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Curry Goat and Calypso (standard:travel stories, 2432 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Feb 17 2008Views/Reads: 2105/1370Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The story is about a person that born into a brahmin family in south India always want to experience eating meat (which is prohibited in south Indian brahmin caste). Later on he travels to Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean to pursue Ph.D., in the proce

Curry Goat and Calypso 


Subba Rao 

Juggernaut family hardly went out for a dinner from fear that the
restaurants in their town used the same utensils for cooking both the 
vegetable and meat dishes, though these were served separately. Or the 
cook my not be a Brahmin or at least a Hindu. Some restaurants 
specialized exclusively in meat dishes. These were called military 
restaurants, perhaps because most military men ate meat, and the 
message was for general patrons to expect meat dishes in the 
restaurants. The word non-vegetarian was too sophisticated for common 
folks then. On the way to school, Juggernaut walked pass a military 
restaurant on Main Street  but never gathered enough courage to enter 
because of the fear of being recognized as a Brahmin, as much as he 
wanted to taste a meat dish. He was not even sure what dish to 
order--chicken, goat, or lamb. In his early teens, he visited a nearby 
town with his family to attend a relative's wedding. While everybody 
was busy watching the wedding, he slipped quietly onto the main street 
and wandered around, looking for a military restaurant. The one he 
found was not fancy, but it would be safe to order the untouchable 
dish. The restaurant had no menu or any thing like that. A shabby 
looking man came to his table and almost screamed a list of items to 
choose from. Confused, Juggernaut ordered the last one the server 
mentioned, which sounded something like “liver curry.”  The dish tasted 
so terrible, he hurriedly left after paying the bill. On reaching the 
wedding ceremony, he thoroughly washed his mouth several times so that 
nobody could smell it. 

On occasions, Young Juggernaut clowned around his paternal grandmother
pretending as if eating meat dishes, muttering various animal names. 
She would close her both ears saying ‘Rama' ‘Rama,'. ‘Rama,' is one of 
the incarnations of Hindu gods. 

In later years, he moved to the neighboring Province of Orissa for
higher education. The last names Panda, Misra, and Acharya are common 
last names of Brahmins in that region. Juggernaut, coming from a 
neighboring Province with a last name that gave no clue to the locals 
to guess his caste, except they knew he was from the South. This 
anonymous caste status presented him with opportunities to expand his 
eating habits, particularly trying the forbidden meat. 

During the first few days of dining at the college cafeteria, he noticed
to his pleasant surprise and delight that the some Brahmins in Orissa, 
unlike many South Indian Brahmins ate meat and fish. His classmate, 
Vijayanand Misra, a Brahmin, sat next to him on several occasions and 
ate meat and fish. A few days later, Juggernaut engineered a kind of 
coupe to overcome his fear and at last ordered lamb curry in the 
college cafeteria when very few students were around. The meat was 
rubbery and hard to swallow, the taste of the spices was overwhelming. 
After chewing the meat like a cow ruminate its food, he somehow 
swallowed it. The dish had more bones and gravy than meat; the 
restaurants made more money this way. He went back to dormitory with a 
feeling of excitement for breaking a long-standing tradition. 

In the early seventies, Juggernaut got a fellowship to pursue graduate
studies in Trinidad, a small island the in the Southern most part of 
the Caribbean, very close to South America.  Very few people in India 
have heard about Trinidad. Most of his colleagues at the college where 
he was teaching discouraged him from going there. Some even frightened 
him of possible drowning along with the whole island after a hurricane 
since the size of the country appears so small on the map. The people 
of India are not explorers. For the most part, they were either 
conquered in their own country or extreme poverty drove some to other 
parts of the world. 

Juggernaut didn't read much about Trinidad before he left hometown. On
arrival, he was surprised to find many Indians. These Indians are 
descended of those that came in late 1800's and early 1900's from 
India, as agricultural laborers to work in sugarcane fields. They are 
referred to here as East Indians, perhaps to distinguish them from the 
few native Carib Indians still living.  For the first few months, he 
boarded at Mrs. Lakhan's home near the University campus. She was an 

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