At Edelweiss Cafe, there are two veggie burgers on the menu. A plain one, and a deluxe, with cheese and tomato and onion. I ordered a veggie burger and assumed that since I hadn’t said “deluxe,” I’d get the plain one.
But I got the deluxe. It’s easy to be vegetarian in Mysore (hence our somewhat lengthy journey to find some chicken for Anna), but there is lots of ghee (clarified butter) and cheese on offer. Veganism is catered to at some of the local yogi-centric restaurants, but it doesn’t appear to be the norm. Anyhow, I know I have been getting some dairy in my food, though I try to select items that won’t have any.
Still, at Edelweiss my burger was delivered with a slice of cheese on it. I paused for a moment, and then I ate it. We’d just come through some streets where women crouched outside by spigots, washing their dishes in the street, and the people clearly had much rougher lives than the occupants of Gokulam (the area of Mysore where we’re staying). The cafe we were in was tiny and very modest, and I assume the two workers were the owners. People were really scratching out a living all around us. There was no way I could reject the slice of cheese.
Anna and I tend not to be big eaters, and India is actually a good place for people with smaller appetites. No supersized meals. Still, we can’t always finish what’s in front of us, and every time we walk away from a restaurant table here, I hope that whatever we haven’t managed to eat finds its way to a person or an animal.
I can’t imagine it not happening: one thing I see is animals (cows, dogs, and goats) grabbing small bags of trash and shaking them until they open and spew their contents. It accounts for all of the trash on the sidewalks and medians. There does not to seem to be any trash collecting — I see housewives putting small knotted bags of trash in the culverts in front of their houses, and I guess it’s then just a case of it being picked up by any creature that has a use for it.