Ramadan is here. Quite possibly my favourite month of the year. I couldn't really indulge in the spirit of Ramadan during school/college, thanks to all of those annoying half-yearly/quarterly/semester exams popping up right then. Even though I was a nerd who liked exams. Selectively.
My day job keeps me busy enough to not think of hunger/food. And you're lucking out; I'll spare you the details on feet that have been rendered gangrenous by uncontrolled Diabetes or bladders with clotted blood that I have to wash out (It's Friday-fun-fun-fun-fun!) Who does that kind of a thing on a food blog? Talk about contradictions and oxymorons.
If you come down right to it, Life is a bundle of contradictions. I'm bumming that off the last entry in The Diary of a Young Girl. It's alright, because apparently, my mental age most of the time is roughly a dramatic fifteen. Or so I've been told. As for the contradictions, think about it:
In the morning, I dress second-degree burns wounds; in the evening, I dress chicken.
During Ramadan, we fast all day long (and that includes water), and shamelessly feast at dusk (totally defeats the purpose).
In the summers, growing up, I'd get picked on for letting a flock of hair fly out of my hijab or drinking water standing up at summer Madrasa (Arabic school), and during the rest of the year, it'd be pink skirts three-inches-above-the-knee, day-long gossip and bubblegum-flavoured BonneBell Lip Smackers.
That's asking for Borderline Personality Disorder! Or it could make one a well-rounded, multi-faceted, talented asset to the society. Nope. Borderline Personality Disorder, it is. And well-rounded. Physically.
What I'm building up to?
Sometimes, I feel guilty about this food blog. Obsessing over the micro-chiffonade of herbs on my poached fish being that of parsley, not mint. 70% Dark chocolate, not 40%, Lindt instead of Valrhona/Callebaut. Things like that, day in and out. When there are people in such poverty that drives even a purely theoretical institution like the UN to finally filter out all the Babel/political correctness and declare a famine in Somalia.
The media coverage in India on this issue is pitiful. In Tamilnadu, the papers are all about arrests done out of vengeance and moral-policing medical students on how to dress (gender-neutral, not like a woman-because when patients are writhing in pain, they only care about half versus three-quarter sleeves on your regulation medical school-kurtas).
I got to know about the situation in the horn of Africa a couple of weeks back, when AJ (female) sent me a quiz (she's one of those hippies who cut Kit Kats out of her life because it harms the habitat of Orangutans... this is a verified fact). For an mature (mature-not-precocious, for once) perspective, read up on her brother's blog.
So stewing over all of this, helpless, I went to mum. Of all the people on the planet. She's got such skewed opinions/perspective on things that are somehow engineered to make me feel a billion times worse, especially on things related to marriage or my "unmarried" scarlet-letter status.
Not this time (mainly because she likes her daughters "healthy"). I drew one thing out of the conversation; food is a gift you've no right to reject. From God, if you're a believer. From the Big Bang, if you're Spica.
If you have food, you're gifted. If you want to make it extra fancy for the people you love, it's love. If you put chocolate (and maybe a ring on it), it's happiness. You can't not eat. That's first-standard Biology (CBSE schools, at the least. Samacheer Kalvi is still a mystery). That isn't going to solve World Hunger.
As much as I want to do a stint with Medicins sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders, I hope I at the very least to never bin food as much as humanly possible, share (back to first standard), continue to watch four-hour marathons of Masterchef Australia, cook for myself and my family/friends. And yes, post pictures of food and maybe, just maybe, one of you will rustle something up and fill up hungry tummies. Or if you don't cook, you'll find other ways to...
Do cook, though. It's been a therapeutic and-dare I say it?-a fun journey for me. It's physically impossible for me to tell people I love them or indulge too much in non-medical human contact. So I bake them things with chocolate in it.
P.S. Take this quiz if you have the time!
P.P.S. I'm sorry if I sound like one of those smug, holier-than-thou jackasses. It's the fasting and the believers and the rain and the haleem and the sick patients. In that order. Or not.