Two Hindus (I assume), one Muslim, and one Christian (I think) walk into a coffee shop owned by a Sikh (mostly). This could be the start of a corny joke, or since true life is better than fiction sometimes, a scenario that actually happened yesterday.
It was a busy day at Cheeni, but these two couples who arrived were particularly delightful. Both women have been friends since they were four years old, and have stayed friends throughout their lives. While chit-chatting, we discovered that we shared a hometown. A couple more questions later, we realized that we had actually attended the very same school that I went to from pre-school through fourth grade. In my twenty three years here in the U.S., I have never met anyone from Ewart's school in Madras, and neither had they since they've lived here. More shared connections followed with college. From that point on we could all hardly get a word in, and the memories flew from the three of us in rapid-fire succession, with their husbands and my daughter unable to get a word in sideways.
We didn't start off declaring our respective religions, it came up very casually while we were sharing our memories, and also talking about food. And boy, did we have a lot to say on the subject of fantastic food - where to find it, the lengths to which we would all go in search of it, plans to meet up in the future so we could all enjoy it together etc., etc. Only later did it occur to me that if we listened to people in positions of leadership, whether in politics or religion - both in the U.S. and in our home country - we would not all be sitting at the same table.
The world over, it's what is on our tables that nourishes our bodies, while who we share the table with? Those people nourish our souls, tantalize our palates with new flavors and foods and make us hungry for more. And I do want more. More food, for sure, which is a constant state of being for me anyway. More people who will share their stories with me. More travel, to brush the cobwebs from my (sometimes) stagnant brain. More meaningful experiences and encounters. And more jokes too, the kind I remember my cousins sharing, the ones that made me hold my sides and roll on the floor from laughing so hard.
Here's to the new year, and decade. Wishing you more of everything you want, and the energy and means to make it happen. Cheers!
Wife, mother, baker, jam maker, hug dispenser, reader.