A man cooking in his kitchen has a lot to explain to himself and his world as like a woman boss in office, he migrates to an arena slippery where he has a system to digest;
his ancestors queue up in the kitchen reprimanding him for spoiling the broth as his wife, even though healthy, and not sick to death, reads the newspaper in the drawing room overlooking a fine morning sky perhaps aping the West;
the kitchen of man cooking is not a backburner where routinely gas is lit, utensils crackle, food boils up-- rather a place metamorphosed into a hot seat as a man is at work to fill the plate with zest;
a man cooking ponders how his mothers, sisters, daughters, wives standing or sitting could spend days after days, seasons after seasons there while he remained absent whiling away the time in the drawing room with the guest;
his own hands feel uneasy with raw vegetables, raw spices, raw onions, raw potatoes sans their mercantile angle that he has associated them with while buying, selling, or producing them best;
his hands strange in their raw company, always at home with the cooked vegetables, cooked pulses with onions and spices delivering an aroma they do not know how to produce, but only to taste;
a man cooking is like a man absolving himself and his ancestors of the sins of the past, their half-cooked tang of what a well cooked up life amounts to, their indifference to the kitchen haste;
a man cooking is actually a man deciding to renovate his house, decorating the backstage silently, painting the green room afresh, scratching the soiled back of his ancestors, getting into the shoes of his womenfolk, resetting a straw or two of his nest.
COMPOSED IN April 2006
PUBLISHED IN THE PRESTIGIOUS JOURNAL ‘INDIAN LITERATURE’ (Volume 248, November/December 2008, Guest Edited by Prof. K Satchidanandan)) BROUGHT OUT BY SAHITYA AKADEMI, (THE INDIAN NATIONAL ACADEMY OF LETTERS) NEW DELHI. ITS HINDI VERSION, TRANSLATED BY THE EMINENT HINDI POET MANGALESH DABRAL, WAS PUBLISHED IN THE PRESTIGIOUS HINDI JOURNAL 'PAHAL', No. 85, February 2007.