Take what you can eat

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Dude, work is worship, but food is divine", one of my friend says that light heartedly when I end up eating more than what I can, just to make sure I don't waste any food. Due to this fact some of my friends think that i am very passionate about eating. He still don't know that I actually accept this fact (food is divine) as much as my life on the planet earth. The truth of divinity of food was reinforced in my heart when i experienced an unforgettable incident in a village fair near my home town [See here for more]. An elderly woman, in her seventies, was sitting in the middle of a huge queue of beggars in front of the temple. Some one was just coming out of the temple after giving 'naivedya' (holi food prepared for god or at least to offer him, which he never ate) and was carrying couple of rotis and a bit of 'sabji' in his plate. He gave those rotis and subji to that elderly woman. The moment she saw that food, she was overwhelmed. She kept those rotis in a small basket she had. Immediately she started looking for something. She found a small plastic bag lying on the steps in front of the temple. She then wiped off all the dust and kept the subji given to her in that plastic bag and she firmly tied it. She then kept that plastic bag at the bottom of her small basket safely; most probably thinking that she can enjoy that sabji later. I just could not hold my tears in my eyes when i saw that. I prayed god to forgive me if I had ever wasted food in my life. Hard to believe, but I have to, just because I witnessed it.

Even before that incident, i used to get irritated if some one wastes food. I used to pass on some serious comments like, "Why do you waste food? Why don't you take what you can eat?". Most of the time people came back to me and said, "What's your problem?". If you are one among such people, you better think twice before saying that.

Take a look at these heart breaking statistics,
  • Over 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition. 5 million are children.
  • Approximately 1.2 billion people suffer from hunger (deficiency of calories and protein);
  • Some 2 to 3.5 billion people have micronutrient deficiency (deficiency of vitamins and minerals);
  • Yet, some 1.2 billion suffer from obesity (excess of fats and salt, often accompanied by deficiency of vitamins and minerals);
  • The direct medical cost of hunger and malnutrition is estimated at $30 billion each year. [source]

In a world of plenty, a huge number go hungry. In spite of 'green revolution' and significant scientific advancements in food production and preservation, huge amount of food is getting wasted because of poor distribution system. Few 'lucky' people on this planet have plenty of food to waste and on the other hand, there are millions who starve every day. Food was considered God by our ancestors and it used to be given to others piously. Today, some of us waste huge amount of food without even knowing that there are hundreds of people dying every day just because they don't even have the access to the food we waste!

"In India there is a criminal wastage of food, specially in five-star hotels." If we waste a little bit of our food in five star hotel, the money equivalent to the wasted food could feed at least five hungry stomachs comfortably. Seasoned actress Tanuja says "Those who eat in hotels must get their leftovers packed and distribute it to the deserving. People feel shy to get the leftovers packed, instead they should feel ashamed to leave the food unfinished." And she goes on to say, "I get my food packed in case it would go waste. I don't even give money to beggars, I give them something to eat. I always carry some fruits in my car. Whenever I see a beggar, I stop and give him or her the fruits ....."

Can we start doing that?

“Man despite his artistic pretensions, his extreme sophistication & many accomplishments, owes the basic fact of his existence to food." And yes, Food is divine. Do not waste your precious food. Take what you can eat.

Please Note: If you have a function/party at your home/office and if there is excess food available at the end, don't hesitate to call 1098 (only in India) - child helpline. They will come and collect the food which can be fed to thousands of others.

Related articles:
When Can We Make Poverty History?
2. Poverty Talk - A new fashion?


Anonymous said...

Dude..a good article.What you have mentioned is completely true.

Anonymous said...

It's a eye opener but i feel these indians are good at discusions and bad in action.

Nishad Bhatawadekar said...

Dude. That was really a nice blog. Even I try to tell people in the cafeteria, not to waste food. I make them eat whatever they have taken. If they disagree, I Simply stop eating with them. I made a couple of enemies due to this subject, But i dont care. I know I am right. Apart from food in my plate, I also make sure, I never waste the water in my glass too !

You can add to your blog, some of the replies I got when I spoke to people wasting food :
1. I have paid 30 Bucks. Its my food, I can do whatever with it.
2. What's bothering you if this much of rice goes waste ?
3. Whatever I throw in the dust bin goes to the cattle. So no worries.
4. I dont want to go back to the food queue to take more rice, so I take excess everytime, and eat till my limit.
5. The curry is too bad.
6. Next time, I promise, I wont waste food.(The next time never comes)

When I ask whether they do the same at home, Everybody answers 'No'.
Why this discrimination ? people have sense of not wasting food at home, but in the cafeteria, aaram se, they throw their plate contents to the dust bin.
We are all educated people. We should have the sense of what we like and how much we can eat. If people dont have this much sense, Maybe, Its time they should witness what real hunger is. What happens when you have no money in your pocket. How it feels when you have to skip your dinner. Until and unless they dont go through all this, they wont get the importance of food.

BTW, Even I used to eat a lot during parties, and people used to call me 'Tanker'. That's only because, I couldnt see food going waste. I try my best to finish it.

Manjunath Singe said...

Dear "anonymous", please do not make such comments like "these indians", it hurts me terribly. I spoke about food not in indian perspective, but keeping the whole world in mind. Mind you!

I, Me, Myself said...

I totally agree to your view point dude. In JAINISM, wasting food is bigger a sin.
In my view, If at all one cannot eat the entire food get it packed and give it to people who are starving for food on roads.

Wandererhere said...

Perfectly true.. But have u thgt of the food wastes in the functions. Hotels are small scale but food wastages in these places are toooooooo much.
That agitates me.

Abdul(Rasid) said...

Manju!! You are absolutely right! and while reading your article I was feeling ashamed of myself, because I am one of them who wastes food very frequently!! but I must tell you that now onwards I would make 100% sure that I don't end up wasting food. Actually I try not to waste, but sometime I cant help !!! :-(.
But still your thoughts will make many people like me to think twice before wasting that Divine Food

Chandu... said...

Very good article. I recommend this article to some of my friends who waste food. I myself used to waste food some time back. Then I learned "how to eat food" from a friend. Now I dont waste food at all. I know how much I can eat and make sure I dont waste any food.

Thanks for keeping your views in a nice manner. I will try to publish this artcile in all my public forums.

Manjunath Singe said...

Thank you all!! I am glad this post ignited some serious thoughts.

Abdul, thanks a ton for changing your mind!

Chandu, great if you share this article in your forums, and thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

CHILDLINE India DOES NOT COLLECT left over food after a party.

CHILDLINE 1098 is India’s only and most widespread Children’s phone emergency outreach service for distressed and deprived children in need of care and protection. We not only respond to emergency needs of children but also provide a platform for networking amongst organisations and provide linkages to support systems that facilitate the rehabilitation of children in need. This is a project supported by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and linking state Governments, NGOs, bilateral /multilateral agencies and corporate sector. In 12 years, CHILDLINE has worked with over 3 million children in need of care and protection.

1098, the toll free emergency number should be kept free for emergency calls from children and others in the time of distress or for concerned citizens to report a child who is in need of our help.
Know better about CHILDLINE – www.childlineindia.org.in

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.