Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Al dente : Part 4

She burst into a chuckle. “Shivani… Shivani Dey.” She said, extending her hand towards the chef.
“It is very nice to meet you Shivani”, chef held her hand and shook it firmly.
“My name is Joe, and as you can see, I’m the chef here.” He said, flashing his teeth out.
“So, what were you saying, about helping me?” Shivani asked, this time.
“No offense intended, Chef Joe, but I find it hard to believe that you know about writing so much, that you can inspire me!” Shivani said. Now she was in the game. And she was, not at all, intimidated by Joe.

“Yes, Yes. Signora. Though I know a little about that stuff but I can help you with your writing. I know food, and you, believe it or not, good food and good stories, have more in common than you and me.” He said, in the same old, ridiculously charming way.

Shivani couldn’t resist but smile all along. If she listened carefully, all he was saying were gibberish. But to her that tiny decorous room, his contagious positive vibe, everything made sense. She knew, even if whatever he was saying was completely meaningless, it was meaningful to him, and hence, worth listening.

He continued. “You know I wasn’t a chef all along.  I was a banker. I had a really well-paying job in USA. I was staying in Silicon Valley. My life was perfect, in a materialistic way. But I wanted something more out of my job, rather than money. I wanted satisfaction. I wanted to feel the pride of creating something and bringing happiness on people’s face. And numbers couldn’t satisfy my needs. So I had to leave the job. And I had this knack for cooking since I was young. So I joined a restaurant, as a line chef. Then I was promoted to sous chef, and then finally I joined this one as an executive chef. And now, I enjoy what I do. I see people smiling when they have a bite of my food, and then I know that I’m happy with what I’m doing right now.” Joe said looking at Shivani, who was lost in his food, with a smile on her face.

She looked up, mesmerized. “Everyone dreams to do what you did. But not many can actually do it: to quit a job, and pursue your passion.”
“Why not? That’s my point? Why can’t they? What are they afraid of? Acceptance in the society? First you need to accept yourself, then the society will. Else you’ll be just a lost stone in the desert of a rat race.”  His face turned pinkish red.
Shivani already finished her egg, and now she devoured herself into the hot chocolate. She looked up from her plate to ask- “So what were you saying? Something stories and food…?”

“Ohh yeah. I’m sorry. I have this bad habit of drifting away from the topic.” He chuckled.

“See, good food and a good story is somehow similar. Let me give you an example. Let’s take pasta for an example. You like pasta right?” Joe asked.
“Of course, who, in Italy doesn’t like pasta?” Shavani said.

“Great. So, you see, there are different types of pasta: Tortellini, Penne, Farfalle, Spaghetti and many more. Each and every pasta has different taste and different preparations. In the same way, there are different types of stories. Mystery, Romantic, Science-fiction, and whatnot.” He said. Excitement was oozing out of his eyes.

“And for each story, there should be distinctive types of characters. Likewise, for every pasta dish, there are different ingredients.” He smiled.

“You see, but what brings together the pasta is the sauce. And what brings together a story is the emotions that are attached with the words.” His eyes sparkled as he spoke.

Shivani finished her drink and was now submerged into thoughts. What he was explaining was making her think of her story from a very unusual and ‘delicious’ point of view.

“I’ve been working as a chef for a long time now. And you see, the secret of making a pasta is in the making of the actual pasta. You let it boil first, and when you see the pasta floating in the bubbling water, you take them out.
We have a phrase in our profession. ‘Al dente’. It denotes the cook on the pasta. When a pasta is perfectly cooked, to the point of perfection, it is said to be al dente. Now, I can’t relate this to storytelling, but maybe you can” He flashed the same old charming smile.

That morning was like any other mornings in Rome. As divine as any other. The people were as jolly as ever. The unstoppable cold-war, between modernity and heritage, was as evident as any other day. And Shivani, well it was like any other morning until she met the chef of a nameless restaurant in the streets of Rome. But that morning, finally she met someone, with whom, she could talk for hours. For the first time since she stepped onto the soil of Italy, she wasn’t missing her home. Instead she was glad, that she could step out and see the world, all by herself. She met someone who knew the true meaning of passion. And maybe she’ll miss another deadline, but she knew, whatever she writes, she will write with all her heart. And as far as her ‘own’ story is concerned; well, thanks to a proficient chef, it will be ‘Al dente’.

Source : here.

P.S.You can read the previous parts of the story :

  • "Al dente : Part 1" from here.
  • "Al dente : Part 2" from here.
  • "Al dente : Part 3" from here.

Author's Note :  I am overjoyed to see the responses to my posts. So here's something new and exciting for the readers. 'Al Dente' is a series. I'll be posting it part by part. Drop in your comments to encourage this new endeavor. Thanks in advance. Keep supporting. :)