AFTER my morning walk, I sit for an hour on my terrace garden, savouring my pot of delicious coffee.
All around me I hear the sounds of birds and squirrels, as the peepul tree towering over me provides a home to them and peace for me.
As I sip away, different smells start drifting up to me; that of breakfasts being prepared by loving hands.
There’s the aroma of aloo paratha, the whiff of an omellette, the crisp smell of a dosa, there’s bacon and eggs rising somewhere, and all the pleasant odours drift up to me, and enhance the beautiful mood I am in.
I feel a stillness. And as I drift into this time of sheer tranquillity, I imagine I hear one smell cry to another, “Hey, you’re intruding into my space!”
“You’re smelly please tone down!” “Stop crackling while you’re frying! You stink. You’re too noisy!” No my imagination is rotten, because all these different smells from different kitchens, go through their many chimneys, then joining together in friendly harmony float to the sky as one perfumed fragrance of love!
But even as the dosas and omelletes and poha agree with each other and drift skywards together, enter leaders who with hatred at loving hands that make the dosa, fry the omellette or place the potato in the paratha, then scowl as in another kitchen a different smell, tells of another breakfast being made?
“Hey!” say the different aromas sadly as they drift up into the sky the next day, “One of us is missing?” “He’s been banned!” says the dosa and the others drift up in silence.
Time goes by and same leaders ban one or the other till only two remain. Slowly all the chimneys start giving out the same smell, as loving hands make the same food, till one day, the same aromas drifting up from different kitchens see something amiss, “Looks like two chimneys have no smells coming from them?”
“They’ve been banned!” say the others sadly. “Why?” “Because they used a different oil!” And the next day only one smell remains, the other banned as it came from food cooked by unrecognized hands.
But even that one smell remaining shivers, as it sees same leaders coming with a ban notice, and then it sadly sings:
First they banned meat, And I did not speak out Because I was not Meat, Then they came for the Omelettes, And I did not speak out Because I was not an Omellette.
Then they banned the Dosa, And I did not speak out Because I was not a Dosa Then they came for the Aloo Parathas, And I did not speak out Because I was not an Aloo Paratha, Now they’re coming for me, And there is no one left to speak out for me! There are no birds, no squirrels, nothing but the stench of fear from smokeless chimneys..!