Do You Like Your Rotis with a Dollop of Politics?


Do You Like Your Rotis with a Dollop of Politics?

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


n every Indian household, the dining table holds a place of utmost importance. There’s no meaningful discussion around fireplaces or on fancy sofas for us; the dining table is where all our conversation takes place. This is where we gossip about the aunt who is divorced twice and the politics of a prime minister we love and hate in equal measure. The Indian dining table is a complex space. It is not, as its name suggests, only a place where food is laid for the purpose of dining. It’s where loyalties are declared, lines are drawn, and people are divided by what’s on their plates as much as what’s on their minds.

For instance, a large number of my family members, who are hardcore lovers of meat, do not touch non-vegetarian food on Mondays, or on the days the Moon decides to disappear from the sky, or appears in the shape of a circle, or during the month of Karthik, or during the month of Shravan, and of course, during Hindu festivals.