Food Sensibilities

You know when the supposed-to-be-motivating team dinners and unavoidable lunches with acquaintances become much more painful to me than they usually are? When the topic happens to be on food habits.

Here is a sample:
"You dont drink?", asks the team mate in a friendly tone.
"No"
"You dont smoke?", unable to hide his surprise.
"No"
"You dont even eat chicken?", the italics for "even" would barely convey the utter shock he would experience.
"No"
"Man, you are amazing. Do you at least eat eggs?", the shock has now turned to pity and the look in his eyes tells that he cannot survive another "no" for an answer.
"I eat eggs. In fact, I love them", would be my biggest sentence in the whole conversation.
"Thank God, you at least eat eggs", he exclaims, a mighty relieved now - and in his book my existence is not as useless as it would have been if by any chance I did not eat eggs.

I escape quite easily. But, there is always someone at the table who does not eat eggs. They would get the same questions mentioned above. And the "no" for eggs prompts some more mindless questions.
"Oh you dont eat eggs. So you dont eat cakes?"
"I dont eat usually. And whenever I eat, I check with them if they have eggless cakes"
"What about icecreams? Even many icecreams have eggs"
"Oh I did not know. Anyway, I dont eat egg in egg form, but you have to survive na?", the pure veggie throws an emphatic laughter.
"Thats tough man, why dont you eat? Which caste you are?"

I will already be in the last stages of my WTF mode. Somebody please take me away from this place, for Ramssake!

And then, the discussion goes on how his brothers eat everything (even though their caste forbids them to eat) and being so proud of being "dharmabhrasht". The veggie exclaims how their kid is even more of a strict vegetarian than them and how their legacy is in safe hands and animals can roam around fearlessly near them. I dont know if you were in the middle of similar conversations and if they even irritate in the first place. I personally find it very repetitive, dumb, boring and highly uncreative.

I know people who indulge in this conversation in my presence would not read my blog, but still I have to vent out my frustration. I neither relate to these superior-feeling non-veggies or the holier-than-thou veggies. I find myself quite lonely when it comes to "food sensibilities" [Food habits is different from food sensibilities :)] I am a veggie who eats eggs. And this is not because I should not eat meat because my caste forbids me to. My reason for not eating meat may sound very silly, but this is the reason why I never consciously experimented. Whenever I think of eating any meat, I would imagine that animal roaming around in my stomach. Now, dont laugh - this is a serious mental block I have. For so may years, I did not eat brinjal for the reason that I had seen a worm near my home quite regularly, that resembled the cut piece of a brinjal :D I have unknowingly eaten chicken and beef once. I neither have pride nor guilt or even regret about that. You tell me that jellies contain pork or mayonnaise contains elephant meat, I will not stop eating them :) I dont go on lecturing people who eat meat that human intestine is not constructed naturally to digest meat. And I wont go on saying that vegetarianism is great just because I used to have a huge collection of Pamela Anderson wallpapers :)

I just dont really care what people eat. And I dont judge anyone by their food habits. Why dont I meet more people who match my "food sensibility"?

Cheque please!

Why dont the Lufthansa air hostesses smile? They seem too unfriendly, too cold. Its okay if Indians dont smile, we are used to it. Any others, we expect a smile, even a very fake one. Their entertainment facilities suck! There is a common TV on which we have to watch the movie being played. And why oh why are they so costly? I hate the Frankfurt airport too, it looks too hostile. I guess visiting Singapore raises the expectation too much. Not every airport is Changi!

I observed that the seat numbers in a row are listed A-B-C, D-E-F-G, H-J-K. There was no "I". I remember noticing this in other aircrafts as well. Not sure what the funda behind this is. Any idea?

When I asked for Asian Veg meals, I was told that it was over. I thought of taking a salmon meal and eat everything else except the main item. But, then the air hostess asked me if I am okay with a "Hindu meal". That was the first time I had heard something like that. What has a food got to do with religion? Do they even have veg meal of other religions? Does "Hindu meal" include kosambari and puliyogre, I wondered. I was disappointed for expecting too much - I had to settle just with jeera rice and payasa.

Why is it that all females who give instructions in hindi have a nasal tone? Any airline, any lady - it has to be nasal. "Krupya dhyaan de...vimaan ab udne ke liye tayyaar hai...apni kursi ki peti baandh le" Have you ever heard this in a non-nasal tone?

I Have A Dream

Many guys dream of becoming pilots and many girls of becoming air hostesses when they are kids. Thats what I have heard. At least from so many movie stars. But, I was a different kid. I never wanted to be a pilot. In fact, I never wanted to be anything. I was happy spending long hours looking at my fishes photo book or drawing using my sketch pen set with 12 colors.

Even when I was in high school, I did not know what I wanted to become. But, I could realize that not knowing an answer was looked upon with contempt. So at some point in time, I was giving the answer as "I want to do IAS in future". Till today, I have no clue why I gave that answer. A country as screwed up as ours definitely did not need an IAS officer like me. But seriously, I wish I had the guts to do an anti-Luther King and proclaim - "I dont have a dream"!

After the PU, it was the usual medical or engineering question that was posed by the people. When you are quite decent in your studies and when you are not exceptional in anything else, you are forced to give an answer to that. Medical was out of question for me. First of all, I was not good at Biology. Second, my parents had this inherent fear that I would walk out of a critical operation and start flicking TV channels. My parents thought it would amount to mass genocide, though some differed in their view that it could have been an effective method to control population explosion.

And as the saying goes "Kuchh nahin toh engineer ban jaayega" I ended up being a software engineer. Even here, I did not have any big dreams, never like I wanted to be 'this' at some stage in my life. But, it was in Sun Tech Days, I realized that I wanted to be 'this' at some stage in my life. Evangelist! I liked the sound of it. If anyone asks you "Which project you are working in?", you can answer "Project? Me? Kidding? I am an evangelist" I dont work, I keep trying out new stuff, writing opinions, blogging on the latest trends, going to tech conferences and talk about things that will be conveniently ignored by the techies who come there only to burn some company money. And the best thing is, there is no deadline, no deliverable, no accountability! It sounded damn cool!

Too many miles traveled in the memory lane. Just to say that my dream was in a vague way fulfilled when my article on "The future is IT" was sent to Data Quest and it has been published! The original painfully long article has been reduced to a short paragraph. Here is the link:
http://dqindia.ciol.com/content/25thanniversary/2007/207122401.asp

Hail the evangelist!

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