Friday, February 5, 2016

What is the value of a bottle of water?

“What is the tastiest food in the world?”, asked Thomas master. That was how he was always. He would post some questions to get the whole attention of the class. It’s needless to say he badly wanted such a question in that Friday last period to agitate the students.

7B got animated!

“With prawn roast, I can eat a pot of rice…”, everyone chuckled for Johnny Mathan’s answer.

“Sambar is the best curry in the world”, Siddhu, son of Appaswami, had no doubt about it.

“Mutton Chops”
“Appam with Chicken”
“Rasam”
“Curd Curry”

Christina was describing about lobster that nobody knew about.

“Tomato Curry”
“Fish Milk Curry”
“Chicken Biryani”
“Choclate…”

Known and unknown aroma of tempting tastes invaded their senses, making their mouth water.

“Tell me Radha…?”, master pointed at pappat maker Santhamma’s son, Radhakrishnan, mockingly or tenderly called ‘Pappat’. He was poor but good at studies.

With heavy eyes, for helping his mother the previous night, he stood up. All those indolent eyes were on him. He looked straight at the eyes of the master and said without any rush.

“Hungry, Master…”
“Hungry is the tastiest food in the world!”

For a second, Thomas master was thunderstruck. He raised his hands to his spectacles…

Those words made no sense to those students. So was I.

Having hailed from the outskirts of a village in Kerala, I had never thought that a bottle of water had any value. Neither in the sophisticated life of Chicago did I. Even when I paid Rs 50 for a small bottle of water in Bangalore, it didn’t really mean to me anything. Perhaps, because my company is paying me more than that for the 15 minutes that I play table tennis.

But, in the midst of a very delicious potluck luncheon, the award winning picture of the African child and vulture flashed in my eyes. And popped up a question. What is the value of a bottle of water?
It may have no value for me. Or maybe just Rs 50.

But, it’s different for that child, for whom the hungry vulture waited for.

I think the value of a bottle of water for him is HIS LIFE.

I saw a lot of lives in the waste basket, after the potluck.

It also made me deep dive into some definitions.

What is food?

My Google guru said, “Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth”. And it’s very evident that food is for our growth.

What are the attributes of food?

My common sense says there are mainly two. All others can be grouped into these two, I believe. And they are:

Healthy! Tasty!

The very definition of food explains and it’s very evident that food is to be healthy. It needs no elucidation.

We all know how important the food is to be tasty too. Some people love eating food. Some others love to prepare and feed others. Whatever it is, taste is something indispensable and uncompromisable.

What do we pay the food for?

Obviously, it’s for health. But, mostly and unfortunately, it’s for taste. Don’t yell at me, if you are a health conscious foodie. All I meant is that the food we take is this expensive, mainly for its taste. Again are you not happy? Let me put it this way. Typically, taste adds complexity (good or bad) to the food we intake.

If I’m right in reasoning, my next question makes sense to you.

Should we really account for taste?

As per Wikipedia, taste is defined as the sensation produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds.

That means that you can taste any delicious food in the world, only for a minute (if you are a slow eater like me). Once the food is down to the taste buds in your tongue, it makes no sense to you. All that you feel after that is just trick of your brain. Yes, this little thing cheats us every now and then.

Now, should we really pay for taste?

Again, the answer is very personal. No.

However, I can add another dimension to it, why my answer is a ‘No’.
Health is objective, whereas taste is subjective.

You can objectively measure your health, thanks to latest science. On the other hand, taste is individual. For few at least, even the bitter gourd is also tasty. It also means that you can train yourself to make any food tasty, up to a good extend.

No offence to foodies! It’s just a loud thinking. Everything is subjective.


But there is something nobody disagrees, at least. The value of a bottle of water is not just Rs 50. It could be a life too!

Let’s not waste food!


Courtesy: The unknown author of the story in WhatsApp group, the one who shared it and the one who captured the eye-opening picture

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