SAN DIEGO, CA – Anjali Patel, a freshman at San Diego High School, refuses to believe that her house smells like Indian food. Her friends have noted upon entering her house that it always smells like Indian food. Ms. Patel insists that is only the case when they are cooking.
Julie Wong is a classmate with whom Ms. Patel has been friends since 3rd grade. “Anjali and I have been friends forever so I’m used the smell now. I love her mom’s cooking so it’s become a comforting aroma for me. But it’s definitely there, there’s a big difference between being outside her house and inside it. She just doesn’t seem to realize.”
Adrian Jackson, a sophomore who’s known Ms. Patel for only 5 months, has a different perspective. “I love Anjali but there has got to be something wrong with her nose, like her nerves were damaged or something. I’ve been over to her house a bunch of times and every time it feels like someone stuffed me into a spice caravan.” Ms. Jackson noted that she never had Indian food before meeting Ms. Patel and appreciates it now.
In her defense, Ms. Patel insists that the odors and cooking go hand in hand. “Oh my god – Indian cooking takes, like, forever. My mom cooks for hours every single day. There’s no way to have a proper Indian meal without some rice, some dal, some meat and some veggies. We don’t eat casseroles or anything easy like that. And leftovers can only be had for two days before my dad freaks out about the meat spoiling so the cycle starts all over again. I mean, 9 out of 10 times when my friends are over, we’re cooking. There is no smell without the cooking.”
“That’s not really true,” says Ms. Jackson. “Anjali’s clothes can smell a bit like Indian food too. I noticed once and wondered out loud ‘What’s that smell’ and she freaked out. She started using a lot more perfume right after that and makes her parents dry clean her clothes now.”
Julie Wong remembers the first time she went over Ms. Patel’s house. “It was around Halloween, back in 3rd grade. My mom brought me to their house. She rang the doorbell and when the front door opened, this concoction of smells overwhelmed me. Her mom and my mom thought I was being shy and quiet but my senses were completely overloaded; I actually lost touch with reality for a few moments. But we started playing outside and eventually I was able to go inside.”