Scene 1: An empty plot of land which serves as a garbage dump for the neighborhood. A rag picker, a young boy of about five is rummaging through it. He finds some stale food in a plastic bag among the contents. He, who presumably has not had enough food ever since he can remember, does not give a second thought before gobbling it up. Hunger and heat are driving him crazy. For a morsel of food………
Scene 2: An overflowing garbage bin in one of the by lanes of an over-populated colony. A woman, a suckling mother, finds a rotten banana among the contents. She has two options. Either to feed the baby or satiate her own hunger. Her motherly instincts win over her survival instincts. The poor baby survives another day. For a morsel of food……..
Scene 3: The Great Indian Wedding Reception. One thousand guests, most of whom are pot bellied and go gymming or exercising to be in shape, forget all that their dietician told them. Delicious food laden plates in hand, they discuss about removing poverty and illiteracy from the country.
Scene 4: My office cafeteria. For thirty two bucks, you get a dal, two varieties of subzi, curd, salad, rice and chapattis. And yes..I forgot to add dessert. And you can take as much as you can. Unbelievable right? And people do take as much as they can.
None of the above scenes are fictional. It’s a stark reality.
Just becuse we are lucky enough to have access to excess, does that mean we should waste?
Just because you-can-take-as-much-as-you-can in a wedding reception or an office cafeteria, does that mean you should pile up your plates? And even before you are half through it, you realise that you are full. and eventually, the food finds its way to the office garbage bin.
Does that ever make you think about the millions of people around the world who die every day, only because they hadn’t eaten in days? This does not happen only when wars/crisis happen. This happens every day in our lives.
I see the last scene in my office repeatedly. Every single day. And these people walk with a nonchalance that very well fits their attitude. Nothing bothers them. Nothing affects them. I just want to tell them….Guys, try fasting for two days. No, not because that will help you reduce weight. But just because you don’t have any food. THEN, try to give me that nonchalance. Huh..!!!!
We as a generation are very selfish. The deaths do not affect us directly..do they? Well, they don’t even affect us indirectly. So we don’t want to bother about these frivolous issues. We have more important things at hand like deciding which movie to go for on the weekend, which pub to hit on X’s birthday and so on and so forth. When you are busy smearing cake on X’s face during the cake cutting, just try and think about the poor kid in Scene 1. Maybe that will help you in understanding my point.
What you throw at life always comes back to hit you in the face. I hope not, for all of us.
A sincere request: Please do not revel in the life of excess, as if you have earned it. We have just been lucky. Be thankful to God for it. And don’t waste if you have extra. You have more than enough people to share it with. And the happiness when you see a contended smile is soothing as well as heart wrenching. If you can’t give something, at least don’t throw it away like it didn’t matter to anyone. It does. To a Million People, around the world.
Scene 5: Polished clean plates in home/wedding reception and office cafeterias around the world.
That’s the first step towards stopping food wastage. I wish I would see Scene 5 more often. Amen.