I’ve Dreamt Of Eggs On More Than One Occasion
I’ve always had a good appetite. Whenever I would go over to my childhood best friend Upasna’s home for pyjama parties, I would most look forward to the Koki that her mother would make us in the morning. Koki is a layered flat bread, dense and lightly spiced, and Sindhis have it with a dollop of salted butter, and preferably with hot masala tea.
Back then, I was comfortable showing Upasna the true extent of my hunger, asking for seconds, and even requesting for snacks as the morning progressed. But as time went on, and I became more self-conscious, I would eat smaller portions whenever out with my friends, mimicking the sizes of their appetites. It was only in my mid twenties that I came to really understand that my appetite was actually my strength, and started taking pride in it.
I understood how to answer the true demands of my body with no shame, and tuned in to what she does for me with the fuel I give her — climb stairs and mountains, lift babies straight off the ground and on to my shoulders, plant saplings on my knees, lift suitcases for my parents, dance, run. My appetite was a sign of my health.
It’s no surprise then that these days, I often find myself dreaming about eggs. Not any kind eggs in particular, but all kinds, sometimes one for every mood or activity.
Recently, I found myself having indecent thoughts about scrambled eggs in the sterile office of a pathologist, waiting to take Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). This is a particularly tough test, with trying circumstances that can ruffle practised calm, and the challenges lie in mastering and managing your hunger. I started dreading it from a few days before the actual test date.
For starters, you need to go in on a starving stomach. The last meal you would need to have had should have been your dinner, 10 hours back. You report for the test at about 8:30 in the morning, and to make matters much worse, the test lasts 2 hours on an empty stomach. The test involves depositing a blood sample as soon as you walk through the door, followed by gulping down a hyper-sweetened green drink that looks like it came out of the wrong end of a sports car. In an hour from then, you deposit another blood sample. And an hour after even that, they take yet another blood sample.
The motive of the GTT is to test your body’s ability to produce the right amount of insulin in response to sugar. In this case, it was also testing my body’s ability to keep me from free falling into a well of self-pity and depravity.
Immediately after dinner the previous night, I had phantom hunger sensations from the anxiety. I avoided the kitchen in the morning as Sid made his breakfast, picking up a book and heading straight for the clinic without making any eye contact — with Sid or his eggs.
Most mornings, I wake up and walk straight over to my kitchen island where I eat a banana, apple and anything else seasonal that I’ve procured at the weekend farmer’s market. Soon after, I eat a breakfast that I look forward to all the while that I am brushing my teeth, usually one of eggs, warm toast and ghee. The eggs are usually fried or a red and yellow scramble that I make from childhood memory, and it involves eggs scrambled with a little bit of chilli and turmeric.
This past year, I’ve started running 5k park runs on Saturdays. It’s usually a beautiful path by the Swan River and hundreds of locals come out with their dogs, their prams and their lycra. I usually start an enthusiastic runner, but somewhere along the midway point, where a volunteer is usually stationed to give you a motivating fist-bump, I’m struggling. I cope using egg-related fantasies, and that’s the only thing that keeps me going for the next 2.5k.
Other times when I’ve caught myself day dreaming about eggs have been at bus stops, libraries, while swimming, during jazz concerts and countless times during meditation retreats. When my mom makes a biryani, it is with extra boiled eggs in the masala, and I don’t see the point of Ramen without the saucy poached egg. You might find my pantry without salt, but never without eggs. Eating eggs for me is a ritual in both self-care and gluttony I suppose, and it is one that homes me — to my body and to my mind, and helps me understand my place in relation to the world and what is expected of me for the day.
If you have to woo me, it would be over eggs, and not over drinks and dinner. I regularly trade in breakfast currency — I’ll make you a great omelette for having my back, and I’ll accept a perfect poach with a side of smoked salmon as a bribe or an apology.
Throw in an avocado mash, and you can convince me to do pretty much anything.