I went to a friend’s birthday bash yesterday, and what do I see on the table? Mushroom chilli, paneer tikka, some balls of mashed vegetables that they called vegetable Manchurian, macaroni with cheese and vegetables. Where was the chicken, the fantastic macaroni and mince, the steaming hot talu mein chicken soup, the rogan ghosht? Where were the real proteins? ‘Bhai’, my friend said, ‘what to do, you see my wife and bhabi have this ‘Savan thing’ so even though I am crying inside, I have to treat my friends to this ‘ghaas phoos”.
This ‘savan thing’ is an interesting phenomena happening in certain parts of north India, that turns even the most die-hard red meat eater into a nibbler of hari sabzi. Of course, it may really get your goat, but the hard fact is many of you guys have no option but to grin and bear it.
Savan (or Shravan), is the green season , the season of prosperity . But this season is very tough for die-hard non – vegetarians .
According to Hindu tradition , Savan is dedicated to lord Shiva , and many religiously inclined North Indians do not eat non- vegetarian food at this time . They also put on saffron clothes and go on a 120 kilometre trek from Sultanganj to Deoghar, a town which turns completely vegetarian overnight and stays that way throughout the ‘holy month’ of Savan.
So, in Patna and other places, the demand for meat, fish and eggs down during the Savan season. Many Hindus who are fond of eating chicken or mutton , won’t be able to eat either due to some religious belief or sometimes family pressure.
During other seasons , specially in the wedding season, it is now a trend to serve a non – veg meal. Somebody made a joke that during the Hindu month of Savan , chickens enjoy one month of non – violence .
Saurabh , a regular non-vegetarian said that ,” For one month , chicken and egg roll are just a dream for me . I don’t know how am I controlling myself from eating egg roll and chicken roll . But as soon as Savan goes , I will directly attack the chicken .”
Cosmopolitan people in Patna, who shop in malls and are used to imported frozen foods from Big Basket, also complain about the lack of choice in Patna. “Big basket in Bangalore and Mumbai has a mouthwatering variety of bacon, hams, seafood, mutton, pork and chicken all year round, but Big Basket in Patna has fewer options, and even those dwindle during August,” says a regular Big Basketeer from Boring Road.
Different people have different opinions about it . But personally , I found many people refrain from eating meat during this month not only because of religious beliefs .
A professor said that there is an ecological and practical reason for not eating fish during the monsoons, which according to Hindu calendar is the Savan, for local varieties of fish reproduce during this time. Most of the ancient civilizations , grew up near the bank of the rivers and fish was the main source of food . So ,if too many fish are consumed during the breeding season, it will lead to a famine. During this time, the female fishes carry thousands of eggs. So, in a way, Savan is a non-hunting season, to allow the nature to replenish the stock of living things and keep the food chain going.
It’s not just meat shops, many bakeries avoid making cakes with eggs during this season as well.
However, all is not lost. for those with the money and the inclination, there are still places where you will find non vegetarian food of your choice in Patna. There are several hole-in-the-wall chilli chicken joints who have their die-hard clientele, you will definitely get the good ol’ egg roll, but how fresh the chicken in it will be is a dubious matter. The difference is that there are less meats and fish displayed in the open market.
Many non-Hindus also abstain from eating too much of meat during the rainy season. The main reason is that the season breeds a lot of mosquitoes and germ carriers. With diseases such as different kinds of flu– bird flu, swine flu, chickengunia and whatnot scaring the living daylights out of people, may just stop eating meat for a while, just to be safe.
Written by Newsnet Desk with inputs from Shivanshu