Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by Aahana Banerjee

Mornings at my home smell of tempered cumin seeds, roasted garlic and turmeric. I am used to waking up to mumma singing in the kitchen while pouring all her love into the meals she cooks for us. So, in my first semester at college, getting greeted by the pungent smell of leftover mess food at the pantry was not all too welcoming. The general food situation on campus, where we were plagued by the same paneer and gravy didn’t help either. Sustaining myself on ramen and instant oats was not sustainable at all. I was compelled to change things. 

This semester, I not only brought utensils and mumma’s spice box with me, but her intuition too. I neither measure salt nor the amount of spice I put; instead, I just make sure that it smells like mumma’s food to me. From plucking curry leaves from the residence hall courtyard to carrying a heavy bag of vegetables from the front gate and cooking three meals a day while attending my classes, I have done more adulting than I ever intended to. 

On a daily basis, at least three people ask me why I put so much effort into my meals and how I manage to do so. To give an honest answer, I have no clue. All I am aware of is that I have a large appetite, both for food and for love, and if I don’t satisfy that then I will be starving myself of the sincerest of pleasures. I miss the warmth with which my mother cooks her dal, and the care with which my father pours more of it onto my rice. Cooking my meals in our small dorm pantry is just an innocent attempt to keep myself surrounded by that same warmth and care, despite being miles away from home. 

My mother says that a meal cooked with negative feelings in your heart is similar to brewing poison, and the same done with love will taste like nectar. So there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t hummed my favourite tunes and danced around while making a meal. Consequently, my pan wouldn’t just be overflowing with spices and flavours, but love wanting to be shared. It was not until now that I realised that I love feeding people. I am sure that at this point, my roommate would want me to stop with my broccoli sandwiches and tomato rice. 

After running around campus from one class to the next, coming back to my room and cooking a simple potato curry and eating it with rice and a bit of tomato chutney, while watching Modern Family for the umpteenth time is the most cathartic thing ever. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

All that being said, cooking has empowered me in more ways than I could’ve imagined. I decided to look after my health by doing something, which unfortunately compels many women to forget about their health and cater to other people’s needs. So here’s to changing narratives, one meal at a time. 

A tiny human stuck in a hamster wheel, trying to break out of it through art.