Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

The algebra of good food and conversations

Couple of weeks back, I was playing poker with my buddies. Poker is a newfound fascination, and I must thank  Sumesh for introducing me to this hugely-engrossing game. For, once you start off with poker, there’s actually no turning back. And you’re damned if you’re playing for money; you’d end up being hopelessly-addicted to gambling! 😐 So that day, Sumesh, Ashish and I  were indulging ourselves to a game of poker at a Cafe Coffee Day. Half the crowd (if you can term the three-odd distracted couples assembled at perhaps the worlds most-impoverished CCD as a ‘crowd’), was staring at  our blatant act of using CCD for our infamous (and partly-illegal) card-game. We’d ordered coffees and chocolate brownies, but the food was just namesake; our minds had nothing but Poker!

Until the food was served, we were mostly quiet – except for Sumesh’s occasional hyperactive winning-exclamations. After we had stuffed our tummies, our lip-strings loosened, before we could even notice! A normally-quiet-and-pensive Ashish set the ball rolling and soon the two of us joined in the conversation. Within no time, the three of us were so engrossed in tête-à-tête, that we’d almost forgotten the addictive game of poker! The game was still on, but the conversation-bit had a clear edge over the the former. As we conversed, we dug our fingernails (and our teeth) deep into the munchy food, relishing the natter along with the food. Evidently, we needed chocolate brownies and Cafe Mocha, to take our conversations to the next level.

It can rightly be said that Food is the best lubricant for conversation – like alcohol. Many proclaim that alcohol is the ultimate bonding-pill – and it’s actually right. Alcohol loosens your mind’s inhibitions and sets you talking, sometimes to the extent of you revealing your deepest darkest secrets. There’s this college-buddy of mine who blurted out his year-long secret affair with my classmate during a booze party atop a houseboat! Another friend is still being ridiculed; he was caught bawling about how he lost his first place in English Recitation in his third grade! Some try getting stoned to talk, but then the ‘high tide’ would wash over the dialogues.

Now, I can’t pass first-hand comments on smoking up or even boozing, simply cause I’m yet to try either of these. But I can assure you something; food doesn’t land you up in such uncomfortable situations. Food nourishes you – makes you healthy, and adds on to your grey matter (and some flab, if you don’t mind). The taste and the eventual satiation of a full tummy have resulted in many ‘done-deals’ – some corporates even employ secret recipes to get their counterparts/clients to sign that odd-document! Now, that’s not a conspiracy theory; work two years in an MNC, and you’d learn on your own!

The nuances of this strange ‘algebra’ aren’t baffling. The inherent logic is quite simple – words flow out of your mouth, proportional to the stuff in your tummy! The nourishment and the relishing experience soothe the human mind, to produce great conversations – a simple play of hormones! From family-dinners to corporate-brunches, food is the best networking interface. ‘Food-Book’ might be slower than Facebook – but good-food works long-term. unlike the latter! A date at a great restaurant, or an enriching buffet with co-workers is all it takes to ensure lifelong relationships!

That said, food is a double-edged sword; every coin has its flip side, and food is no different! It all starts from bad cuisine. This friend of mine admitted that her biggest turn-off is appalling food! A habitually-calm-person, she would throw the biggest tantrums after an appalling meal! Even culinary habits could turn people off – not everyone is blessed by good eating skills! A few odd souls (myself included) show surprising levels childishness when it comes to ‘eating’. From spilling eatables in a meter-radius to giving whole new definitions for the term ‘ripping it apart’, bad eating habits could be disgusting, even disastrous! 😐 To make things worse for foodies who might pass these attributes, there’s always the ‘dieter’ who refuses the tiniest morsel, to cut down kilos! In such unfavourable situations, food simply does not work!

But come to think of it, there’s nothing called a ‘free lunch’, pun intended! 😛 Such situations demand the presence of light-refreshments like a cup of coffee (works best with caffeine addicts) or even a glass of wine (best for ‘romantic’ nights); just carry yourself with grace and you’d end up having the time of your life!

Now you know, why they give out  ‘food for thought’! 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Abhi

    Hey,

    Nice to know that you're into the ultimate loser's lane with gambling also in your list of conquests :).

    I'd like to join your group and will introduce you guys to some new games if I get the time 🙂

  2. Sriram

    Ha.. one such post after a long time! 🙂 Loved it 😀 And it's absolutely amazing how ppl turn into logically thinkin, enthusiastically speaking chatterboxes once the bolus goes in 😀

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