Sunday, April 3, 2016


I was born without the gene for sharing the samosa. It feels bad,
almost mean to not want to split a dosa or a bhatura down the middle. I have to bite back the effervescent negative nipping at my lips every time someone in the vicinity says; “Shall we split the kachori?” They come unbidden, the uncharitable thoughts. First off, the pleasure seems unfairly halved. The operation leaves me feeling cheated, unfulfilled. This sharing phenomenon is made worse by control freaks who declare in restaurants, “Shall we all order different things so we can sample it all!”

I would rather also wait for the entire chappati to appear from the kitchen over home meals. It irritates me to have someone tear a lovely, hot roti into two and then wave the steaming half floppy at my plate, “Here, take this while the next one comes.” With just the half, I lose direction; I am not sure where I am on the road to satiety.

Then there those, “You go ahead and order some, I am feeling quite full, I will just take a bite if I feel like it.” While you lean back from your favourite and freshly served gourmet dish, the first scoop may snowball into three, even five and you silently swallow your hunger pangs, waiting for your companion to announce their verdict on the dish you agonized over ordering. Woes betide if they should twist their lips in distaste at the first bite, “Too spicy!” How are you going to get past that bile in the throat as you go to work on the rejected food?

Have you ever sat across a risk taker foodie? They have to order something new and unfamiliar every time. This adrenaline of the novel quickly transforms into rapacious looks cast at your familiar white idlis once the disappointingly odd dish is banged down in front of them. Don’t be surprised if the exotic gets pushed aside for the pleasure of the gastronomic familiar in your hitherto boring plate!

There is an acquaintance that does this with impunity to her hapless husband. She will ask for vague edibles, take a bite, purse her lips with distaste and then pass it on dismissively to her dustbin of a man. And we all know how the brownie and vanilla ice cream gets ordered on a sharing basis. All goes well until the table comes to the last crumb. Suddenly everyone is full up, incapable of another spoon. The lot sits staring at the plate, shaking their heads as the spoonful of ice cream puddles up.

Ah yes, we are Indians and it is in our culture to be altruistic and sharing. The virtue has been exalted and given to us as a legacy and tradition. I can therefore but reflect upon my savage behaviour. Meanwhile I continue to inform company that I shall be eating the whole meal by myself.

 Lo siento mucho! 

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