In real life, I work for a big financial services organisation (we’re not a bank, just let me make that clear before anybody clicks away in disgust. We try to look after people).
In common with lots of other organisations, we use Indian resource to help us do cool stuff in IT quickly, and that means that we’ve got quite a number of Indian techs and programmers over here helping to get things done.
They’re lovely people, highly skilled and knowledgeable, friendly and open, and they’ve brought their traditions with them from the distant sub-continent to the middle of Leeds. Diwali is a huge event these days.
One thing that’s quite noticeable is the way our Indian contingent approaches lunch.
Where most other people wolf down hastily bought sandwiches, hunched over a PC, feeling guilty for reading the news for ten minutes rather than working, our Indian friends make lunch an event. Out come little pots of curries and pickles, dhals, pakora, rice, all heated up in batches in the microwave and placed in the middle of a round table, around which six, seven, eight people will gather, tearing off pieces of chapatti and paratha, eating their communal meal thali style.
It’s just something that happens, the way that people in India have lunch, and I often think that we should learn from them, rather than just buying limp sandwiches from the Sainsbury’s round the corner.
The most admirable thing is the care that’s taken over food. These are not thrown-together-from-leftover affairs, because, as Carolyn Caldicott notes in her excellent book Bombay Lunchbox, “in India food cooked at home with care and love is considered to deliver not only healthy (and relatively cheap) food but also divine contentment”, and who couldn’t do with a little divine contentment to set them up for a hard afternoon at work?