Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a story from India

At dinner, while my Dad was waiting for me to finish eating dinner, he brought up my not eating all the food on my plate. In India, it's considered very bad to throw away food, because food is God, it's a gift that is scandalous to throw away. I usually threw away my food when I got full and didn't feel like eating. So I was joking about it, and my Dad became serious. A sort of misty shadow fell across his face, like he was remembering a very old moment. Then he said "Let me tell you a story"

When I was a boy in India, I was taking the train to go to a friend's house. On the seats across from me was a boy who looked about 7 years old. He was with his little sister, who was about 4, and by their looks, the both were very poor. When the train stopped at a platform, you know what the platform is, right? (yes, continue) While I was inside, there was a tea vendor on the platform. The girl in front of me started to cry, "I need food, I'm hungry!" The boy immediatly took his sister and stepped out of the train to the tea vendor and begged him for something to eat. The vendor barked "No! Get away from here you dirty dogs!" The boy begged more, and finally the vendor gave (luckily) a small finger sized bit of bread and a small cup of tea, only a few drops. Taking it, the boy began to force his little sister to eat it. And I realized that the starving 7 year old boy didn't eat anything himself, and fed his sister instead.

When my Dad finished the story, I began forking down my dinner. I thought about the boy, how saintly he was, how loving and innocent and well: saintly. 


Roma said...

That's such a heart-wrenching story, Kirthi. You hear things like this all the time, stories of a saint. But to know that your dad saw this with is own eyes, makes it more real, more relate-able, and therefore, more impacting. I live by that rule. I always finish the food on my plate, regardless of whether I'm full or not. When I was little, and I was full or didn't want to eat the rest of my food, I'd secretly through it away while my parents weren't looking. As I became older, I realized WHY my parents asked me not to waste my food. From then on, I hardly waste food, and try to take only as much food as I need. It's a pretty good habit to get into, but not one that most people will ever get into.

Brent Taylor said...


There is a kindness in you, real as an organ. I just want to compliment you on your superb blogging and thank you for being my friend.

Very, very sad story! Unfortunately our government would rather spend money on war rather than funding some type of charity for these hungry children.


Julia said...

Seeing this sort of thing in India is what made me grow a semi-bad habit of eating absolutely everything on my plate even after I was full(overeating's never good). The solution is to have your first serving be a lot less than the maximum amount you can stomach.

But it is really so sad, isn't it? My grandparents keep a box of Cadbury's, Bourbon, etc in their car to give those who need food, instead of money.

Tiff said...

That is a very sad story. Many people hear similar stories to do these all the time. It doesn't really impact people until they see it themselves or a person close to them has seen it.

I remember my mom always said to only put on your plate what you can eat. Even if I couldn't finish it, I had to save it for tomorrow. These days, I am super careful to not waste food. Especially at restaurants. When you can't finish a dish, the restaurant usually throws it away. I always ask the waiter to pack to up so I can eat it later.

I am glad you shared that heart-wrenching yet inspiring story with us, Kirthi.

Blueicegal ♥ said...

So heartbreaking, made me very sad. Unfortunately this continues to happen.