The options for dinner had been agreed upon. Bitter gourd, mishmash dal and stir-fried mixed peppers. I was preparing the meal when I noticed Meena kneeling on the floor, gently stroking the leaves of the money plant. Her eyes followed the direction taken by the creeper, as it rose along the column of the arch, the baby plant she had helped grow on the wall.
“Praise the Lord! My prayers worked, money plant’s growing higher and so close to the window overlooking the bright blue sky.” Apparently Meena had prayed for me since she landed years ago as housekeeper and believed growth of this plant will be the first indication of my prosperity. Actually the plant has become the most gorgeous feature of the living room and looks like it’s about to march out into the open very soon.
Money’s our star today and in fact, it has conquered our world a long time ago with its extravagant image of charm and people’s never ending lust to have more of it. In my lifetime, I fought with money all along, our industry and inhabitants are not dissimilar from others who relinquished to its mysterious power. I come across people on a daily basis, both rich and poor, striving against competition to prove their worth and brilliance by making more money.
In the past, we gathered, our people called Chakra for money; our ancestors had wonderful reason to name it that way. Money rolled like a wheel in our society around people bringing a sense of security, record and achievement in our community transactions. Like us, people who never got fascinated with the power of money; feel shocked to see the mad love for it everywhere. Sadly, lot of people continue to believe money could better your life and anything under the sun could be bought with its profusion.
Money is worthy as we all know but only like other things, giving further attention to it would easily blemish the significance and presence of other essentials of life. Food is a good example, so many ingredients form a magnificent feeling of taste, and how can you pick any one component? Most dear ingredients like black pepper, cardamom, cashewnut etc are used so little and sensibly to enrich flavour and with care to protect from overpowering.
Money has been playing an imperative role in the disharmony of life; every known problem has dark shadow of fiscal gain or exploitation, whether between countries, individuals, religions or institutions. How many individuals have you seen content with money? People have eyes on a guy sitting on a heap of wealth; without realising he’s a loner at the top and still looking up further, disgruntled and seeking more.
Years ago I met someone who ate once properly and watched others eat rest of the week. Rahul used to stand at a food stall near Regal Cinema in Delhi in the eighties. When I asked, he said, “I can afford this only once a week. However, I love to feel the smell and flavours of food,” pointing at freshly-made Chana Batura. He had found his own way to remain cheerful in destitution.
He taught me a precious moral, if you don’t find bliss and tranquillity in your present life circumstances, you would find it hard anywhere, no matter how rich you become. Unlike in the past, people are extremely busy and find no time to look after themselves or do simple things. Some succeed in making more capital than they need and the rest compare those for sign of success, many people don’t seem to know the purpose of existence, point of having excess or duty to share.
Crunchy bitter gourd was superb, blended with golden brown onions and oozing flavour of green chillies. Dal was divine and peppers brought contrast. As we shared and enjoyed the meal, Meena looked at the money plant again, and kept on smiling!
The author is a London-based restaurateur who owns the Rasa chain