I ambled along, lunch tote in hand, in no particular hurry. I had my leftovers from the weekend. As I crossed the set of steel tables on my way to the microwave, I ran into a new colleague. New because I was new to the company as was she. Remarking on a single stemmed rose at her desk, I wished her and was about to move away when she said “Do you want to have lunch together?”
So it was that the next half hour was spent catching up. As I spooned in the rice and vegetable, she enjoyed her food. As I left the table, she held out the flower for me. I walked back to my desk wondering about a whole bunch of things ranging from food, friendships and love.
This weekend we had a bunch of people over for lunch. Old time friends, new ones and people who could be friends eventually. As our home filled over and the table groaned under the weight of food, I realized how much happiness I derived from cooking for others. As I stirred each pot or rushed about making an additional dish just in case it was not enough, I realized the part about cooking for others is that you can pour your feelings into it. Unspoken, unexpressed it just lies there. Out in the open. Visible to others who look for it.
Peeling a cup of soaked almonds for my burfi, my mind wandered to the first ever get-together K and I hosted a decade back. To an apartment that was sparse in furniture but filled with the exuberance of youth. Cooking my first repast for a group of people who had been cooking for years, I was nervous, excited and overwhelmed. Post lunch as we all sat together for a game of cards, I realized that this group would be my support structure. The safety net where family was not available. Over the years, the group has grown, shrunk, morphed to an abstract entity that exists more as a concept than as a living, breathing group.
I felt a hand by my shoulder shaking me from my reverie only to see my colleague from lunch hold out a plate full of chocolate dipped strawberries. Happy Valentine’s day! she wished as she exhorted me to try one. Biting into the luscious fruit, I felt a sense of family that good teams have.
A little love goes a long way. Happy Valentines day friends and readers!! Spread the cheer.