Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy (Veggie) Birthday!!

It’s my father in laws birthday today – on a monday. He is Indian and thus Hindu… at least to some extent. I never see much sign of Hinduism when I come there to visit, so they are pretty relaxed about the whole thing. One thing that shines through though, is the fasting! Indians or Hindu’s are fasting all the time. Maybe that’s why they are talking about what they ate here and there at all times?! …and for fun; they bake of course! On a regular basis they fast... not 24/7… but once a week at least. Some times they fast for a longer periode, and then you have the Kavady fasting. They probably have other fasting periods that I don’t know about also, as I have yet to experience the full 12 months patterns.

All Indians without exception do the once a week fasting! This day of fasting seems to be consistent on a Monday! It’s very tempting to believe that this is the original “blue Monday”! Fasting as I know it from Norway is when you can’t eat anything at all… only drink. No wonder Indians are so tiny with so much of fasting during the year! The tradition here though is different. Fasting means no meat – anything else you can eat. Still, with so much of fasting… that’s a hell of a lot of vegetables during a year! Five a day is no problem for a Hindu! A lot of Hindu’s are also vegetarians (what would be the difference really), especially in India where the major part of the Hindu’s live. On a rare occasion when they are allowed to eat meat they are not allowed to touch the cow either. It’s hard to be a Hindu in India!!

After migrating to South Africa though, they (the indentured labourers and sugar cane workers from India) give a damn about the cow and enjoy it thoroughly! I know my father in law well enough also to know that vegetarian food is not welcomed at any given time. He loves meat! More than once, have we made jokes about going to Steers for a proper sizzling burger on such occasion! We did not always stop with the joke either.

Today, on his own birthday though, I truly expected that the fasting could be postponed and moved to the following Tuesday. Actually, I could not imagine even in my wildest dreams that this once a year occurrence could be less important than the every week fasting?! It’s not every year even… coz only once every 7 years or so (leap years makes it confusing) does it fall on a Monday!

When I speak to him on the phone though, to wish him happy birthday, I can hear instantly that something is wrong! The normal polite conversation about the family, to make sure that everything is well, is out today. We cut to the point – it’s Monday and vegetable day! They made a lot of vegetable briyani though, but it’s still just vegetables, right. Tomorrow, when the two of them still have a ton of vegetables left, they can throw in some meat and have a well deserved birthday dinner… only one day too late! It is really sad!! I feel like driving all the 711 kilometres to their doorstep right now… and buy a burger or a steak on the way. Instead, this day will forever be remembered as the veggie birthday!


inu said...


Jonny said...

Didn't we go to Shayona Restaurant in Fordsberg a couple of times??? Veggie restaurant that!! You're a Hindu bru... admit it! You're one of those hardcore ones deep inside also, I'm sure of it!! You'll probably pull the rath in next years Kavady also... so you should probably start fasting any time now!

Sleepless said...

hahahaa!!! Poor pappa, although if he was the recipient of my mom's veg biryani and pavasum then there's little to complain about...i must go tuck into my salad now.....