Is rice your comfort food? Rujuta Diwekar has a special message for you!

'You think he is not coming and eating because he's on a diet?' whispered my friend in my ear. Her friend's father-in-law had passed away and it was his tenth day. As per tradition, a mound of rice was being offered to the father-in-law. If the crow, in whose form the FIL was supposed to come, pecked at the rice, then it would mean that he had led a fulfilling life and would continue his journey towards mukti. If not, as in this case, it meant that he would be reborn to fulfil unfulfilled wishes. 'Shit! Uncleji is coming back to lose those last five kilos,' my friend concluded. The level of jokes is falling everywhere, not just on primetime comedy shows. And losing weight is a burden you carry even after you die.

Curated from

As I walked back home, I thought of the now dead father-in-law. When he was born, his parents must have written his name on rice at his naming ceremony. During bhai-dooj, his sisters must have put a tikka on his forehead with some water so that the grains of rice would stick. When he got married, every guest must have showered the couple with rice. When he entered his new home, his wife must have kicked a pot of rice as a gesture of homecoming and to ward off the evil eye. From birth to death, rice shadows you in every big and small moment and then post-fifty, when you turn diabetic, it's taken off your plate, just like that.

Ayurveda celebrates rice as the symbol of health, wealth and fertility and that's why, from newborns to newly-weds to new acquisitions, everything gets showered with rice. Rice is the first grain that you get introduced to. You get off an exclusive breast milk diet and you get on to rice either in the form of pej or kanjee (rice soup) or really diluted rice itself. Of course it may have some ghee or salt and as you grow up to be eight or nine months there will even be some dal but the base is always rice. And there are many reasons for that, the most important being that it is suitable for people of all kinds of constitutions, doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. That's Sanskrit for non-allergen, gluten-free and high on the protein digestibility score. That's exactly why big or small, man or woman, happy or angry, constipated or loosies, rich or poor, rice is everybody's comfort food

Excerpted with the permission of Juggernaut Books from Indian Superfoods by Rujuta Diwekar

Feature image source: