The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Eternal travails of the vegeterian mind

If you have friends who are vegetarian, I think you should be kind to their leafy eating habits. After all, vegetarian food is healthy, animal friendly and simplistically no frills attached. However, if you happen to be traveling exotic European nations with your herbivore friends, then you might have a slight problem. Lettuce and tomato are vegetarian agreed, but how the fuck do you convince the bloke at the counter that you do not want the B of the BLT. Anyways, provided they can sort themselves out and live on Croissants and double chocolate chip muffins and let you savour the uninhibited joys of Spanish tapas or unpronounceable ‘what did I just order for’ French entrees’ its all fair and square. Let us assume not, but in case your friends are of the ‘we eat veg’ and of the complaining variety, then I am afraid you’ve got no go but to shoot them. Preferably, at point blank range. Allow me people, to give you a random sample of how life with a minimal sample set of choices can get extremely stifling. Not always for the proud vegetarian alone. But also for the others who unfortunately have to share the table.

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Scene: Random restaurant somewhere in Bangalore. Table for two. Hunger levels dangerously high. Menu on the table proclaims it’s Chinese. You don’t care. The décor is all dragon like and the place is called Chopsticks. Obviously it had to be Chinese. But simple things not registering. Reason: as mentioned earlier – hunger levels dangerously high.

You run through the menu and there is instant dilation of the pupils. Chicken drumsticks. Probably with silver foil at the end. Probably, four or six pieces; sticking out of the chinaware like the radiating sun. Probably, with a chili sauce dip in the middle. What joy. “Chicken drumsticks da”, you announce more of an order and less of a suggestion. “Good choice. I like drumsticks. Preferably in sambar though”. “One vegetable spring roll, boss”. Order made. Friend looks at you like you never spoke at all. “Veg Hakka noodles or Schezwan fried rice - veg?”

You fumble for the non existent double barrel Heckler and Koch. How you wish…

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Scene: Zurich, Switzerland. The last couple of days has taught you that in any Swiss city you turn left at the station and the fourth shop on the left has to be a McDonalds. Haha. It is. The first feel of falling snow on your face. You want to convince yourself that it’s a great feeling. You will probably go onto tell it was. But it’s freakin’ cold and the last thing you want to be doing is stupid things like standing in the snow. Veggie friends almost give a high five on spotting McDonalds. You are pissed that you are not trying Nordsee, where the king prawns are big and pink and stately. You settle for a chicken sandwich while the boys order something else that you don’t bother with. Dispensing euros is a new found challenge and we all feel fairly satisfied when it’s done with. I vaguely remember my good TamBram friend telling ‘dinner pramadham’.

The train to Interlaken the following day was at ten past nine. And by Swiss standards that means ten past nine. Not nine past nine or eleven past nine. Veggie boys convince me that because of Swiss train accuracy, we have no go but to pick up breakfast from you know where – fourth shop on the left - McDonalds. We make quick take away purchases and hurry into the plush airline like Interlaken bound train. Hills; vales; floating clouds all whiz past like in a fairyland. Tam Bram friend of mine, is relishing his burger.

‘How is it’, I ask.
‘Too good’ (Chomp. chomp). ‘Had the same thing yesterday. Super pa, so bought two today’.
‘What is it’, I ask.
‘Cheese burger’ (Chomp. chomp).
‘Ok. Cheese burger with what?’
‘Cheese burger with cheese’ (Laughs)
‘Agreed da, but there is a patty in there isn’t it?’
Freeze. More hills, vales and floating clouds whiz past.

Even I don’t eat beef. So we threw the second one at a bin somewhere in Interlaken. Not surprisingly, we didn’t do any more McDonalds on that trip.

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Scene: East Anglia, England. It rained this morning. But it’s alright now. Sun shining brightly and all. The Radio one weather broadcaster predicting a cold stay warm kind of night ahead. How weird is this island, you wonder. Friend beams a 100 watt smile – ‘We have a team party tomorrow’. ‘Oh grand’, I reply. Wattage of the smile increases. ‘Barbeque party’. ‘Oh lovely’, I exclaim. ‘Lucky bastard’, I quip in hush undertones.

Following day I don’t meet him. Barbeque party. Obviously.

The day following day, the smile on friend’s face is surprisingly zero watt like. I need to buy one of those for my study lamp, I make mental note.
Me: “How was the party da”
Friend: “Ok”.
Me: “Food?”
Friend: “All beef and pork man. I only had Walkers chips”

Muhahahaha. Obviously, you fool. You can’t have vegetables being grilled in a barbeque party.

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P.S: Friend in Chinese restaurant, Tam Bram friend and friend with zero watt smile – no offence meant. Seriously :)

P.P.S: Watch this space for more vegetarian tales. And if you don’t see any then it’s solely because I am at gunpoint and this one has not been well received.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one too self centric aint it? But u know ur writing holded me sterday for continous 3 hours. I'm reading ur blogs for the 1st time !
And by the way when I say 'All' it is meant to be ALL(inc Liz) not like ICICI Bank's home loan advertisement ;)
--Bebo

October 07, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Pri said...

heee the cheese burger had me all confused at first too. then i realised when they say burger they mean beef. burger meat is beef which is why the chicken burgers here are called chicken sandwiches.
a chicken steak is still beef, apparently with chicken flavour!

even the mcdonalds breakfast menu can be confusing. you think you're being safe by ordering the egg mcmuffin. you even read the description and you're expecting egg, cheese and no mystery meat but oh no what is that thin slice of pink meat?

October 07, 2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger Bikerdude said...

Hello what sort of self respecting mallu doesnt eat beef? Shsheyy. You are a disappoindmend to kerala I dell you. Rectify this immediately :P

@ pri: What are you complaining about I say? Full if I stand off for 5 minutes you will put uppu kara and eat me off only.

October 08, 2007 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaahhh....not again !

-Laxman

October 08, 2007 2:53 AM  
Blogger Preeth said...

@Bebo -> Nice.very nice.I am planning to send gift ampers to all those who comment on my blog this Christmas. so keep reading.

@Pri ->lol. Ya, thos ubiquitous pink slices of meat.

@Bikerdude -> Born and brought up in Bangalore, so the Mallu in me is kinda diluted I should say. And good one that about Pri.lol.

@Laxman -> It had to happen, isnt it? :)

October 08, 2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfair.In one big sweep, you reduce all vegetarians into mean self-centred people who rob people off their meaty epicurean delights.

There are some of us who can happily eat leaf n lettuce leaving non-veggie friends with a pile of chicken across the table and make no bones about it (he he..pun intended :)

Not well-received at all.You are in the firing range:)

--Meera

October 08, 2007 3:35 PM  
Blogger Penguin said...

This comment is only to make sure I get my Christmas hamper. Thanks in advance, saar :-)

October 09, 2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger Naveen said...

well, i do not particularly like non-veggies at my table in a restaurant...they have the advantange of digging into my food without having to share theirs, which i feel is cruel and unfair!!

October 09, 2007 8:57 AM  
Blogger Krishna said...

i dint have that much trouble traveling in Eu and getting veggie food. Italy has a ton of veggie options, barcelona had subway and veggie tapas and paella, paris had those amazing mushroom crepes (abs awesome) and tons of pizza places n veggie sandwidches, also indian food! I actually ate dosa in paris at a srilankan rest :D

Cant believe he dint confirm twice with the guys whether his burger or any dish contained meat in it!!

October 10, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Preeth said...

@penguin -> gifts could be as intangible and useless as love and regards.

@naveen -> thats one of the only merits have having a few veggies on a birthday treat. scatter them uniformly, so that for a change you can attack their paneer manchurian.

@krishna -> some hard work that krsna. so apart from finding veggie food, did you see anything else in those cities :)

October 11, 2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Krishna said...

We never went searching for veggie food.. the srilankan place was near the hotel in paris, subway was near la ramblas in barcelona, the paella was on ramblas, italy almost all rest's had veg.. that does give a lot of time to roam around :P.
Have u uploaded ur trip pics somewhere??

October 11, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Bikerdude said...

Appa full scope comments boss. Barcelona, London, paris, Rome, New York.

Crepe suzette anthe, Paella anthe, Konege Tapas has also been done.

Fulll!!

Only hope for us is to sit in some nonsense HBMS Layout internet cafe, eat gobi dry and read abut all these things. Slurp.

Preethsar - new post pls!

October 11, 2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Preeth said...

@krsna -> I bought some cybershot thingie when I came down here and have clicked four times altogether. but my roomie is more trigger happy and I have pushed my head in a couple of times when he is taking scenery pictures.

@Bikerdude -> lol.correctagi heldhe. more lol.

Yayy !!! thats the new record for the most number of comments on any of my posts. wait a minute. how many of them are mine..one..two..three..forget it.record anyway.Yayy !!!

October 12, 2007 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though late into the conversation....
Yes the veggie group sometimes uncomfortable to have around.
They munch into onion rings and fries with coke and assume(assuming they are doing the holiest thing since the were born) when they see you with the McChicken premiere it is blasphemous.
Announcement : If we dnt eat all those chick lamb beef and pork , you would be trudging along those .
We help to maintain the food chain . So you live .
The very existentence of veggies is in the hands of ....!

Preeth , If you were ever tried in the court of chickens you would be convicted of Genocide and massacre on the scale of holocaust !

There you go and new record !
- KSP

October 14, 2007 2:14 PM  
Blogger Sharad said...

lol! the comments cracked me up :)

October 16, 2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...i was bored and jobless when math asked me to read ur blog. Very entertaining indeed. And my boss is gonna throw me out for laughing looking at the screen (well am pretending to work ;). Through am a non-veggie...some of the junglee dishes here have forced me to stick to veg.."B"LT..tapas..McD...so true. I donno how veggies survive..when i order saying "only chicken and no other meat"-- the chef asks "u r a veggie"...God save people who wudnt even eat in a restaurant in india which served non-veg. Well.. keep writing....
--Geeta

October 24, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger Preeth said...

@KSP -> you bet we did justice to all the chicken biriyani, Nandhini Marks Road had to offer.

@Geeta -> Hey, glad you liked it. Keep poppin' in.

October 24, 2007 2:23 PM  

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