Many, probably, would have preferred a title to be something like ‘Munching in McDonald’s’ – not only would it be juicy as a verb, but also as an adjective. But considering my thoughts as amongst the ‘not-so-juicy’ ones, kindly allow me to mull over it for now.
It was an early evening when I walked out of McDonald’s in Jaipur, India – a little excited for the evening’s plan – still sipping out of a large cup of coke. I was pulled back from my dreamland when someone moved my glass, spilling coke over my hand. I looked around angrily for the accused – and met a pair of dark, hungry eyes looking directly at me while a dirty, mud-clad hand reached out for the glass again. I snatched my hand away on an impulse and started walking ahead, but the hand persisted and this time made a strong pull.
Obviously I was stronger, but I let go of the coke, for which I had no more thirst. Anyway, I kept walking, rather briskly now, and went and sat in the backseat of the car, waiting for others to settle in. It is then that the ‘mulling over’ thing began. This was just another simple day, or so I could have been.
By God’s grace my plate at meals is always filled – I am rather generally overfed. The irony is that there is another side of the same world where children my age, and younger, are forced to snatch half-chewn crumbs out of someone else’s hand.
‘Forced’ though is a pun. Whether situational or as an enforced inherited ritual, makes me ponder more. Does it make you think? They say thoughts lead to questions. Does it make you question? Question the third largest Asian economy’s growth with increasing disparity. The craze for western culture while ignoring our own? Climbing up the success ladder, while stepping over someone else’s home? That McDonald’s could be a metaphor? Does it make you wonder who you are and where this road is leading to? I did know where I was going. I turn around and settling in the comfort of the cushioned seat, look forward to the evening.
The boy sits at the footpath. He is joined by another rag-clad boy who has successfully managed a packet of French fries.