I love animals; especially in a nice gravy!
So dear all, the trip to Maula Ali was planned in the honour of Kay, Vee’s girlfriend who came to EFLU on a brief visit. Maula Ali is a hillful of awesomeness, especially in the evening. I personally would suggest to anybody who visits Hyderabad, that Ramoji Film city is not really the only must see ingredient. This old darga must probably be omitted from the usual conducted city tours which rush through Charminar, Chowmohalla palace, Salarjung Museum, Ramoji Film city and stuff. So, if you have ever been to Hyderabad and missed the huff puff through the four hundred steps and enjoy the view at dusk, you just missed it; that’s all. For all those who want tourist map information can go here.
We were six people, and after hours of bargaining with auto people, we found two autos who surprisingly agreed to run their meters too with the auto. Kay, Vee and the Kebab mein haddi (supposed to be me!!) got into one auto. The autowallah agreed to take us to Maula Ali darga, and we were happily sitting and chatting. Auto seemed to be a moving hindu shrine with all sorts of popular religious art stickers hung in that typical mango leaf pattern. The driver had a big red tilak on his forehead. These are the things I recollect now when I think about the whole situation. Then it was just an auto, just a man. We were just travelling. Who is bothered about religio-socio-politico-culturo-whatevero backgrounds of “selves” when you are taking somebody’s girl friend on a city tour? I am Christian, the other three including the driver are Hindu. Kay had a red bindi which was at least suggestive of her non-muslim identity. The conversation went on through different topics and stayed for a while on a possible beef biriani we might endeavour in for dinner environs maula ali. Was the driver becoming uncomfortable? I really did not notice since we were indulged in small talk and were not at all interested in looking at the driver as a case study material for our Religion, Secularism and Modernity Course.
However, since going to Maula Ali was not our everyday business, we were not quite sure about the hundreds of pocket roads which will all look similar to a stranger. Besides we were supposedly entrusted in the safe hands of an auto driver. To put it simple, we missed the way. The other friends had already reached the darga and we are still roaming in some strange place. Finally we asked him if he knows the darga and he said in a disinterested tone that there are so many dargas, masjids and all in that area. Hello!!! Atleast according to my very brief knowledge of Hyderabad, there is just one famous darga named Maula Ali in the whole of Hyderabad. Then, what are you saying? Are you trying to say that a local auto driver doesn’t know a famous tourist site nearby? Let me put it as a tourist site, because all of us who went were tourists, not believers. It is when we started noticing the ‘rath’ we travelled inside a religious identity.
The horror was yet to happen. We started discussing the issue in Malayalam, a regional tongue which the driver would never understand. After a while the driver stopped at one small junction and asked for directions to a muslim guy. He pointed to the left. All three of us saw this non verbal action with our non-cataract infected eyes. The driver came back and started to take us in the opposite direction. The opposite direction, my lord! Now that is outrageous. Finally we ended up giving more money than our other three friends spent for the auto they got into.
After a nice time spent in the darga, we moved out to look for a hotel to get beef biriyani. Hyderabadi Biriyani itself is good. But who ever has tasted the beef biriyani from the small muslim hotels in Hyderabad would say that it is the best. In the group, four of us were Malloos and as malloos we have a special emotional attachment with beef. In Kerala, as far as I know, you don’t have to lower your voice while talking about beef. I grew up as a Christian girl who eats hot beef curry with coconut pieces every Sunday and pack beef fry to school almost every day. Beef is just a normal thing, it is available in all non veg serving places in all possible forms. Beef freaks, check this out. Those who do not eat beef usually do mind their own plates and go ahead. No hallabols atleast in the dining table there. Even in comic versions of critiquing malayali male identity, ordering a plate of beef fry is important. Beef is blended in kerala cuisine. Oh my, I miss my place, atleast for beef if not for anything else.
But everywhere outside kerala, I lower my voice whenever I talk about beef. One of my best beef moments was cooking beef with mj at Jay’s place, Delhi. There was this hindu kid who was the best friend of Jay’s daughter. Both of them were playing in and around the house. It was our chance to cook beef in authentic central Travancore style. Mj being a real great cook, I had to just assist. But once the beef was hot and steamy, the debate was to whether give food to the other child too. How will all of us eat this divine delicacy without sharing it with a fellow human being? What if we give the kid some beef? What will happen if the kid’s orthodox non beef eater parents come to know that these horrid beef eaters cooked the sacred cow and put it in their offspring’s mouth? Finally the discussion ended and the kid was strategically manipulated to go back to her home and eat lunch there.
It is really sad to see that some among us cannot taste this wonderful, sacred gastronomic wonder. However, that’s not my headache. My only concern is, and demand is that I want to eat beef everywhere in India.And I do not want to lower my voice while I talk about something so dear to me as the sacred sacred BEEF. I was born as a beef eater; I want to die as a beef eater. Not even once will I think about defaming beef. I will never indulge in sacrilege against beef. In all my life, I will be your faithful admirer. In beef, we trust. Amen.
Love towards animals and eating their meat for survival is not a contradiction but a dialectical process. The essence of this process has been that human life is more important than animal life... A political party or a government cannot suspend food rights of people simply because the leadership of a ruling party does not like the taste of a particular food, or because it considers some animals sacred. --- Kancha Ilaiah in Beef, BJP and Food rights of people published in Economic and Political Weekly, June 5, 1996.