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    “Aaloo Ka Parantha”



    “Aaloo Ka Parantha”, the Desi Rasoi for the Desi Minds.
    The Masala way of Understanding Acceptance of the Untold, Unseen!!!

    Reading about the heading makes our taste buds salivate without even thinking of the body mass index and brings before us the fantasy image of a butter soaked parantha garnished with coriander and curd. The vocal cords go “Ohm so yummy”!!! No matter how much you would like to control your mind, the first image it will have will be of the parantha, travelling to the kitchen of your grandparents and mothers with loads of narration of satisfying taste buds which after a point really don’t seem to be satisfied!!! It seems that the four taste buds have an excellent function of managing “routine” looking for the digits to tick its way through the day thus creating an image of having another delicious meal!!!

    The latter part of the heading will make its way into our cognitive area after some amount of fantasy and dreaming about the past and future have taken place and then suddenly would like to come back, when half of the creativity gets lost without purpose!!

    With “aloo Ka parantha” pleasing our taste buds during any one quarter of the day, leaves a petite area for rancour. But honestly speaking, here is a big revelation that I could “tie-in” with while having the most palatable food. So, while enjoying the wheat bread soaked in butter, relished with the “yummy” factor, it could happen that out mouth remains wide -open and the tongue just shows its defiance in taking in the parantha. A piece of “chilli” naturally camouflaged with wheat and aaloo with masala , enters our mouth, ready to stop us from enjoying the food, getting crushed by the canines , ready to be dissolved with the saliva along with aaloo , aata and masala and pushed into the stomach by the strongest muscle as quickly as possible as a matter of escaping the “off taste” situation. Still the mixture outstands the audacity of “green chilli”. Too hard to have a pleasurable eating experience then…. But no pleasurable option seems viable at that instant!! Can I have anything to replace the “yummy” parantha? Not really……no option other than acceptance !!!

    A horrible “blazing” experience that was beyond the subjective definition of tasty and “yummy” food forces us to feel the unaccepted experience, something that was unintentionally untold and unseen. Tearing a piece of juicy part from the whole with a layer of curd prevented us from thinking about something that was quite inherent. So here, we could not see what was coming but still took some time to accept the unseen and still moved on with the second take. We took that “blaze”, a feeling of being uncomfortable and also started looking for alternate strategy to cover up the “blazing” feeling and carry on with the process of satisfying our basic physiological need that has seen evolution in the nature of its tabling. As we came across this, we quickly developed the skill to manage it to come back to the base and enjoy the food again.

    A practical way of dealing with the unpleasant taste is by looking out for water, something sweet, but surprisingly not running away. We do not leave the parantha on the table and run away showing inappropriate adjustment to the sudden situation. We try and maintain the feeling of having a delightful meal by cognitively travelling to our grandparents’ kitchen, to that of mothers to that of overcoming the nasty experience. With the “chilli” experience we would suddenly stop in the ‘yummy’ journey of changing hands but preserving the taste and would consequently develop the feeling of being careful of having the second one after the initial event resulting in the “ill – at- ease” feeling. So, travelling back and forth is a normal activity of the mass in our “skull”, a function that it has been doing since the stone age. What has changed are the governing factors of human behaviour that are governed by different societal needs that are in -fact governed by individual likings and disliking’s. Person who loves to have chilli would not have had such an experience.

    Considering the wheat bread as the expansive life in its various forms with problems in the form of masalas and spices, running away from it would not have helped. Maybe we would have remained hungry or adjusted to the unsavoury feeling with irritation, lacking in subjective adaptive skills! What we fail to understand is that the experience of “blaze” is always untold. With the function of the brain evolving, it plans out life actions with its own limited understanding, left to the human beings to carve out the whole story by “joining the parts”.

    Agreeable enough, accepting is a difficult task, but accepting the “blaze” of a chilli will leave you open to take up steps and move ahead like finishing the parantha and achieving some goal for that time. You will try and finish it as quickly as possible!!

    Avoiding the activity of getting back to normalcy after heighted emotional reaction during dining, will lead to more struggles. Leaving the parantha and eating something else does not leave you with a better option. Just in case you leave the parantha that gave you the “blaze’ and take hold of another one. You are unintentionally under-developing yourself by escaping from the unexpected and thus become irritable and angry during the second venture. You will even be more careful of gulping down the “edible monster” by mistakenly looking for “dhania” or “kasuri methi” and loading it with the cognitive image which was not “tasty” and therefore start a process of generalisation. We become hypothetical, suppositional at every step, resulting in enjoying less in the present moment and thinking of something that has no evidence yet. Please have mercy on the our ‘brains”…it really has to make uncountable cells work for our any action…..Let it rest and rejuvenate for another activity that really needs it to work !!!

    However…as human beings , we all need to think about the future as that helps us to keep us intact and existing, but worrying about a problem that has its roots in the present requires us to deal with it “now” so that future can be well structured. Most of the times the future worries are the extension of present worries, about their nature and the effects which we perceive to be hanging in the future without a strong, evident foundation. Hypothetical nature and suppositional outlook therefore carry itself from the stomach to the mind. The second parantha will lose its purpose transforming itself into a stimulus of fear and anxiety, similarly, hanging in the unpredictable future gives us less space to enjoy or work upon the present moment.

    With transcending boundaries from the kitchen to the dining room to the bedroom or the study makes us well equipped to leave the work of each space in the respected area. Let us not go too far…but understanding that each room with its own specifications as environmental stimuli requires us to deal with the immediate change with immediate effect. So, are not we capable of change…we do? It is only that we don’t see the undiscovered…..where we are constructively making changes especially during these times such as cooking, cleaning, doing office work, adapting to the e-world that starts from school to any social contact that we would like to make!! We have grown up in our skills without even realising it but what we are interested in doing is what will happen after three months? A question to which probably there are no answers yet but instead of being appreciating of ourselves of being able to carry us through these difficult and unpredictable times , I think enjoying our otherwise ignored capacities need praise that lays down a constructive foundation for the future.

    As moving from “aaloo ka parantha” to pizza or burger has seen transformation issues from generations that seem difficult to converge at a point but understanding the “why and how” of the divergent points brings us much closer to connect to the “tie-in” tools. Moving from the Indian “rasoi” to Indian minds was a medium of savoury connection that could help us to relate better and thus overcome our disliking or in some cases adjust to situation and move on , like the “chilli” in the parantha and yet probably enjoying the “second innings” with the inherent acceptance of the “chilli” that cannot hopefully be mistaken for Dhania or Kasuri Methi . This response is better equipped and better skilled.

    I am a psychologist by profession. I am working as a Counsellor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Being in practice for more than 13 years now, what I really feel is that people need solutions that are practical in nature. Some interventions can be done while they are cooking, teaching their kids, or even when they are doing their daily chores, especially during the pandemic. With my training in behavior analysis and mindfulness from the United Kingdom, I happen to relate to myself more which in turn helps me to serve my patients better by providing them easy solutions that can remain with them without much effort. With my training in Applied, (Clinical psychology) in India, I feel that I can understand the need of my countrymen, I personally feel that I take immense pride in the way we are brought up in India because it positively contributes to our upbringing and helps us cope with distressing situations. We have the privilege of consulting some people in a collective society.

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