O segundo pômfret

Many moons ago I found myself in the erstwhile Portuguese enclave of Daman, out for  the weekend. In those days- and perhaps even now- Daman (and Diu) offered a variety of forbidden fruits to adjacent (and dry) Gujarat. The Union Territory also had a reputation of sorts- people would casually point out smugglers’ houses that just seemed to be everywhereAdded to which there was a pervading air of the exotic: families that spoke only Gujarati and Portuguese, the colonial architecture, the Avenidas, the Alamedas, crossing  the Daman Ganga river that  separates Nani Daman from Moti Daman standing in a boat… and all within a few hours of the TIFR, Mumbai where I was then a fidgety Visiting Fellow.

At dinner one night I found the fried pomfret that I had ordered to be exceptionally good. I’m not much of a foodie, but I recall it was excellent, good enough that I ordered another. But… the second pomfret just did not taste as good.

I’ve often wondered why. Perhaps the two fish differed in quality… Maybe the first was not as good as I thought it was in the first place… Maybe the first took the edge off the hunger, and so the second just did not seem as good… Maybe different cooks… Do the taste buds change after the first bite… Who knows, but I do recall both emotions clearly, the pleasure of the first and the disappointment of the second. I guess this was just my personal rediscovery of Heraclitus, that you cannot step into the same river twice…


3 thoughts on “O segundo pômfret

  1. Dear Professor Ramaswamy,

    You have a way of writing about experiences that many might wish to emulate.
    Enjoyed reading this immensely as much as did many others on this blog. To turn the quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night a little,

    If blogging be the food of thought, write on…Give me the surfeit of it…


  2. I never heard of “love at second byte”

    Couple of years back I was in Germany with a student of mine to attend a conference. At dinner time she ordered fish and I ordered potatoes. Her order came bit late but it was looking so photogenic that I commented “every girl is a heroine on her marriage day”. She sprinkled tons of pepper and salt over it and proceeded to eat and suddenly everybody (there were five of us: one German, one Norwegian, one Italian and two Indians) stopped eating and was watching. The Norwegian (he was talking about a strange viral infection of salmon in the north sea and also what can be done about it) was the first to comment “that is not the way to eat fish”. I said “this is the second murder of the fish” and everybody laughed.

    Second is never as good as the first. This is the moral.

    Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

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