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It was a chemical reaction–an effervescent response to the idea that happiness could be distributed over the counter.
Aren’t they marvellous? Marketing people–
who study humanity’s weaknesses with microscopic precision taking apart every decision made with free will knowing fully well that there was no free will to begin with,
who laugh secretly in their cubicles and then in harmony in their meeting rooms as their formula turns into a positive case study for future business grads.
Meanwhile my mother is trying everything she can to make her love appealing.
Her apron is stained with dejection and the colours are faded on one side, where she rubs her hands when she is nervous.
How can she compete with business models market analyses graphic designers extraordinaire dream-sellers food pornography?
She can’t, so she responds by giving in, by buying me what I want and I love her for it and she grieves in her own way.
I am still young and manage to eat my way through my troubles without a problem but my mother doesn’t know it for I don’t eat her cooking.
She has lost me and she doesn’t know it.
I am faring a mile high above, trying desperately to spread frozen butter evenly on hard white tasteless bun, on my way to get an over-priced education in Real Life.
I land nervous and cold, hungry for anything familiar and see signs of known designer food in a different currency.
I feel safe in that tub of luke warm curry sauce, dunking my salty fries.
I am thanked by a wooden garbage bin for clearing my tray and I walk away with my oversized plastic drink which will soon just be ice.
I feel sick and so I call my mother. She asks me if I have been eating well and what I cooked for breakfast lunch dinner and I tell her nothing.
She asks me if I have some instant soup and crackers at least and to avoid fat and to take fluids (take lots and lots of fluids).
She asks me to make rice porridge: Grind roasted rice grains and cook the powder in milk and add a bit of sugar (because I like sugar and she knows that that’s how I like it).
She asks me if I can manage–Yes, Mother, I can and I will and I must.
I learn international cuisine for it’s easier to avoid a label when there’s no smell of my heritage.
Pasta al dente mediterranean roasted chicken baked beans from a can french salad dressing aceto balsamico and I am settled in.
She came to visit me recently and brought some homemade spice mixes–the whole spices roasted in the right order in the right proportion, a perfected method distilled from centuries of meditation on sensation–in ziplock bags.
I opened a bag and the world around me dissolved, and there was just the whistle of that pressure cooker
and that sizzle of fresh green chillies in hot oil and the popping of the black mustard seeds that would fascinate me and would always pop onto my face
and I would turn around to bury my face in my mother’s apron that smelled of turmeric cumin coriander
and I cried for my homogenised existence.