July, 2019

Hi Folks

When I started to write today, I checked what I wrote last time. My God ! I had begun with “A lot can happen over coffee – coffee, conversations & beyond !” Shocking that the Coffee King whose tag line was ‘a lot can happen over coffee’ is no more. Be that as disturbing as it may, what is on top of my mind today is the way food gets wasted. Last few weeks, my work took me to NGOs focussed on children. In one such NGO, I noticed the way the visually impaired children were all seated neatly on the floor, eating the rice, sambhar & buttermilk completely without wasting a single grain or drop. The food didn’t look tasty. There was little daal and vegetables in the sambhar and buttermilk was almost like water but I saw most children asking for more and clearing the plate. They seemed to enjoy each other’s company and whatever was served. I was at once touched and grateful to the founder of this NGO, who is herself a visually impaired young woman. Compare this to meal times of children in well-to-do families. Feeding is a big task for the mothers with all kinds of gadgets in the hands of the young ones. Gone are the days when mothers would show the moon, tell stories, sing songs, create fear about ghosts etc. Today it is enticing of an altogether different kind, what with the variety of food choices available. The same is the case for older children and adults – we are spoilt for food choice thanks to the fancy restaurants and home-delivery options. We don’t think twice to order and throw it away if found unpalatable.

Let me move from the NGO setting to a corporate one. What angered me recently was when I saw an overfed, suited-booted man in a board meeting picking up a big bowl of exotic fruits and tasting only a few. Without a sense of guilt he simply wasted the rest of the fruits – this after what seemed to have been a sumptuous meal that he had had. I don’t know how many hungry mouths could have been fed on that. Well, on the other side I have another friend of mine who very proudly vows that she never, ever wastes a single grain of food, thanks to her upbringing and the importance of food that her mother instilled in her right from her childhood.

Only when we lose something do we understand its value. Ask a 9 month pregnant mother who loses her child, ask a sportsperson who loses by a millisecond, ask someone who has missed the train by a few minutes, ask someone who has escaped an accident narrowly, ask a cancer patient who has lost hair to chemotherapy ……..this is when the value of the loss can be experienced. Recently I received a message from one of my cancer support group members who had a relapse….”Friends I want to eat and drink but here I am, STARVING…..with tubes in my nose and mouth. Please pray for my recovery”. Stirred me to the core that a simple act of eating can become so special if you are unwell.

“Anna Brahma” – food is revered as God. Saint Dyaneshvar says, ‘Food itself is Brahma’. The whole universe originates from, sustains on and merges into Brahma. Similarly, all living beings originate from, survive on and merge into food. Let us resolve to feed hungry beings and not colourful garbage bins !!

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