• Dr. Henana Berjes

An ode to Food.


Food...

It conjures up strange sentiments in my heart or I can say for the last 15 years that I haven't touched any

I wonder what it tastes like...

I have forgotten the taste of food on the tip of my tongue.

Of the sugar and spice stuff, there used to be loads piled up on the kitchen shelves at mom's place and now it's been 15 years...

They said we wouldn't need any.

And they were right.

‘We need more land for people.’

‘We can't afford the luxury of growing vegetables and fruits.’

‘You know how much of land is under agricultural control.’

‘People don't have homes.’

‘What good are vegetables and fruits without people.’

So, they created capsules

Tiny bundles of taste and energy that felt like food but weren't.

We have enough land for people now.

The earth is a much better place than before.

And guess what..?

The conflict has significantly lessened. It's a peaceful world without food.

Food...

Was it that created all chaos!



My son calls from the adjoining room.

He needs something.

I feel like cooking today so I go into the kitchen.

There's nothing there to cook.

My kitchen is just a vacant place with some jars labelled with flavours and it's full of capsules.

There's no real food.

“Do you know, we used to eat paranthas cooked in desi ghee,” I say to my teenage son.

He looks at me in amusement.

“I don't understand your obsession with food, mom,”

“Just pop in a capsule of your choicest flavour and you are good to go... I mean who talks of food..”

“That all we did when we were young. It was a topic of debate. People were hungry.. farmers were committing suicides..”

“It's over now, mom.. the world is a much better place than before..”

“Yes, maybe you can't exactly understand what you have never been a part of... How can I ever explain it to you, son...”

“I don't need to know... mom..”

“I am getting late for college, bye..”

He gives me a soft peck on the cheek. His breath smells of tacos...

I don't have to pack food for him like mom did when I was young

He doesn't know what food is!

I remember the smell of warm stuffed paratha as I opened the tiffin box at lunchtime...

The delicate sensation that would fill my mouth as I tucked in the first mouthful...

And now all I have are capsules.

Whose weird idea was it anyway?

“I miss food…”

I say to Alexa generation 9; my faithful companion in the days of loneliness...

Alexa doesn't answer.

Lately, she doesn't feel like answering my questions.

She tells me I get on her nerves...

“Well, You are more human than I am Alexa..No .one gets on my nerves anymore. It's like nothing matters.”

She doesn't reply.

“What did you have for breakfast?” I ask her as if on a whim.

“I had parathas, stuffed aalu paranthas,” she answers, with dollops of desi ghee.”

I am too stunned to speak.

I pick up a flavoured capsule and pop it into my mouth.



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