LIVE FOR FOOD OR FOOD FOR LIFE- A different approach

A question that has been troubling mankind ever since its origin - whether to live for food or to eat food just in order to sustain life. From the time immemorial, when Kumbhakarna, the brother of Ravana, the then emperor of erstwhile Lanka, used to feed for six months nonstop and sleep out the next six months to this day when i heard my neighbour shouting at his son and asking him “Is your life meant for eating food or will you ever find your means yourself”, this particular topic has been relevant.


When you see the poor children, the children of the street, if you are a human in the true sense, you would definitely feel sympathy towards them. Even a tinge of humanity, if present in you, should make your eyes wet. These children, the so called beggars, come and plead us for little money to buy food, to satisfy the cries of their stomach. Their goal is after all to find some means to get food whenever hungry. Yes, these people live for food.ou would definitely feel sympathy towards them. Even a tinge of humanity, if present in you, should make your eyes wet. These children, the so called beggars, come and plea

And then there is another group of people. They work day and night to fulfil their aims. It is said that Rajiv Gandhi used to sleep just around two to three hours and that he used to take food only when his schedule permitted him to do so. Mother Theresa never used to consume food unless she had fed all the others whom she was taking care of. We have also heard of the hard work Millikan had put in to establish that his Oil Drop experiment had not gone in vain. Sporting greats occasionally mention that they limit their food so as to suit their practice and match schedules. It can be assumed that these people have little affinity for food and that work is worship for them.

There is yet another group of people who have money and for whom having food does not cause trouble in their professional life. But still most of these people avoid food to take care of their beauty or health. The undertake diets just to maintain the slimness of their body. And some avoid food to balance diabetes and cholesterol troubles. These people would love to have food but their circumstances and ways of thinking do not allow them to do so.

A fact still remains that most of the people spend a majority of their income on food, if not at the home then outside in some restaurants or so. Most of the parties for celebrating some graceful occasion or some successful accomplishment are meant for serving food in the name of the happiness of the host. All these taken together and summed up, it feels that the heading should be changed from ‘whether to eat food as a basic necessity or to eat food as a luxury symbol’.


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The Quintessential December Season experience: A sabha’s perspective

A sabha is an organisation that conducts carnatic concerts. They usually have a tie-up with a concert hall, and all their concerts throughout the year take place there. The trials and tribulations that sabhas go through stem from the fact that they are an organisation in a creative field- where there is none. Steady revenue is a long forgotten dream. The sabhas make more than 50% of their revenue in December. This month is a time of frantic activity, with concerts going on throughout the day. The challenge faced by the sabha is to merge the requirements and expectations of the artists and the listeners.

Apart from money, artists have other expectations which have to be met. The sound system needs to be managed professionally, by someone who is knowledgeable about music, and knows his way around a stereo. Many senior artists are only available on their own time, the sabha has to prepare schedules accordingly. Artists also demand respect, which is something that sabhas have to be very careful about. Hurt egos and sentiments can go a long way in ruining a reputation. Sabhas have to look after these needs while handling hundreds of applications from budding artists looking for a slot in their tight schedule.

setting up mikes is a perpetual headache for the sabhas…

On the other hand, there are the listeners who demand the complete experience. It’s not only about the music- It’s about the hall, the food, the atmosphere. Sabhas are forced to keep morning and afternoon concerts open to all, partly for promotion but mainly because of peer pressure. Most listeners are not ready to pay money for short concerts performed by upcoming artists. Then there are the evening concerts, where crowds in the order of thousands have to be managed efficiently without incident, day after excruciating day.

All in all, the role of a sabha is as difficult as it is important. After all, they provide the crucial interface between the artists and the listeners.

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The Quintessential December Season experience: A listener’s perspective

Any Chennai-ite worth his salt will know that, come December, there is a buzz in the air. And it is not the unusually cold weather. It is the constant chatter of housewives pouring out of concert halls, the whirring and whining of strained motorcycle engines, their owners frantically moving from one concert to another, instrument in hand and clad head to toe in sparkling white traditional attire, unmindful of the dusty roads that surround them, and the muffled sounds of music, emanating from ‘soundproof’ concert halls throughout the city. It is the onset of the December Season, and the excitement that surrounds it.

One can spend the whole day, immersed in Carnatic music, performed in over 100 concert halls spread throughout the city. If one is comfortable with the age old system of public transport, with it’s rickety buses and dust-laden trains, all that is required for a complete experience are a wallet (with money) and a well adjusted pair of ears.

A typical day would start with an early concert- as early as 7:30 AM- for those who can wake up as the sun rises. These are usually unconventional ones, like lecture demonstrations, where everyone from a new listener to a seasoned performer stands to learn something or the other. This is followed by breakfast at the famed ‘sabha canteen’. These canteens offer a wide variety of south Indian delicacies- each canteen different from the other. From Mountbatten Mani to Nyanambika, there is a vast array of options. This food is as important a part of the December season experience as the music- these is a class of people who go concert hopping just for the food!

Canteen food is a very important part of the experience!

A short bus ride to ponder over the events of the morning is followed by a series of mid-morning and afternoon concerts at the same hall, separated by lunch in a different canteen. These concerts are usually performed by less experienced and budding artists, and are typically pretty short. One can sit through two or three of these after lunch, and also catch up on some much needed sleep in the dark, cozy, air conditioned hall. So far, the money spent only involves travel and food, since most of the morning and afternoon concerts are not ticketed.

Reinvigorated after a nap and strong filter coffee, the next step of the journey takes us to one of many premier concert halls in the city- Music Acadamey, Narada Gana Sabha etc. – to witness the highlight concert of the day, the one with the biggest stars and popular faces in the music sphere- this is the Super Bowl of the music season.

It is here that the December season explodes into life. The huge crowds that throng venues leave you wondering whether this is a concert or a cricket match. Halls fill up beyond capacity, with people even sitting outside to watch on TV screens. It is a sea of colour, followed by the captivating tunes of seasoned experts, followed by the smell of well seasoned canteen dinner. Overall, an assault on the senses.

The last item on the agenda is a final ride on the bus, amidst the constant chatter of people discussing everything from T.M Krishna’s pallavi to Bombay Jayshree’s red saree.

After a good night’s sleep, rinse and repeat!



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Scary Facts about Food Advertisements and Fast Food

Scary Things about Fast foods

Ever wonder why food in an advertisement looks so much better than what’s actually served? Well, using an Indian analogy, its like watching a Rajanikanth movie and expecting him to be as handsome as he appears to be on television: yes, advertisement food has its own set of make up artists who add that reddish tinge to sauce, make those noodles extra soft and long, and those vegetables extra fresh and healthy!
So what exactly do I mean by ‘make-up’? Well do you fancy having furniture polish, paint and motor oil, or even deodorant for dinner? Hold on to your appetite, because its in for a bumpy ride.

Fast Food Make-up

the sumptuous chicken, or that beautiful steak is RAW, the brown colour added using a blowtorch, and chemical colourants, not to mention brown shoe polish.
The bubbles at the top of a fizzy drink are made by adding a mix of the liquid and KEROSENE using a dropper.
White glue is a common substitute for milk.
Salad dressing is a mix of powdered herbs and oil, applied with a brush.
Motor oil substitutes-unphotogenic syrups.
Mashed potato is injected into meat and sandwitches, using a syringe to make it look fatter.
Glue to stick sesame and other small additions.
That was in the ad. Now what goes on in the kitchen?
one hamburger can contain the meat of upto a hundred cows. They’re mass produced in industries.
McDonald’s fries are flavored with unspecified animal products.

A Piece of Cake - Before and After

Before reshaping, foods like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bologna and pepperoni look like a disgusting sludge of pink paste. This is done through a process called mechanical separation, which is a cost-effective way to “smooth out” bone remnants left after the de-boning process. The process results in excessive bacteria, which is fixed by washing the meat in ammonia. To cover up that delicious ammonia flavor, the meat is then re-flavored artificially and dyed to resemble to type of meat it once was.
The Strawberry flavor, ice cream, shakes and others contains 50 different chemicals
The phosphoric acid found in cola is so acidic that it can dissolve a nail in 4 days.
Some yogurts contain beef or pork gelatin. Unless stated that the yoghurt is vegetarian (and sometimes in spite of it.)

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