Oyi, Chicken, you don’t know how much I hate you now. Being a strong vegetarian I don’t want to go back to old ways again. And there is nothing autobiographical in the story. Still, as a writer, I must provide a few tips to those who turned veg along with me. Use this with discretion if you want to return to the good ole’ Chicken salad days. Don’t expect me back.
Eat chicken with a smug air. (Like Hitler. Let the whole world around be shocked by the impunity in which you break your own principle and pounce on the dumb chicken who thought bad days were over. Let the conscience take a holiday. You have a short life, you have to annex chickens one after the other from this side or your enemies will annex them from the other end.
Concentrate only on the chicken piece on the plate. Take a deep breath. Relax. Eat).
2) Well, that doesn’t impress most of you, I can understand. You’re not that anti-Semitic or violent by nature. You are peaceful and you need to convince your people before you revert to your old practice of eating chicken.
Go philosophical. Wake up one morning and ask aloud while you’re still on bed: Can anybody tell me what it all means to live? What happens in Fennis Island? What will happen to Daman Crew when the American troops go back! Does the way the price of Onion shoot up got a meaning? Do they have any sense! A meaning! No! Nothing has got meaning! Not even dieting!
Remember. This works only if your wife doesn’t read newspaper.
Blind her with politics. International politics. Add a dash of philosophical resignation, thick and muddy. Squirt over it with a little business news. Dust the top layer with the latest from sensex. She will be stumped for words when you reach out for your plate with a somber air.
Eat chicken while she scours the newspaper for a clue.
3) Politely invite home the one who’d quipped that vegetables are hazardous for health because of insecticides. Give him a day’s pay even if it is a stranger whom you’ve only overheard at the bus stop. Ask him to repeat what he’d said in the morning now in front of your wife. Don’t get furious even if he says innocently at the crucial moment: “What did I say?” Give him enough clues – wave a bottle of pesticide frantically before his eyes.
Lie unconscious. And in that state protest vehemently: No! No, No! Don’t force me! I won’t eat chicken! My wife has told me not to! Even if I die of chicken malnutrition, I don’t care. I am ready to lay down my life for my wife.
Mothers will take care of the rest.
For in the history of motherhood, no proud mother has tolerated the sight of her son pining away in hunger or sacrificing his health for the sake of pleasing her daughter-in-law.
You’ll be gorged to death with chicken by evening (Sorry to use a malayalam saying: Mon cholestrol vannu chathalum vendilla, marumolude kanneeru kandal mathi).
5) Bite hard into your wife’s arm when she sleeps. Act bewildered as you wake up and ask her what! Apologize and tell her that for a moment you saw an enormous chicken wing in the place of her arm. The worst is yet to come. She may suddenly remember with a shudder that your favourite piece was Chicken breast.
Cluck profusely. “Cock-a- Doodle-Do!” Wake the whole neighbourhood up at 6 O’ clock. Sift through the garbage. Pull out a worm and throw a grand chicken dance to entertain the guests who have come to your house. Sit in one place for hours as if you’ve got a large clutch of eggs to warm right under. Show all signs of chicken delirium.
You’ll soon get back to your chicken.
6) Just think about it.
Had it been cigarette or drinks that you’d quit, your friends would already have weaned you back into the evil fold. Chicken is not that dangerous. So it lacks punch. Friends don’t feel guilty indulging in even though one of them has converted into a vegetable.
The solution: Make your friends guilty.
Sponge on to them whenever they head to a restaurant. The moment they tuck a chicken piece into their mouth switch on the calorie commentary. “Do you know how much you add now? I’ll tell. 500 calories! It’s Poison, man! It is packed with cholesterol. You’re dead! You know how it will act once it reaches your stomach? My friend, just think of this. Every chicken piece you eat will take away three weeks from your lifetime. See, You just lost three.
Make him feel that he can’t eat another piece of chicken in his life peacefully until he plots a way to get you back to your Chicken.
Tell me, what should I do? The friend finally asks.
7) Ask that friend to bring Chicken cutlets to your home in the next family visit. Tell him he is supposed to introduce them only as veg cutlets. Let him leave. Eat the cutlets voraciously. Now your friend rushes back to your home to tell you in great pain that he has made a big mistake – Sorry, did you eat it! It was chicken cutlet!
You cry aloud. Weep as if you’ve just lost your virginity or chastity by touching the dirty chicken. Virginity once lost cannot be reclaimed. You’re tainted by chicken. Molested! Membrane broken. Your vratha is in tatters now. Announce with extreme sadness that next time you take this veg vow no one can fool you with chicken cutlets.