Most of you know my affinity towards non-vegetarian gastronomic delights. For those who don’t, well, I’m kind of a Tyrannosaurus Rex crossed with a Nile Crocodile. Yes, non-vegetarian food is not a choice in my life. It’s a necessity; a need which I crave to satisfy in every morsel. I absolutely adore fish, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, etc. And I totally worship that blessing to mankind called an‘egg’. I called any vegetarian foodstuff ‘ghaas-poos’ (Hindi for ‘Grass’) and was of the firm opinion that it was just too boring.
Close to 4 years ago, while I still had enough time to work-out and run, I quit all forms of red meat on a health whim. It didn’t come easy but I was determined. The temptation to yield, when someone would order lamb chops or a juicy steak, was strong. Yet somehow I always managed to control my almost undying lust for that fine piece of red meat. To ensure that I got all my vitamins and minerals in abundance, I resorted to eating only vegetarian fare in my lunch box at my workplace. And kept the non-vegetarian extravaganza for dinner.
Today, I was discussing the contents of my lunch box (Ivy Gourd or ‘Tondli’ as we call it in Marathi, my native language) with a senior colleague. He said, “The vegetarian fare in your lunch box has a lot of energy.” I looked at him with a befuddled expression. “Compare it with any lunch box ordered from a commercial venture. You’ll realise that yours is made with love.” And he walked away. That got me thinking about my lunch box contents, more than ever.
Like Jerry Maguire, I too had an epiphany. I realised that while conditioning myself for 4 years, to forcibly eat veggies, pulses, lentils I had in fact started to like them! Okra, Ivy Gourd, Bell Peppers, Taro, Fenugreek, Spinach, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Black Eyed Beans, Green Grams, Moth Beans, Peas and a whole lot of others. And it was not because they were awesome by birth. It was the brilliant recipes, sheer hard work and love put in by the women in my life – my grandmothers, my mother, my maid and my wife.
I’m deeply obliged and grateful to them for making me realise that ‘ghaas-poos’ can actually be wonderful, if prepared with the right mix of ingredients, effort and love. Finally, I have opened my eyes to the fact that the grass can be lush and green on both sides (pun intended).