How friendly are you with your neighbors?
When this question arises, many of us are left baffled since we hardly know any. I was born in 1980 and I had the opportunity to be raised in a house which had almost 10 sections that were being let-out and hence I can say with confidence that I knew a minimum of 10 families. But it did not end there. Almost the entire street knew me. This came with few pros and cons. Pros being that I always felt safe and felt happy and proud at times that everyone knew me and the Con is that I could not do anything mischievous as I knew for sure that the complaint would land up directly with my dad.
Having said that, I now live in a gated community where there are more than 300 families but since it is an apartment, I hardly know 10 families. However, one good thing with the apartment life is that you can get to see each other during functions and festivals. Perhaps that is the only occasion where we all can meet.
Now let's go back again to 80's and 90's. Those days were fun since during each and every festival, we were pampered with various delicacies. For Bakrid and Ramadan, it was delicious Biryani & Haleem, For Christmas and Easter, it was cakes and Easter eggs. And for Hindu festivals, we used to get delicacies and various varieties of sweets. It was almost like an Extended Family back then and food bonded us together.
I still remember one of my tenants used to pamper me with home cooked food when my mother was away and I liked her rasam(Indian soup) and potato fry that she made every now and then and sent it to me.
It is really good to recollect my farewell day when I completed my degree. I invited my friends to my home and we all went to the terrace. There was karaoke and lights being set-up already and I arranged for Kurkure and Samosa since it was the most preferred combo for my friends who had it till their tummy was full. It went well with soft drinks. We had fun-time together by dancing and singing till we all got exhausted.
Food is obviously that link that keeps us with each other - there is no bond greater than eating together. I remember, in early 2000s my parents had won the bid to keep stalls exclusively for savories, chips and other items in the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. Though we had our own brand of snack varieties back then, it was Kurkure which was selling like hot cake. One of my tenants, who has also worked for us as the Manager for the fair, used to call the snack as "Kurkur" which made us laugh each time he pronounced it but he was never bothered correcting. We had a barter system with the nearby sugarcane and fish shops.
We would give them few packs of Kurkureeach time and they would reciprocate by giving us their famous sugarcane juice, fish fry etc., in exchange. We met new people and made new friends with our snacks barter.
Since time immemorial, it is only food that made a human being content at any given point of time. We made lot of friends and got lot of memories with Kurkure and when the fair closed, we sent the unsold packs to UdavumKarangal- an NGO which takes care of orphaned kids which brought more smiles on their innocent faces!