Apart from all the philosophical stuff you’re told about growing up, here’s something that everyone misses out on:
There will be no proper breakfast once you’re done growing up.
You could be living out of home or staying with your parents, but the truth is that the chaos of adult life sends your diet for a toss and the first thing to suffer is usually your breakfast. Yes, the same meal that your mom had to run after you for when you were a kid, is the meal you will crave for the most.
Because, let’s be honest, the fancy sandwiches and the hundred different ways to make an omelette are still not as filling as a garma-garam parantha with melting butter on top served with aam ka achaar. Of course, we often find ourselves resorting to a badly put together sandwich from a canteen whose hygiene cannot really be vouched for. It is in these moments that you start missing the days when mom would keep aloo parantha, besan cheela or, on really good days, puri chhole ready at the breakfast table.
In fact, a cup of elaichi wala doodh was always a point of contention between the generations. While the nani, dadi, masi and even bhua tried to convince the kids of the importance of it, the kids detested the idea of milk.
And let’s admit it, the only way to make us finish our share of milk with the breakfast was the milk moustache. And now, as you have machine made coffee right in the morning, which is made with milk powder, don’t you wish to go back to the time when you had real milk to start the morning with, instead of machines pumping out milk powder?
But more than the beverages, it is the food that one misses the most.
While I don’t mind having some pancakes with a generous amount of Nutella on them, I’ll be honest and just tell you that it feels like a snack before the actual breakfast is going to be put out. I mean, the desi kid in me is too used to paranthas with filling ranging from ajwain to paneer. And if I really was to crave for some sweet circular glory at my breakfast table, I can always opt for cheeni waala parantha.
And every Indian family has a consistent but very special menu for the weekends.
My South Indian friends were served idli-sambhar and palappam with chicken stew on Saturdays.
And in her typically North Indian household, my beeji prepared the best Punjabi chhole and bhature, all from scratch, for Sundays. At times, when her mood was right, she’d make makki ki roti and cover it with ghee, salt and laal mirch and serve it with sarson ka saag.
There is something abundantly satiating about desi breakfast in comparison to a videshi breakfast. It’s not a war of cultures or preferences but a simple organic reaction to a truly pure craving for a plate of chole bhatture or poha or idli sambhar. You see, nothing is more filling than desi food that we’ve grown up eating.
It’s more than a habit and less than a compulsion.
I do enjoy my cereal and boiled eggs with a toast and black coffee but I know that I will never choose that over aloo ka parantha and masala chai. If life is a set of choices then I’d rather make the ones that will give me the sense of comfort and familiarity that I otherwise don’t care about much. My stomach is just not used to the small portions anymore. I need my breakfast to be heavy and the only heavy breakfast is the truly desi one.
Think about all those mornings with mist and dew drops on your window slowly sliding down to create a magical haze and a cup of chai and steaming hot pakoras that you have invariably consumed, as a matter of ritual, taste and comfort. Now imagine a similar morning with a cup of coffee and croissants and I’m sure you’ll find yourself replacing the coffee with chai and croissants with pakoras as if it was almost destined to happen.
The same thing probably happens when you see some fancy cereal next to sandwiches for breakfast. You know that khaane ka intezaam hai but you’re also convinced that you won’t be getting ‘proper’ breakfast for the day.
Hence, no matter how modern we become, a desi kid will always turn to desi food for ‘proper’ breakfast.