Oh, these delectable dilemmas!!!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Nov 2018 12:09:05


By biraj dixit,





“To be or not to be, is the question.”
Wonder why these lines have assumed as much immortality as Shakespeare himself? Because they touch the core of human existence wherein lies dilemma with a capital ‘D’. Dilemma defines humanity when everything else falls short. It is one-word assimilation of the entire lot of mayhem created by human mind in dealing with human situations. It is the turmoil before an answer. It is a storm within a calm sea. ‘To be or not to be’, is not just the question. It is an insurmountable goal decisively reached only by just a few. Most even among those revisit the question only to see whether they gave the right answer.

‘To be or not to be’ is the question and I am, as always, nowhere near the answer. This thin line between to be and not to be has the propensity to put me in some real, fat mess. Of course, one has to keep deciding throughout one’s life. There are some easily-made decisions like which party to vote for in the general elections. Then there are some real tough ones like which dress to wear for the party tonight. But most decisions are in-between stuff. They are kind that are born to linger. They are the one that wholesomely add to the world’s many problems. And one of them is presently adding to my discomfort.

It has so happened that the beautiful season of lights, the Diwali, has just passed with adequate fanfare, leaving behind a trail of goodies. The trail now demands that a decision be made on its fate, putting me in ‘to be’ and ‘not-to-be’ dilemma. The trail itself is the outcome of great Indian tradition of making, eating and sharing the very delicious ‘faraal’ (Indian snacks) with the entire neighbourhood. And while five days of Diwali went by swiftly as I devoured dollops of those every now and then, it is the post-Diwali wake-up call that has set the alarm bells ringing. The weighing machine has gained extra pounds and how! During Diwali, people are so ready to show their riches to the world.

Ah, If only riches were measured in kilograms! But richer waistlines are no more a qualification for true riches. They rather invite ridicule and I must admit with all the Diwali-devourings I have become quite ridiculous. But that is hardly the dilemma. It is, merely, guilt. Guilt, you see, is just like the latter half of the second ladoo. You are already half way through before you realise that you had too much of sweet. Guilt is the feeling you have while finishing off the second ladoo in its entirety. You know you shouldn’t, but you do, because you are already half done and then there can be no looking back. That’s not dilemma. That’s guilt.

Dilemma arises from the choice that is about to be made or not to be made. And my dilemma springs from the delicious loads of ‘Faraal’ which are still in my possession. I have poured as much heart and soul while making these as ghee and oil. The sentiments and the economics both forbid me to part with them without thoroughly enjoying their company. Even my taste buds are laying their claim and so is the phrase that I love above all others - ‘to one’s heart’s content.’ Then there are those delicacies prepared delicately by my neighbours, duly sent to me so that my Diwali is as ‘sweet’ as theirs.

I cannot disrespect their sentiments. Social etiquettes demand that I compliment them for their good job. But how can I do that in right earnest unless I have gobbled up mouthful of their preparations? If they expect me to thoroughly enjoy their carefully prepared recipes, who am I to do anything otherwise?

Alas! These wonderful eatables that have gained so much ground in my heart are ensuing that I, too, gain more ground, literally. Alas, heart’s content can so alarmingly discontent the otherwise contentious waistline. It forbids any more ground-gaining. The sentiments that once flowed easily with the ghee as it went into the fry pan are now flowing all over me and I feel crushed under the weight of guilt while eating the second half of the ladoo.

Guilt again has this nasty way of resurrecting itself. Even while you are frowning upon your own, other guilty souls make it a point to rub some of theirs on you. Many wonderful Diwali get-togethers, spent in the company of tastefully made food, have also been spent amid tasteless conversation on Diwali and weight-gain. People keep reminding you of the one thing you are trying so hard to forget for the time being. I only comfort myself with the thought that conversations of concern over weight-gain while ‘shahi kababs’ and ‘paneer tikka’ fill platters, are to be taken with a pinch of salt.

So, To be or not to be…eh…rather ‘to eat or not to eat’, is the question. There are so many delicious things close at hand to be kept at arm’s length due to the guilt in the heart. But that goes against the very grain of my sentiments for good food. That violates all socio-economic considerations. That is so against ‘heart’s content.’

Dilemma, I tell you, is too fat a food for thought. It steals away the sweetness while not letting you let go of the sweet. ‘To be or not to be’ is a harmful question having no appropriate answer. Alas! How can I disrespect these mouth-watering ladoos? I must eat the latter half of the second one.