Lassi with Lavina India Blog:
An Idea for a Hungry World
Feasting and Fasting
I’ve been on a month-long visit to India and everywhere I go, there is food, food and more food. We’ve eaten so much at people’s homes, tasted so much of the famous Indian hospitality. We’ve been to parties and clubs and restaurants and always there is abundance, a surfeit of food.
It’s hard to forget that we are in a country of great extremes – cities, towns and villages where there is great hunger – and great feasts. You are at a wedding party with tables laden with festive food – and outside there are children scrimmaging in the garbage cans for something to eat. At the crowded bus-stands you see people of modest means and you wonder what they had for lunch or what their dinner was going to be. How hungry were they and how much rice or daal was left in their bins at home? When did that young boy selling newspapers in the avalanche of evening traffic last eat?
The Doggie Bag Syndrome
While in Mumbai I stayed at the CCI Club and the meals were always reasonably priced and large portions. We could hardly finish what we ordered and at the end of the lunch I had pangs at the considerable leftovers. Could one ask for takeout and give it to someone who needed it? Would they give me a container or would they frown upon this practice? In New York it’s absolutely your birth-right to ask for a doggie bag, whether you have a dog or not. Can you do it in India? I wasn’t sure and didn’t venture to try.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the leftover food at these fine eateries could be distributed to those who really needed it? I think there are some efforts by the dabbawallas of Mumbai to do that and there may be efforts by others to duplicate NY’s City Harvest in Indian cities. But it would be great if doggie bags became the norm and folks just gave the plentiful leftovers to the many hungry people you encounter on Indian streets – the urchins, the panhandlers and the ragpickers who probably haven’t had a square meal.
Well, I just came across this story in HuffPo about a Canadian restaurateur who has taken this food dilemma in his own hands – and is feeding whoever needs to be fed. Indian Fusion, a Canadian restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta, has a sign on its backdoor that invites anyone who is in need of a meal to come inside and eat for free:.
The Pain of Not Having Food
“I have seen enough hunger in the past,” Parkash Chhibber, Indian Fusion’s owner and chef, told The Huffington Post. “I know the pain of not having food.”
Read this heartwarming story – here and maybe you could replicate it in your own life! After all, ideas are free – and global.
One way to do it is to pay for a needy person to have a free meal at some restaurant. I hope to try this at least once before I leave – imagine the pleasure of a hungry person with no money in his pockets who gets to sit down to a satisfying meal. That would be the true meaning of Indian hospitality – and the reality of the Sanskrit wisdom – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the whole world is one family.
What do you think? Would appreciate your thoughts on this.