Wednesday, December 09, 2015

What a waste !

I have always found it strange that people availing even of a buffet at restaurants or invitations seem to waste food in great quantities. I mean, hello, it's a buffet, right? You get to choose what you want and how much you want. Strange then, that so much food should be deposited intact in the disposal tubs. Untouched. In a country where so many children die of malnutrition.

I don't mean to sound holier-than-thou. However, the fact remains that we were taught, as children, never to waste food. Even a single grain of rice was symbolic of disrespect to the Goddess Lakshmi, whom we had been taught to revere as the bestower of material comforts. We were commanded by our parents to refuse food before it was served to us, not afterwards, when it sat staring forlornly at us from the confines of our huge steel/brass 'thaala's. So even if we felt stuffed at times, we never dared to look Ma in the eye and inform her casually that we couldn't eat any more. Somehow, we had to lick the plate clean.

With age, my mother has become more lax in her strict system of household dos and don'ts but we have retained our habits. Even now, on my birthday and 'jamai shoshthi' ( a special occasion to celebrate the son-in-law), I remind her that I (and by extrapolation, my more easygoing husband) would rather take a second helping if we particularly preferred any item on the special menu that day instead of having larger portions served to us that we might not be able to polish off. So, we have effectively done away with the archaic ritual of the mother-in-law serving the 'jamai' every item one by one, hovering over him with a 'haathpaakha' while he slowly worked his way through the mountains of food on his plate. Ma now places everything on the dining table in her best cutlery in buffet fashion while we enjoy eating at our own pace!

And the best part? Goddess Lakshmi remains happy :-)

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