Friday, October 05, 2012

Thank You My Kitchen


This has been my kitchen for the longest time.8 years and 7 months to be precise.To be round and fair we can also say 9 years, given the few months that we had taken to close and move.

As a kid we moved houses and hence kitchens every 3-4 years. My father's job was as they said "transferable one" and we moved with the call of his duty. Since kitchen was not on the top 15 of my priorities those days it was amongst the things I missed least when we moved. I am sure my Ma had her own woeful stories about moving from large kitchens with huge windows to galley ones but of course then I never paid attention.

Now when I am the master of my own food, I can no longer say the same. I  remember distinctly the huge kitchen of the 1BR apartment I shared in Mumbai, the one in Bangalore which had a separate faucet for Cauvery water, the ample kitchens in the apartments in the US where I was thrilled to find the gas stove light up without a match stick. But of all these I love my current kitchen the best; the one that has survived me for all of 9 years, well almost. When I look back and count the years on my fingers this is the longest time I have cooked at a stretch and this is the longest time that this kitchen has been there to support me.



For 9 years or 8 years and 7 months to be exact, almost every morning I have been standing at the same spot, facing west towards the back splash that D had put up, making my tea. Some mornings it is so early that that the sky outside my window is still a slate gray and I have the kitchen lights on. On others, sunlight is streaming through the large windows facing south, bathing my little kitchen in light. I am always there at the same exact spot, the frayed red rug soft and almost tattered under my feet, the saucepan bubbling on the front burner of my gas stove.



In this kitchen I can close my eyes and reach out for spices and masalas in the wooden cabinets that abound. I know each of them personally. The liners on each of these shelves were cut and arranged by a dear friend 9 years ago and they still work well. The shelves were filled with jars, pots, stacks of  empty Yogurt containers exactly so with help of another and I have dared  not to change the order though I have had to throw out the yogurt containers on their insistence.Psssst...secret I still have some of them.

That cabinet, the one just above the sink hold my knick knacks that I use as props for the blog, the odd plate, the scalloped bowl, the lonely table mat. The bottom cabinet, the one right of the stove has colored plastic cups, lots of them, from IKEA. Those are the ones LS uses to make a juice stand or a coffee shop.



By the window, the breakfast nook as they say, is the table, a round wood top bought 12 years ago from K-mart. One of the first piece of furniture I owned in this country. We have had umpteen meals on that table for four. We have brought in extra chairs, rubbed shoulders and sat around it even when we had more than that for company. We have cut many cakes, lighted candles, arranged gifts and served buffet lunches and dinners right there. On most days I have arranged food on it and clicked pictures for the blog. And when we have been done with food, Big Sis has finished her homework on that same table while Little Sis has scribbled and made crayon marks on its surface.



My kitchen is more than a kitchen. For almost 9 years, it is the place which has seen my daughters grow, my friends come together to rejoice happy occasions and to share the not so happy ones, my mother and my ma-in-law cook their best dishes for their granddaughters. It has seen my Baba brewing the afternoon tea and my Father-in-law chopping vegetables. It has seen the husband man packing lunches for the girls and making scrumptious breakfast on the weekend. It has seen me and him fight, make up and argue.It has seen us admonish the girls, them speaking back and then saying sorry. It has seen spartan salads, rich mutton curries laced in elaichi and zafran, simple dals bubbling in stainless steel pots, turmeric stains from fragrant Ilish jhol, brown rice, white rice, sugary gokul pithe, puffed up and the ones that refused to puff white luchi, endless days of different varieties of pasta and lots and lots of pureed, mashed baby food.And it has seen me always.


Six years ago on a Fall evening it was here, standing in this kitchen, that I had resolved to start a blog. A food blog.

In a culture and environment ,where writing a blog, that too a food one is at the best considered a hobby, and any writing that does not come close to Marquez, Ghosh, Bibhutibhushan, Shibram or even Archer is considered frivolous; there have been times when writing up anecdotes and recipes with the hope that "someday when my daughter turns 22 will cook this " has seemed too far fetching. When I have waited for the girls to go to bed and yet again missed an episode of "Big Bang Theory" just so that I can take one more pic of Gajar Halwa, the whole process has seemed futile.

But then every time when I am back in my kitchen, trying to make even a simple Khichuri and screwing it up, I have felt the excitement, the beat of the food, the urge to blog. Even when the dish is mundane and there is nothing exemplary about the aroma, I have enjoyed the process. I have loved to put in words, the food I cook and eat. I am not really a very outgoing person but I have loved to interact with everyone, (barring the ones who want to sell me viagara), who reads this blog. I have loved writing the book as much as I love this blog.And I have realized I have stuck to this whole goddamn thing for the simple reason that I love doing it.This love.I owe it to my kitchen.

And next week I will miss my current muse. Next programming for "Bong Mom's CookBook" will be from a different kitchen in a different home . Hope the new kitchen adapts me, nurtures me, makes me her own and brings the same joy to my family and friends as this one did.

Thank You My Kitchen. You will always have a special place in my life.



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72 comments:

  1. So you are getting a new kitchen , you should send me this big kitchen to me, i have a small one.
    Loved reading the post.

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    1. No fin, moving homes, hence kitchen

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  2. My dream is to grow old in my kitchen too..u know sort of kitchen where my daughter can tell her daughter that here's where I used to do this and that and we can all have lunch together (like they show in those American movies/soaps) :D...the longest time I've had in a kitchen is 2.5 years so 9 years is a pretty long time!! Happy moving...hope u love your new kitchen even better and it loves u back too :)

    Best regards
    Sohini

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    1. Thanks Sohini. I love your dream, I am sure it will happen

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  3. Hope you find your new kitchen as exciting as your current one. All the best with the move.

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  4. Wish you the best with the move.Very nicely written about your feelings on the move. Like you I have never since childhood spent more than 3 years in any kitchen. 9 years is a pretty long time. I just hope I get to spend that long in my current home. Here's wishing you many many years in the new kitchen, many more wonderful years as you see LS and BS grow up and many beautiful mornings for your first cuppa in the morning.

    Tomar emni lehka pode monay hoay tomar boi ta taratari publish hog. :)

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    1. And guess what ? In spite of all that move, i do not like moving now :(

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  5. Sandeepa once again u touched my heart! I wish u all the best for moving to ur new home! I pray to God that the new home brings luck and prosperity to u and ur family! I assure u that your new kitchen will luv u even more.... the luv comes fm ur own heart! All the best dear :) Nxt post show us the pic of the new kitchen....

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    1. Ekhon boyesh hoyeche, shoabi bhalo thakuk er upore ar kono prosperity chai na ! Toke chobi pore pathabo

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  6. Wish you a safe move. Your family should miss this sweet home, but this post will bring all those memories. Want to see ur new kitchen :)

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    1. yes we will miss this home but also looking forward to the other :)

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  7. We move houses every two years, sometimes one. And we like it that way. But now, reading your post, makes me want to stay somewhere longer. Memory-making is such an important job, especially when you have a child.
    I so enjoyed reading this post - beautifully written. And it brought back my big kitchen in Mumbai, and the small one in Bangalore :)

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    1. Hey, you can make enough memories that way too. I vaguely remember all my Mother's kitchens even if I might not harp on the details and there were some which I would love to go back to even now.

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  8. beautifully written, Sandipa.... just beautiful.

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  9. @Sandeepa: am 100% sure that you will adapt to your new kitchen in no time....and your blog will flow with new recipes, new anecdotes, new happenings!!
    all the best.....

    cheers,
    d

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    1. Kitchen e to adapt kore jabo kintu ekhon jete maya lagche

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  10. Very nice! 9 years! Pretty long! Your blog took my mind to the memories of all the kitchens I have spent time in. My father was also in a 'transferable job' so I have also seen mom standing near the door of her umpteen kitchen and staring on the gas stove before packing it. After coming back to India, I so miss my european kitchens! But I have noticed that for us, although we change places or countries, we always end up arranging our home almost same way as we did the first time! We have found a pattern for ourselves and that brings some root in our floating life! You are moving home? and place too? All the best. :-)
    Waiting for new stories from your new kitchen!

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    1. 10 mins away. And you are right I have arranged the new kitchen almost same as this one. I don't really remember much about how I arranged the first one though :(

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  11. You have such a gift for expressing your feelings beautifully! I'm sure you will enjoy some help from the girls setting up the new kitchen, and will make many new memories there, too. Best wishes.

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    1. Thanks Anon. Yes, we did set up the kitchen but it will take some meals to make it our own

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  12. Aww... I miss my Branchburg kitchen now ..waaa :( Only you could make me all nostalgic for the only window-light streaming kitchen I cooked in :) Good luck with the move and settling in. Wishing you new, happy memories from your new kitchen too.
    PS: Loved the kids' pics

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    1. Thanks Vani. Phewwww...finally it is over and the house is a royal mess. It will probably take me months before I can find the right place to put everything. Immense respect for you now to have handled all the international moves in such calm manner!

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  13. You are better than Archer. Your story twisted in the last para!! A beautiful post...Good luck with the move.

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    1. Thanks but no way, not even an inch close

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  14. what wonderful memories. i hope it's a smooth transition for you and yours.

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    1. Thank You Nags. We did move but as I said it will still take many meals for the kitchen to feel home

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  15. Great post. Really enjoyed reading it. Good luck to you and your family for the move!

    Simi

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  16. What a lovely post, I totally relate to the this kitchen attachment. You've put it down so beautifully...All the very best with your move and hope to see more delicious cooking from your next kitchen

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    1. Thanks Archana.I am kind of a senti person:(

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  17. Happy blogging in new kitchen, Sandeepa! Sure the flavour shall be same though the old kitchen flavours shall be missed! But never mind, life moves on ....!

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    1. Very true.Change is the only constant.

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  18. aah- tht's a sweet ode to your kitchen. I am sure the new hearth will give you as much warmth and happiness as this one. Cheers

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    1. Thank you so much Priya. With everyone's good wishes, I am sure it will

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  19. Priyanka Saha DeyOctober 06, 2012 4:41 AM

    Sandeepa Di.. I am sure this kitchen will miss you and the tasty dishes you used to prepare in it.. :):)
    Good Luck with the new one... The new one will have a lovely time with you.. :)

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  20. Can understand how u must be feeling:)

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  21. Hope the move is smooth and stress-free and you love your new kitchen as much as you did your current one! Congratulations on the blog turning six.

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    1. See, you are the only one who got that :)

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  22. A very sweet tribute to the heart of your home!! Wishing you just as much joy in the new one.

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    1. Thanks Nupur. All the best for your move too

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  23. Wishing you tons of happiness and a wonderful life in your new home Sandeepa.
    -- Rehana

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    1. Thanks much Rehana. Wishes from you all who follow my journey through the kitchen means a lot.

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  24. Sandeepa, your kitchen should feel so proud. I have never thought of my kitchen quite in those terms.

    Good Luck and Best Wishes with the new home.

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    1. Maybe I thought of it like that only because I was moving away from it.

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  25. Loved reading about your memories and your kitchen.. I've had several kitchens, each feels the same, it has the same "our stuff" in it. Every time we move we fill the new place with "us". Your tattered rug and the years old table and the family hanging out around it all contrive to make the new place exactly the same as the old one.

    Best wishes with the move!

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    1. That "fill the new place with "us"" is a very beautiful line you just wrote. Maybe I should focus on that from today

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  26. লেখাটা মন ছুঁয়ে গেল বংমম। নতুন হেঁসেলে গিয়ে আপনি মনভরে রান্নাবান্না করুন, প্রাণভরে ছবি তুলুন, অসাধারণ সব গল্পসহযোগে সেসব আমাদের পরিবেশন করুন যাতে আমরা দেখে দেখে ভাবতে পারি, "এইটা বানিয়েই ছাড়ব"...এই কামনা করি।

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  27. To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear - http://on.fb.me/PWimxR


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  28. My husband finds it odd that every time we look at a house, I go straight to check the kitchen.... you have put it all so nicely how important the kitchen is for the one that cooks. Happy moving! I'm sure you'll find a lot more to enjoy in your new place!

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    1. Also the sunlight. I am paranoid about it, especially now that I live in colder climes

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    2. True....I certainly prefer sunlight in every room....that is whenever the sun makes an appearance in my part of the world!

      Nice halwa, I prefer to make it the stove top way, but since you shooed people like me, I commented here :)

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    3. Ha, ha...shoo you hard working people :)

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  29. Those are some lovely memories you made in your beautiful, sparkling clean kitchen Sandeepa. My dad too had a transferrable job and I remember my mom cooking in all kinds of kitchens, big and small. The food was always the same though, delicious and finger-licking good. It will be the same in your new kitchen too. Do post the pictures of the new one as well. :-)
    BTW, I have the same chai ka bartan that you have in your second photo except my handle is broken. :-)

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    1. The first wala chai ka bartan has a broken handle :( and so I got the second one. Have had to screw it back twice.
      Will take once we settle in and the kitchen is no longer a war zone :)

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  30. Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside - http://on.fb.me/PWimxR

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  31. Such a lovely post Sandeepa, it's never easy to move especially from such a loved home. Hope the new place gives you as much and more joy. All the best!

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  32. Hi Sandeepa, just wrote a long comment which got lost due to a glitch with my google account. Argh...

    Beautiful post. Best wishes with the move. Look forward to house-warming recipes.

    Warmly,
    SD from SF :)

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  33. What a lovely tribute. The hearth really is the heart of the home, is it not? And your new kitchen is awaiting the memories that will eventually come to it too :)

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  34. Sorry for a late response. Blame it on quick fb ing on blackberry. Excellent post as usual....My best wishes as you move into tha new home and of course the new kitchen..Take care

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  35. Good luck with the move ..amra eto move kori jey lost count now ,janina kota kitchen/home change hoyehe..first kitchen remains special though...it's the people and their memories that makes a house "home"..hope your new kitchen will again give many such opportunities to love,laugh,fight,hug and make up...lovely post as always..how about kids..BS and LS excited to move into new home....hugs

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  36. All the best Sandeepa..U write so beautifully! cheers

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  37. What a beautiful, beautiful post, Sandeepa. Lovely pics and nice writing.

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  38. Sandeepa .. this is my first comment (adda r sutropat i would like to say)on your posts .. it is very recently that i have started reading your blogs and truly it was a kind a love at first sight thing .. i am a bong for last 30 yrs :) , a mom for last 1 year :) and is dreaming to be a cook for the last 15 yrs :(.. reading your blogs brings me happiness and a sense of nostalgia and fulfillment both. B coz i see someone is successfully cooking and writing (both are my favorites). i can relate to the big sis and little sis bcoz i can fondly remember my childhood with me and my big sis and mom around .. keep writing and inspiring .. wish you all the luck with your new kitchen .. Happy Durga Pujo.

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