Of Forks and Spoons, and the Devil in the Detail

Some reporters have a mesmerizing eye for detail. Sample these two reports, one regarding the swearing in ceremony of Mayawati’s cabinet and the other regarding Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Laloo Yadav at the dinner table on the 3rd anniversary of the UPA government.

This is a report from Akhilesh Kumar Singh in the ToI (When Brahmins did not touch Mayawati’s feet), italics mine:

While all the MLAs who took oath as ministers lined up to touch the BSP chief’s feet, some of them refrained from doing so. It wasn’t social engineering’s finest moment.

While nearly all Dalit ministers touched Mayawati’s feet, those belonging to upper castes simply bowed and took her aashirvad . Ministers, including Thakur Jaiveer Singh, Rangnath Mishra, Anant Mishra, Nakul Dubey and Daddan Mishra — none made the proverbial “dive”.

and this is by Sheela Bhatt in Rediff (UPA@3: Perfect evening, old tale)

The most talked about personality in the entire evening was inevitably Uttar Pardesh Chief Minister Mayawati. Though invited to the gathering, she did not attend the dinner. Nor did she send any representative from Lucknow.The ruling elite of India, at the high table, spoke softly and did not laugh much.

Now here is the irony. While Sonia ate with her hands, Lalu chose to eat with fork and spoon.

While one agrees, more or less, with the inferences in the first report, it is difficult to do so with the second one- there is no irony in Lalu using a fork and Mrs Gandhi using her hands, on the contrary this  underlines of the inclusiveness exhibited by both.

Eating- and the manner of eating is, more often than not, a symbol of identity than about the food itself.  Nothing can be more comforting, or touching, than a rustic Laloo using fork and spoon and the Italian born Mrs Gandhi employing her hands, in a very Indian way.

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