My fingers automatically go towards the green icon among the apps on my phone. Bigbasket. It is like a daily ritual now. Get bored. Scroll through Bigbasket. Add to the list. Order when the list is long enough.
I think I’m going a little mad. I know people turn to Netflix and Prime Video during this lockdown. They surf through YouTube videos and look for new recipes and gossip about Bollywood. But not me. I’m scrolling through lists of gourmet and desi food. And deciding on the masala and dal I need to order.
Staying alone in Delhi could have been difficult. But I have stayed alone before. In strange countries braving cold friendless weekends alone. In crowded but lonely cities. So I’m mentally quite prepared for this stint in the capital. Then I didn’t have the luxury of technology and Whatsapp. Now it is a lot more easier.
And the lessons of those ‘staying alone’ phases have taught me one lesson. The only way to retain your sanity is to get your regular fix of comfort food. One might initially get excited by the new food available in a new city. Like I did with Changezi chicken and khameeri roti. Zomato and Swiggy were an entertainment ground initially. I enjoyed hours of reading through menus more than ordering stuff. But no longer. Sometimes I think the only reason I order something online, is to have someone ring the doorbell for some reason! Or perhaps see a human face.
The fifteen minutes I spend cooking something for myself is pure meditation. And the whole previous day I spend planning what I need to cook is an exercise in strategic planning. The sheer ecstasy of finally figuring out where to buy curry patta in Delhi is indescribable.
And so this morning, as I whip up a plate of aalupoha for breakfast, there is a divine halo around my head. The peanuts fried to the right colour and crunch, the subtle aroma of curry leaves, the chopped chillies, the freshness of coriander leaves and the dash of lemon juice.