iron peas don’t count as food

Even as we lumber through labs, stock, rate cards, costumes, actors, props, and Dhanno slogs away at drafts, drawings, models, falling off to sleep on her drawing board, we must still maintain the regiment of tiffin boxes. Since Dhanno still has to gain some weight, the little time we get together is often spent in discussing food. But her college routine is not always conducive to eating.

Her teachers and class mates often wonder why she cannot survive on coffee like everyone else. Her nutritionist said that at a recent training program, her fellow nutritionists too did not stop for meals. It seems to be a sign of dedication to your work, to go hungry.

After a few tiffin boxes came home undemolished, Teja texted Dhanno:

“Eat. If teachers say no, still eat. At least pretend. Laugh at them and eat. Tell them you don’t believe in art to the level where you can go hungry and work. Tell them you love food, and given a choice, you will select food over art. Tell them you love to burp after over-eating and you don’t feel ashamed of it. Tell them your hips don’t lie.”


  1. Banno, I laughed so much at ‘Your hips don’t lie’. And yes, I wonder why the ‘starving artist’ trope is still so alive and well – what, you can’t be a good artiste if you are not hungry?

    • Anu, I’ve never understood ‘starving artist’ ever. Unless of course, you are actually starving. Which does happen too, often. And not only to artists.

  2. Hah! Thats a great tiffin message.
    But also what college is that tells them not to eat?
    That eating = less dedication?
    I don’t think I like this college already.
    But I suddenly want lunch.

    • Tin Roof Press, No one actually tells them, in so many words, don’t eat. Well, sometimes they do. But it’s just that the work routine is set up in a manner that makes it quite difficult to get around to eating. Or sleeping.😦

  3. Rah, rah and rah to Teja’s speech. Common sense has gone a-grazing, especially when it comes to food these days. What is this new, undesirable twist to `hunger’ for knowledge? These educators should really know better.
    I read this story in Woman’s Era decades ago – a woman tries to teach a poor child to read and write and her best efforts go abegging. She’s about to give up when the realization hits her that the child must be hungry and hence, not receptive to any form of instruction. She’s setting out to teach a lesson and learns one in the process.
    Everytime I see or hear of people so rushed that they won’t eat (or eat horrendously late, a couple of hours before breakfast), I get the answer to my question of why these time-pressed human beings couldn’t have ruminant stomachs – they’d neglect taking the time off to ruminate.

    • Geeta, so true. It’s the rush. Most of the time, it is completely unjustified. Nothing in your daily routine, can be so urgent that you don’t have the time to ruminate.πŸ™‚

  4. P.S.: The only time my mother thought it was okay for me to go hungry was before my singing lessons. She insisted that it was easier to hit the high notes on a low gas(tric) tank.

  5. Bravo Teja!!!!!!
    Preferring work over food and life is the curse of the neo-capitalism.
    Aren’t we supposed to work so that we can have food and enjoy life? Now it seems we should enjoy work so that we can neglect food, life and relationships. Though basically nothing wrong in enjoying work. I enjoy it myself.

    • Harvey, I hope all of us do enjoy work, at least those of us who are lucky enough to work at things we love. But even that, does not preclude food, or life, or relationships. There is an idea of the ‘real world’ which inculcates competition, stress, and hurry, which fades everything else out from the picture.

  6. Wow.. Dhanno is really working hard, I don’t like this college of hers. Teja’s advice is the most sensible thing I’ve heard in sometime. I learnt it the hard way, Dhanno shouldn’t.

    • Violet, it IS a good college. But this particular work culture seems to be quite rampant in a lot of places. Yes, definitely don’t want Dhanno to suffer ill-health, for work.

  7. Teja’s words are wise! I hope Dhanno demolishes all requisite tiffins. No practice antithetical to good health can be sustained for long.

  8. “Tell them you don’t believe in art to the level where you can go hungry and work. ” — loved this lineπŸ™‚ Rather be hungry for work, I say if at all

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