For people like us who have been attached to our land where we come from for thousands of years, food is more than just a sum total of calories and nutrients. Our traditional meals define our identity and represent our relationship with the earth, wind and the sky.
This point, so often lost in an age when processed foods and foods traveling long distances are commonplace, is driven home by special days like today. Mahalaya Amavasya is a special day when we make an offering to express our gratitude and respect to all the generation of our ancestors who have contributed to our life in some way or the other. We not only owe to them our existence but without their contribution we would not even have the most ordinary things in our life, those that we often forget to cherish in the everyday routine and hustle bustle. The language that we speak, the way we dress, much less the food we grew up eating – almost everything that we know today has come to us from generations before us.
Also, during this time, farmers will just begin to harvest their produce and offer the first produce to the ancestors as a mark of respect and thankfulness, before the whole country breaks into festivities of Dusshera and Diwali.
But we, the ‘educated’ are so busy trying to look ‘thin’, ‘cool’ and lose weight that we have taken the food wisdom passed on to us through generations (of course, along with various other teachings of our ancestors) simply for granted and belittled it into some “calorie counting science”. B.M.Popkin, American food science researcher, even coined a term for it – ‘Nutrition Transition’ – The transition of developing countries from their traditional diets to more Western pattern diets of packaged & processed foods, that in turn is causing increased rates of adverse health and obesity.
Hope this Pitru Paksh, we find an opportunity to not only offer gratitude but also go back to our roots where we come from, not only to lose weight but also to leave behind a legacy of health and well being for all generations to come.