STOP cooking, for heaven’s sake!!

 “I used to have apartment neighbors who were Indian, and they constantly cooked. So my apartment smelled of heavy oil and curry — non-stop!”

This comment appeared below a blog post on ‘disturbing neighbours’. [In camera: The comment, instead of offending me or rousing my patriotic fervour, generated some vicious delight in me. Reason: It gave me – the kitchen-lazy – one more reason for often abstaining from heavy cooking.]

If she decides to write a letter to her neighbour, it might
look something like this. Perhaps I can produce this letter to my husband next
time when I smell the demand for a spicy/oily dish. 😉


Dear Indian neighbour,

I am your apartment neighbour. I live with my husband and son in the apartment right above yours. We have never met face-to-face and I don’t want such an encounter to take place anywhere in the near future. Getting perplexed about what I am up to?

Hope you are fine and have had your lunch. The latter part of that sentence was absolutely irrelevant and could have been edited out because I actually KNOW you have had it. And I KNOW you had an equally elaborate breakfast too, early in the morning.

Don’t mistake me for a spy. I don’t peep or eavesdrop into the privacy of the neighbours. Nonetheless, believe it or not, ever since the day you moved in, I have felt your presence, day in, day out – through the smell that leaks out of your kitchen invariably before the mealtimes.

I have some doubts which, I hope, you would deign to clear.

What do you people incessantly cook – fry, roast, pop, sauté, and that sort? Why does it always have to smell of oil? Do you add spices liberally to each meal – even to your breakfast? Don’t you ever go out for a meal?

Sorry to poke my nose (yes, nose!) into your affairs, crossing all the limits of propriety, but can’t help it. These are genuine doubts, because our breakfast is never more than toasted bread, scrambled eggs, boiled vegetables, fresh juice, milk etc, none of which lets out any sort of smell.

Of late I have encountered some serious problems because of your gastronomic endeavours.

  1. I have started confusing my apartment for some Indian restaurant because it (literally) smells like one.
  2. My curtains, sofas, bed – everything transports me (figuratively)
    all the way to India, through the ‘spice route’.
  3. My guests seem to take a whiff of that lingering smell the minute they step in and I know they too can’t feel ‘at home’, just like me.

I feel I have to write to you at this time so that hopefully we can resolve this
matter and it does not have to go any further.

 “Going any further” means:

Unless you invent (asap) some technology to suppress that offensive odour that emanates from your kitchen daily, I will have to SUE YOU FOR POLLUTING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD AND DISTURBING ME CONSTANTLY!

Hope you got my point.


Thank you.

Tormented Neighbour.

Do you feel your cooking is actually posing a nuisance for your neighbours?

This is what I feel: One man’s food, other man’s poison pollution.

Solution: Invite your neighbours at least once to savour the exquisite Indian cuisine (of course with less oil and pepper, please). Then watch ‘pollution’ transform overnight into irresistible ‘food’!

47 responses to “STOP cooking, for heaven’s sake!!

  1. Ma’am, this post is really nice..Nice letter..Suitable way to write a letter to the “disturbing neighbour” without depressing them..Your post reminded me of ma present English teacher’s words about her disturbing neighbours….Her neighbours were not like the neighbours mentioned in your post.. They were constantly approaching her home for washing, stitching,borrowing crockery items etc…From her facial expression when she was telling about her neighbours, we understood that her neighbours were creating such a nuisance to her and her family….With God’s grace, our neighbours are not so troublesome…And the solution that you gave at last is agreeable…:)

    • That’s really interesting. I too don’t have any troublesome neigbours, thank God! Don’t know our neighbours’ opinion about us, with two kids screaming non-stop.
      You’re sure this letter won’t depress the neighbour – even the last line? So sweet of you. 🙂

  2. Good one 🙂 and i thought food was a great leveller. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving gracious comments.

  3. In the uk the most fav and national dish is… Curry… (yes really!!)

    An extractor fan would solve the problem but what does she expect them to do? Stop eating?

    • Thank you Aneesa, and welcome here!
      In fact her comment was an eye-opener for me. I never felt our favourite recipes were disturbing others (while there will be many who could enjoy it). Is it possible to cover up the aroma of our spicy curries?

  4. I would have thought modern technology would have resolved this issue – an extractor fan is the answer – that said, sometimes the fumes pipe outside may drive the smell back into the building helped by the wind.

  5. The letter and the basic thought of creating this letter is so nice and love it 🙂 🙂 I have nominated you for an award and do visit by blog post for further information 🙂

  6. I really liked your choice of words, especially the ‘spice route’. 🙂

  7. If I had an Indian neighbor whose cooking I could constantly smell, I would be in heaven!

  8. This just might be the best blog post I’ve ever read !!! Great work…please keep it up ! 🙂

  9. great post 🙂 really, extremely good …
    “Solution: Invite your neighbours at least once to savour the exquisite Indian cuisine (of course with less oil and pepper, please). Then watch ‘pollution’ transform overnight into irresistible ‘food’!”

    now i see what you meant by “find[ing] an answer” to my question @

    • Thank you, Amira.
      You mean cooking great dishes is the solution for breakups or divorce? 🙂 True that husbands love to have wives who are experts at cooking, but that alone won’t keep it going. What do you think?

      • your solution for neighbours unhappy with the cook of smelling was a good one – a creative one.
        i was hoping you might put on your thinking hat and come up with a creative solution to keep couples together for ever 🙂
        the way i see it, partners should be ready to go the extra mile to keep the other half happy. if both work in synch things will work out. but in the real world half of the people think only about themselves …

      • Got it. But who am I to solve such vexed questions? Making cooking odourless is much easier than keeping couples together. Thanks Amira, for your comment.

  10. lol … okay I found this very funny because it reminded me of something from my past … in college I had an Indian housemate, and I being from Ethiopia, and her from India, we were perfect matches for cooking spicy foooooooood! lol so what happened then? We were constantly cooking, to the dismay of our other housemates, and to the fire alarms and smoke detectors in the house… the firefighters would come at least twice a week until they eventually gave up, basically they learned the hard way that it would have to be us if there was a fire alarm coming from that house! … 😀

    Great post, am your newest fan (found you via Amira’s blog)! …


    • Thank you for sharing this with me, EMK!
      That’s an amusing story. So Ethiopian cuisine is spicy too? I thought only Indians(and Pakistanis etc.) have and love such spicy dishes. Thank you for reading and for leaving this generous comment. Hope to meet you often. (Amira, thanks!)

      • thought i heard my name being mentioned a couple of times 🙂
        thank you Elyas for giving me credit 😉
        and Bindu, you are most welcome.
        I am glad I found EMK’s blog. i think through belleofthecarnival –
        It’s nice how blog links work 🙂 a network, a spider web …

      • Thanks to WordPress. Let’s keep on exploring this realm of bloggers, making new friends everyday. Let’s translate these virtual smile(y)s into real smiles on real faces. Amira, you’re so sweet!

    • lol i like how the conversation kept going! 🙂 Ya lets translate these online emoticons into real world smiles!! And I just did that! lol 🙂

  11. Lol! That letter is on the dot 🙂 Loved the humour that permeates the write, much as that spicy flavour :D!

  12. That was funny, but I am sure not so funny for the Tormented Neighbor 😛
    Here in India when lovely spicy smells come from next door neighbors we just enjoy and appreciate 😉 Isn’t it? I long to have a bite of the fish my neighbor seems to fry every other day 🙂

    • Thank you, Shail! 🙂 Welcome to my blog.
      You are right. We could enjoy the smell because it reminds us of our favourite dishes. For others that may be just a strong, unpleasant smell!

  13. Pingback: Added to the Mantelpiece are… | Overdrive…

  14. Bindu I’m Indian and that letter is Hilarious! 😀
    Love your blog

  15. I have one neighbor like yours. I and other neighbors told him to do something about the smell but he doesn’t care.

    • Actually that is not my neighbour. This is just an imaginary situation, and I don’t think the smell of food would trouble me much.

      • Ohh I’m sorry…didn’t mean to offend you. The neighbor I’m talking about is not indian. His cooking is very bad and it smells awful!That letter reminded me of his cooking.

      • 🙂 I am not at all offended. Don’t worry. I agree with you, sometimes if the smell is offensive and strong we may not be able to tolerate it. Thank you Niki. 🙂

  16. Never gave this a thought, I actually grin if I smell a neighbor’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time snack or dinner in my building – but now I am wondering at the need of so much frying and cooking, specially if one family member is spending all their days in the kitchen, cooking all day.

  17. awesome!! simply loved this!! 🙂

  18. Lived next to a Portuguese family in Canada at one time and the Grandmother was forever passing home cooking over the fence. Love it. Thank you for visiting and following my blog, will be good neighbors.

    • Thank you John Thomas, for being here and sharing your experience with me. I have found your and your wife’s blogs quite interesting.

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