Recently, while booking an airline ticket on a transatlantic flight I was asked if I wanted a Hindu Non-Veg Meal.
Quite frankly, I was aghast. Isn’t this taking food preferences a bit too far?
All I wanted a Non Vegetarian meal . It didn’t matter if it was Hindu or not .
” I don’t really care about the Hindu part , ” I replied ” I just want a Non Vegetarian meal. Can’t I have a continental meal? ”
“I’m afraid madam on this sector it isn’t available ”
Now that was something that made me even more curious. Here I was traveling westward on a European carrier and was told that there was no continental meal available !!! What about the non-Indians, I thought travelling on the plane. Were they going to be subjected to gravies swimming in their plates?
“Then what is available ? ”
“Hindu Vegetarian and Muslim Non Vegetarian.”
“Really ? And what is the difference between the two non-veg options? Does one have beef and the other pork?”
“No ! no! ” protested the girl. “We only serve chicken! ”
“How are they different ?” I persisted.
“In the way they are slaughtered?” she asked tentatively.
In the beginning there was just chicken
This was something new to me. Indeed, it was a far cry from the days when airline food was just airline food. Normally, food served on board was the food of the country of the national carrier. I didn’t matter what the passenger like. Hence you either ate it or starved.
However, with more crowded skies there was a need to encourage passenger loyalty. There came faster planes, wider seats and food that was Vegetarian and non-Vegetarian.
Gradually the menu included vegan, diabetic and other kinds of cuisines.
Now this was something else! Here I was looking to enjoy a good glass of French wine and eating some as-nice-as-it-can-get-on-an-aeroplane, continental food. However, here I had only two options : a Hindu or a Muslim Non-Vegetarian Meal.
“So I’ll make it Hindu Non Vegetarian madam?”
I asked her if there were other options like Christian Non-Vegetarian or Jewish Vegetarian.
Needless to say, she didn’t get the sarcasm!
Strange are the ways of the world. My personal belief is that food and religion are totally unrelated. It is health that determines dietary restrictions . Since I don’t judge others for following their beliefs, I wonder why I have to conform to beliefs and practices that aren’t mine.
Am I right or am I wrong? Do share your views in the comments . I’d love to hear from you.