Perhaps my father was one of them…and to him, I was a bit too salty-tongued. 

There is a joke in my family. My father, who is the Punjabi wordsmith, had once told me that people can be divided into taste groups when they speak. For instance, my words are very sharp, and thus one must take everything I say with a pinch of salt. But if I become too salty for people’s taste, I’d come across as a pessimist. 

Perhaps my father was one of them; only one could recognise the other and to him, I was a bit too salty-tongued, so much so that it sounded coarse. Strangely, while his tone is characterised as being too salty for people’s taste by a few of those who don’t know how to discern the humour, most people believe that his Punjabi is dappled with more love than anybody else’s refined, luxurious enunciation and makes way into your heart. I guess there are very few salty-tongued people left who can mix humour and wit.  

Tragically, I have gotten in trouble a number of times for speaking harshly, though I don’t mean any harm. As long as I can remember, my dad’s only worry has been that this issue with my tone may hamper growth in my professional life. I am a bit harsh with words when I speak. It is a personal trait. So I pondered over his opinion of me and concluded that amends can be made: when I change my tone, I think it should be flavoursome in a non-sweet way but it doesn’t have to be salty. It should be savoury.

Since I have started to turn away from salty language to become more savoury-tongued, I have developed a strange obsession with salty food. So it turns out that my father’s words reveal much more than I cared to admit: it tells me something about the depth of nature of saltiness: a salty item could also be savoury, but can savoury ever be the same as salty?

In an effort to become savoury-tongued, it was revealed to me that I am suppressing certain parts of me.

On an ordinary day, I would refrain from going to such extreme lengths to embrace a savouriness, but this was a day I wanted to evolve and so I’d made a decision.

Think of it this way: will a ham and cheese crepe ever have the same depth as a salted caramel or rich layers of salted chocolate? Will I ever like it that way?

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh.

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