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Food Wastage In India, a sorry state!

“Eat to live and don’t live to eat”,

a very popular quote on eating, we all are aware of.

Ever thought of What if we don’t eat for one day? Or even don’t see food for a day? Isn’t that scary? Yes, it is. For foody people like me, it is not less than a nightmare. But do we really think of food wastage?

Despite all the awareness of food wastage, malnutrition, hunger deaths we tend to be wasting a huge amount of food in some way or the other.

The below statistics can be an eye-opener for a few of us:
Over 20 crore Indians sleep hungry every night.
• Around 7000 Indians die of hunger every day.
Hunger is the No.1 cause of death in the world and aids, cancer etc. follow.

But the below examples will churn you up from within:

1. I still see it with my eyes closed.

Yesterday night I watched a movie recommended by one of my friends. The movie revolved around a hotel and the people associated with that hotel.

But the movie left behind a lesson for life, in the last 20 minutes. A man who is working in a Taj hotel once comes across an old man sitting in a water pipe on the road and eating his own human waste because he is not accessible to food.

That moment the chef of Taj leaves his job and decides to feed all men like that old man on a daily basis. Though I had closed my eyes when they actually showed the old man eating his own human waste I can still see it whenever I happen to close my eyes.

The movie is a life changer and I think each one of us should watch it to realise the amount of food wasted in the day to day life.

2. Number of people could be fed – 180

In corporate offices where there is one canteen which feeds thousands of people, there is this board which displays the amount of food wasted each day. Almost every day the numbers are as below :

Amount of food wasted – 45kgs
Number of people could be fed – 180

The massive numbers show our ignorance towards this necessity of life. More than one-third of the world’s malnourished children live in India.

Many a time, the people disposing of the food wasted in corporate offices, themselves work half stomach. I wonder how they feel when they witness such irresponsible behavior of all the educated people.

And educated people like us who work in huge offices, sitting in air-conditioned rooms and being enough privileged to have easy access to food three to four times a day have stopped valuing this gift of ours.

Imagine if the above numbers come down to zero! The amount of food going into dustbins can actually fill someone’s stomach.

3. Is food second priority?

A few months ago I happened to visit a Pub. One of my friends had thrown a farewell party, as she was heading towards a new life abroad. The first half of the evening was spent having various kinds of drinks and starters.

As time passed, the evening was lit and people danced to the music played by the DJ. Amidst the fun, the main course which we ordered was sidelined. Nobody bothered to even look at it.

One of my friends and I ate as much as we could and asked the waiter to parcel off the leftover food. When I looked around at the other tables, it was a sorry sight.

The food on the tables was hardly eaten. Just a bite from each plate, that’s it. Everything else was wasted in the middle of fun and drinks.

The issue is, for few of us food is luxury and for many, it is a necessity. Hence the food wastage in India is tremendous.

4. Weddings and wastages

Weddings, these days contribute a lot towards wasting food.

Plated Service

This was the traditional way in which food was served at weddings. In plated service, guests are seated in a row.
Foods are pre-portioned in the kitchen, put in smaller bowls and served by servers onto the plates of guests.

Many a time the servers would end up serving more food than required by the guest. This led to food wastage by a large number of people who attended the wedding.

To manage this, the caterers at weddings opted for the buffet system.

Buffet Service

The concept of buffet came into existence to let people help themselves to serve the required amount of food at weddings or other functions.

But it is seen to happen the other way round. People take as much as they can and end up throwing the excess food in the bin.

Few people cannot analyze their hunger and take more food. Other lazy ones take more food to avoid leaving their chair (which they have found with great efforts) and mostly end up declaring that they are full.

The food is again dumped in the bin. Irrespective of the lavishness of the wedding, the food wastage is nearly the same.

If each one of us decides not to waste food we can see a drop in the above numbers. If every individual implements zero wastage of food every day, the food can save so many lives.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Today I know why some people don’t forget to thank God for having their meals. Because not everyone is fortunate enough to have a healthy meal every day.

Even if nobody stops you at the plate counter for having wasted the food, remember karma watches us through the corner of his eyes.

The movie I watched was “Ustad Hotel”, a Malayalam movie. I know now how blessed I am. I hope all of us spare some time to watch this movie to bring those magnanimous numbers down.

Have your dose of self-realization. Embrace the precious gift of God and help everybody enjoy it equally. That’ll be justice.

“Unlike curing cancer or heart disease, we already know how to beat hunger: food.” – Mario Batali

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Shraddha Rane is a blogger from Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Mumbai and enjoys writing and spending time with her friends.

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