Perhaps, we didn’t read the signs. It has always been a simple & easy-to-cook complete meal, disliked by kids because it was usually fed when ill. Other special occasion being when the lady of the house was too tired (or in no mood) to cook. Then, first an acclaimed movie used it at its title. Next, Ashish Nehra blamed former coach Chappel for converting the Biryani of a cricket team into Khichdi (http://www.ibtimes.co.in/ashish-nehra-blasts-this-former-india-coach-quirky-biryani-analogy-747589). And now, Khichdi has been christened a Super Food by none other than Ms. Harsimrat Kaur, the minister for food processing. A person who should have logically preferred Chicken Tikka or Tandoori Chicken is agreeable to the humble Khichdi being recognized as our National Food.
Which proves that not all politicians look at things from a regional/ethnic/linguistic/religious perspective. Convinced of her non-partisan approach in these matters, I beg her to consider similarly honouring these dishes too:
National Breakfast – It can only be Idli-Dosa & nothing else. These are no longer the monopoly of udipi outlets spread across the country. When one travels along the national highways, this is the only item available in the dhabas for breakfast. Apart from Parle G biscuit packs, of course. Even in Gujarat, a state whose denizens carry their own stock of Thepla’s when they travel outside. This will also help assuage the sentiments of South Indians who have always been distrustful of actions of the central governments. Maybe, we will then also be able to declare Hindi as the national language. Without having Lungi, in return, as the national garment.
National Beverage – As Salman Khan crooned, “Ek garam chai ki pyali ho…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw77XbeDZD8). Cutting Tea is my nomination too. Not those dished out by these 21st century Café Coffee Day’s & Barista’s. I mean the cutting chai at those road side tea stalls. I don’t think there is anything better than the over-boiled tea made of recycled tea leaves & served in those small cups. And the pearls of wisdom that one picks up while one is at it, is the free add-on. Right from India’s response to China to the strategy on the cricket field, the fonts of knowledge spring forth from here. So much so that, the earliest memories of our pioneering, path-breaking, record making PM are of selling tea at one of these outlets.
National Snack – What else but the iconic Samosa. It may have been an import, but we have made it our very own. Like Cricket & Hockey. Immortalised in Bollywood songs & Election speeches, it has outlasted all icons. Yes, Akshay Kumar no longer plays the lover boy & Laloo Yadav is back on the fringes in his home state. But the Samosa with Aloo (and other fillings too) still remains a staple at Railway stations, college canteens & street corners.
National Vegetable – It brings tears to the eyes but also the taste buds to life. It is an accompaniment to the main dishes, but the main dish too. You can sprinkle it with salt, with pepper too, or lemon as well, or even dipped whole in vinegar, or as the main dish if the hunger pangs are too severe (or one is too poor). Veg or non-veg, the Onion gels with every dish, every cuisine. Never talked about, it has led to governments tumbling down. Just like us Indians. Even SRK will agree that one should never underestimate the power of a common onion.
National Dessert – Rosogolla for no particular reason but simply to make Didi happy. In the hope that if Didi is happy, she will not be cross with rest of the world. And that she will not send harmless professors to jail. And that she will not behave as an opposition leader despite being the CM. And that she will finally manage to find some time to have her sarees ironed.
P.S.: In the next few days, I am sure the congress will claim they were first to honour this Super Food simply because the UPA behaved as if it was cooking Birbal's Khichdi (https://www.moralstories.org/birbals-khichririce/). If the hon. minister takes action on my suggestions, she can prove that this government can deliver more than Jumlas.