Sashanka Sekhar Sarma
If you are a student, a collared worker (white or blue), teacher or anybody who has adecent enough gastronomical appetite for food, you will feel hungry at a certain time afternoon. It's the universally accepted time for putting our gastric juices at work—it's lunchtime, friends!-- with lots of gossip and fun.
Some God like saint at a particular point of history realized that all humans neededreplenishment of the body and soul every afternoon and so introduced lunchtime. It's a time you can relax your senses, shoo away all tensions and laugh at the silly joke of yourboss or friend or colleague, while all the time chewing on some tasty bit. It's a half hour toyourself and your happiness. To top that, this is the time the best of friends are made, wellat least some luncheon friends if nothing else.
Remember the school days and you will shed tears of happiness every time. Back in thoselovely days every one with decently deliciously stuffed tiffin became our most dearest offriends. We made friends (pun intended!) according to how their moms made thosenoodles, wrapped egg rolls or minced the meat in filling the delicious meat chops. Girlsnormally would sit around and share their tiffins with discipline imbibed from thesamurai tradition itself. Each took a spoonful from her friend's lunch and in return gave two spoonfuls back. You always hear some distinguished laughter and smirks, the latest love stories and some weird discussion on the one with the stupidest hairdo; gossips aboutwhich you can only imagine.
It is time when even the most academic of the girls flirtswith life's friends; joy and happiness. On the other side if you have never seen a horde ora swarm attack, I would humbly request you to go incognito in to a school of your choice,and watch the boys prepare themselves for an all-out food attack, just as lunch hour starts.
Spring rolls so lovingly prepared by our mothers would disintegrate into five muddlepieces and dissolve in to ten young hungry saliva filled mouths. Chappatis are shredded and fried rice stolen by fistfuls. Most times if one brings a tasty tiffin, he usually getsnone of it himself and has to survive on tit bits of sympathy from the ones who still areleft with some tiffin after the initial attack. Life can indeed be tough for a child if hismom packs too much of lip smacking delicacies into his lunchbox! But whateveranybody tells, you must realize that these are the tastiest grubs of food you will tasteanywhere, more delectable than any meal found even in the world's best Michelin-starred restaurants – for these bites with friends, the joy of sneaking out the tiniest bite from yourbest friends' lunchbox, that sharing of food and accompanying stories are the best lunchtime moments you will ever experience on earth. Of heaven beyond and its lunchtimejoys I have no knowledge as of now!
Lunchtime at college is also the coolest ever. Whether it's on the canteen or the cheap(serving dollops of chow mein with lots of grated raw cabbage and onions) food stall,lunchtime during the first year of college remains always a hurried affair with the need toattend the next class just after lunchtime being of paramount importance; apparently fromthe next year on wards such hurry gets drastically reduced on an annual proportionatebasis. The hormonal levels of youngsters, at this phase of life, are also at their highestlevels and these prep on our youngsters to carve out their first ever love stories—lunchhour is the time when they try their luck the most with the opposite sex; over cups of coffee, singaras' or dollops of chowmein with lots of grated raw cabbage and onions (ifyour love is a hungry one).
For those who don't have such luck finding love's angel stillhave their dearest friends and the most beloved canteens. Some of the life's crankiestjokes backed by the loudest laughter can be heard in our college canteens. The best of our undying friendships are forged, in midst of humid air cooled by slow ceiling fans, rightthere. If only such moments could be stored and relived.
The last and the longest phase of lunch memories come from our working days. Given the rise of service-oriented industries, lunchtime in offices have become a large part of ourlives. Whatever be the official camaraderie among colleagues, lunchtime generally bringsout the best in us and our imaginations. Lunch hot cases are peeked in to and analysed – the going belief that the one with the tastiest tiffin to be happiest in family affairs beinggenerally prevalent. There are also cases where people come down with their lunchboxesfrom one department to another so that they do not miss out on their lunchtime fun with their favourite friend-colleagues. Here the lady or gentleman who can create the loudestand most consistent guffaws is certainly the most popular person in office and everybodyadores him/her, bosses included. A good lunch with smiles is the most invigorating thinga good boss can inculcate (except pay raises of course!) in an office.
The thing with lunch is its inevitability. As such if we try making it more joyful everydayfor even a few moments, we will be doing ourselves and others a lot of service in thisstressful world. So warm the lunchboxes with smiles, sprinkle it with some love,eat toyour full and then get back to work. A better life one cannot imagine.