People & Culture

A Day Scholar’s Lunch Box Magic

Text by Meghna Golder, Editor, Delhi

1st Consolation Prize Winner of the Memories in a Dabba Contest sponsored by Ektra Superware Fine Dining. To purchase one of these gorgeous kitchenware from Ektra Superware Fine Dining, contact Area Manager, Siddhi Padgaonkar using this link.

My memories in a dabba don’t pertain to the food per se. Or rather they do, but not in the way you would think. I have quite the opposite kind of response to the sort of nostalgia that is expected of this topic.

My dabba memory is from my college days. All three years of college, I was a day scholar. Most of my friends, on the other hand, lived in the hostel who had to fend for themselves, partying till late and their heady independence.

What did I have? I had lunch, religiously packed in the same manner. I had one of those school tiffin boxes. Inside used to be two folded rotis and, like it was following a timetable, aloo gobi ki sabzi or aloo beans. At times there was the appearance of bhindi as well.

I remember my mother and I had several arguments about this. Why, why could we not have anything apart from these three vegetable preparations despite us having a cook? There was never any specific reason given. We just could not. It also didn’t help that my sister was crazy about aloo gobi. On days when I ended up getting something else, say leftover Chinese, I guarded it like it was a treasure.

Checks Mini (Rs. 550 each) Consolation Prizes from Ektra Superware Fine Dining
Checks Mini (Rs. 550 each) Consolation Prizes from Ektra Superware Fine Dining

I sound ungrateful. But don’t worry; now that I have to prepare my own lunch and get creative with it, I appreciate the effort that went into having regular and filling lunch.

So did no one love the food I carried every day? Not at all. All my college friends loved my lunch and wanted a bite. Or several. Because you know who loves home food the moment they aren’t compelled to have it? College kids. Who live in hostels. Makes you wonder what kind of food it is served there to bring about such a reaction. Do you want this then? I used to ask. Of course! They used to take the box from me and dig in. Five minutes and several bites later, box clean.

Looking back, I’d like to believe that the reason we all got along so well, so quickly and have remained friends for so long may in part be because of dabba sharing so early on in our friendship.

Meghna Golder
Meghna Golder

Thus, all things considered, in my heart of hearts, but far from rational thought, is a firm and deep-rooted belief that such dabbas are well and truly bearers of magic.

Please Note: All views and opinions are purely of the participant. 

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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