by Meeta Chatterjee Padmanabhan
One of our friends told us this joke a decade or so ago: ‘Two Indian friends went to a restaurant and ordered steak. One friend asked the other, “So you are eating your mother today?” The friend promptly responded, “No, I am not. I am eating your mother”.’ It was one of those jokes that generated uneasy laughter and led to the suppression of unfunny questions. Were both of them Hindus? Which restaurant was this? The joke links two taboo topics into one: the embargo against eating beef; and cannibalism. Not to mention that eating anyone’s mother in any culture or country would be very bad manners.