On food and other stuff…

As far as I know, the Portuguese and most other European societies are physically very fit people.  They enjoy a nice climate all year round, are curled up to the confines of  home for six months (until the beginning of July or so, when people start hitting the beaches for holidays), eat three lunches a day 3 times a week, are very much a dine out culture and yet they manage to stick on a pencil frame.

Add to all these indulgences, these night long snack bars/ take away places –  which are open all night long just like the one below my apartment. And if you think they have a lean business, well congratulations. Absolutely wrong. By the time I am done jogging (yeah, new habit. desperate times.. desperate measures.. likewise..), the queue to hog a midnight snack reaches outside towards the sidewalk.

And I stand there bewildered looking down. I see these 100 pound women (they might struggle to get a grip if the cyclonic storms strike right now) walking into the shack and off it grabbing a piece of their favourite hamburger. And then I look at myself. Midnight snacks are sure delightful. But I feel, I put on weight even when I drink water.

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Inducing Happiness: The European Way

It is the process by which people tend to “induce” happiness into their lives at the cost of their fellow beings and then feel good about it rather than deriving happiness by “making” it happen by means of your sincere deeds – quite the European way as I have been observing since September.
Thing is simple. A few weeks ago, I received this mail from a friend based out of Lisbon which read like this:

Hello guys.. As you know I am leaving for the States next week. You guys have been really awesome and I have no words to express my gratitude for all the support and love. I sure am gonna miss you all when I am in Boston. I was thinking that it would be good if we can all meet up one last time for a dinner. I will be very happy and fortunate to have you amidst the company of me and my friends, during the last moments of my stay in Portugal.

I propose that we meet on Saturday at around 2000 at <Restaurant Name> <Address>. The choice of the cuisine is meditteranean as most of you would prefer, includes <general menu>. And the cost per person would be around 20 euros, not more than that inclusive of drinks. 

This man in the letter included  the “You guys have been awesome….my gratitude..support and love“, ” I would be very happy and fortunate….” and then delivered the sucker punch by announcing the “cost per person….” sentence – all in the span of 5-6 lines of the same letter. And letters/mails like these come, every other week.
Well if he was so happy and fortunate and sad that he would miss all of us, he should have hosted a dinner and paid up the expenses by himself. Atleast that is what is done if you are genuinely happy back where I hail from. You invite your friends and spend a wonderful evening with them, spreading laughter and cheer and then you make it even more wonderful by being the perfect host and appreciating their decision to spend quality time with you. I would pay to do this, but then my idea of not believing in celebrations makes life a lot more easier. Why do it when you want to “induce” rather than make it happen by itself?
So to sum up, I ended up going for the dinner because he has been a wonderful man and for the sake of his happiness, I ended up spending 20 euros (1350 INR). That is the price that I burn to see a smile on his face and make sure everything is right between us. Am I happy doing this? Well, you know by now….

:: Spotlight ::

I am somehow able to remember the dreams that I experience. I am afraid I might be alone in this world when I come to say that, but I do. Not that I remember them long enough to be etched into history, but long enough to write about what I saw early into the morning today (7 am). And strangely enough, the connect well into what lies ahead in life. Not that all my dreams comply to Freud’s* theory of wish fulfillment or is it influenced by events in the “day residue” but they serve as some sort of a connect to the future.So, I had a rather interesting dream today. 
Time has gone ahead and I have gone grey. I am still alone, quite predictable seeing the current trend. The place that I am in, is not very well defined. But I know seeing the people around me that I am in India. The sun hasn’t risen very prominently, but is nestled amongst the clouds. Its drizzling a wee bit too. The air has a fragrance of burnt/half burnt human flesh. The town has succumbed to a growing epidemic/phenomenon and very few people (mostly women and a very few men) have lived through it. And those who are alive are enclosed in a casing, transparent, which I think is made of glass. 
 
The scene outside is grim. Women are seen wailing their hearts out at the sight of their dead partners, children amongst others. They are covered by a coating of ice, so that they can sit near their departed loved ones. Maybe it is a means of prevention of the spread of the epidemic. Some of them are doing the last rites of their loved ones, something which has never happened before in India. The graves have filled out and overflowing. And the roads are soon filling up as make shift graveyards.  
It ended right there and I woke up to a start. Strange as it felt waking up to it, maybe the world is set to reach this stage 200-300 years from now. Have you, the reader experienced such notions about life ahead through the dreams you see? If yes, I would like to hear more on that.* Sigmund Freud – Austrian Neurologist, father of modern psychoanalysis. Author of the book, “The Interpretation of Dreams“.  The book is highly recommended for those who haven’t come across it.

The Weight of Chains

Yesterday I saw The Weight of Chains – a brutally honest documentary tale of the ethnic cleansing in the erstwhile Yugoslavia tied amidst the vested interests of the western world and its after effects on the region. It may have been just the Balkan perspective which was projected, but nevertheless opened my eyes into never forayed depths of the role of America and Germany in their quest for world dominance. Also accounted for were the lives of the ever-so-greedy Franjo and the people’s man Slobo who finally left them high and dry in almost unavoidable circumstances and their predecessors. Highly Recommended!