Decision making

What a week it has been for decision making in India. The Indian Supreme Court struck down the instant triple talaq and also upheld the fundamental right to privacy. While doing the latter, it also vindicated one of Indian judiciary’s foremost tragic heroes, Justice H.R. Khanna whose dissenting note in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shukla, case is the stuff of legends within the bar and the bench.

 

Just about 12 years back, I made a decision to defy the herd mentality and take up the profession of law. Honestly, it was not an altogether uninformed decision. I liked debating, I loved writing and I enjoyed conversations. Seemed like the natural choice. Still does feel like a natural choice I admit, although my heart flutters a little more when I take up lecturing assignments.

 

But I did not fully appreciate the social consequences of this choice. In a society obsessed with science and mathematics and in more recent times Business Management, the choice of taking up the law was okay, no doubt. But as a lawyer, one is not a software engineer or a product manager in a high and fancy place. It is more a perception than it is a fact of course.

 

Exactly three years back, I decided to apply for a LLM at Harvard and Berkley. I didn’t get through to Harvard, got through to Berkley’s professional track LLM program and didnt end up going. I was an idiot, firstly for trying and secondly for turning down the LLM. But in hindsight I realise that choice was driven more by the need to live someone else’s expectation and someone else’s dream. It certainly wasn’t my dream then and if it was, it certainly was hazy and lacked clarity.

 

Decision making is inherently tough. Decisions have consequences, that are more often than not, difficult to foresee. Under these circumstances, it is important that one gets rid of irritants like societal expectations, family perceptions and just the general need to satisfy someone else’s expectations. I say so not just to improve one’s decision making, but also to prevent someone else from wasting time on the exercise I find myself indulging in every once in a while viz., wanting the approval of others.

 

As I write this post, I feel compelled to blow my own trumpet by describing the many good things I did following the decision to practice law. But that is a product of an insecurity and the desire to convince others of a choice I made or a decision I took. I should not do that, now should I 🙂

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

 

 

 

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Future Shock

Colour television was a marvel, cable television was magic and cordless telephone was sorcery. As a child born in the 80s and growing up in the 90’s, I saw the onset of the future. Be it the aforesaid or email, pager or the mobile phone, the pace and the sheer possibilities emerging technologies left me feeling like I grew up in a world similar to Hogwarts and Harry Potter.

 

On the other hand- I find myself feeling as irrelevant as my parents and grandparents felt in my world. I can hardly relate to today’s music, lyrics or even cinema and literature for that matter. After having enjoyed the works of Fredrick Forsyth, his retirement from espionage thrillers has left a void in my world that even the best of espionage writers of today haven’t been able to fill. Having found myself moved to tears by the actor of yesteryear, Dr. Rajkumar, I am now offended when some critics remark that he was a little too dramatic for their liking.

 

I find myself battling irrelevance. It is scary and I feel more conscious of it than I should. As much as I tell myself that I must turn with the world, my sensibilities have been conditioned and stimulated in a certain manner for so long, I am finding it difficult to retune them to accommodate the Justin Lins and Justin Biebers of todays world.

 

And yet, the future did not bring many of the bounties it was supposed to. Solutions and spirit of inquiry was to substitute prejudices. Boundaries were to disappear to make room for more people to people interaction. Yet today the information age has turned us into zombies and prejudices are becoming more entrenched than they were ever before. Boundaries, far from disappearing, are now emboldened in the hyper nationalist narrative which is stuck on correcting history instead of correcting the present and the future.

 

I have now made peace with the miniscule and irrelevant nature of my individual existence. I cannot affect what is not mine and that’s just what the future is. I am a victim of the future shock already. All I can now hope to do is to ensure my future generations accept the future and mould it appropriately instead of being shocked by it. I fear its now their battle more than mine.

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

The Resident Indian son

The antonym of the non resident Indian son is the resident Indian son. He is also known as the black sheep, the other guy or simply the guy who lives in his parents’ home (not unlike the stereotype of the man living in his mother’s basement).

 

At the outset, if you are the resident Indian son, you are many things. But it is easier to describe what you are not, which is anyone or all of the following,

  • Not a software engineer
  • Most likely not a science degree holder
  • Couldn’t make it beyond a bachelor’s degree without wanting to kill yourself.
  • Not talked about in family functions or gatherings.
  • Not the favourite child in the family functions and gatherings.
  • Not rich (enough and never can be)
  • Talented but not talented enough
  • Not marriageable material
  • Not cool
  • Not the role model

What experts can say that a resident Indian son is, that too with a reasonable degree of certainty, is as follows- he is the guy who everyone has to speak to about how awesome his non resident indian counter part is. Make no mistake, he is no underachiever. He is just the disappointment by omission. In other words- they don’t have bad things to say about the resident indian son. They just don’t have good words to offer either. After all he isn’t slaving away for one of those big companies that steal your data and profit from it.

 

But the resident Indian son has a lot going for him. One, he doesn’t patronize the country or its governance, even though the situation merits such patronizing. Of course his non resident counter part would argue that this is because the resident indian son is merely ignorant. That is unfortunately true. Unlike the conservative leanings of his non resident counter part, the resident Indian son likely endorses liberal causes like equal rights for gay people, mostly because like gay people, resident Indian sons are not particularly admired in our society (And lets face it given a choice, the resident indian son would also be declared illegal).

 

He is probably philosophically inclined. He views material pleasures like fancy cars and big mansions with detachment, primarily because unlike his non resident counter part, enlightenment is a compulsion and not a choice. He prides himself as the man who sold his non existent Ferrari before the big life changing heart attack, because lets face it, he can’t afford treatment for a heart attack. He isn’t impressed easily by wealth, especially the wealth of his non resident counterpart. Experts have a term for this skepticism- insecurity or envy, as the case may be.

 

The resident Indian son and his non resident counterpart share one thing in common- a love for Donald Trump, albeit for different reasons. While the non resident Indian loves Trump for his unabashed loathing of all things cultural, intelligent and Islamic; the resident Indian loves trump for highlighting the stupidity of his non resident counter part. Trump also made the resident Indian son feel good about his otherwise bad decision of not wanting to go to the U.S. to study and work. Trump, in other words, did what the resident Indian sons’ parents never could do- made him feel proud of his choice (non existent one) of staying back in India.

 

To the parents who view the resident son as the less accomplished version of the non resident counter part, remember this- the resident indian son is the watchman, the driver, the nurse and the caretaker. In other words the resident indian son is all your non resident indian’s son’s employees put into one multi talented individual and you guys get him for free. In other words, when there is something wrong in your neighbourhood, who do you call? The resident Indian son (for free). Treasure him, adore him and if you can bring yourself to, tell him you are proud of him (even though both of you know that ain’t true).

Eastern and Western Culture

I am not nearly not as well travelled as I ought to be to speak intelligently on this subject. The sights and sounds of many eastern cultures in countries like Indonesia, China, Korea, Laos, Mongolia,Japan, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have eluded me or I have eluded them. While I often promise myself that I will make up for these experiences, my travel to the west has been confined to barcelona and tuscanny on the west and Singapore on the east. In fact, when I think about it I haven’t even seem the eastern part of India itself.

 

With whatever limited exposure I have had to the cultures on both sides of the vertical hemisphere, I like to focus on the positives while being acutely aware of the many negatives. With a lot of eastern cultures, such as the japanese and the koreans, the discipline and sensitivity to people around them never cease to amaze me. With the many Japanese I have had the pleasure to interact with, their humility and just the sense of respect they afford to the other end of the conversation is unbelievable. In Singapore, I saw the opposite of Chaos, a uniquely Indian trade mark. The sense of respect for a pedestrian right of way and for a line at the metro, never ceased to impress. Not a single vendor frowned at me for not giving change.

 

My travels to the west yielded rich experiences too. In Spain and Italy, I discovered hospitality, which until then I was told was exclusively an Indian forte. Their understanding and appreciation of our own culture, history and legacy contrasted our own lack of self respect and understanding of who we are and where we come from. I discovered courtesy, not just as a rare occurrence, but as a way of life. I discovered an appreciation for the concept of family which I think India has completely lost sight of. In more ways than one, Europe showed me what Indian culture was famous for.

 

In short, I have discovered that good people are the same everywhere. I have discovered the best in humanity everywhere. And while we are different in our own ways, we are also far more similar than we care to acknowledge. The boundaries that are drawn on maps and separate us seem so superficial. If only mankind could abandon the culture of selfishness and embraced his migratory instincts, I suspect that the many divides that we now have would disappear, not easily perhaps and with some struggle, but it eventually would.

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

Advice to a child who has just started dating

At 28, I am lucky that I don’t have the responsibility of a child in my life. At 28, I am also lucky to have relatives and friends with children whose character, maturity and sense of independence never ceases to inspire optimism in the next generation. Just a few days back I received word from one such friend that her daughter has some important news to share. As I got on to skype to talk to my niece, the increasingly red hues her face was assuming along with the sight of the young man seated next to her gave away the obvious, that she was dating for the very first time.

 

The lawyer within had just one thought ringing in my head, “background check”. But after what seemed like an eternal tussle between the lawyer and the uncle inside my mind, lasting an entire two seconds, I could only formulate one response, “Awwww, how adorable!”. However, I instead articulated another response which only a Banglorean can, “I am stuck in traffic right now. Can I speak to you guys later?”. So my longer and more layered response is as under.

 

Approval- one of the most highly overrated words in such situations. How can I on one hand preach the importance of recognising the autonomy and freedom of girls and on the other hand still emphasise that a daughter needs the approval of her father and her uncle to date a man she legitimately chose? So no question of approval here young lady.  Au contraire, my only hope remains that you share the happiness that you feel from this relationship with all of us, your family. I pray that you call upon us when you feel exhausted or in trouble from this relationship, so that we can create and hold your space as you find your way back up again. I don’t think you need approval, but allow me to ask your approval to remain available as and when you need us.

 

Every good relationship, especially the first one, follows a pattern- attraction, mutual awareness and the chaos called love. Nothing represents the utility of being alive than being in love. Your mind’s resolute focus and uncapped happiness at the mere concept of your boyfriend and the consequential understanding of how real he is, will remain the most thrilling of all the joys in your life. On the other hand that which you grow so close to, will also annoy and question your judgement like nothing else ever will. But so long as the integrity of your body and mind is recognised, respected and worshipped- enjoy this madness, for nothing makes a person grow as romance and love does.

 

Now we get to the part, where man excels best- hypocrisy. The fathers of this world have felt the joys of holding their partner’s hands, hearing the sound of their breathing and savouring the joys that come with physical intimacy. Awkward, therapeutic, hilarious and pleasurable are among the many words that can be used to describe those simple gestures such as cuddling or kissing. Yet, it is these very experienced men and women who dread the prospects of their child feeling these very emotions and experiences. Between my role as your uncle and as a brother to your mother, I have a thin line to walk on. So I will simply say this- You have a gifted intellect, an almost extraordinary level of emotional intelligence and intuition that has come from the efforts at self growth and mentoring that your own parents have provided you. I trust you to take care of yourself and to live life in a manner that makes you happy, contented and at peace. But if your parents ever ask, I spoke strongly about the merits of abstinence…..

 

So, to conclude- ignore the boring uncle who can’t stop speaking, craft your lies well (you never hugged your boyfriend, you simply shook hands with your man), have plenty of those experiences, the memories of which, will make you smile every single time and just celebrate the fact of having grown up and found someone special for the first time in your life.

 

And if ever, the man who is supposed to celebrate you ends up doing the opposite, let it be known to him, that the wrath of the law shall bring hell upon his very existence and that he shall cry like a little child at the end of it….. On that note, allow me to once again say, “aww” and wish you kids the very best of happiness.

 

Melting Pot

A contentious issue raging in my family as I am sure it does in many other families, is the subject of migration. During my travels in Europe recently, I recognised noticeable number of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin men and women. A significant number of retail shops in Barcelona were run by asian origin families. In many ways its a melting pot of cultures. India too is no different. Having been invaded and visited by mongols, huns, arabs and Europeans, our ethnic origins are hardly indigenous anymore.

The question remains how good or bad is this? All seriousness apart, I am a strong believer in migration. India is a classic example of a melting pot. But history apart, today the sheer variety of wonderful food that one can find between one city and the other is a testament to the utility of the “melting pot”. Between the south indian bisibele bath and the kashmiri wazwan and the luchi and koshohari mangsho in bengal and the khichdi in gujrat, nothing illustrates the importance of national integrity like all the flavours that treat the senses.

Hard to also forget all the good looking people that emerge from a melting pot. Barcelona a city that I absolutely fell in love with, stood out for the sheer concentration of beautiful women. As I was telling a friend recently, it isn’t a city of men and women . Rather, it is a city of gods and goddesses. I am given to understand that because Barcelona has had people from so many different parts of the world living there, the resulting glow and radiance among its people is inevitable. India is no different. Women from every part of India have distinct features and few other places in the world allow for the opportunity to celebrate diverse feminine beauty as India does.

One must however caution oneself against celebrating migration so quickly. Migration also leads to a dangerous infection called exchange of ideas and history shows that nothing good can come out of it. Christopher Colombus introduced sexual violence and ethnic cleansing in the Americas. Christian influx into India successfully convinced us to hate our bodies, body shame women especially and introduced guilt into an act our sages had branded as natural and even divine.

Another manifestation of a melting pot is the internet. Having spent a fair amount of time in this melting pot, I grew up embracing strange ideas like liberal human rights. A lot of stereotypes that had been drilled into my head went away. I made friends with people from religious backgrounds that were supposedly out to eliminate me. To my horror I discovered they would rather spend their time more usefully than being concerned with an idol worshipper in India. As my extended family will now testify, a melting pot does nothing good except to create rifts between family members and alienate older generations from the newer ones.

So speaking as a victim of the melting pot, beware of the probability of sin. But speaking as a sinner, I can say how totally worthwhile it is 😛

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons? Uniquely christian concepts I suppose. Reflecting on Hindu Mythology, the concept of devas (gods) and asuras (lesser of the demigods) are so much less black and white. In fact, some of the so called rakshasas were ardent devotees of various gods and earned many favours for their faith and penance. Devas, besides being mighty and noble and all that had their weaknesses and often ended up doing vain things. Perhaps Hindu mythology understood that the dichotomy of good and bad, while academically sound just won’t work in reality. Greek Gods too were similar in their character. Between Aries and Zeus, they indulged in their share of hanky panky. Don’t believe me? Ask how Hercules was born.

 

Basavanna, perhaps one of the greatest philosophers to have walked this earth, was a 12th century poet who understood the essence of vedic philosophy and founded an egalitarian movement. His poetry condemned all kinds of discrimination and urged people to find their soul through reflection, instead of seeking out god in the temples of the land. His poetry in Kannada remains true for generations. He and many other kannada poets like Sarvagna, constantly reminded people that heaven and hell are within and it is for one to find them with good conduct and behavior. But what is the right thing to do?

 

That then brings me to Angels and Demons. To me the first exposure to angels and demons occurred through the cartoon, Tom and Jerry. Often times, when faced with a crisis of conscience, the characters would have a demon and an angel appear on either side of their shoulder and offer advice both good and bad. But in hindsight, I admit that the bad advice could have led to more fun whereas the good advice would probably deprive good old tom of some much needed rewards. Its yet another thing that no matter what advice Tom took, Jerry always got the better of him because the script said so.

 

There lies, ladies and gentlemen, the lesson for us all? Angels and Demons are not the all powerful influences in our life. Their boss, like the script writer, just so happens to be “karma”. You listened to the angel and worked hard for a reward and yet it escaped you and instead the reward was in favour of someone less deserving? Lo, behold, Karma. On the other hand you decided to listen to the demon and indulged a nefarious inclination? Immediate gratification notwithstanding, live the remainder of your life wondering what fate awaits around the corner. Either Karma delivers or Karma inspires fear. Karma, come to think of it, is like batman. Angels and demons on the other hand are like your beat cop and criminal henchmen respectively. Ultimately, they both have their egos and bodies handed to them by the Bat.

 

But if you are looking for a shorter more crisp answer as to how to distinguish between angels and demons, I leave you to reflect on the photo taken of the pope and a certain orange man together…..

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

Creationism or evolution

The debate between creationism v. evolution is all about who is responsible for the mess that the planet is in right now? What convoluted logic would allow for mankind to forge ahead of other species and become the dominant one? After all, one look at the people we elect to power, mind you, elect to power, will reveal the inherent lack of intelligence in allowing man to rise this fast and this quick.

 

I suspect that once you see this in perspective, the believers will argue for evolution not wanting to blame God for this mess and the non believers will perhaps…. continue to give evolution the credit. Between the theists and the atheists I have found more integrity among the latter than in the former. So I would like to assume that they will take responsibility for evolution even if its product is messed up.

 

Creationism or evolution? It doesn’t matter really. Lets assume its evolution for the sake of argument. I have a condition that is the product of some idiotic ancestor of mine deciding to stand up on his two feet when the human body was clearly not ready for it. Despite the lapse of several thousands of years since that one poor judgement call, my back punishes me for my ancestor’s karma. The cure is apparently another twenty thousand years away when the human body finally figures out a solution. But I wonder what other errors of judgement I will make in this time posing more challenges to my descendants? For example will I decide to reproduce in space resulting in my child being born with a tail to navigate zero gravity? It may sound far fetched. But the crazier an act is likely to be, the more likely it is for a human being to do it.

 

Now let us assume it was creationism? What kind of an angry and spiteful being would inflict such poor sense into the aforesaid ancestor of mine resulting in punishment for thousands of generation? And is there any cure at all? Does the cure depend upon me pandering to the lord’s merciful and all powerful spirit? If so how long must I prostrate, with my back condition that too, to convince the good lord above to take mercy upon me? I suspect, with the quality of my faith, that this method would take longer than the next twenty thousand years.

 

The summary of the debate simply is this- creationism or evolution, the outcome of it is disappointing and reveals incompetence. The focus must be on solutions. That to me has just one answer- the people of this world must stop reproducing. Of all the things mankind did wrong, the one thing he did get right is birth control. I am sure creationists would be happy to give the evolutionists the credit for birth control. So let us pay our tribute to our maker, whoever it may be, by defying their wishes and simply stop reproducing. For every child we don’t bring to this world, we give ourselves and our planet a fighting chance to survive.

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

 

 

 

Language

So when I was in Spain, I was eating the famous churros when I heard this really catchy song playing in the background. My Spanish is slightly less atrocious than my latin and greek and I couldn’t help but get addicted to how catchy that tune was. With some difficulty, I registered one word “despacito” and when I returned to my hotel, I promptly retrieved the song on the net. As I grew increasingly addicted to the tune, I thought I should learn the meaning of the beautiful lyrics. Viola- like most pop music, the song was all about sex and rather explicit about it too. What sounded like passion and latin expression proved to be just another catering to popular culture.

 

Make no mistake, the song was still addictive. In Italy though, my friend and his 4 year old son were listening to yet another catchy song. While I couldn’t grasp much of the words, I could hear something that sounded like “dentalis karma”. Being the arrogant english speaker that I am, I naturally assume that all words have intended english meanings. I was entirely convinced that the song was about how an encounter with the dentist is the product of one’s bad karma. However, when I looked up the song, it was actually “occidentalis karma” and had really deep lyrics about the futility of western culture.

 

Clearly, my first experience as a foreigner in a country that doesn’t speak my languages ended in some rather stupid mistakes on how I understood words and expressions. But I am also amazed at the common elements of so many of these languages. “Babo” in Italian, a word used by children to call their father is remarkably similar to “Bapu”, a word commonly used in Indian languages to call for a father. “Venga, Venga, Venga”, the spanish expression for hurry up is frightfully similar to “Bega, bega, bega” which is the Kannada word for hurry up. Across the 7 seas, the common elements to human language is astounding.

 

The diversity and the lack of it involved in human languages is intriguing to say the least. While the human brain is anatomically rather similar across races and cultures, its understanding of the environment and how it evolved ideas and expressions never ceases to amaze. Why do we have different languages across different regions? What caused the Spaniards to develop “ola” as the sound to greet someone and why did the English developed “hello” instead?

 

Could it be that the diverse experiences of the human race across different regions influence the diversity in sounds and languages? Did we experience emotions differently? How did these emotions sound in our mind, so as to enable the words that express them? Why did some cultures define languages to express courtesy and restraint whereas other cultures define languages to express liberally, emotions and ideas?

 

If anything, I am more ignorant than ever after these experiences with foreign languages. While some master languages across cultures with ease, people like me remain flummoxed and amazed at what language can do and achieve. Hopefully one day I will find answers to the above questions.

 

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  MariaPravin and Shackman, Ramana

Travelogues- Italy and its Food

Priorities and objectives- the essence of every travel plan. During the many trips I took with my family, the patriarchs around us would insist on seeing every sight there was to see because of a question they perceived from their social circle, “You went all the way to abc and didn’t see xyz, such a shame?”. It was another thing that by the time we were done, we were tired enough to want another vacation. The sum total of these experiences made me a solo traveller. While my leisure trips have been few and far between, whenever I did travel on business, I spent little or no time sightseeing preferring instead to rest and try the local cuisines.

So as a Europe trip came to be planned for a conference, I was certain that I wouldn’t deviate from my usual approach to travel. Instead I remembered a show I used to watch from my childhood on Discover channel. This show focused on children in various countries as they practice for a dance they would perform at a local festival. Another show focused on the food habits of people around the world, told through the eyes of a child in a local family. I wanted that experience and I would either travel for that or not travel at all.

See I am not judging the ones who do go to the local tourist spots. Furthermore, I am not undermining the beauty or the significance of the local tourist spots. But the pragmatist in me doesn’t see value in standing in a long cue for a long time and being able to see the place thereafter when my ankles and feet are about to give away.  Travel to me is stepping out of my comfort zone, trying the local food, meeting the local people and getting to see the place that is not designed, molded and tailored to meet the stereotypical expectations of foreign tourists.

Italy was an absolutely stunning experience that way. I was lucky because my friend,  was coincidentally visiting his home town in Italy around the same time and he offered to show me around. To give you a background- this friend happens to be a member of the niche and elite community of space political scientists. While I have always known him to be exceptionally brilliant, learned and with insights of my own country that I wouldn’t know, this time I saw the Tuscan in him. Warm, friendly, hospitable, great sense of humour and exceptionally humble. If anything, meeting him and his family was perhaps the highlight in itself.

But it certainly wasn’t the last. Let me begin with the food. The pizza and the pastas were of course lovely and authentic- very different from the Italian food in India. But more importantly, I discovered that Italians like Indians don’t see food as just means of sustenance. Community and family experiences are defined around meals. Neither is to be hurried nor is it to be neglected. A typical get together there involves elaborate meals, usually spread across several courses- starting from the appetizers to pasta to the main course to the salads and the post meal liquor.  Even smaller day to day meals are prepared with much attention and dedication. The food is not just the product of an effort, but the product of emotions. The objective of a meal is not just nutrition, but camaraderie, friendships and to facilitate conversation. The Italian doesn’t just eat, she lives through her food. She doesn’t merely value her meals, but respects it. In other words- like in India, the meal is a social catalyst and a community bond.

Nothing demonstrated it better than the very first dinner of pasta, salad and dessert my friend, his partner and their 4 year old son hosted for us. Rich with flavours, yet mild on heat, the pasta was made with herbs whose names I regrettably don’t remember and cooked firmly yet delicate enough to melt in one’s mouth. Each and every morsel of that pasta left an experience to the senses- the appearance of the white pasta with the green herbs, the feel of how firm and how resolute it was, the fragrance it emitted and at least (but certainly not the very least), the unbelievable flavour it released with every bite I took. The salad, the dessert and the finger food in the meal were no doubt just as thrilling if not more. But after that meal of pasta, I think I will cry every time I taste the local pasta in India.

Italian breakfast options are many. But I can stereotype and perhaps classify them into principal categories- sweet and savory.   Having a little bit of a sweet tooth for breakfast, I went with the former category. Most of what I tried involved a pastry with cream filling. Either the cream filling had vanilla or chocolate flavouring. But what stood out was just how moist the cream was and just how delicate its pastry covering was. Like steel through butter, each bite was easy considering how delicate the pastry was. But make no mistake, each bite was rewarding with a sensual delight. I felt different emotions after each bite, ending with profound sorrow at having finished what I had set out to experience. As I reflect on those breakfast meals, I have only one sentence to say, “I have truly lived my life”.

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The beverage accompaniments were no doubt fantastic. But to me the discovery was Prosecco. Italy’s answer to Champagne, Prosecco packs flavour and finesse to give character to the overall food experience. I don’t drink to get high. But be it with beer or scotch, its the overall feeling of my nerves freeing up that I enjoy with the single pint of beer or a small helping of scotch. However, with Prosecco, the emotion I felt was celebration. One falls in love with the world with every sip of it.

But behind every delightful meal, there are delightful people. Nothing represented this better than Tuscanny. As we met the friends and family of my friend here, we realised that the many wonderful experiences that the meals inspire are in turn inspired by  the goodness, warmth and hospitality of the people behind it. Like in India, my friend was reprimanded by his friends for not taking me to their farm or to the place they liked. Mention something that you liked and they would gift you that right away. While I felt crippled and even guilty for being unable to speak their language, the Tuscans welcomed me into their lives and treated me as their own.

I can go on and on about Tuscanny, its people and their food. But neither do I have the words to convey my gratitude nor do my readers have the patience to wait through such long posts. So let me simply just conclude by saying this- Ti Amo Italy 🙂