was zapped. I was seeing my boss first time in a casual dress. He was looking a very different and relaxed. Before I could ask him any thing, he asked me to follow him. We entered in the kitchen, which was full of vegetables, rather raw vegetables and other cutting instruments. I asked him, 'Sir, are you cooking something?'. He smiled, 'Yes, and I do it every Sunday'. I asked again, 'Why Sir, don’t you have your wife cooking food for you or servant for this work?' He said, 'Well, they are all here in the house but I have banned their entry inside the kitchen on every Sunday. It is my day today.'
A person who was very reserved in the office was interacting with me like a professional cook, or should I say like a friend.
I asked him, 'Sir, but why are you cooking? It is a ladies job or the job of a maharaj.' While cutting vegetables, he said, 'Whole week, day and night, we just work. We have so much of official burden and pressure that makes us too monotonous and the mind goes for a toss. We meet so many people of so much different natures, with so many views and issues that the brain, by the end of week, comes under tremendous pressure. Like we need to relax our body, mind too needs to unwind the entire pressure. By the time the last working day arrives, the mind is too tired to catch up things from the next working day. The issues start dragging and the freshness of the brain is almost lost. This is where the mind needs a break. Break from the monotonous, routine official schedules. Break from the meetings and disposal of files. Break from all official procedures.'
It is not that I am preparing lunch for my house, actually it is my way of unwinding myself and while do so I also do something constructive.
I asked him, 'Sir, why don’t you go for a movie or to the club or just to meet your relatives or probably watch TV programs of your interest. These activities may ease your burden.' To this, he 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 and that actually I was waiting for the exact reason for the 'Sunday Curry'. After all I have been working with him day and night.
He started, '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 mind is not relaxed. We 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 brain, heart and soul. I am breaking my routine by doing something, which is entirely different and unexpected of me. Right from bringing vegetables from the market, to washing them, cutting them and then cooking, putting all spices, every thing is done by me. I apply my creativity in every aspect.'
He continued, 'Pavan, whenever you do something which is already being done by someone else, try doing it differently. You add your special input to give it a cutting edge. You try all kind of experiments and apply all tricks & gimmicks. We eat almost a similar kind of food every day. They are also cut in similar pattern and cooked in a similar manner. The taste of salt, chilly and other spices would also be almost the same.
Now analyze 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 dinning table is like disposal of files.
I immediately asked, 'And Sir, having food means?', to which he laughing replied, 'kaam khatam'. "Every one is happy because my wife gets a break from the kitchen at least for one day".
Before, I could react, his wife entered the kitchen and asked, 'How much time for the lunch Mr. Cook?', 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 and was asked to cut 'Cauliflower', and do it differently.
The food was ready in 20 minutes, and served to one and all. No doubt the food was good.
I could understand now, why my boss had called me. Perhaps he could understand the pressure on my head and also that I needed to relieve this pressure to further sharpen my skills and efficiency. The speed of my knife automatically increased as I started unwinding.
The only thing I could not understand in so many years is that how the vegetables I prepare ultimately turn out to be a 'mixed vegetable curry'.
Perhaps, there are too many things in my mind.