Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I think its officially time to replace the word 'socialize' with 'alcoholize'.

Lets face it, for most of us, for most of the time, with most types of company (with the exception of aged relatives on some select worship days), there is no socializing without alcoholizing.

Don't agree? Read my list of Top 10 things people find increasingly difficult to do without booze. (if you do agree, feel free to add to the list!!)

1. Sit with random colleagues beyond work hours, for more than half an hour.

2. Flirt.

3. Sit with 'friends' for more than one hour.

4. Share personal life details (especially details that nobody is interested in)

5. Initiate sex

6. Be truthful

7. Be nostalgic / sentimental

8. Appreciate poetry. (Or nature. Or childhood).

9. Prepare for Monday morning. (or begin Friday night)

10. Appreciate one's spouse.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Please eat a Kegg!

It must have been about a year or so back, that having run out of eggs in the house, and constantly forgetting to get more from the local grocer, I stopped at the 24x7 store below my gym and picked up these fancy looking eggs called KEGGS.

I'd seen them earlier a few times - at home before I got married, and I remembered them being quite nice. Not the sort of person to pay much attention to individual items on a grocery bill, I didn't know how these jumbo sized, tan coloured, packed in corrugated brown sheeting eggs compared price-wise to regular dimunitive white eggs.

They turned out to be yummylicious. One stunning sunrise type golden yolk that was so strong on flavour that the pale lemon variant that one had normally gotten used to seemed like nutrinugget in comparison. And a white that would cook to scintillating silky textured crispiness. For major fried egg fiends like us, the Kegg was one heck of discovery.

R began to insist that we ditch the grocer's pathetic egglets and switch totally to Keggs. Which is what we did soon. Like all such products, the packaging hardly merited any more attention from us, once we were sold on the quality of the product itself.

Over months and months of eating Keggs I obviously started noticing little details on those green boxes. What struck me first was the currogated cardboard base the eggs had, each in an individual dip - so if your refrigerator ran out of eggshelf space, hey, presto! these came with their own.

The next thing I noticed was that each egg had an individual hologram stuck on it. Not bad - so these were actually individually quality checked and okayed. Kya baat hai.

Since we are talking about eggs here, after all, it was almost another 6 months or so before another detail caught my eye: the phrase 'Tan shells' on the box. Aha. So the lovely colouring to the shells was deliberate, and something the company / cooperative / farm - or whatever it was that made these damn things - were proud of.

Ok so what came next in this bizarre egg discovery journey? This one truly warmed the cockles of my heart. Right next to Tan Shell - yeah, so why it took me so long to read it, mystifies - was another phrase. Cage Free.

That one genuinely made me do a double take. Hey not bad. So I read other stuff on the packaging. These chickens were raised on an extremely healthy, non synthetic diet, and kept entirely cage free in a near total organic farm. They got plenty of air and sun, and water and food and running around space. Thats pretty much all the stuff I try and ensure for my child.

I came home, happy with our greed that day. And told R that we were doing a nice thing by eating Keggs and not eggs. After all, we've all seen those miserable dingy cages with about two dozen birds cramped into that dirty little space, being transported to the fish and poultry market. Its not made any of us non-vegetarians proud.

So this cage free business was nice. A happy chick clearly gave a happy egg. So nice.

You see everytime I see a suffering animal I don't have an automatic desire to turn vegetarian. I don't think there's anything wrong with the natural order of animals eating other animals. I just wish the animals would live a happy life and die a painless death. The way it happens in a lot of farms in the West.

If you've read the James Herriot series of All Things Bright and Beautiful...... Wise and Wonderful... et al, you'll know what I mean. The guy is a British vet. And he loves animals. And has extreme compassion for all suffering birds and beasts. All his books are about his experiences while healing, treating and curing animals.

Yet the same vet is more than happy to sit at a farmer's kitchen table and share a rash of bacon. There is no contradiction there. The desire that animals lead happy healthy lives, feel cared for and loved, and then end up on your dinner table eventually, may seem irreconcilable, even reprehensible, to vegans and vegetarians, but I don't see the contradiction in the wish. If raised right and killed compassionately, a lot of animals bred for food end up actually having a better quality of life than their stray or domestic counterparts.

Whats my point therefore? That the Cage Free claim on the Keggs box made me quite happy. Rabid non-vegetarian though I am.

Today when I opened a fresh box of Keggs, out popped a little leaflet. 'Keggfarms - the larger story' it said. And a truly impressive story it was. Set up in 1967 as a poultry development company, Keggfarms did a drastic reorientation of its goals in the early 90s, when it realised that 70% of this country's population - the poor rural sector - was not benifitting from the success of the farm.

As the leaflet says, 'there are an estimated 30 million, mainly below poverty line, rural households in India, where women raise poultry as a traditional activity.... these birds are raised on no cost household village and agricultural waste'.

Keggfarms took it upon itself to provide these rural households with superior quality poultry birds, that would thrive in the village environment at no additional cost, and would gain far more weight than their indigeneous cousins and deliver far larger quantities and superior quality of eggs. 'Effectively converting a traditional household activity into significant supplementary income in the hands of impoverished rural women'

Obviously, the yummy Keggs we eat are not from these specially bred poultry. They are from 'upper caste' chickens in a fancy farm. But everytime we eat those Keggs, we contribute to the Keggfarms coffers, which often finds itself quite cash strapped in its corporate rural venture.

So go ahead. Eat a Kegg. If it's not available in your locality, put in that teeny weeny bit of extra effort of asking your local grocer to stock Keggs. Trust me, if you demand it a few times, he WILL source it. Customer is king. And these are hard times. Hey they get our favourite shampoo and soap brands don't they, if we promise to always purchase a regular supply? So why not our brand of eggs?

Pamper your pallette. Savour your sunny side up.

And do your bit for this country. Cmon, be a good egg.