I’m trying to savor the comfort of rainy season as much as possible. To be honest, we can’t really call it rainy season anymore. It’s cloudy, gloomy, mysterious and cozy, but there aren’t enough drops of water to make the soil wet. We are on the way to winter, another of my favorite seasons. I’m looking forward to the cold nights with hot chocolate and blanket while snuggling the boys and watching old horror movies. But right now, the cloudy sky allows me enjoy the weather outside so I write in my balcony where my jasmine plants slither on the wall.
The reason I’m writing this kind of post today is because our cooking gas is finished again. Here in India, most homes like mine use cooking gas from a big, heavy, red cylinder. We can never tell when the gas is going to be finished so most houses have more than one cylinder as backups, but we don’t have that. Usually, it takes about a week to get a refill so we often adjust and manage the situation when we run out of gas.
I couldn’t write about travel either because Sadik has been in an important training for weeks now. We haven’t been to the mountains for so long, and I start to miss nature again. We’re missing the peak of the season when the luscious green takes over the terrains of Maharashtra State of India. But Sadik’s training should be done in a week or so, and hopefully we could slip in our trekking shoes again soon.
Here is my new video on Youtube which shows how our lives is like when we don’t have cooking gas…
During the weekdays, we are morning creatures. Sadik wakes up at 5.30, I follow him at 6.00, and Yaseen wakes up around 6.30 when we basically have to push him out of bed. When I can’t cook, I just pack anything I can get in Yaseen’s lunch box. Cookies, biscuits, Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich, and sometimes, potato chips. These are not healthy at all, and sometimes, I think I should be less careless as a parent. I make sure that he has fresh fruits every day so I snug in guavas, bananas and kiwi which are his favorites. Luckily, Sadik doesn’t need his lunch box this week because he joins lunch at the hotel where’s the training is happening.
Yaseen leaves home at 7.30 to catch school bus, and Sadik leaves home at 8.30. When the boys are out of the house, it becomes real quiet. Usually, I cook, take pictures and blog at this point of time, but now that I don’t have cooking gas, it feels a little disorganized.
I don’t know where to start, and I get a little confused sometimes. What am I going to do with this free time? I hate to be unproductive. I go to gym and realize how boring it is compares to doing something outdoor with the boys. I finish my workout anyway because sweating makes me feel like I work hard enough.
I think of random stuff to do when I can’t cook. I paint a little, I scrub the toilets, and I try to learn guitar. I think about writing a cookbook and also starting a small business. I didn’t realize my mind can be so cluttered when I can’t cook. I love ideas, but they become waste of time when I can’t execute them.
Yaseen comes home at 2.15pm, and we have lunch together. No gas means takeout food. We also love to cook instant noodle in rice cooker. Instant noodle and this household are soul mates. I will still love it if the world changes. You can add cut-up hotdogs and veggies in it to make it healthier. But most of the time, just plain instant noodle is all we need.
Afternoon is our play time. While Yaseen is watching TV, I casually work in my laptop. I keep the laptop away when we get into fun conversation. Sometimes, I teach him to paint, and then he shows me his new dance routine. Time flies really quickly when he’s around, and by 5pm, he is out of the house again for tuition.
As the sun descends in the west sky, I wonder about food again. Since I can’t cook, my mind becomes chaotic. I feel like I’m not doing enough, and I have disappointed our home. I call Sadik and tell him to get some food. When we’re so tired of takeaway food, we go out. It’s strange to have dinner outside the house on the weekdays, and we start to miss the comfort of home-cooked supper.
“I’m gonna cook something in the microwave tomorrow,” I told them.
They asked me to be patient for a few more days, and maybe we can make it fun. Make a food journey out of this unfortunate time and try to live like students in a dorm room. It sounds fun to have them as roommates. Eat instant noodle and explore street food. Or we can go vegan and eat a lot of fresh and raw food. We can detox and be healthy. I like how they make me stay positive, but I still miss the fire on the stove.
This morning, I microwaved milk and made coffee. It felt good to produce something from my sleepy kitchen. Yaseen laughed as I placed packaged strawberry muffins in his lunch box. Sadik told me he found a new Kerala restaurant near a fish market so that could be our dinner tonight.
I called my mom and we talked for hours. She told me how new generations relied so much on technologies that we forgot how to solve simple problems with bare hands.
“We didn’t depend on cooking gas back then, especially when food tastes so much better on the wood fire,” she said, and I recalled how I started the fire from a small piece of rubber from the tube of an old bicycle tire. I covered it with some twigs from the garden and nourished the flames in to the black charcoals. We cooked rice on this stove, and when the rice was cooked, we grilled our fish and steam some veggies.
“Well, wood fire stove isn’t good for environment now,” I argued. Then she explained that it’s because we have allowed it to be so.
We have less trees, we consume more than we plant and nurture. And now we rely on artificial stuff to fulfill our lives. It’s true that we can’t go back to use wood fire stoves to cook our meals, and drastically change our lives to live raw and rustic. We can’t live without electricity and internet. We develop and evolve, and this is us now. Technologies are what make us the most powerful species in the world. But can we be content and capable to survive when technologies are taken away? I cannot imagine because even being without cooking gas for just a few days has already made me feel inadequate and disoriented, you know. Ah, the first thing I’m going to cook when I get my gas cylinder refilled is a nice pot of curry.