I don’t just eat to live but I live to eat.
Yes, the word food is that magic four-letter word which sends the pulse racing, gets the tongue to hang out in anticipation and the taste buds to do a little jig in happiness.
My whole world revolves around breakfast, lunch and dinner and what constitutes it.
My favourite channels on TV are the Food ones. And I like nothing better than curling up in bed with Sanjeev Kapoor’s latest on Indian delicacies or Jamie Oliver on what’s special in Africa. Very gripping stuff all this and I have spent many a night reading well into the wee hours.
You may wonder why I am going to such lengths to describe this wonder of our very existence. Sadly, I must report that I had a very shocking experience which shook my very belief in living.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I received a double whammy when the body temperature crossed the acceptable mark and the sugar levels dropped into the danger zone.
After slipping and lying horizontal in the bathroom for about 45 minutes, I realised something seemed to have gone amiss. This meant the hospital.
Now I must admit that I hate hospitals. I always try my best to avoid it and have successfully done so over the years. But this time, there was absolutely no way out.
So there I was lying on the hospital bed and fantasising on what was in store for lunch. I expected some decent fare, wholesome and hygienic.
Lunch came. It was in a nice, plastic box and I reached for it and opened it. There were four chambers in it. Unfortunately three were empty and one filled with roughly three spoons of rice with dal thrown all over it.
I was stunned. This is a catastrophe, an earthquake in the life of a foodie. Three spoons of rice and dal, I mean. That was about how much a boy of three would eat.
Were they being serious or had they brought the wrong box for me? I reached for the bell and called the nurse. I pointed to the box, eyebrows raised. She gave a blank look, totally disinterested.
I politely enquired whether that blob in the box was my lunch. She nodded and walked away.
I shook my head in disbelief and wondered. How can a sick man ever recover with three spoons of rice? I mean food is the thing which gives energy and puts hair on the chest.
Still hope always burgeons in the heart and I hoped dinner would be better. I anticipated at least a vegetable in the box, even it meant my least favourite brinjal, to go with that blob of food.
This it was a different coloured box with the same dimensions. I picked it up with some hope but the heart sank upon opening. Four chambers, three empty and three spoons of dal and rice in one.
It’s a week since I left hospital and here I was sitting with a fellow foodie and enjoying my favourite cauliflower which she had brilliantly prepared for me. It was so uplifting.
This is what a man needs to live for, forget money and oxygen. I tore into it like a man demented.
Life seems to be on track once again. The sun was shining in the sky and everything seemed alright in this world.