Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Food for thought

-By Swetha Amit
As I stepped out of my car, I couldn’t help noticing the pavement population. The ones who were strewn across like some unwanted garbage with no one or no where to go to.

A particular family with two children was seen scrapping every bit of rice from an earthen pot as their supper. The father seemed content seeing his kith and kin eat heartily while foregoing his share of the meal. Yet one couldn’t ignore the unmistakable hunger in his eyes which were possibly longing for a generous helping of anything edible enough to eat. The brown rice which was probably only half cooked without the usual spicy accompaniments seemed to bring in smiles on to the little ones' faces sans any complaints with regard to its raw taste.

Touched by the rather pitiable sight I couldn’t help but retrospect about a rather contrasting scenario in a wedding dining hall.

Prepared with great zest and care in rather humid conditions of the tiny kitchen is the lavish spread of mouth watering delicacies; and the important aspect that attracts many to mark their presence rather than bestowing their blessings on the newly weds. As the dining rooms are filled to the brim, it is indeed a rarity to see folks coming out with million dollar smiles similar to the little ones on the roadside. On the contrary heavy frowns are portrayed on the large foreheads. Adorned in gold, it is sad to see their hearts not comprising of the same. Instead they bear resemblance to the crassness of a stone which is yet to be refined and polished.

The flurry of criticisms that follow despite a heavy meal can put genuine food critics to shame. The never ending statements of less salt, the inappropriate amount of ghee and the spice not being enough reflect the statements of the supposedly educated and ‘modernized’ individuals belonging to a certain calibre. It certainly isn’t the case most of the times where the food is horrendous as it’s portrayed to be. It makes one think that such lives are probably devoid of the necessary stimulation and ‘spice’ to be indulging in prolonging baseless criticism. Or that the so called ‘groomed’ side inject their doses of disdain only to prove their false superiority –an attitude carried forward from the yesteryears; of a deliberate fault finding exercise.

Comparisons made to the eateries served at the previous wedding, fussing around like a hen left in the rain; these forty something complaining individuals portray a maturity of no less than a four year old. Throwing a tantrum due to a particular dish not being served on time can make the grey cells work at a rapid speed desperate to conclude whether the same people are heading departments in the suave corporate world. Nevertheless it invokes feelings of disgust to any observer.

It makes me shake my head in exasperation and a desire to present slides on a thought provoking issue of malnutrition and hunger in the country. Taking things for granted they seem to forget their fortune and luck of being able to afford a life where meals are brought at their beck and call. On the other hand millions are starving for one square meal a day.

It makes my heart bleed to see this stark imbalance in life. And also realize the sheer effort and money wasted on ungracious beings who are out to attack their counterparts like wild sharks on a hunt. Instead feeding the poor and the deserving ones would evoke not only a sense of satisfaction but also a feeling of making a difference to the needy. The joy of seeing cold hungry eyes fill with gratitude and an inherent glow is infinite and certainly cannot be measured. The noble deed of poor feeding to the deserving fellow humans can be a strong consideration factor to celebrate an occasion especially with the lump sum amount that is being wasted on unwarranted and ungrateful people.

I couldn’t help realizing that extremity is a predominant factor and it appears that the world is just painted black or white. One witnesses both the contrast worlds comprising of a pseudo affluent cynicism on one side and genuine poverty stricken optimism on the other.

It occurred to me that life’s greatest lesson can also be learnt by merely observing such souls on the streets. Not taking anything for granted and being thankful for whatever we have without an arduous struggle instead of whining on an eternal basis. Will people ever learn? Time will tell.

As I walked away slowly, the stirring images of the little girls’ smiles and their father still lingered in my mind.

Written for www.msn.co.in



Anonymous Mukundhan said...

Though i don't support them, i can atleast tolerate people whining about the quality and taste of the food served in marriages and other functions.
What i don't like is people wasting food. Just that people can afford to have food doesn't give them the right to waste it. They have to take a look at these impoverished underprevileged children on the streets to know the real value of the food they waste.
By the way, i think you know about a particular number which you can call if there is food wastage in a family event.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

@Mukundhan:Wastage of food is something that I cannot stand and tolerate too.

And do you happen to have the number? If so will you pass it on to me. Thanks.:-)

10:39 AM  

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