Today morning, while walking in the park someone approached me and asked: “Sir, I have been seeing you here in the park every day. May I know who you are?” I asked him why he wanted to know at all. Then he started walking with me. He said many things to remove the doubt I had for him. Finally he came directly to the point that in his eyes I looked fit and he would appreciate if I told him my age. I told him and he turned out to be a few years younger to me. He asked me about my dietary restrictions for he said he was recently detected with diabetes. I started thinking.
People eat and today eating is an industry. World changed and evolved taking ages because people eat. Scriptures say that Adam and Eve ate apple and things went wrong. For the first time in the human history tools came into being because people wanted to eat. Eating is very fundamental to the evolution of the human kind not only as individuals but as markets too. Eating, in a way controls every other human activity. It is an industry because any product is eventually broken down into the aspect of eating.
Eating is done for three different purposes. Eating for survival, Eating for accumulation and Eating for pleasure. While I accept all these three ways of eating sustain the eating industry and market per se these are the same ways that cause all kinds of illnesses and worries. So when we say that we eat to survive or pleasure or for accumulation of health, it fails the very purpose of it by bringing diseases and despair. If so why don’t we mix up three different kinds of eating into one and start a new eating style? It is not even a style; a way of eating.
Let me break down these three different sets with a purpose of analysis. I prefer to go by a reverse order. I take eating for pleasure as the first category to be analyzed. People eat for pleasure because they are tired of eating the same stuff for a long time and they have to have something different. In normal families, people eat, same thing, at the same time, at the same table, in the same plate and in the same ambiance. Some people talk while eating and some remain quite. In most of the families eating together is a rare thing. Seen it in its totality eating at home is melancholic, at least for one or two parties involved in it.
Children are generally happy in eating anywhere. They just want to eat. They have not learnt table manners and etiquette. Their taste buds are not completely tuned. They show reluctance to eat some food because they just do not want it. They dislike the smell or shape and they often liken food to goo and slush. As they are free of the principles of eating they are free in mind and are often happy. But the grown up people are generally sad while eating; only boisterous families show a lot of enthusiasm while eating. But I often feel that it is all about forgetting that they are eating. Less boisterous families focus on television while eating and then too forget that they are eating.
That’s why they go out for lunch or dinner. But I have noticed one thing; in lunch or dinner which is arranged out there in a restaurant is another melancholic affair. Small families comprising of husband, wife and kids may look happy but if you closely look you could see one of them, either the husband or the wife is unhappy about the whole thing. Some families bring the parents of the spouses too. Then too there you see some tension in some faces. There is some kind of precariousness. But there too children are happy and the waiter who attends them at the table. Birthday parties or marriage anniversaries celebrated in the hotels, people apparently look happy. But are they really happy? Men in suits talk away about salaries and properties. Women compare clothes and jewelries. Everyone eventually is melancholic about their performance in life.
You may think those couple who are deeply in love and are on a lunch or dinner date, are really happy. They plan to eat out because they want to enjoy eating. What do they do? After a few chit chat they retire into their private worlds created in the smart phones. In between the waiter comes, takes orders and serves food. These people mechanically eat and pretend that they are happy. But they are not. They are afraid that they would miss the world if they do not post a selfie with the food that they are eating currently. So they do it. Then their worry is all about the likes that they get or they do not get. That means eating out for most of us is a troubling experience though we do not admit it.
Now let me take up the issue of eating for accumulation. What I mean by accumulation is a sort of eating to preserve a lot of energy and looking healthy. Some people believe that eating a lot healthy as per the guide book helps them to maintain their bodies well. But I say that accumulation is one cause of all illnesses. I do not say that accumulation is a bad thing. Human beings have this innate tendency to accumulate. But I would say, any kind of accumulation should be meant for spending and enjoying. If you do not enjoy what you have accumulated, that is going to get rotten. And also all kinds of accumulation should come with a knowledge that there should be a ceiling to accumulation.
Let me compare the accumulation of food in the body for enriching it with the accumulation of wealth. If you accumulate wealth and do not use it you will die a poor man’s death. If you accumulate and over spend you will end up as a pauper. Hence wise accumulation and wise spending is always suggested. But how much can you accumulate in your body? And how much can you accumulate in your bank? You may have billions of rupees in the bank but you are reluctant to use it for your life then what is the point? Similarly you have a lot of accumulated energy in you and you are not using it then too what is the point? One cannot pay 20,000 rupees to something which costs only Rs.15000. If you give Rs.30000 for the heck of it they will give you Rs.15000 back. None wants your extra money. Even your body does not want your extra energy. When you have excess money and your life does not need it, it becomes cancerous. You get into vile activities. Similarly when you have so much of accumulated energy and you do not use for the right purpose you become corrupt and that physical corruption is nothing but an illness.
Now, let me talk about eating for survival. Eating for survival is eating what you just need. There are so many people consult doctors and dietitians to decide their diet. They too eat what is needed for survival. But that is not the natural way of surviving. One should eat healthy that does not mean that one should consult guide books to eat healthy and become over conscious of what you eat. You just eat when you are hungry. Something you eat what is available. You will survive. Eating healthy also means that you eat what you have in limited amounts. You can eat roti and sabji everyday without a break. You can eat rice and curd every day without a break. But you have to enjoy each morsel that you take in. You have to be happy when you eat. You can eat alone and you can eat in a crowd or in your family. But you should eat with happiness.
To gain that happiness of eating what is given or what you have you need to develop a different mindset. You should be thankful to the world for sparing this food for you. Who has made this food, who has made these vegetables from earth? Who has cooked it? If you have done all these things all by yourself, well and good. If someone else has done it for you, then also it is good. But you should be happy to have it. You should express your gratitude to the unknown hands that laid this food before you even if you have cooked yourself. Once you have that state of mind eating becomes happier and easier. It is not the richness of what you eat makes your meal enjoyable, but how you eat. Eat with a song in your mind and eat what you need. Never waste a morsel and get served or serve yourself only what you want. So you will not accumulate. You don’t need a dietitian to tell you what you should eat to be happy and healthy. You just need to eat what you have happily. Attain that state of mind.
The man who was walking with me listened to me carefully. Thanked me and left. I do not know whether I would meet him tomorrow in the walking track. But I am sure that I cannot forget him for asking me the question. He enabled me to think about eating and whether he remembers me or not, I will always remember him when I eat.