It is a truly wondrous thing, a random thought.
There you are, munching contentedly on a rather well made dosa, thinking of nothing but the filter coffee that will inevitably follow, when a random thought enters your head. Just such a thing happened to me the other day, and therein lies the cause of what follows.
How, my brain asked itself for no particular reasons, do people from western nations eat with a fork and knife. Why, (this is my brain iterating on its earlier question) do they eat with a fork and knife? Especially when the good lord has given us two hands and ten fingers that are admirably suited to the task at hand.
It looks graceful and pretty, I’ll grant you that. And there may be a particular pleasure in cutting a nice, juicy steak with a knife – neither me nor my brain has any argument on that score.
But take the dosa, for example. Does it deserve the cutting insult of being cut with a knife rather than being torn apart with one’s own fingers?
Can true, soul fulfilling pleasure ever be had by putting a spoonful of rice in your mouth? Isn’t it better when your fingers, easily and dexterously, make a clean sweep of the entire plate, gathering before them all of the rice and the gravy, before lifting just the right amount and conveying it into your eager mouth?
And (for now my brain was in a tremendous vein of insistent form) what about crabs. I paused at this moment to doff my hat, for I can acknowledge a clinching argument when I see one. For with this one question, I think the old grey cells had more or less carried the day.
It is patently absurd and foolish to attempt to eat the crab with a fork and knife.
Not only should it not be done, I aver that it can’t be done. No amount of talent with fork and knife can ever be a match for the hard, unyielding exterior of the crab. And even if you were talented enough, why, pray, would you not want to lift up each and every piece of the crab and make sure that every last drop of juicy goodness inside it is sucked dry?
Can a fork suck anything dry?
At which point, I am sad to report, I happened to see more than a few fellow customers at the restaurant I was at, attempting to eat dosas, utthappas and related South Indian items with (shudder) forks and knives.
It took every ounce of self control I possessed to not make them see the right way to eat, but reticence and discretion finally did win the day.
At which point I finished my dosa, and moodily asked the waiter for a cup of filter crab.
I didn’t even have to correct myself. I got an indulgent smile and a cup of South India’s best soon enough.
They’re used to my random thoughts at Roopali, you see.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime