Like all addictions, the morning meal was an acquired taste. I am sure my mother would have spent enough calories running behind the child version of me, just to make sure I started the day right. The earliest breakfast memories I do have, involve me stuffing my face and running to barely catch the school bus.
Then college happened and it all changed. With independence came defiance and health is always youth’s first casualty! The hostel mess had very strictly timed meals with a set menu and most days I was either too late out of bed or too late for class to care! The first time breakfast entered the horizons of my consciousness, was for the elusive cure of a hangover (talk about addictions)! It also started my love affair with the South Indian dosa and idli, the common fares at the mess.
True appreciation came when I became a professional (finally)! In my field of work, morning rounds are legendary. They have their own characters, stories and climaxes. If you collapse, you stay down (pun intended). I needed to start my day with enough carbs to last me a marathon. The busier I got, the more I craved the rush of gulping down breakfast bars. And finally, I have now reached a point in life where I need a breakfast fix every morning and if I miss, the withdrawal is quite utterly self destructive.
Breakfasts serve more purposes these days as well. It’s the time to catch up with news (the Facebook kind), Instagram, Pinterest and bring myself up to date on the trending world occurrences. It’s the time to read through the Whatsapp messages that have piled up on account of the time zones (GMT, IST). When it’s time to sleep post night shifts, it serves as a great soporific, especially when it’s the glorious English breakfast!
More than anything, it has become a way of survival. I can no longer bear to put myself through the periods of hunger pangs, disorientation and anger without food firing my engines. After all, we are talking about breaking the fast that dinner and bed time share between themselves. If this is growth and maturity, so be it.
I now know the breakfast hangouts near me (Google – a girl’s best friend), know that the doctors’ mess at work has all day breakfast and even dabble in some healthy options every once in a while. I let the herbal, flavoured teas with antioxidants, the brown and multigrain breads tickle the taste buds and induce the smirk of new age awareness on my face.
I do get to travel a fair amount and make sure I always make hotel bookings with breakfast included. Imagine waking up to this spread! Makes me never have to think about rehab.
The best part of my dependency on this morning habit is the social implication it brings. Whether you are at home with family or out vacationing with friends or at a wedding party, no matter what the occasion, you always meet people at the breakfast table. It is just before we have donned on our costumes and masks for the day, a little softened by sleep, still at ease with the world. It provides a fantastic opportunity to connect, share, plan, shake up, break up, make up and really know each other with food cementing the thoughts in the background. I am not ready to give that up, not yet, not ever.