I share 25 per cent of my DNA with her. I love my aunt. And I keep my mouth shut.
But when my mother - who is usually introduced with her four college degrees and innovations in kindergarten education, and who recently went over to the dark side - tries to enforce these friday values, I go dizzy with blood pressure. Must be the eggs.
Two things changed me forever.
At 9, the ravenous account of my friend's X'mas feast. Eggs (I love them), roast rabbit and chicken biriyani.
"Are we not supposed to be good and not eat meat on god's birthdays," I asked. "Shouldn't we celebrate his birthday as we always celebrate good times," Angel reasoned. I could not agree more.
At 11, reading Amar Chitra Katha. Cow-killing and beef-eating was banned and vegetarianism of all shades was invented to keep hindus from Buddha's allure.
I went on to read huge tomes of Ramayan and Mahabharat, where food was fondly described in great detail. So I ran to my dad, "did princes and priests make merry at auspicious occasions with sacrifices and feasts of animals?"
"Of course," the historian smiled. He rattled off about surviving traditions where meat is still offered to the gods, of socio-political decisions in ancient India, and finished off with a reading list.
But he cannot fight for the eggs in the fridge. He cannot remember if he had lunch himself.
Errands to the butcher's shop made me a saint for several years. Acute protein deficiency reunited me with eggs, and I no longer sit with the vegetarian section at Bajji's Eid feasts. I eat with her, fervently discussing recipes.
Now, where did I start? Ah... amavasais and fridays. Well, I may become a saint again, but you can be sure that I will observe auspicious days with eggs (did I mention I love them) and biriyanis.
glossary: amavasai: no moon day; purattasi: 6th month in the tamil calendar; biriyani: ah... you must have had them.