Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mean, Mean Chowmein


Mean, Mean Chowmein

Remember the Wodehouse classic Jeeves and the Old School Chum, wherein the writer pens down the distressing events that unleashed in the home of Bertie Wooster’s pal Bingo Little because of the advent of a certain food-critic Laura Pike? The said Pike disgorged such horrific (mis) statements about Bingo’s eating habits and the food he consumed that the peace of the Little nest was completely shattered. Thanks to the cream of Jeeves’ cranium, after a troubling time at home, the Pike was extricated from the Little set-up  and sanity restored to its throne.

In the early afternoon of stark reality, I am quoting the truisms of Wodeshouse fiction because the statements issued for the benefit of the multitude (The Mango People: read Robert Vadra :-)) by the Khap  compels me to consider the idea that we too like Bingo Little need a Jeeves to mundify our social system. With the Khap operating on the premises and issuing such noble avowals as Chowmein—yes that humble delicacy we all enjoy— being culpable for sexual assaults on women, I cannot but raise my hands and invoke the holy spirit of the butler to save us from heading to the Purgatory!

As I lay praying, I hear the voice of conscience inside me telling me to stop and consider the logic behind the septuagenarian sentiment of high-fat foods leading to rapes in the Indian society. For a while I search and search but can locate nothing. May be I am hidebound in my inability to establish even an iota of logic behind the statement that fat foods –chowmein, burgers, pizzas, etc.— are responsible for sexual assaults on women. I find myself asking how these foods corrode the human conscience and the moral lining of the patriarchal intestines and ‘force’ naive males to commit rapes. How indeed do these foods, chowmein most importantly, with their spicy, polluting quotient erode the ethical setup of the male-brain? That the Khap could equate rape with chowmein makes its members even greater verbarians than Alexander Pope. Don’t you feel that abaxial though their argument may seem, the Khap should be awarded for the novelty of it nonetheless? Only heightened intellectual ability coupled with years of academic labor can lead to such high-class wisdom that can put two asymmetrical social elements, one a pillar of human sustenance, i.e., food (regardless of it being high or low in the fat content) and another the basest of crimes performed in society, i.e., rape, on the same level.

And yet, all the while as we discuss and split our remaining hairs in our quest to decipher the invisible, esoteric equation behind the Khap argument, we miss the most important point: we are all rapists. Don’t stare goggle-eyed at me, and please don’t drop that drink on your snow-white table cover. I know what you are thinking, but trust me I am not talking piffle. Let me clarify my assertion, which is not my assertion at all, but the nugget of truth, the quintessence of reality Khap put forward yesterday; I merely did the math. The Khap said  that chowmein leads to rape, therefore every rapist eats chowmien; or in other words, everyone who eats chowmein (and that includes children, women, female, male, cats, dogs, rabbits, etc, and our brethren who sell the delicious rape-inducing delicacy as well) are rapists or potential rapists. Beware of thyself, noble scholar, thou art a rapist!

I see myself rushing to the mirror to inspect the grinning face of an impending rapist; I don’t see anything that remotely suggests my wish to pillage a youth of my community. Am I missing it, I wonder? Do take a look at your reflection and let me know if you can see any rape-wrinkles, any frown lines or acne spots which might be a precursor to your crime.

As I finish my blog post the epicurean soul suggests that I need some comfort food to stiffen my sinews and summon up the blood. I can see a plateful of slender serpentine threads dipped in soy sauce and stir-fried with meat and veggies in a pool of oil. The delicacy redolent in her white dish beckons me, and I cannot but surrender. Chowmein, thou “fruit of the Forbidden Tree” your taste will bring rape and desolation into this world, and no great man can restore us to our blissful seat! Alas, innocence is lost! With such contingencies as the loss of Eden (not Eden Gardens) in my mind, I call up my favorite Chinese take-out destination and place my order: One plate of mixed Hakka noodles with a generous dash of the rape-spice :-)

Have a good one, dear friends!

 Notes:  "Khap panchayat is the union of a few villages, mainly in north India though it exists in similar forms in the rest of the country. Lately they have emerged as quasi-judicial bodies that pronounce harsh punishments based on age-old customs and traditions, often bordering on regressive measures to modern problems."

Don't eat chowmein, it leads to rape, says Haryana khap leader: :