Dinner at our house was always something we all took for granted. Ma or papa would cook the food and we would have it at the dining table, each of us discussing our days. There was no television in our dining room- this meant that we often had to miss “important” serials and movies which were aired during the dinner time. At a time, when there was no way to record shows and movies, and there was no (gasp!) Netflix and Amazon prime, missing your favourite show or movie, even partially, often would become a cause of distress for me. The only way to know what happened during those precious moments would be to ask your friend the next day morning at school. Often my friends could help me, but sometimes they, too, faced similar fate and would miss their favourite prime time shows.
The discussions we had at the dinner table were all normal; topics like how my day at school went, what all I learnt, how well I would do in my year end exams were usually discussed. Sometimes, the “legendary” Sharma ji ka beta would also make a guest appearance in our discussions. His grades, achievements in extracurricular activities etc were discussed. I never really understood the importance and significance of our dinner time talks. Even years later when mobile phones made their way into the lives of middle class people, my father strongly opposed to mobile phones being brought to the dining table.
I understood my father’s obsession with uninterrupted dinner table conversations when I had to move out from my family for a brief period of time for work. During my time away from family, rules became somewhat lax. For the initial few months, I followed the rule of having dinner table conversations with them, virtually. But soon, as my workload grew and dinner became synonymous with a stale sandwich or a cup of noodles, dinner time conversations also became growingly less frequent. Of course, I was in touch with my parents, I would reason, thanks to technology!
The absence of our dinner table conversations hit me like a rock after a few months, when I realised that it had been long that I had poured myself out to someone, I longed for those discussions. I further understood that those childhood dinner discussions were when I received some of the best teaching and lessons of life.
Dinner with parents can be an extremely fruitful experience, both for the children and the parents. This Father’s Day, have dinner with your father. Order in your Dad’s favourite wholesome home cooked meal from MasalaBox, lay down the table and enjoy a heart to heart conversation with the man who knows you the best about what you need to hear the most!
By Tanima Samaddar