Statutory Warning!


Statutory Warning!

I was awaiting the digital announcement in the LED light box for the final call to board the Jet Air bound for Kuwait, at the ChatrapatiShivaji International Airport in Mumbai, which was scheduled to depart at 5.55 pm on 10th April, 2016. I had undergone the emigration procedure and checking in time. I had no stress to board the plane bound to Kuwait where I am deputed by my office to conduct examinations. The announcement flashed in digital lights and I shot up and joined the queue, in no time. The airport was in silent mode to reduce sound pollution. To my surprise I found myself the last one in the queue, despite all my vigilance.

We all moved slowly to the Jet Air and climbed up into the craft. It was quite a big one. There were small T.V’s (or Tabs?) in front of every seat. As usual the crew members, one male and the other female, beautifully and graciously performed their safety demonstration. I fastened the seat belt as the plane was about to take off. For the first time I was to travel beyond the barriers of my mother India. I saw the mansions, the skyward flats, and the slums beneath…The hell and the heaven mixed up….The beauty and ugliness of Mumbai was visible from the heights. The urban scenes gave way to blue waters. Yes, I was over the seas and I need just cross over it to reach the Gulf. The plane took a firm forward punch. The altitude was shown as above 10 K.M. The temperature was around minus fifty. All this was quite new  knowledge to me.

The plane appeared to have settled in regard to its altitude. It flashed fast, though it appeared motionless. I saw clouds moving past me. The earth with its greenery and waters was not visible to our naked eyes. The crew seemed in a hurry to finish their work early…A bonny, long, lean lass came through the alley, serving food. I just made a survey of the two passengers who had sat on my either side. The one on the left seemed to me having the mannerisms of a Keralite. To verify my surmise I asked him where he was from. His reply was in Trissur Malayalam. “ Sir, I am from Mala and my name is Biju”. Without any further introduction he asked me if I would take liquor. I said,” Once in a bluemoon, Yes…” “Sir, The girl serves liquor to passengers, Smirnoff, sir, Smirnoff!” he said. He went on to ask me if I was not taking liquor let him have my share too. On this I had my mind taking a U-turn. Though I was really not prepared to consume liquor, I began to rethink as and when he had asked for my share. I was not to let him have my share. “Nay man, I too want a peg”, I said. He helped me with getting the liquor with sprite. For the second time he went upto the crew girl with request for another peg…He had one peg in my name too. I gave him half of my second peg. I just drank it up in one motion…Mind my friends, I was without food quite for a long time. The liquor had begun to show its character. I was in hilarious mood. I and Biju began to talk louder. We shared our views; we had become friends as if of very long acquaintance. I was still sober to realize that liquor was the real socialist who had the power to merge gaps and inequalities in society. Had I and Biju remained there sans taking liquor, we would have kept our tongue-tied till the very end of the journey.

After liquor we were supplied with many other delicious dishes, the tastes of them were not felt exactly… There were the dessert, the salad of fruits and vegetables and beverages too. The liquor, the food, the Air Condition all had caused my brains to take a blissful sojourn in the lap of nap. The announcement for landing precautions roused me from the slumber. The plane touched the land with a big roaring din. I am about to land on a foreign land for the first time in my life! Immediately on arrival I went upto the queue to collect my luggage. I was there for one hour to reach the counter. When I reached there I was told to first get my VISA first. I went to collect the VISA and I got it stamped for immigration by the Kuwaity authorities. I had many doubts in my mind. Hesitantly I asked the Kuwaity woman in the counter regarding the next steps. The woman looked up with scorn and I think she had softly muttered, “out”. I had the first incident of humiliation on a foreign soil. I felt the same feeling as Gandhiji had felt at the Pretoria railway station when he was thrown out from the train because of being an Indian, a coloured man. For getting my luggage I had again to stand in the queue for yet another hour. By the time Mr. Tanveer who had come to the Airport got upset for not having any word from me. My friend Hareesh also was there.

I went out of the Airport which was never a match to the one in Mumbai. MrTanveer and Harish were together awaiting me and were relieved to see me. Harish gave me 100 Kuwaiti Dinar for incidental expenses as I had only Indian currency with me. I and Harish bade adieu with promise to meet in week-end. I went with Tanveer by car to my lodgings. As soon as I reached the room I had rushed into the bathroom to vomit whatever I had taken in the plane. The salad, the rice, the dessert, the beverages all went out. I thought I would die as never had I in my life vomited. As for me vomiting seemed impossibility prior to this. I vomited and vomited till nothing remained in my stomach. The nausea was there still. I was curious to see Mr. Tanveer off. He went out in confusion. I was relieved that now I could vomit unseen and unnoticed… Again and again I vomited. I felt penitent for taking the one and a half peg of Smirnoff. I could have given that to Biju. I did not give it to him maybe because I had a feeling that it was my rightful due and that I should not part with that. I was also learning from this experience that whatever was given for free or on discount should not be taken for granted unless and until I really was in need of it. The liquor alone might not have led to this plight; there could be other reasons too…

From the above narration you are not to have the misconception that I drink occasionally. Of course I do not drink occasionally. I drink only once in a blue moon! By this bitter experience with liquor I am further gone farther from liquor. The warning, ’liquor is injurious to health’ is not merely letters of ritualistic, statutory character; conversely it is literally true that liquor is really injurious to health. I am looking forward to a world sans liquor… Intoxication has to really come from within, from one’s own inner self, as everybody has the innate potential to experience the Spiritual Intoxication. You need just to allow the mind to avail the time for fermentation with patience. You will be rewarded.

THIS IS MANGO-FRUIT CURRY( Mambazha Pulissery ) SEASON !


If you ask me which food is having the most enduring and untiring appeal to cater to my tongue, my standing answer will be Mambazha Karry( curry made of fruit-mango). This is the fruitful time of local mangoes, which are available in my neighbourhood in plenty.

mambazha pulissery

When I think of sweet countryside mango, my thoughts speed back to the good old days of my childhood and adolescence. I in company with my friends in the village used to linger around the big mango tree for hours waiting for the wind. The wind when blown heavily would result in the downfall of sweet mangoes. The children who had been playing, would come charging upon the fallen fruit. Often there were silly altercations, which were even taken to the parents.I was a witness to blooming of sweet romance at the shady bottom of these mango trees. While we children were playing the seniors aging around 20 would be relishing the sweet forbidden fruit. Those were the days when we had no disturbing intrusions of mobile camera. Hence the parties could go on with the party till there was darkness. No one was much bothered about chastity or safety of anybody. Hence there was no question of harassment or molestation.. A free sex kind of ambiance.

Coming back to the sweet and delicious curry made of mango fruit I am to submit that I am captivated by this. I am having the habit of taking two-fold quantity of meals with this curry. I like the curry with Jack-fruit-seed thoran prepared with some leaves, say cheera, for example. The curry is tasty with no other ingredient than chilly-coconut paste. The curry is tastier if some butter milk or curd is added to it. We call it maambazha pulissery. There is watering in the mouth to imagine about it.

The season has passed one month already and it will last for another two months. It is sumptuous eating time for me… I am thankful for being a pure vegetarian as I can completely dedicate myself to the taste of mango Pulissery.

THE QUANDARY OF A POOR VEGETARIAN .


     
              As a pure (poor) Vegetarian I am laboring under many quandaries. I am becoming companionless. As a social being I cannot tolerate the misery of being aloof. The more I try to become a Non-veg. the more I fail in doing so. As a rule, a person who use to drink ,even occasionally,, need not feel uninterested in non-veg. food. Let me relate you my background thanks to which I might have turned out to be a pure vegetarian…
    
             I was born into an orthodox Nair family in 1961,December. My father Mr.Narayanan Nampoothiri , as the name indicates, was a Brahmin. In both the maternal as well as the paternal households non-veg. food was forbidden and taboo. And I was brought up in the nonviolent, Hindu religious atmosphere. The thought of non-veg food arouse in me a kind of sympathy to the animal kingdom.I thought it sheer violence and brutality to kill animals and  eat their dead bodies. I have seen animals being  brutallykilled in inhuman circumstances.Alas! Words fail me here ! The pain and agony of the dumb… How cruel are humans.. Men who kill and eat animals are worse than animals… So I thought. ..Here I beg the pardon of all the non-vegetarians for being harsh on them. I keep on shunning non-veg. food   neither  out of any religious sentiments nor due to the stinking hatred towards it.. It has roots in my nonviolent and peace-loving qualities inherited from ancestors  and from my own nature as well. I am hesitant even to kill a harmful insect. It may be a frailty of mine. I am empathetic with the predicament of the scapegoats..
 
        In the foregoing paragraph I mentioned about the companionlessness owing to rigid vegetarianism. For example, in my office we use to sit together for lunch  and share curries.Now-a-days many of my friends bring only non-veg food , and I am aloof! In the bar in the occasional drinking sessions I am alone ! I have to walk on foot miles in search of a Veg. hotel.
 
               I used to feel proud of being a pure vegetarian but of late I strongly feel the inconvenience and quandaries of a vegetarian. But I cannot switch over.. In my remaining life I will continue to live a vegetarian life. None the less I have the conviction of the need to develop non-veg food habits in my two daughters, otherwise they might find it difficult in their future life. The younger one , Surya , is in hostel and can take non-veg though not whole-heartedly. The elder Arya takes only fish , niether egg nor meat she takes. The quandaries I am having shall not be passed on to my offspring….