We grew up in a small town in East India. Various influences congregated to teach us how to live. What to do and not do. Especially in public. What might people think? From what to wear, how to sit, nay how to converse, there was a right and wrong for everything. Carrying your own food around, opening it in public display and eating it would have been heresy. Quarantine? No, far worse, sent to the gallows without a trial. Little wonder then that we grew up laughing at my mother. The poor thing carried her food everywhere she went. Madness, I say.

Living in society exerts various gravitational pulls on you. Gravitating to what is cool is certainly preferred. Mixed with urban legends, this forms a deadly cocktail of how to live life. Social pressure, especially from peers is oftentimes insurmountable. Eat just this one, or drink just this one. I would not be caught dead without sunscreen. Use this shampoo or soap. Drink from the elixir of life. It will change your innards. We are happy to pick up any new trick or fad or shortcut to success. Yet, we run shy of carrying our own food around. What would people think?

I would rate myself as excessively conscious. Thankfully it is in the past. One day, with alarming alacrity, the penny dropped. Choosing between being healthy and what my neighbour on my flight might think was not really a choice. Politely telling people that I have already eaten at five p.m. and no I won’t really be eating that second dinner, is actually kosher. Soon your reputation precedes you, much like Mr Bond. I no longer laugh at my mother. She was wise before her time. Yes, I do carry my own food around. Beats having to eat airline food soaked in salt.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.