Saturday, July 25, 2009

What's on my plate

Bonjour! to all you people out there. I had been looking for an opening to slip a post of mine in here, one because I am too lazy to maintain a blog and second, the blog I created got deleted because of your’s truely's mistake. Wait, there's a third one as well, Her Majesty is out of town for a week and probably without internet, and that gives me the opportunity to pull a fast one here. I am sure a few of you know me as the 'editor' and with the powers vested in me, unknowingly by HM herself, I am going to commit this treachery. If I live to see another day, after she returns, I plan to slip in a few more posts, with more confidence when she's away and audaciously when she's around. Look out for postings under - 'Musings from the editor'. Until then, Dieu soit avec nous.



It was lunch time and we decided to eat out. But Namit was still grumbling, even after we agreed to go to a vegetarian restaurant. May be it’s because of the company he keeps; that would be me and Shikha. We are both non-vegetarians, though it’s Shikha who’s a more vocal supporter of her eating preferences. And if you have these two guys across the dining table then expect fireworks for sure. I always end up enjoying their debates, for there is always something interesting that they agree to disagree on. I had a strong feeling that today was going to be no different. Namit had been pestering us to try this new place and so we decided to give it a try.

Even before we could take our seats in the restaurant, Namit started the salvo, “Guys, this restaurant has the longest list of starters I have ever seen.” I thanked God that we got a corner table today. Surprisingly Shikha didn’t respond. But Namit was on a mission, “And even the list of main course is endless.” She still didn’t react and kept flipping through the pages of the menu. He persisted, “and I am told that the Paneer Tikka Masala here is the best thing you guys would have ever eaten in your whole life.” That proved to be the snapping point for Shikha, “That might not be true for us but YOU would definitely not have had anything better than PANEER in your whole life.” Namit leapt with a reply, “At least I don’t kill my food before eating it.” Shikha was not far behind, “At least we admit that we are ethically flawed by being non-vegetarians but how long will you preach us from your moral high ground and not accept the fact that you are equally guilty. Even your Paneer is made of milk, which is actually meant for the cow’s offspring. Who gave humans the moral right to wean a calf of the milk? Isn’t that cruel?” I suggested that we should at least order the starters. Shikha said that because Namit knows this restaurant well and that it’s anyways going to be veg, so he can order for us as well. Namit quickly picked something from the menu and got back to business, “Don’t you feel bad that the things you eat were living and walking around just moments ago”. There was nothing new with this pitch but Shikha was quick with hers, “So you mean anything which has legs is living and anything that has roots is not?” Namit reacted as if he didn’t hear that one but said, “Well, it’s not about the number of legs, but the chicken or any other animal has so many features similar to us. They walk, feel pain, and have blood like we do.” Shikha replied, “So anything which doesn’t look like us, can’t move or feel pain is non-living and we are supposed to eat them. Look at plants, trees and fruits. Do you think because they look different, can’t scream out in pain means that they don’t feel it? Even they ooze sap when you cut them. That’s their blood.”

I didn’t know when we finished the starters. Whatever that was, it was good. I was enjoying both the conversation and the food. They were having none of it. I suggested we choose the main course. But I didn’t get a response from them. I went ahead and ordered. When I got back to the conversation I heard Namit say, “But wheat, rice and fruits are biologically dead when we buy them. The cereals are extracted when the plant dries off and fruits are picked up when they are ripe.” Shikha didn’t even let him finish that one and interrupted, “Cereals and fruits are not meant to be eaten. They are intended for re-production. They are meant to start new lives. So if you are not letting the seeds to grow you are actually killing them. They are like the eggs of the plant, similar to a chicken’s.” She was not done yet, “The same way a chicken is fed, brought up and then slaughtered, the food crops are sowed, watered, reared and then harvested. It’s no different.” Namit retorted, “Vegetables are good for the body as compared to meat. It takes much longer to digest meat as compared to vegetables and all the nutrition that you get from non-veg food has alternatives in vegetables; the Omega3 fatty acid you get from fish is available in walnuts, iron is in plenty in spinach and soybeans can give you as much proteins as you get from chicken. Moreover meat and meat products can lead to a lot of diseases.” Shikha continued, “Well I am not sure if you would enjoy having walnuts, spinach and soybeans everyday but I would love to get my irons and proteins from meat and fish, everyday. And all the diseases from meat can be controlled if you follow a fitness regime.”

There was nothing special about the main-course to write back home, though I had it all in a jiffy. It’s usually this time that the conversation ebbs because both our debaters, knowing that I have finished, start concentrating on finishing their meal. But Namit gave it one last shot, “Though you have been eating meat it doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it. It’s not like an addiction. You guys have the choice to change.” But it looked like Shikha had become addicted to this conversation. She quickly responded, “If I have the ‘choice to change’ then I would also like to have the choice to choose the ‘choice to change’ and I chose not to choose the ‘choice to change’. And you should appreciate this choice in the same way as you would if I chose to become a vegan.” Phew! With so many ‘choices’ I felt lost and so was Namit. He was actually left with no choice. Then I ‘chose my choice’ to pay the bill as these guys would, usually after a heated debate, forget all generosities. As we got ready to leave the place they both looked at me and I instantly knew what was coming; all through the debate they would not let me utter a word and in the end they would want me to pick a side. I hate when they do that to me. “Well, if I’ll have to end up paying the bill every time we eat out, it better be vegetarian. At least it’s cheaper,” I said.

It was a silent ride back to office.

9 comments:

muni said...

Bienvenue, monsieur! C'est interessant. I don't know what I feel about this new voice but I guess, if it is meant to be, it will be. If that sounds fuzzy, let it be. I am waiting for the ardent feminist to be back; I never expected women to give a position of equality to men on any forum- blog or non-blog. I guess this forum is one of those where everything is fair.And I know there is no war.

bhuji said...

Well..well...well
I got some chauvinist union forming here. Well what do I say. Hmmmm good job editor.Keep writing.

Who said...

muni: what you see is just the surface; there is a strong undercurrent of feminism that one has to endure here, like each word in this post was scrtinized by HM to make sure that it didn't went against popular idiology (read feminist idiology), and it was not made any easier by the fact that one of the characters in the post was a female. So next time no female characters in my post, but even that needs to be approved, by you know who.

muni said...

@bhuji: No chauvinism bhuji, chivalry will always be my policy. In fact, I am game for a fourth wave of feminism.
@who: Well, I say you better stick to the blog's ideology as that's what kept us going. Now, a man cannot write like a woman.Or can he? The way is for you find out. Man, I love launching people in predicaments.
@both of you: The new template comes as a high-dose relief. Merci beaucoup.

JOJY said...

The CATHARASIS blog for me uncomprehensible stuff, but now it looks like the multiplicity of authors brings a change in my perception for this blog. No offence intended.
@blogger -- Since you had been diplomatic throughout, the climax should had been the same one where u end up taking no sides.

Anonymous said...

this sounds new and good.. we enjoy these instances where friends argue and end up at nothing atall... Hope this author keeps on blogging for long ...:)

Who said...

Muni: thanks
Jojy: diplomacy can only take you so far. In matters of food, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permament interests. Moreover when I see that the rule of diminishing marginal utility starts applying on diplomacy, I'd rather listen to my inner voice (read-voice from my purse).
Anonymous: will do.

mathew said...

phew..do people have time to debate over food..i would have just gobbled the chicken legs from the neighbouring plate!;-P

Who said...

mathew: precisely what I was upto while the debate was going on :) i can see that you got more to do with food than us.