Chef Rajan has been amorously excited about creating a new organic cutlet for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, as usual it’s a night of drama for us and a new (exclusive) menu counts a lot. While preparing beetroots, carrots and potatoes, he thought about the many 14th February evenings of the past 20 years and our efforts to make meals memorable.
Boiling together meant flavours fused into a bright mixture as he prepared his mild onion masala and tenderly cooked vegetables, blended well adding his green spices, and left it to cool. Heart-shaped cutlet was dusted in breadcrumbs and crisply fried. I could sense the aroma flowing out when he offered me the first bite.
Same night Michael, an old customer, joined us for a birthday celebration. He looked uneasy in a fully-grown beard. We shared many table talks over the years whilst serving him and mutually learned so much. Ignoring the crowd and noise, Michael started a new story on his recent love failure with his girlfriend and a financial dispute with mother and sister, and sampled Rajan’s cutlet at the same time. Three close individuals who made his life successful have deserted him. “Today at 55, I am free and liberated. Nobody understands love and everyone needs more,” he sighed.
Reflecting on the essence of love is fascinating as we encounter diners who seek comfort around dinner tables. Over the years, we have dealt with hundreds of customers visiting Rasa in a variety of moods, but after enjoying lovely meals and heartfelt service we saw the same people leaving the place in absolute happiness. Applying attention to details that we learned at home and through experiences of interacting with people, we realised love has many folded flavours—to care and share, heal pains and unconditionally offer hope.
Love failures are common today. Listening to Michael’s story and recalling numerous unhappy people, it gives us an opportunity to assume real connotation of love, why it fails us even when people argue how much they love their dear ones. Firstly, it’s important to understand both individuals, when one claims to have poured so much love and received less in return. Unfortunately, love is such a precious emotion which people tend to see more from notions within and occasionally miss the other person.
Expectations and comparisons have always proved to be costly, whereas patience and untiring imagination in love makes it last longer and do wonders. Many people envisage love from what they hear from social stories, sometimes miss the reality that all individuals are different and so are their taste, nature and emotions.
Whenever feelings are shared naturally without demands and complaints, it could elevate our spirits and open a new world of creativity. Liberation and confidence are two important benefits of true love, which makes two individuals rise above their limitations and work harmoniously in life.
Today expression of love has been given specific dates like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. so that busy people could be reminded of their duties to loved ones! Also these special days are meant for commercial exploitation as restaurants put up a big show to make them into festivals and make more money.
Preparations on Valentine’s Day are unique and the industry always looks forward to the launch of a new season and menus for the year. Restaurants will be full with cramped two-seater tables. Staff also involve in chitchats and do our best to make couples emotionally upbeat.
Essence of love in reality is difficult to describe, knowing that it takes all your life to fulfil its mission. On another note, it’s a blessed feeling when you know you are loved every day by everything in nature—that’s so easy to achieve once you take your ego out, flow into the habit of loving your other half and the universe will mirror your feelings.
The author is a London-based restaurateur who owns the Rasa chain of restaurants