Daily Dose by Bikram Vohra

ThaliHow it all began was the other night we were invited to this swank restaurant (sometimes it does happen) where the stewards have fake accents and are better dressed than you are and the menus are the size of hoardings and you could covert them into tents for a family of five and the stuff inside is written in some exotic language. Now, the host over orders and there is food aplenty lying about and since I am no finalist in the keep your mouth shut stakes I say, so why don’t you get a doggie bag and take it all home for tomorrow. There is a crepe of horror across the table and my wife promptly disowns me via body language and the host says, hahaha, nice sense of humour.

I say, I am deadly serious, if you leave it, they’ll lonely scrape it off the plates and throw it into the bin.

A lady with more pearls than you’d see at an oyster convention says, but it would look so undignified.

More than throwing food away?

I don’t understand the connection between affluence and wastage of food. To me it is a symphony in stupidity. And yet, I am in a minority. The ambience, the la di da attitude all contribute to making these people feel small in asking to pack up the leftovers, as if they would be setting themselves up for ridicule. A sensation that, very surprisingly, does not arise if good food is flung into the dustbin.

Anyway, I lose the argument because the vote carries in favour of ‘it doesn’t look nice’ and we leave.

Doesn’t look nice to whom? Three waiters and a steward we probably will never meet again. Do these stewards and waiters to whom we so pathetically defer come from backgrounds where food is cheerfully discarded that we have to seek their approval. The odds are these people cry for us when they see this wastage because where they come from hunger is still a spectre with a mobile neck.

Ah, you laugh at me. Then, for what other reason are you embarrassed or ashamed to take what you paid for with you.

There is, in our psyche, some peculiar strain that equates wastage with comfort and security. It flatters us that we can discard and dismiss and this shores up our self esteem. Go to a party or a wedding dinner and watch people. They stoke up their plates to resemble little mountains of food. Then they leave 70 percent in the plate and dunk it under the table with a tissue crumpled on the side. Why did you take three pieces of chicken if you knew you couldn’t possibly eat it? And where was the need to pile on the fish and the Sushi and the Tempura and the tandoori when you had no intentions of eating it.

Next time you are at such a function be witness to rank raving lunacy.

To my point. Stop the wastage. Join me in making a nice, first day of the year promise: We shall put on our plates only as much as we wish to eat.

And if we over order in a restaurant, never mind how snotty the maitre d’ is, you order that doggie bag and take the food home… all you are doing is honouring it, and yourself.

Must have seen a a lot of that last evening, yes?