The Vegetarian in Antarctica

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The Vegetarian in Antarctica

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

I

n my long innings as a voracious traveller, I’ve been vegetarian in 40 countries and 125 cities. Next year, I’m off to Antarctica. Of course, I’ll be vegetarian there too. It can’t possibly be any harder than being vegetarian in China.

I went there in 1974, one of my first trips ever. I was in Hong Kong on a cruise liner and nobody on that ship had ever met an Indian, forget a vegetarian Indian. Worse, nobody could understand English. Not one person. I had to eat just boiled rice and salt for the duration of the cruise. That trip taught me two important lessons about travelling: A) The world is not going to accommodate your palette, you have to accommodate it yourself; and B) The solution to almost everything lies in achaar.

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