Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Extremely Expensive Foodstuffs and Medicines that could Shake Even the Sheiks!

By nature, Indian fellow men and women of my country are not adventurists. They do not normally venture out to eat some thing which are not approved by customs and habits. Common Indians are simple people and their food requirements are also simple. Even when they are very rich, they would not over step their eating habits and try out some thing which is not in their traditional menu as approved by the family traditions.

A majority of Indians are either vegetarians or prefer to be known as veggies even while they might occasionally relish non vegetarian food stuffs. Meat and wine are wishfully considered as vilely vices that entered in to the culture of some Indians from the Occident.

Indian Maharajas and the oriental royals, however promoted many ayurvedic and unani medicines which were used mainly to maintain their royal vigor and never hesitated to spend huge sums for such royal medicines that were out of reach to the commoners. Such medicines are available even now and the costs of such medicines are unimaginable to ordinary folks. Such exotic medicines made using various natural minerals, medicinal plants and animal products are available through out the world, though not common.

Some of these medicines are extremely useful and effective when administered by those are conversant with them. For example, in the Indian ayurvedic rasayana  chkitsa system there are such medicines which work like magic potions for certain kinds of diseases which are almost incurable for the modern medical scientists. But many of these medicines are too expensive. Costs of some of these medicines sometimes might be even equivalent to some of the modern chemotherapy medicines. Some twenty years ago, I purchased one gram a tasteless powder containing swarna bhasm (processed salt of gold) to be administered to the wife of a family friend as advised by an ayurvedic vaid (medical practitioner). The lady was discharged from a modern hospital to face her ultimate destiny as even morphine was not able to sooth her pain. She was critically ill and wriggling in pain due to an advanced cancer. I remember the powder immediately soothing her unbearable pain for some time whenever a small pinch of it was pasted on her lips. But the cost of the medicine at that time was about Rs.1000/- It costs about Rs.10000/- now and it is equivalent to about 8 dozes. Obviously such medicines are not for the common folks.

But medicines are medicines. Even ordinary folks might not hesitate to spend huge sums for medicines when such situations arise in life.

But what about eatables? How much money a person can spend for a kilogram of some kind of a food material? Mind you, I am not talking about food flavoring substances.

One such food stuff is the truffle. Remember, it is not a trifle, but the truffle. Both are foods. Trifle is a traditional dessert dish of the Scottish people. But truffle is a foodstuff that is grown below the ground. It is a kind of edible fungus just like the common mushrooms. Only difference is that it is not that common. These are obtained in countries like France. There are two kinds of truffles. The black truffle and the white truffle.

Truffles grow below the soil and trained dogs are used to locate a truffle that has grown underground.

But how much any one could spend for eating this mushroom? The average price of truffles are to the order of about Rs 300,000 to 400,000 per kilogram ($5000-6000). Even there are people who have auctioned a piece of truffle weighing 1.5 kg by shelling out a sum exceeding two million Indian rupees. That is the kind of craze among some people on earth for whom money is not a truffle worth.

Another expensive food cherished by extremely rich fellows is the eggs of a fish called beluga. The eggs are called beluga caviar. It costs over Rs. 650, 000 [$ 10,000] a kilogram.

For some avid fish eaters of Japan, spending some $ 1.8 Million for a 222 kg tuna fish was not too much. That is nearly Rs.520,000 per kg and yet they considered it a good bargain! Whatever tuna fish it is, most Indians get their tuna for Rs.100 per kg ! And tuna in India is one of the cheapest sea fish.

Some fruit lovers would not hesitate to spend as much as $ 4000 for a kg of their beloved grapes. But some fruit lovers of the world might even pay more to get some of these exotic fruits when they feel of relishing some of them.

I have written about these only to tell you some interesting things about our interesting world. In our world there are some of our fellow beings whose purpose of living is to live fulfilling their material passions. Fulfilling such passions is nothing bad, but living only for those passions forgetting certain other important aspects of life may not be so good. Why it is so needs to be explored with some passion of a different kind.

In this context I am compelled to quote a few words of caution that the authors of my favorite book (you have the details of it already in this page) of life guidance wrote in this book, to my human fellows who live passionately to accomplish their short term goals during their short life on this earth:

Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or gratify all the latent adventure surging within the soul in one short life in the flesh. Be patient! be not tempted to indulge in a lawless plunge into cheap and sordid adventure. Harness your energies and bridle your passions; be calm while you await the majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure and thrilling discovery (that awaits you beyond this short life of yours in your world) TUB 195:5.10

Yes, there is need for patience and restraint. Trying to fulfill all the passions means living a life about which you are not sure. But just as passions built in our minds, we also have analytic capacities and reasoning abilities with decision making powers. All are there because of a God who knows and prevails with some purpose.

Knowing the purpose of God for you in this life should also be a passion just as all those other things in life. Perhaps you would be able to live a much more purposeful and worthy life when you try to fulfill that passion too! 

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