Posted by: Mojo Jojo | August 28, 2008

The here and the now

Sitting in a chicken shop waiting for my kilo of meat and bones.
The attendant nods absently in my direction and stares at the chicken cage in front of him. It is packed with birds, a few squatting contently while the others peck busily at the molehill of foodgrain in their midst. Some black, some white, some speckled, some small, some big – but all oblivious to the fact that death is staring at them right in the face.
The attendant turns his face a little, a thoughtful smile playing on his lips. Trying to decide who measures up to death today.
Then, suddenly, he opens a hatch on the nearest cage, causing it to disintegrate into a scene of complete chaos. There are birds cackling and trying to scamper away from the outstretched hand that’s now groping into their universe. Which, incidentally, had been so tranquil just a few seconds ago.
But they needn’t have bothered; the attendant has his eye on just one of the birds. For now, at least.
A deft move later, he has the chosen creature in his grasp. The chicken tries to escape, pecking and clawing as it does so, but to no avail.
It is dealing with Yama here.
The attendant closes the hatch, weighs the bird and confirms that it’s indeed the right one he has in his hand. A content smirk later, he takes it behind a tin construct – a big butcher’s knife in his hand. A screech follows. Then, silence.
Meanwhile, the hoolabaloo in the chicken cage has subsided. Slowly, they settle again to cluck, sleep or do whatever they do otherwise – the encounter with death completely forgotten.
Five minutes later, I find myself carrying their dead friend home in a black polythene bag. But they hardly seem bothered, do they?

The chicken and I

A year ago, when a childhood friend of mine died, I remember thinking hard about death and how she would one day claim me for her own. But I have moved on in life now. After all, I am a busy man; I have my words to cluck and my grain to chew.

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Responses

  1. Good post. We rarely buy chicken from these places but on the few occasions we have done so, coward that I am, I generally place the order then take a walk until the messy business of killing and dressing is ovewr. If I had to kill everything I ate, I’d turn vegetarian overnight. Having said that, India is, I’ve always thought, an easy country in which to live on a pure veg diet and I can be quite contented with a bowl of steaming rice and dahl.

    (I’ve often wondered whether those squawks in the chicken cages translate as, “pick him, pick him!”)

  2. !!!
    Chicken tastes good, but everytime I walk to the butcher’s I try not to imagine what they Chicken might be thinking about me or about each other. Nor do I try to imagine what they would be talking about to each other.

    That would make the meal a eatable. Else when its on the table, your thoughts mind wander back to the chicken cage.
    😐

  3. @ Chailey: Ha ha! Get what you mean. But somehow, I don’t like buying packaged chicken from supermarkets. Why give some fat CEO of a multinational company whatever little I have in my wallet when it could do so much better for that poor li’l hen coop guy – even if he does make a living out of killing birds!

    @ Xylene: You are right. I do like to think that the meat on my plate was not a breathing jumping creature at some point in the near past. Feel so much better that way πŸ™‚

  4. Just eat it JJ… those creatures are meant to be eaten. Like we once discussed, if we all stop eating them, they will over populate, and then rule the earth and then start putting us in cages and eating us

  5. It’s a chicken, dude! Stop thinking and eat the damn thing! πŸ˜€

  6. @ Div & Nikhil: Ah guys. I must be really bad at storytelling, so I shall clarify….
    I have no problem whatsoever with eating the damn chicken! Through this post, I was trying to compare a chicken being slaughtered – and the reactions in the coop – to people dying, and then going about their pointless lives a couple of months later, totally forgetting about the fact that they might also be picked up one fine day by the Big Guy.
    Okay, even this explanation turned out quite shitty…

  7. I think I know what you must have felt. The few trips ‘ve made to the butcher’s shop, not only do I carry the dead chicken but a thought or a feeling. What started initially with the ‘oh-you-brave-girl’ was soon replaced with ‘I-think-I-can-do this-me-self'(yeah, cruel me!).

    I even tried going veg once upon a time … but I guess I figured either we eat something or eventually we’ll be eaten(does this make sense???!!)

    p.s: been reading the blog on-n-off … like the blue-hair-gone-green one a lot!! πŸ™‚

  8. NEVER EVER TRY TO EXPLAIN MAN!!!:-DDDD

    Some of ur posts/writings are indeed a lil cryptic..but “no sweat” I say πŸ™‚

    Sure as hell man, we are chickens ourselves….but yes, with a slight difference, we show a bystander’s interest in the guy going to the slaughterhouse

  9. i dont know if there is a connection but this reminded me of madagascar and the problem i had with the film. if it is natural for you to eat the damn animal then you have to eat it :-/

  10. @ VC: Thanks a lot for dropping by, ni! But you butchering a chicken, that I gotta see… I helped murderize a rabbit once, and it was a horrible experience.
    And well, if it’s eat or be eaten, I might as well be doing the eating. This concept kinda helps me understand the way George Bush and his goons have been behaving too, I guess.

    @ Shain: “No Sweat” is right. Heh.
    True, I shouldn’t be explaining my posts but I thought they were going a little too off-target on this one πŸ˜‰

    @ Creepy Suzie: Natural instincts is right, Creepy, but what if the meat bounding around in front of you is a close friend? Would you be able to eat him, then?
    I wouldn’t be, I guess… though I could be grossly underestimating myself πŸ™‚

  11. ha ha.
    if i was a cannibal and someone asked me if i could eat mojo, what do you think i would do πŸ˜›

  12. Yo, Creepy. You sure have earned the name πŸ™‚

  13. πŸ˜€ i am hungry now

  14. In that case, Ms Hannibal, glad to be a couple of oceans away from you πŸ™‚


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