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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Humor: Turbulence In The Indian Kitchen!



“Hey pal, what is your menu tonight?”
“Menu is quite luring! But, you see, it has gone to the authorities for approval. Finally we’ll have what they want us to eat!”

This is the popular refrain doing the rounds in the mammoth aftermath of the Ban Culture initiated in several states of the largest democracy called India. So much heat is generated over the matter that it threatens to replace the still rampant Bandh or Closure Culture. The ban is mostly on meat—ranging from chicken to all kinds of red meat. Somehow fish is spared with some authoritative people saying that fish is not slaughtered. Well, if fish is not slaughtered then it is definitely left to die taken out of water. Now, which is crueler to animals? The debate is very interesting, but not at all appetizing.

Turbulence is not entirely a new phenomenon for the Indian kitchen. It has been there since time immemorial thanks to the eternal politics concerning the full right or jurisdiction over the kitchen area. Let it be the traditional village kitchen or the most modern one, the lady of the house normally exerts her full authority. The male members are easily handled out because of their presumed susceptibility to supposedly messing up the act of cooking rather than being a help. Real trouble brews when the daughter-in-law moves in. Politicking is rampant in any household still persisting with the joint family tradition.

Interestingly, the joint family system is very symbolic of the basic conflicts that are equally true for the country. Eating or not eating preferences of certain members lead to creating power centres. One centre prevails upon the other to impose those preferences. Surprisingly, no power centre ever tries to mutually settle the issues asking all disputing parties to respect each other’s choices.

Some smart ones, of course, play down the whole matter. They just stockpile the ‘food’ in their freezers to feast even on ban days. However, they are not aware of the fact that their preferred ‘aroma’ could very well be a ‘stench’ to some and those could very well report the ‘stench’ matter to the appropriate authority. Nosing around others kitchen matters has been a celebrated trait of the Indians. Then, there is the more troublesome eventuality of being found violating official orders.

If one is capable of doing a simultaneous survey of all the kitchens across the country from north to south and from west to the north east at one point of time they would be overwhelmed with the mind-boggling variety of cuisines and aromas. This immense diversity of tastes should indeed be a matter of great pride for our countrymen and a huge challenge for the hotel industry. If gourmet is okay for us why not then you be a connoisseur too.  

Kitchen is a vital place that makes our gastronomical dreams become realities. In all decency one should stop smelling around a lot and withdraw from asking constantly ‘what’s cooking’ to unsuspecting citizens of the country. Maybe this change of ‘food’ mindset would make the authorities to see reason too. Not eating has been a major weapon of politicking in India. In technical parlance this is called fasting. As far as eating is concerned this should best be left to the eaters alone.
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