So, I was going to write about how my taste has changed since I moved here, since I must, need to, eat Chinese food as much as I need to eat Indian food. And how I insist on eating lunch out every day because I need the endorphins that tasty food, if somewhat unhealthy, brings. And how yesterday I couldn’t fit into the pants I bought to replace the pants I couldn’t fit into.
Then, someone told me that she discovered her helper was skipping lunch every day because she just didn’t have enough money to buy food and support her schoolgoing daughter. Measures were taken to support the helper, but I thought of all the time she had been soldiering on, doing physical work, feeling faint.
I read this yesterday, and one line made me red: “Besides, there would be the additional load of the full implementation of social programmes like food security. How will a new government handle this? Will it have the courage to prune or jettison some of these revenue-guzzling welfare programmes, and risk eternal damnation by voters?”
Risk eternal damnation by voters, or starving people? Because there are people starving in our country, there are malnourished children, there are women having multiple miscarriages for lack of a simple iron tablet. If we can’t even keep people from starving, then what? The food security law will force us to live up to a moral principle that we should not be living alongside starving people, the people who grow food, the farmers, should not be starving. There are problems with the implementation, with the Act itself, we may fail, but it should be the most basic thing we try to do.
So, I’m grateful for food. For being able to feed my children. I am grateful that I was privileged to be born under stars that made it possible for food to be on my plate every day and I recognise that this is less to do with my efforts, my calibre, the much extolled merit the middle class is so hung up on, than sheer damn luck. That’s it.