Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Dear Rushina,

One of the best things about coming home is eating with my family. My parents are firm believers of that commonly quoted proverb – “A family that prays together stays together”. My father has extended this to a family eating together. He credits the strong bond he has with his siblings to the meals they have shared together while growing up. So our two daily meals (in the morning and evening) are as important as our daily family devotion. And before each meal, we pray together to give thanks.

As a fellow foodie, you will perhaps understand me when I say eating (good food) can be a spiritual experience. This is particularly true for me when smoked pork cooked in axone is laid out before me. The combined sense of gratitude and awe that something could look, feel and taste this scrumptious has more than once led me to declare that partaking of this dish is an act of worship for me. Even as my devout mother prudently counseled me to “search my heart” to see if it was God or Food I worshipped.
But it is much more than a personal experience. There is something about praying together before eating that consecrates both the food on the table as well as the moment of eating. By praying together, you have entered into some more profound union with the people with whom you share the meal. And this has always made meal times with friends and family more meaningful.
So much so that I often long to say a quick prayer with friends for whom this practice is entirely alien. Few attempts have been hilarious, with one friend sincerely saying amen after each word, all of us ended up laughing by the end of my “prayer”. But with many new friends from different cultures, I can only truly experience this when I come home to our little dining table and my family of five. It is where I learnt that food is a gift from God and where I learnt to thank Him for it. It is where the foodie in me can be truly spiritual and where I can worship one bite at a time.

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