Words Mubaraka H.
Digital Art Fatema A (cosmicweavers).
When I hear ‘food’, I typically remember my mom yelling from the kitchen to tell us that lunch/dinner was ready. It’s funny how I associate food with my mom and not with hunger.
What does food mean to us? Is it simply to fill our stomach? Well, I feel that food means different things to different people.
If you ask a wanting person the meaning of food, he/she would think about an edible meal a day. They would think about survival. Whereas, if you ask a wealthy person, they will instantly think about their favourite dish, perhaps something average people don’t even know about.
So many things revolve around food, like your eating manners, eating style, where you eat your food, whether it is healthy or not, whether it is tasty or not. Different cultures have different
tastes for the same food. For example, dal. There is Gujarati, Punjabi, dal gosht, Rajasthani, Sindhi and many more. Food is variant and versatile at the same time.
A mumin always associates food with Imam Hussain’s bhook and Ramadan-ul-Moazzam’s rozas. For a mumin, food has an emotional and sentimental value – how Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (TUS) always stresses the importance and barakat of making roti, and we associate rice with Maulana Ali, khichdo with Imam Hussain, gol roti with Maulatena Fatema and so on. So for us, food is not just food, but a memento. It is like remembering important people and dates by the food we eat in their memory.
Even in everyday life, we link food with memories and emotions. Maggi noodles, for instance, brings in a flood of childhood memories. A particular dish your mom makes or street food you always enjoyed with your dad does the same too.
For me, food is an emotion. I might not remember the event that took place while I ate that food. I might not remember the person I ate it with. I might not even remember the taste of it but I remember how I felt when I ate it. On similar lines, when someone invites you to a feast, it is a way for them to express their emotions. Just like how a feast is thrown as a celebration or a gathering occurs for a funeral or a death anniversary (urus). Different dishes are prepared for different events. When you are going for a birthday, you expect a cake, for Eid you look forward to sheerkhurma, for Pehli Raat you anticipate dal chaawal palidu.
Mufaddal Maula always says, “Feed the hungry, they will give you dua, because food will generate happiness within them.” I don’t know about others, but my mood often depends on food. If I am hungry I will be irritated. I will be content when my stomach is full, happy if I just ate my favourite food and usually disappointed if I have to eat something I don’t like (I usually eat it anyway).
Food is life, food is survival, but most importantly, for me, food is a feeling.
What is it for you?