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You are sitting under a lavish chandelier- a ridiculously grand ambiance, open the

menu placed on the linen-clothed table and what do you see? Caviar, Steak, white

truffles, oyster, sea urchin, instead of your quintessential food items, a bunch of

sulky faces, a constant fiddling of forks, people eating like robots in an elegant

fashion; all this just to safeguard your social status? No one actually enjoys the

decadence of the meal or indulges in it. When we refer to the extravagance of fancy

foods, it is not the taste but the monetary extravagance. There is absolutely no

emotional value left to food or anything to restore the fun part of eating. As a

juxtaposition to this, you are in front of a street stall, what do you see? People

hogging down delectable, savoury items and gorging on tangy bits and never getting

enough of it, lip-smacking chaat, cheeks bulging with the morsels of food yet in a

way of smile, no one cares if they are drooling or look messy. Sheer joy is what you


This fun part of eating is restored by comfort food. Food provides fuel for the body

but comfort food nourishes the soul. It is like a warm hug that you can eat, a way to

bring out that inner sunshine. It is not those fancy, expensive gourmet meals,

presented in the most pleasing ways, but a piping hot plate of unpretentious, no-

nonsense morsels of happiness that would literally warm your soul. You should

neither be a connoisseur nor a critic when it comes to comfort food, for it is not

impeccable but indulging and relishing. It is anything that you crave at that moment,

and can actually stimulate the release of dopamine like magic. I can peculiarly find

solace in the simplest of foods, be it the ‘DNA’ of comfort food “Khichdi” literally the

savoury, steaming hot porridge with dollops of desi ghee and tangy pickles, curd

rice, a wholesome bowl of thick, rich soup, or even a satiating bowl of “Biryani”, the

layered goodness, heavy on aromatic spices, dried onion shavings, and garnishes of

all sorts. You do take a spontaneous, impromptu pit-stop at a chaat stall, don’t you?

It is the ultimate comfort food for any Indian, the mixture of tangy, spicy, sweet

ingredients, all hitting you at the back of your tongue at the same time. You can’t

help but drool at the mere mention. Talking about comfort food and not mentioning

the iconic Maggi? It would be criminal. Those instant noodles have helped us cope

with mid-night hunger pangs or mood swings. The fact that one can make delicious

noodles in not more than two minutes is exciting enough for people of all age groups

to bond over a bowl full of this delight. The Indian burger as the westerners say, with

the crispy potato fritter, a slight punch of the pungent garlic cloves, the fried and

salted chillies and the luscious bun to complement it. I would be mad if someone

handed me a cozy bowl of a creamy spinach stew, dark green and finely cut, the

steam advertising its freshness would be enough to satisfy the craving of my soul.

To eat is a necessity but to eat by understanding that the plate in front of you is a

polaroid of emotion is an art. You can never go wrong with relatively simple comfort

food, its also about the ease, not super fancy but certainly tasty.


Tanishka Dabir


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