With the world hearing India is banning the eating of beef and trying to change its people into vegetarians, my neighbor in London, a diehard meat eater, and who was planning a trip to India decided he would become a veggie. “I don’t want to be thrown into one of their jails. So am practicing to be a vegetarian before my holiday,” he said as he looked at a picture of a mango tree, “I have told my cook to cook those leaves for lunch!”

“That’s a mango tree,” I said, “You eat the fruit, not the leaves.”

“You can’t put anything of that tree into a curry?”

“Only the raw mangoes,” I said, “you eat the ripe ones raw and cook the raw ones!”

“This is very confusing,” said my English neighbour as he scratched his head and stared at the pictures of ripe mangoes on the tree. “What happens if I eat the leaves?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“What happens if I ate the raw mangoes raw and put the ripe mangoes into a curry?”

“No idea,” I said helplessly.

“What about cauliflower?”

“What about it?” I asked.

“Do I eat it cooked or uncooked?”

“You can’t eat it uncooked,” I said disgustedly.

“I’m sorry I didn’t know,” said my neighbour, now beginning to look a little worried, “What about this fruit?”

“It’s a carrot,” I said, “it’s not a fruit it’s a root, which is eaten like a vegetable!”

“A root eaten like a vegetable but not a vegetable?” asked my neighbour, “so its allowed isn’t it. I mean as a vegetarian I can eat it?”

“Sure you can,” I said patting him on the back.

“This vegetarianism business is going to be a long journey,” he said. “is it okay if I eat this vegetable?”

“It’s not a vegetable,” I said looking at the onion he was holding out to me.

“It’s a fruit?”

“No,” I said.

“Let me guess, it’s a root?”

“No,” I said, “it’s a bulb!”

“Whoa! Whoa!” shouted my neighbour throwing the onion away, “dammit I don’t want to get electrocuted chewing a bulb! I thought being a vegetarian was safe?”

“It is,” I said.

“And do you eat the bulb cooked?” 

“Raw,” I said patiently.

“I think I need expert advice before I go to India!” he said.

“I agree,” I said as I watched him go to his phone.

“Do you know a good lawyer?”

“Lawyer?” I asked.

“Yes, I don’t want to be lynched by the gestapo for eating the wrong veg food!”

“There’s no gestapo in India!” I said stiffly.

“Then what’s this?” he asked fearfully, showing me another picture.

“Ah that!” I said, “that’s the Prime Minister’s men, though they don’t wear khaki shorts anymore..!”

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.