Let me ask you a question — what is the first thought in your head after you wake up?
Your family? Your work? Your partner? I think of food.
As soon as I wake up, I think of breakfast. I could be brushing my teeth or scrolling the Instagram feed of a new crush, but my thoughts would swing between peanut butter sandwiches or alphonso mangoes. So, like a good engineer, I optimise my resources and get both.
As soon as my plate hits the sink, many times even before that, I start thinking of lunch. It is said that good artists and athletes are always thinking about their craft. Well, I like to think of myself as a food athlete. Race me to a plate of tikka, I dare you.
Speaking of athletics — this unhealthy lust for edibles isn’t a good habit for a regular runner and footballer. The weeks before a marathon are particularly tough. My body fat percentage starts increasing at the rate of 1% per gram of cake. Complete scam. So I cut down the bloatware and shift my attention towards the other end of the spectrum: fruits. I love fruits. In this tropical Indian weather, they keep you hydrated, light, and ready for more food.
You get the point.
But let’s address the dietary elephant in the room here. Supreme Leader, you can ask Arnab to sit down. This is not a wordplay on Motabhai, I promise. I wasn’t calling him an elephant. In fact, I don’t make any jokes on politics or politicians these days. Firstly, I am a work-in-progress when it comes to understanding public policy. Let’s just say I am as close to the finish line as Salman Khan is to Formula One. Secondly, I like not being in jail. I feel it’s a good lifestyle to have. If a tweet from 2012 can get you arrested, I don’t think I have the craft to layer my jokes well enough. So I just giggle silently and click like on posts whose views I agree with. Recipe for maximum success.
That said, some recent developments have left me in deep anguish. I see politicians encroaching on food territory. I want to speak directly to them.
Leave food alone, man. Some of you have started to prescribe a regular dosage of Goumutra, or as is commonly known in certain parts of India, Medicinal Marijua.. Mirinda. Sorry, I meant Medicinal Mirinda. Orange drink — I come in peace.
Only just, though. What is wrong with all of you? I thought Gujaratis and North Indians had an incredible taste for food. Between Vasco da Gama, the Mughals, and His Royal Highness Supreme Leader, how did we land up at bovine discharge? What did you feel was lacking in your regular diet?
If you needed help, you could have just spoken to me. I have so much experience with food that I could have sorted your issues out without going to any such extremities. Free of cost, that too. Just keep our culinary heritage sacred — I hear you like that word — and we are good to go.
I respect all cultures, so my plan would be strictly vegetarian, although your record shows an overwhelming affinity for blood. Hehe, we will let that pass. I would suggest Rooh Afza as a substitute. Have you tried that drink? I guarantee that you will leave all your Mann Ki Baat schedules and start watching The Big Lebowski on repeat. For dinner, you get some lovely chana and daal bukhaara with rumaali rotis. You know, food from the corners of Delhi your fanbois wanted to burn down?
I would also request your domestic help Arnab to place a special coaster on your bedside table. It says, “You are what you eat”. Have you heard of that phrase? I like it. On some days, I can be shami kebab; on other, weirder, days, I can be pineapple on pizza, who knows. I also like this phrase because it says your fans are gobar/goumutra. Weapons-grade accuracy.
May I, at this point, recommend a healthy wake-up routine? Start your day with good thoughts. Think of food. Fruits are a great way to wake up. On even days, get an orange; on the others, get a sweet lime. Give this habit the usual incubation period of 21 days, and you’ll begin noticing how similar both are. Take away the surface, and you are essentially dealing with the same entity. And it is impossible to like one and not the other.