What happens when a hardcore, home-grown, bachelor who needs both his momma, and two shaves per day takes that frightening leap into adulthood? Not the technicality that bestows on you the right to drink legally or the title of being an ‘adult’, but the whole self inflicted ‘I need to get my s**t together’ act. It can be compared to when a chick turns into a fledgeling or to that moment where the clueless ball of fuzz gets pushed out of the nest against its own will. There’s no telling if it’ll spread its wings and soar or if it ends up being the workings of a ghastly sloppy joe (hold the buns on that) on the ground below. Comparisons between the height of the fall and the fledging of the Indian Bachelor ought to be made, ‘cos some of these dudes come from pretty high up. Hitting the bottom from all the way up there, ouch, can be a little less than pleasant.
Depending on where you come from, comfort can mean a buttery aloo paratha, the kind which if chewed enough leaves a noticeable greasy residue on the inside of your oesophagus, or it could be tomato chutney and fluffy, cloud-like idlis. Note: the chutney comes first because the tasty paste is often good enough to be eaten in volumes around 2x that of the idlis. Food could even mean just rice, curd, pickle and that notorious dried chilly thrown into the mix just to make things more interesting on a lazy day. Each community has its own means to achieving comfort through food and elaborating all of them from memory will be unnecessary (and impossible). What binds them together is the fact that kids are raised on these fluff clouds, and on dreamboats drifting down rivers of butter. Before you know it, adulthood loads up, and bam, lands one on them hard enough for them to want to reassess reality, shattering the peace-dream and throwing stubbly oversized little babies into the big fugly world.
Now, these many who have been cast out are an adaptive bunch. They won’t let the trifle of being a grownup slow them down because “Pshh, my aim is to learn and grow with the company and to develop my skills while contributing as much as I can to my chosen field.” Therefore, they quickly modify their lifestyle according to what they think suits them best. However, they’re only able to readjust to what their work/college life dictates. Not nearly enough wiggle room, buddy.
It’s meal time
The bachelor’s breakfast staple? Tea and a cigarette. And the only choice here is the kind of cigarette, because the Indian market is flooded with different aromas and ‘tastes’ of crushed tobacco. The appetite suppressing qualities of nicotine are competent enough to hold till lunch. If not, one can always have a post breakfast snack of biscuits, chai and of course, the second cigarette. The less explored route consists of lemon rice from yesterday’s lunch that seems to be garnished with invisible barbed wire or stony idlis for the strong jawed, supplemented by extra hydrated chutney. It is, after all, necessary to cut down on seemingly unnecessary costs. Another alternative exists in the form of a hired cook, who could prove to be a savior but will cost enough to replace the weekend pub visit with a trip to the bar, where one can indulge in a tetra packs of spuriosities, during the last days of the salary cycle. No big loss there.
During lunch is when the nerve of the Indian Bachelor becomes apparent, as the Da Vinci-esque measures taken to attain any form of nourishment are thrown out in the open for all to see. There are some who load-up-on-that-cafeteria-grub-because-it’s-freaking-free. It’s acceptable to call this a macro diet, because many a times, food from the cafeteria has a tendency to cause uproars among the most well behaved of digestive tracts. The sheer quantities consumed ensure that despite the losses, the body receives its fill of nutrients. Yummy.
There are others, often that guy with the cook, who packs a dabba-full to satiate himself during his lunch break. This person in particular, is always in a peculiar dilemma. It seems the third sort of corporate luncher preys on him, being the vultures that they are, leaving him with the need to supplement his dabba with food from the cafeteria. Stalemate.
The third kind, the dieters are the sort that will consume little more than a samosa (extra sauce please) and a diet coke with expressions of feigned contentment. Their mental consistency is admirable since they, on the surface at least, are happy with taking a little and believing it is a lot. However, their principles are shattered when they catch the scent of the poor idiot with the dabba. They’ll sit with him, casually engaging him in cooler-talk while swiftly nicking away the few morsels of genuine food this poor chap had been blessed with.
Dinner is less of a thing for the working bachelor. A large chunk often just load up on some trifles after work and fall asleep due to exhaustion, waking up hungry enough to eat yesterday’s lemon rice. Others turn to delivery services for some swift and easy gastro-satisfaction. A few attempt to cook, and a fewer succeed in making something edible by the typical definition of the word. Another tiny-but-not-quite minority often turns to the bottle for dinner, opting for a main course of old monk + water with a side of kurkure. This meal is famous for being a mild sedative, similar to chamomile tea, and is used by troubled minds to sleep sweet and dreamlessly.
The initial tumble down from the nest can be rough, and it almost always is except in the cases of the super-capable. They are so few and far between that it would be unfair to give them any consideration whatsoever. Too many younglings hurtle vertically downward clumsily and land with an imaginary cringe-inducing whump, without the smallest shred of grace. They’re left to crawl their way up, and over the course of a few years, these birdies are set to take flight for themselves.