I know two friends. One, Peter the pampered and other, Steve the sturdy. While Peter, as his tag-line calls, was the coddled, happy-go-lucky kind, Steve, on the other hand, is measured. Peter didn’t know the ABC of cooking, all he knew was some pre- and post-cooking skills including cutting vegetables and washing utensils.
But Steve, though not a great cook, knows how to cook himself a decent meal. While Peter entered the kitchen because he had time, Steve has to, for his survival.
Fashion-wise, I remember Peter going on a shopping spree just before moving to another place. At the end of the spree, he had bought himself 10 tee shirts, 6 shirts, 5 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of shoes, 6 pairs of socks and lots more.
I see Steve daily, he always wears a plain shirt or tee shirt and dons the same for 2-3 days together, unless he feels its time to wash it. Not that he does not have any more to wear, he feels it is unnecessary. He is plain.
Peter liked gadgets, he wanted a new phone, a high-end pair of sports shoes and a glossy pair of shades. Steve though, craves for experiences. He wants to go out on hiking, sightseeing and likes to meet new people.
Incidentally, Peter and Steve are one and the same. Apparently, they are me. I was Peter, until last August in India and I am Steve, now in Ireland. Geography is not my only reason.
FOOD – the magic mantra.
Back in India, I was happy and free. I did not have to cook for myself, wash my clothes, pay my bills or clean my house. It’s not like I had never done them before. I had, but only because I wanted to, not because I had to. I always had the choice to skip.
I had my parents who wore every cap to keep me and my brother in the happy shade. But when I moved to Ireland, alone, the same wasn’t the case anymore. I suddenly had to learn to cook. Fortunately, I had four lovable friends – Ratheesh, Geeyar, Karthick, and Prasanna – who helped me make a smooth transition. We share a home together and I cannot be any happier than this.
However, I had to catch-up pretty quickly and learn cooking or at least learn to assist. I had to set-up accounts for my electricity and gas connections, I had to first of all search for a home and stay in Airbnb’s (hostels) until I find one. No permanent home, no assured food, fortunate enough to have money though.
It did not startle me (I enjoyed this uncertainty) but it certainly woke me up from my heavenly dreams. I realized it is the transition-time. Five months in Ireland now, I am confident and happy. I had learned a trick or two. Starting from potato fry months ago, to preparing a full course meal for five today, I believe I have come a decent way.
Now that I am at ease with kitchen and cooking, I envy chefs. I feel I belong in the kitchen, cooking is joyful and to do it with friends, is epic. So, when I went back to India on vacation a month ago to meet my family, I most wanted to cook them a meal, a special recipe. My parents were only too happy to budge.
I tried making Chicken gravy twice and I would say I did pretty well. All I have to say here is, I am what I ate, all these years. I would not be Mr. hale and healthy if not for my mom. I only wish I could count the hours of dedicated work she put in all these decades for our family. She has been on duty, 24 hours a day, for 25 years now, and she does not seem like stopping anytime ever. I recently happened to see the trailer of a new upcoming movie Magalir Mattum (means, ‘women only’) and could not help but think of my mom. I would strongly recommend you to watch it as well.
FASHION – The often misunderstood
I have never seen craze in my parents’ shopping behaviors. They bought, but only bought what they thought was a necessity. They were not stingy, they shelved a lot of money, but still, only on something that they thought was affordable or useful. I always considered I was different from them. I would not mind spending little extra bucks on something that I liked, I focused less on the usefulness of the product.
I would throng the e-commerce sites looking for offers. Turning back, I would say I was a bit impulsive. But now, I feel the difference. It is not that I do not spend that extra money. The extra expenditure has not changed, but what has changed is WHAT I spend that money and effort on.
I no more feel an urge towards products, what lure me are experiences. I like giving away my money, time and effort to post-materialistic experiences. I do not frown shelving money for a tour, a workshop or on an adventure trip. Nowadays, I am not bored with repeating the same set of clothes, all I am bored of is following the same routine every day, like a machine. New people, new work, new day, that is where all the fun is
Not a lot has changed between Peter and Steve, and Peter has not vanished into thin air. I am still happy-go-lucky and enthusiastic, however, I am more responsible, measured and steady now than ever. Moving away from my family was tough, but inevitable.
I was that kid who was taught all the lessons needed to survive, only I needed to write an exam to check if I had grasped well. Coming to Ireland was that exam that taught me what I knew and what I had to learn.
I realized I lacked cooking and management skills but I also learned I am very organized and neat. What the college taught me will stay for a while, but what this new experience of being away from home and on my own taught me will stay forever.
LIFE IS A JOURNEY, NO TWO DAYS SHALL BE THE SAME.
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