Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Respecting Food

“Dane dane per likha hai khane walle ka naam. Only if the Almighty wishes only then we can get food. So always eat your food nicely.”

I gave this lecture to my niece. She had come to visit my home from her college. She was living in the hostel in BHU South Campus and there the food is not so good. The girl wasn’t taking proper diet in hostel and lost weight considerably. She said “The taste of the food in my hostel is awful. We are forced to swallow it just for survival.” I said “Today if you get food in your plate then you must eat it. We do not know what might happen tomorrow. That time our stored energy will help us to survive.”  She argued, “Aunty you have everything in God’s grace.  You never had to live in hostel or elsewhere outside home. So you cannot understand.”  I said “In my life, I had to stay hungry many days. The reasons are of course different.” She stopped argument.

I told her my one day experience.

“In the year of 2012 your uncle was posted at Anpara district Sonbhadra. The distance was 200km from my Varanasi home. I was returning form Delhi after meeting my relatives. My train departed from Anand Vihar station at 7 pm. and it reached Varanasi next day at 7 am. The train was Gareeb-rath and it was AC train. My co-passengers were a family of five. The night passed peacefully. Next morning I reached Varanasi on right time. I picked up my suitcase and my hand bag and came out from the railway station and took a rickshaw for home. When I reached home I opened my purse as I had to pay the rickshaw-puller and that very moment I found out that my money was stolen. I asked the maid for money and paid the rickshaw-puller. Your uncle called me from Anpara and said “I have send the car for you. It will reach you at 12 O’clock noon, you come to Anpara today.” I said “no problem. As I know the driver (Dinesh).”

I was really feeling very bad for my stolen money. So I made myself a cup of tea and had it with biscuits. I had some time so I thought that before another 5 hour drive I must take a nap. After a night train journey sleep came to me really fast. When I woke the time was 2’O clock afternoon. I called your uncle “Where is the car?” He said that Dinesh was already in the city but he might have been struck in traffic jam. I called the driver and he also told me the same thing. There was no time to cook or eat. As I was not at home in past one month, so there was no snacks or any kind of eatery in the house. I packed another round of clothes and was ready to leave. I thought I will eat something on the way. Dinesh came at three. He was not feeling well. The day was muharram (muslim festival) and whole city was in jam. He asked me for a headache relief tablet. I gave him a pill and asked him for a little rest. But he said “Let us go ma’am so we can reach Anpara by 7:30 to 8. My wife is not well. I must be at home.” So I gave the keys to my maid started immediately. It was February. It took us about 2 hours to negotiate the city traffic, and when we came out of the city it was already 5:30. On the state high-way there was five km. long queue of trucks. Our speed was less than 10km./h. and the vehicles were moving inch by inch. I asked Dinesh to park the car near some dhaba but he was helpless. He said that if he leaves the track then we would be struck here for hours. Pinky (my dear pet) was accompanying me. I suppressed my hunger. Also there was no food court or dhaba on this stretch of the high way after we had crossed Tengramore and Dinesh was also not feeling good. He had started from Anpara at early morning 6’O clock. He dropped a company officer at railway station before coming to me. But the Varanasi traffic jam spoiled his day.

7:30 we were at highway. Two hours smooth drive we came to Son-river. The area is Chopan. Suddenly the car stopped 2km. before the bridge. I asked “what happened?” “I do not know ma’am”. He said. Now it was 9:30. I was disturbed. I called your uncle and told him the situation. First he said “let me talk to Dinesh.” Few minutes later he called me again and said that he was sending another car. After a few minutes he said that he himself was coming. But in the middle of the road I was absolutely alone. 1 km. far a faint light was visible. Rest was dark. Dinesh parked the car and said “ma’am! I am going up to there. There is a petrol pump, maybe I get some help.” He went. Now I was scared. Up to visible horizon there was dark. Half-moon gave some visibility. The silver line of Son-river looked beautiful, but I was not in a state to enjoy. My hunger had vanished. Pinky felt restless. I thought I have to spend two hours until your uncle comes. So let me explore the nearby area. I put my one feet on the ground with Pinky in my lap. I was about to put another feet on the ground, something crawled on my feet. I pulled up both my feet in the car and shut the door. Now I was literally scared. Some unknown fear grabbed me. I called my elder son and said “please talk to me.”

Time passed. Dinesh returned and struggled with the engine. Technically I did not know what happened. I felt like crying but situation did not allow. All of sudden the car started. I felt relaxed. But it stopped again just near the petrol station. My relaxation vanished again. I grabbed Pinky and mobile tightly. Two men were helping Dinesh to start the car. They filled diesel. The car started. It was 10:30. Dinesh said “Ma’am fasten the belt as I will not stop the car anywhere.” I said faintly “OK, go ahead.” I informed your uncle that we had started again. He told us that he was also on the way and would wait for me at Renukut Petrol Pump.

Now ‘Hathinala forest’ area started. Now I could not call or talk to anyone as no network was available.  Now I felt nauseated. Now Pinky was also sitting on my lap quietly. We reached Renukut at 12:30. Your uncle was waiting there with another car. After 45 minutes we reached our quarters at Anpara. Whole day passed without a single grain of food.

“So, respect food and make it a habit to eat nicely whatever has been provided to you by God’s grace.” I told my niece.