Life is a Recipe
Life is a Recipe
I clutched my books tightly against my chest. I was scared. No, I was terrified. I could hear my heart beating in my chest, pumping blood furiously. I took a deep breath and told myself that this was just eight grades. I would be fine. And with those thoughts, I walked into the classroom.
"Everyone welcome Krisha Gupta! She has come all the way from India. I'm sure you'll make her feel as comfortable in our homely country" a plump man who I assumed was the teacher announced enthusiastically.
I observe the class's reaction to the news. Most students just glance at me before going back to their work. A few looked up and smiled at me. In the last row, I noticed a group of 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls who were assessing me. Their glares made me feel conscious about all my features, my dark curls, my dark brown eyes, my outfit but mostly my brown skin. I was never bothered about the shade of my skin but their looks made me feel small. I told myself I was being delusional and walked to an empty seat as far away from the back.
I got through all my classes by keeping to myself. I never struck a conversation with anyone and no one bothered to come to talk to me.
At the end of my fourth class, the bell finally rang. Around me, children noisily got up and everyone rushed out of the room together in a hurry to meet their friends. Since I knew no one, I walked at a leisurely pace to the canteen and went and stood in the line to get my food.
After getting my food, I assessed the canteen and found an empty table. I walked there, keeping my head down. Suddenly I bump into someone and my food flies right onto my clothes. I jump back, startled, and look up to see one of the intimidating boys from my first class. "I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention' I apologize. The boy just rolls his eyes and says haughtily "You should be sorry. You're brown! You'll never fit in with us Americans" and he stalks away.
After hearing his words, I was shocked, surprised, and angry. I couldn't concentrate in my classes because his words kept ringing in my head and the more I replayed them, the more hurt and insecure I became. I was scared that the rest off my schooling years would be spent being bullied.
When the bell rang, I didn't wait. I rushed out and pushed my way out of the bustling students. I went outside and saw my mom waiting for me in her car with a bright smile. I walk to her with a fake smile.
As soon as I got in the car, my mom starts firing questions. I answered them nonchalantly with vague responses. About halfway through the ride she asked concerned "Okay. What happened in school? Did someone say something?" I was about to brush it off but then I started talking. And everything spilled out, what the boy said, how those children made me feel, how I felt when they looked at me, everything.
She kept her eyes on the road but spoke comfortingly "Something similar happened to me once. My mom, your grandmom then told me about an analogy. She told me that alone, a spice, a cereal, a pulse, or any food item was bland and plain. And when paired with the wrong ingredients, it can result in a distasteful dish. Bit combine it with the right spices and you have an enjoyable delicacy in front of you. People are the same. Alone we can only give so much flavor. But when we are with the right people, everything seems right. Sometimes though, it takes time to find the right people for you. And today, you found the wrong people. But that's okay. All recipes take time to perfect. You'll perfect yours when it's your time."
I smiled after hearing those words. I smiled at her, a smile full of gratitude. I didn't need words my mom understood.
I just sat back and told myself: I'll make my life into a unique recipe. I won't let incompatible ingredients affect me. Life is a recipe. And I'll make mine.