Just a few more minutes…


I am sitting on the living room couch, poring over some manual, when my son walks in. His t-shirt catches my eye; it says “Just a few minutes”.

This gets me thinking. This phrase ‘just a few minutes’ plays a very important role in our lives. As kids, when our Dad would wake us up on school day mornings, especially during winter, my sisters and I would furrow deeper into our blankets, and mumble from the recesses of sleep, “Dad, just a few minutes more, please?” On somedays, we were indulged, on other days, not so.

Image courtesy – canstockphoto.com

Now, as a mother, when I wake my kids up every morning, “just a few more minutes” is their constant refrain. And I find myself behaving exactly like my father did, playing both good mom and bad mom.

But those ‘just few minutes’ are indeed very special. Minutes to savour and treasure, a few moments to prolong the joys of sleep, of not having to leave the blanket and rush into the mundane.

We hear this phrase in many other situations as well – when kids beg for a few more minutes of television time, or phone time or play time.

Then again, when one is working out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, one has to push oneself to the finish line with these same words – “just a few more minutes.” The most difficult few minutes – minutes that truly move at a snail’s pace.

Then there are those days as school kids, when we waited for the “just a few minutes” before the school bell would ring, so that we could come home and play with our friends.

And then, there were all those super important moments in our lives, where time stood suspended and we had to wait “just a few minutes” for final exams to finish, for graduation gowns to flutter, for the first job offer to come our way, for marriage and vows, for the birth of a child.

We can never forget the anticipation, the wait and the joys of all those moments, and the “just a few minutes” that preceded all of them.

And that is how it will always be, where we try to condense the boring moments, and try to wish them away, while we try to stretch the pleasurable moments, and constantly strive to maximize the joy from them.

And now, as I sip my afternoon cup of coffee….I relish every sip. After all, what are “just a few more minutes” in the grand scheme of things.

Steel dabbas


Indian kitchens are usually loaded with stainless steel – cutlery, utensils, ladles and cookers.

As kids, most of us carried lunch to school in small round or rectangular steel boxes. In India, they are called ‘dabbas’ (singular ‘dabba’).

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   Picture courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

The dabbas usually had two compartments, one for the roti or rice, and the other for the vegetable.

My Dad and uncles had a bigger and more sophisticated version of the steel dabba, which was called the ‘tiffen carrier’. The carrier had three, four, five or six compartments, stacked one on top of the other, held together on top by a metal clip.  The ones my Dad usually carried had three layers – one each for rice, gravy and vegetable.

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  Picture courtesy – http://www.alibaba.com

When we ordered food for family functions, the caterer usually supplied food in huge ‘carriers’ – those that had many layers! It was a joy to open these carriers and see what was inside each layer.

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               Picture courtesy    
           http://www.meeramarketing.com

I have a four-compartment tiffen carrier at home now, which I use when we go out on picnics. It stands vertical, and hence occupies very little space.

Steel dabbas usually served us for many, many years. Except for a dulling in their silver sheen, they carried warm, lovingly-packed, home-cooked meals for us throughout our school days.

The dabbas carried special treats on our birthdays, and small notes from mom or dad sometimes.

There was this group of friends, who went to school with me, from Grade 1 through Grade 12. Over all those years, on every school day, all of us had lunch together. We would open our steel dabbas and share our food with each other. We knew which mom made the best rice dishes or rotis. By the time we reached high school, we were such good friends that we actually demanded certain dishes for lunch, from each other, and our loving moms usually obliged.

My mom’s specialty was her sambhar rice with potato fry, which my dabba lovingly carried for many years.

So many wonderful memories contained in a small steel dabba.