To eat or not to eat

To eat or not to eat

Centuries ago, Hamlet experienced an existential dilemma - ‘to be or not to be’.  My predicament, though not as profound as Hamlet’s is ‘to eat or not to eat? In Hamlet’s case, his weakness for procrastination was the hamartia that got him killed eventually. In my case, the weakness is eternally haunting, neither killing nor allowing me to live. I’m in a state of limbo, confused and unsure.

It all started a few years ago after my resolve to shed 15 kilos in quick time. For so many years, I had struggled to reduce my weight but to no avail. My doctor’s exhortations slowly changed from subtle to explicit warnings. Brisk walking which the doc briskly recommended was also a fiasco. Standing on the weighing scale every day and feeling disgusted with my dismal performance became a daily ritual. 

‘Hey, why don’t you try this diet?’ was a common refrain I heard from my friends. Determined to see me slim down they suggested countless diets, some exotic and a few mundane: Keto, Paleo, LCHF, Warrior, Vegan, Dukan, and Atkins. A tech-obsessed friend even swore on the Almighty Google!  Google, he vowed, is the panacea to every problem under the sun: minor or major, chronic or sporadic, psychotic or neurotic.

I thought looking for solutions on the internet would do no harm. The first to catch my attention in my fat-burning crusade was Paleo. I fell in love with it instantly because it transformed all my existing vices into virtues. Everything my doctor had forbidden even to lay my eyes on, this wondrous diet encouraged me to feast on— eggs, butter, cheese, meat, fish, chicken, beef and pork. But rice and wheat were taboos! 

Thankfully, from childhood, I did not have a sweet tooth. Wheat anyway had no big say in a south Indian diet. However, having been richly fed on rice day in and day out for more than five decades, is it possible to turn my back on it now? 

Well, I did! After a few months into it, I felt light and above all, I could look down and actually see my toes. Now, after journeying with the cave dwellers of the Paleolithic era for many months, figuratively, of course, I’m thinking...a little philosophically. Shedding a few kilos was all right, but was all that trouble really worth it? Am I inflicting pain on myself? Is it stoicism or masochism? Amidst such profoundly metaphysical thoughts, images of the luscious dishes I used to gorge keep flashing across my mind.

The agony soars at the dinner table when my wife and son devour their favourite biriyani with its delicate and refreshing aroma filling the air, tantalizing my whole being. To eat or not to eat, that is the question. The million-dollar question continues to ring in my ears...