It’s funny how things about you change through life. At this point I’m an owl and drag myself out of bed in the morning. As a child I was an early bird, also the studious sort (read: nerd, I wear the badge proudly). There was many a morning before some test where I was springing out of bed at 5.00 am to study (not because I wasn’t prepared but because I wanted to revise it for the nth time. Read: uber-nerd!) I’d sit in the kitchen so as not to disturb my sister who I shared a room with. I’d open the kitchen window, look out into the dark, quiet street with the street lamp some distance away and then open my books on the kitchen table. There was a wonderful peace to that time of day that allowed me to get a lot done. There was a main road and a market nearby which must have been in full swing by then, but the new day didn’t touch my little space yet. That wasn’t until the mullah at a nearby mosque took up the clarion call of the morning prayer at dawn. Though I’m not a Muslim, the musicality of that prayer has always been soothing to me, uttered peacefully as it is. I’d goad myself to be done with my work before then because I knew my mom would be in the kitchen before it was done and me and my books would need to clear out to get ready for school.
Mom always insisted on a cooked breakfast in our tummies before we went about our day. So pretty soon in the morning, there would be lovely aromas drifting out of the kitchen. After her customary cup of tea (fully required to be awake and coherent by all members of my family except me), she’d finish up the breakfast she’d prepped the earlier night. On rare days that she was under the weather or running late, it would be buttered toast or corn flakes.
Breakfast in India is mostly savoury, not sweet. In my family, it was almost never sweet. In fact, the college coffee shop was a shock to my system when I first came to the United States. It is something I still haven’t adjusted to. Bagels are my only option and often, they aren’t much of one. Often I’d put on my school uniform to come out and find the smell of onion and chilli wafting in the air. One of my favourite morning breakfasts was and still is Pavacha chivda (torn bread with potatoes and onions). This makes a damn fine supper too though.