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Reading while eating
I find the act of eating extremely boring. Unfortunately it is compulsory for human survival and therefore unavoidable. Fortunately, one’s eyes and ears are available (during the course of a meal) for deployment to alternative activities that can make act of consumption of food enjoyable (actually so is one’s nose to some extent but I haven’t quite discovered ways in which the olfactory organ can be deployed for providing meaningful entertainment). In short, I find it necessary to pick a book while reading eating. Especially during dinners, when more often than not, I am devoid of any human company.

Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame has been keeping me company over lunches and dinners for over twenty days now. However, of late, I have had to keep the book aside and dedicate myself to sole consumption of food, for two reasons:


  • I get so engrossed in untangling the florid, filigreed writing (complete with generous sprinkling of Latin) of Monsieur Hugo that I risk losing my meal to voracious species of bacteria and fungi. But even before that happens, laws of thermodynamics take over - my food is robbed of all its warmth by its surroundings.


  • For all its tedium, this is one classic that has brought me peals of laughter. When under a fit of what is also considered an essential medicine (laughter), my epiglottis, in gross dereliction of its duties, allows food particles to sneak into my windpipe, thus bringing about what is commonly called “choking”.



Here is one such life threatening passage from the book:

“According to the manner of that period, a Latin inscription on the wall, indicated to the lettered passer by the pious purpose of the cell. The custom was retained until the middle of the sixteenth century, of placing a brief explanatory motto above the entrance of the building. Thus in France, one reads over the wicket of the prison belonging ot the seigniorial mansion of Tourville, Sileto et spera (Be silent and hope); in Ireland, under the escutcheon placed above the great gate-way of Fortescue Castle, Forte sucum, salus ducum (Strong shield, the safety of lords); and in England, over the hospitable mansion of the Earls Cowper, Tumm est (It is thine). In those days, every edifice embodied a thought,.

As there was no door to the walled up cell of the Tour Roland, there had been carved in large Roman capitals, over the window, these two words:

TU, ORA


(Pray, thou). Hence the people, whose common sense sees not so many subtleties in things, but readily translates Ludovico Magno into Porte Saint Denis, gave to this dark, damp, dismal cavity the name of Troux aux Rats (signifying rat-hole) – an explanation less sublime than the other, but more picturesque”
posted: 9.4.05

11 Comments

'In short, I find it necessary to pick a book while reading...'

...You mean a book while eating.;-)

Strange but, knowing that you are an adventurous foodie...thought you would ideally concentrate on the food...and food alone!
Jyoti

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9.4.05  



Thanks for the correction Sis - promptly effected.

'Strange but, knowing that you are an adventurous foodie...thought you would ideally concentrate on the food...and food alone!'

What does one have tastebuds for - for food and food alone (ever tried reading with your tastebuds ;-))

By Blogger Deepak, at 9.4.05  



So can we safely say that you eat to live, and not live to eat, like some of your fellow mates out there? ;-)

Wouldn't have thought Hugo would EVER make me laugh - crawling through "Les Miserables" (in original, unabridged French) was quite an exhausting affair, that I left it unfinished!!!

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 9.4.05  



I too like reading while eating....especially Reader's Digest

By Blogger 'Anil' Radhakrishna, at 9.4.05  



Call it "reating" and patent it and hand me over my share.

Regards,
Inky

By Blogger Ink Spill, at 11.4.05  



Hi Geetanjali! Depending on what I am eating and what I am reading I alternate between living to eat and eating to live :-)

Hi Anil! does reading Reader's Digest help you digestion too ;-)?

Hi Inky! how about eading, since reading is secondry here :-).

By Blogger Deepak, at 11.4.05  



I find the act of eating boring as well... usually hurry through my meals. Though I love good food. :)

By Anonymous Avis, at 13.4.05  



Well Avis, next time don't eat - reat or ead :-) [see comments above if these terms don't make sense ;-)]

By Blogger Deepak, at 14.4.05  



Dont any of u listen 2 music while REATING.........THIS 3 combo activity is what i find MOST RELAXING !!! ONLY PROBLEM IS MY PARENTS DON'T FIND IT AS INTERESTING AS I DO........AND SO NATURALLY DON'T mInCe WORDS WHEN THEY CONVEY TO ME WHAT THEY FEEL 'BOUT MY COMBO ACTIVITY !@#$

Tijo (kol)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9.5.05  



I, too, am finding 'Hunchback' more humorous than expected. Just the twists in the language (in English, of course) is enough to make me chuckle out loud. Thanks for the translations of the Latin, which is how I found this post.

By Blogger Steve, at 24.2.10  



Full credit to the English translation - they had done all the hard work. I merely reproduced what was printed in the book :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 24.2.10  


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