The Carnivores Of Bangalore: A Story About The Elections

No more momo
No more momo

I look forward to Sundays.
Not only because I can sleep in and wander around in my tatty nightclothes all day long because there are no maids, no drivers, no visitors, nobody around to judge me, but also because it’s our day to go out to dinner.
We’re not adventurous though, when it comes to eating. There are a handful of places we like to go to on a Sunday evening, because they know how rare our steaks have to be and that despite our appearance, we are actually on a low-carb diet. They won’t bring us the mashed potatoes and garlic bread.
Unless there’s a cricket match.
In which case we stay home and old SO (Significant Other) plays with his Excel while I’m jumping up and down between sixes and Facebook.
Or I have a gig.
I’m a part-time musician you see, and aside from working here at BangaloreMag, I sing jazz songs with my band, the moment some kindly restaurant or nightclub asks us to come and entertain their patrons.
I actually had a gig at one of my favourite venues last Sunday, and I was all geared up to go try out some new material, when the call came to Lovelina, who handles the band’s bookings.
“It’s the elections,” the club owner said. “We have to close down the club. We’ll reschedule.”
“But they don’t sing protest songs. They don’t talk about revolution. They’re mostly about love and moons and stars, soppy stuff actually” she tried explaining to the club owner.
“I know, I know. There’s nothing I can do. It’s the election commission. They don’t want to take a chance.”
“A chance on what?” she asked him.
“Drinking and voting. A deadly combo,” he replied with a laugh.
But the ban wasn’t on bars and nightclubs alone. There’s a category called ‘Bar and Restaurant.’ Such places were out of luck too, effectively crossing out all the places where old SO and I could have spent a few pleasant hours, doing the NYT crossword, sipping extra-chilled Diet Coke, debating the merits and demerits of Hellering (falling off the no-carb wagon) and so on.
The only food places allowed to operate last Sunday were those that didn’t serve alcohol.
So we were stuck at home.
No match. No gig. No nice restaurant to go to. Just me and the Old SO, some pre-recorded episodes of Jon Stewart, whom I’m beginning to dislike more and more because he says the same thing every night.
“You order dinner,” said the old SO in a syrupy way, “You do it so well.”
He’s full of it, the old SO, but he’s right. I do a better job of ordering.
I called our neighbourhood Chinese take out. “Deep Fried Pork Momos, Roast Duck and…” I was cut short by the nice lady who runs the place. “No pork.  No duck.”
“Ok,” I tried. “Chicken Spring Rolls, Squid in Oyster Sauce and…”
“No chicken, no squid Ma’am,” she said, very apologetic.
She’d once sent me a beautiful Chinese teacup with a lid because I’m a ‘favoured customer.’
“Ok what do you have?” I asked, trying not to show my exasperation.
“Vegetables and noodles,” she informed me. “We’ve run out of everything else.”
I tried another eatery. One that serves chicken biryani and mutton brain fry, fish masala and prawn curry. I was quite hungry. I’d have eaten mule butt.
“Sorry madam,” he said. “No pork, chicken, mutton and prawn. Only vegetables and rice. Daal and chappati’s too.”
I tried a few other places around the neighbourhood, at least six (since home delivery is mostly restricted to a few kilometres from the source) and the story was the same everywhere.
“No shawarma, no kebabs. But we have fresh pita and hummus,” said the man in the Arabian place.
All the meat was gone.
On election day, Bangalore had eaten up all the protein available in town leaving only carbs.
I ended up making us omelettes.

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