Hungry birds

By the law of natural selection, this week I should be writing on the poll results of five States. But journos and columnists, Left, Right and Centre, not to speak of twitterattis, above and everywhere, have torn apart and bared every conceivable point and perspective, that there is nothing new for me to say. So natural rejection suggests that I stop now.

And then pops up this viral video of a famished food delivery ‘boy’ of an online company, gorging on, well, food, en route, to the delivery destination. This certainly offers some delicious food for thought, more palatable than the stale poll meals that have given an indigestion to politicos, pundits and people alike. So, enter, the new concepts of ‘Food deducted at source’, ‘Food deducted while on course’ etc., in Food Economics or better still, Foodnomics.

So, we are onto something that is more nutritious to the mind than the flatulent debates of the primetime paragons. The delivery boy may have digressed from his duty by placing the sensations of his stomach ahead of the call of the customer, by ‘short-changing’ the latter. But then, without defending his misdemeanour, it needs to be stressed that he is not a ravenous glutton but a simpleton trying to whet his scorching appetite, particularly with the irresistible succour riding pillion. After all, even the most well bred cannot resist lobbing a crumb of bread or cashew into the mouth on the sly from an unattended plate in a party for the pampered!

But are not these starving delivery boys also unwittingly delivering a familiar message: the primal message that a harsh hunger can overwhelm every other human emotion. Evolution of homosapiens has always moved on the stomach, not limbs. The state of the ‘madhya pradesh’ of our body is critical for the whole. A hungry man can put a brutal naxal of Chhattisgarh to the shade and his anger can be hotter than the hottest pickle of Telangana. When his stomach shrinks to its depths, his expectation is not a grand Rajasthani Thali or a Rajasthani desert, er, dessert, but whatever he could lay his hands on. A Mizo delivery boy would do just the same: rice, I mean, rise to the furtive occasion should it offer itself. Indeed, stomachism is more universal than any other ‘isms’.

But getting back to evolution, from gathering food to hunting for it to rudimentary agriculture to modern day farming, brain and brawn have to necessarily yield to the stomach first. Hunger brings out the worst in human psyche. Its effect on humanity ranges from the inability to think or move to the extreme cannibalism. While hunger is a unifier of people, its unequal satiation divides. Hunger is at the root of all the strife that have haunted human life through history.

On the lighter side, hunger calls the bluff of many a pompous fad. The dieting fancy, which is about watching what one eats, falls flat while watching what others eat. Onions, tomatoes and potatoes, that all are so dear to our stomach, have brought down governments when they became dearer in the market.

In TN, political fasts have long become the biggest frauds. Most fasts, ideally at the breezy Marina, start after breakfast and break up before lunch break. Fasts between feasts are quite rational here. Plain hunger has struck down many a hunger strike launched with much fanfare. A hungry stomach is certain to give a kick in the butt for any lofty ideology, that are often paraded by fattened leaders before a gullible, but yes, hungry, audience.

And in high brow VIP receptions, the salivating guests are a sight to behold, as they eye the high table loaded with a sumptuous spread, to bite and binge even as their host is busy with his never ending bytes. Well, I know of this painful ‘table manners’ from personal experience.

This online food delivery model of the West could be a logistical nightmare in developing and third world countries. In the latter, the delivery boys come from a strained strata of society. They take up the career of carting around carriers out of compulsion, not passion. Being a matter of bread and butter, they slog from morning to night, often going without food for hours. The viral video is only the tip of the iceberg.

Such incidents have become very common and the food delivery boys for their part have started protesting. Yes, there are retailers also who have delivery boys, but the latter can’t eat instantly and only sell, for later gratification, what they carry, say, an iPhone, which by the way, has a bitten apple for a logo! For a food delivery boy on an empty stomach, this test of integrity is severe and shameful. Who would want to be caught devouring stolen or someone else’s food?

Moral of the story: You should have stopped with reading para 1. I warned.

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Jawahar T R