Thursday, June 9, 2011

Of Fish & Chips

Sometimes we tend to just drift away in to the past tense without realizing and I am seem to be in that mode today. Thoughts go back to some wonderful days spent in Henley-on-Thames in United Kingdom. One of the first things that struck me was about the difference in food habits from India. Fish and Chips being the first to catch my attention. What a strange combination of eating fish with chips! But over time I realized it was quite a staple and accepted snack there.


Years have rolled by from then and I have hardly seen any Fish & Chips stall in India even now. However, closer home there is a favorite shop of 'Hot Chips' which is frequented by better half to get his regular quota of munchies. I happened to notice a fish seller sitting close to this shop and the smell / aroma /stink (whatever we feel towards fish) often happens to waft the breeze and kind of overpowering the freshly fried chips. Strange, I thought that these two completely different fragrances blended without the slightest strangeness in it.

Feeling a bit intrigued how these two shopkeepers could get along so well, I did probe(completely womanish you may label!) if there were no 'acceptance problems' with any of them. One owner being a hard core vegetarian (yes, in many parts of India fish is considered non-vegetarian) and the fish seller who could not probably sleep without the smell of fish around. Interestingly, both of them detested each others presence from the word 'Go', for obvious reasons! Each day they found (created) a reason to fight with one another. What changed the equations then? was my obvious next question.



Well, well, the rains in July 26 2007 when Mumbai came to a virtual stand still, their lives changed completely. In the rage of the rains, in the need for survival against all odds each one helped another in saving not only their lives but also their 'hard earned' money for the day. Not only that the pure vegetarian owner of the Hot Chips offered to his fish seller neighbour to give shelter to his prized catch of fresh fish and stored them along with his chips!

I am entirely convinced that disasters have a hidden message from the universe that we otherwise fail to learn. The theories we profess all the time are tested and verified when disaster strikes! Many a times we try and find issues with people around us and convince ourselves that their behaviour upsets us! The fact of the matter very often being that as much as we are trying to change others, they are also doing the same - trying to change us!

If we are wise enough to realize these differences and live with it, our daily life will be a joyous picnic every minute. If not we will have to wait for a disaster to strike to experience 'unity in diversity'.

What would you like? Fish & Chips to begin with? :)