Once upon a time, in a life long past, I’m pretty sure I starved to death. You know, in a famine or a dungeon cell, or more likely from sucking in my paunch to have my mammy whittle it down to a sixteen inch one, holding onto them bedposts. Pretty much explains the relationship I have with food in this life. Yup. Them live to eat types? Them ones standing with plate in hand at buffets, before the waiters even load the containers with food, or light the fire below each individual serving dish? I am a card carrying member of that clan. I have been known to go upto hosts at wedding buffets to ask how long they plan to be rude and inhospitable and keep their starving guests from being fed and sated, and hope they had the riot police on full alert when the guests went on a rampage and began sticking carrot sticks into each other’s throats. Anyway. The truth is that I have been known to have buffet fires lit, and food hastily dragged from restaurant kitchens in semi cooked stage by the simple expedient of threatening to sing. Mournful love ballads. Out loud.
I have been known to fast for absolutely non religious reasons such as liking the sabudana khichdi that is mandatory ingestion during fast times, and therefore starving self of all other items of food to overdose on said khichdi and emerging even more stuffed than on regular days.
I have a simple funda. I need food at regular intervals. And not the kind of food which is plated, and sauced and topped with artistically placed sprig of some green thingie which means absolutely nothing and needs me to empty out my pockets and count out my small change, plus carry along a gun to the restaurant to rob the other diners in order to pay for the check for the plated stuff which probably leaves me feeling unfulfilled and needing a grab at the nearest McDonalds or greasy spoon joint.
I have a stomach that is impervious to bacteria and other nasties the size of bullfight entrants that populate offerings from street stalls, they probably get swatted silly when they enter my gastro intestinal region and get a stern talking to on how to behave in the presence of a seasoned gut. Where they immediately calm down and put their guns back into the holsters and mope around till they are expelled. This comes from years of living off street food, and developing an iron clad gut that can take anything that gets into it, excluding glass pieces and such like that some creatures insist on chewing on to get into world record books. Though I suspect if deprived of edible stuff for long enough, I might even be tempted to take a bite off the nearest lightbulb. Wonder what it would taste like?
I need stuff that is carbohydrate rich. With some animal protein in earlier days. And filling. And the kind that a woman can eat, and lick her fingers and lie down feeling happy and content about. With a gentle burp or two. If said stuff is fried or drowned in butter or assorted fats, the better. Now that I have decided that I could live in purgatory all my life and gone vegetarian, its becoming increasingly difficult for me to emerge from a meal with my stomach stuffed right upto the thorax and the diaphragm rebelling with obnoxious emissions which need acidity lozenges to keep in check.
Now that there is no animal in my diet, I have to look for animal substitutes. Soya and paneer. My latest favourite joint is Bikajis, where I get a good filling North Indian thali for Rs 120 and can be guaranteed on to need help to get back to my feet after a meal. I fantasize about butter paneer and butter naan with a ferocity that wasnt reserved for Richard Gere in his hey day. Not for me the insipid vagaries of corn and sprout salad, which will no doubt whittle the waistline to nothingness and clobber them cellulite deposits into breaking down and melting into puddles of pure fat. Though the current Mumbai heat might do a good job of that unaided.
True to type, I have my comfort foods. My morning must start with a saada paratha dipped in tea. In hick villager style. Yup, thats not helping the waistline cause by a long shot. Lunch must be rice. With a gravy. And a veggie on the side. Dinner, if I do have any, will also be rice. With a curry or a daal. And a vegetable on the side. If there is any sweet item in the house, I can be counted on to ensure it disappears from sight within the day. Any other fattening items You notice, I am sure, the absence of healthy stuff like salads, fruits and such like in this dietary plan. Or even milk. Yes, I am so going to keel over and die one fine day, and have the bacteria doing whooping wardances over my grave. And the rodents I deprived of leftovers at buffets will play hosts at the do.
Yup, I hope they have a wake for me. And serve some nice food while they’re at it though. And lotsa fried stuff.