Did You Know That Pepper Can Change Your Life?

Sneezing - Cold Thoughts About Sprayers
Image used for representation only

I may have spoken about this before, but here’s the thing: I love food.

There are those who eat to live, and there are those who flip that statement around, and I, dear reader, am very much on the flipping side of things. But, as the poet said, into each form of existence some precipitation should materialize, and so it is in my case. The rain, it falls.

Here’s how: 

I’m glad to report that I suffer from no allergies whatsoever when it comes to food. Peanuts, when they array themselves against me, lose in the hundreds. Gluten doesn’t get the time to issue a warning before it is mercilessly gobbled up. Lactose intolerance is but a theoretical concept in my worldview, not worth a second thought.

Give me food, in other words, and sit back reassured that Kulkarni’s digestive system can handle it.

But (and here’s the rain falling in my life), there is a minor problem. You see, my nostrils are as sensitive as the princess who felt the pea a hundred mattresses below her. When they sense the presence of pepper, they send panicked entreaties to the brain. And the brain, in turn, activates battle stations, and before you know it, I sneeze.

And when I say sneeze, you must be aware that this is an instantaneous process. There may be a lapse of perhaps half a second between my nostrils becoming aware of the presence of pepper, and the sneeze being launched.

And when I say being launched, imagine a wide ranging dispersal of semi-masticated pieces of food in the immediate vicinity of wherever I am sitting. I literally let fly, and before you know it, my plate, my companions’ plates and much of the pincode we are in – all have a liberal dousing of partially chewed food, straight from your columnist’s mouth.

If you think reading that is disgusting, you really should join me for lunch one of these days.

I am getting, I am happy to report, slightly better at this. After many years of practise, I have now acquired the skill to raise one panicked hand as a warning, while the other searches desperately for a napkin with which to stymie the fountain. I can’t guarantee success, you understand. I’m just grateful that disaster is no longer an ironclad guarantee.

But there is a nightmare, dear reader, that gives me the heebie-jeebies. 

My job, and this is the part that petrifies me, sometimes requires me to attend officious meals of a rather stuffy nature with Really Important Dignitaries. And I just know, knowing me as I do, that it is only a matter of time before I spray the front of a Really Important Dignitary’s shirt with a choice selection of pepper infused grub that has had a brief tour of my mouth.

And so, Really Important Dignitary, I wish to place on record, and well in advance, my reason for insulting you so. It was not, I assure you, intentional.

I’m sorry.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni