I was never the protesting type. My bones are soaked till saturation in this syrup of laziness – on days even raising my pinkie is an Himalayan effort. To put it simply: My biggest motivation to get off the bed is food, and once I have stuffed my stomach, even my oesophagus, I feel sleepy.
But that is exactly why I love this initiative by Mia Northrop, a Melbourne-based digital media designer: it is called Vindaloo Against Violence. The idea is simple, as Mrs Northrop puts it:
“We were looking for an idea to embrace the sizable Indian community here and we found no better way to bind Australians to India than through the world famous Indian flavours. The idea is that you just go to your local Indian restaurant and just dine on Indian food as a way of embracing the Indian community.”
In fact, I came in on this very late; it is scheduled to happen tonight (Feb 24, 2010). The initiative has been quite a rage on Facebook and in the press in India, Australia and elsewhere. When I last checked on Facebook, it already had over 9,700 confirmed participants in this event! Additionally, people have vociferously enlisted their support on the VagainstV blog too. The total participation might just go beyond 17,000!
What can I say? Food as a form of protest! I bow to thee, Mrs Northrop!
It would be interesting to extrapolate this idea to other cities across Australia and see if the response is as overwhelming. It is common knowledge that Melbourne is the most culturally diverse city in Australia. Hence, I’d be very much interested in knowing if the same support will be seen in Brisbane, for example. I will try and pitch it to the University of Queensland’s Indian Student Society, and see what happens.
Given the recent spate of violence in Melbourne, such initiatives are deliciously welcome! Here’s hoping that the decrease in Indian students opting for Australia as a education destination is soon reversed. It maybe worth mentioning that as a student in Brisbane for about five months, I never felt as much as an iota of racism – I’m willing to pardon the occasionally rude bus-drivers!
Culinary footnote: Vindaloo is a hot Indo-Portuguese curry usually cooked with either chicken, potato, pork or lamb. It is quite popular along the Western coast of India.
By Ajinkya Deshmukh – media student and freelancer.