Tonight I ate again with friends and housemates from India. Sorjyo, Raja, Raja's parents, and the married couple (who's names I'll put in when I remember...). What can I say? Except that I know I will end up in India before too long, and I very much look forward to it.
I've recently decided to cut fish from my diet, thus eliminating all meats finally. I had allowed myself that luxury on the pretense that fish do not have the capacity to suffer, but it was a weak argument from an ethical point of view. Scientists have also decided in recent years that fish do in fact suffer, and as (the husband) pointed out before dinner, in relation to a chicken, their suffering is much greater from their freedom in the sea until they are left to suffocate in a pile with their brothers and sisters on a fishing vessel. Of course, he probably isn't familiar with the commercial chicken 'factories' in America, where from birth to death a chicken's life is enveloped in suffering.
In any case, I suppose it's a matter of sensitivities: first you must see the suffering of yourself, then in fellow humans, and so on. If you choose not to see or to care at this level, it's impossible for you to think of the pain of animals. It's also a matter of empowerment: discerning the causes of your own suffering and learning to free yourself from them. I'm by no means anything but ordinary, but I've managed these two in just the last couple of years; and now I can actively seek to help others, with less and less of my own ego getting in the way. Experiencing the improvement in my own mental states and those of others, I try ever more so to free myself and others.
So what with all this babbling about suffering! I thought this would be a post about good food with my friends at Hodgkin house!
Anyhow - dinner was fantastic. Just simple Indian fried rice, a green pea and potato curry, and a spicy cauliflower and tomato dish. They kidded me about my American weakness for such hot dishes, but I held out well enough that they said I would survive if I make it to India.
Raja will be moving to Atlanta in three weeks I discovered; taking up Masters studies in computers. The married couple spent several years in Los Angeles, the wife working in the UCLA drug lab where they busted all of the Olympic athletes for illegal steroids. So we all shared experiences about the US, probably scaring Raja more than preparing him for his journey. The husband remarked that the fat people in America are fat on an unimaginable scale, like nothing anywhere in the world. I agreed, but told him that I had seen one such obese man just today walking in Bristol. But in truth the people here, and I believe in much of the (first) world, are far more healthy than (the Super-Sized) Americans.
Anyhow, I seem to be unable to say much about the evening without getting side-tracked, but it was a great one in any case.
It is just further reinforcement that I am extremely fortunate to be here in Bristol and at Hodgkin house. I'm surrounded with extraordinarily wonderful people from around the world. It seems only a matter of pure luck that I didn't end up with a bunch of bar-hopping Americans or Brits.
Well, I feel my eyelids drooping and my thoughts wandering, so that will have to be all for now.