Kashmiri Pandits, just like Bengali Brahmins, are known for their love of mutton and fish. Just the sight of a goat can make my Bengali professor salivate. Likewise, a Kashmiri is within her rights to discount a meal that did not include meat.
Food is perhaps amongst the most gossiped topics in the Kashmiri community. The usual greetings and hugging are always followed by queries regarding the last meal. How do you do? What did you have for lunch? The aunt will barely keep herself from clucking if you omit to mention some meat dish, real or imaginary, in your previous repast. And you had better include the leftover morsel from yesterday’s meal while you are recounting the feast which is obviously your norm. You can see the mental balancing underway as the relative from one side (paternal or maternal) weighs the meal in question (enjoyed at the other side) and determines who the winner would be after they are done serving you next. I have been accosted on the street – and after the pleasantries were done with – “Ah, on your way from your maasi’s eh? So, what did you eat?!” Now I look back at it with nostalgia; it did make our once-upon-a-time annual summer visits to Srinagar all the more colourful.
Yet, this blog speaks little of my nonvegetarian heritage.