I took the phone… and my  Google assistant was put to the task of starting a two minute timer. The task for the day in the “Act” section  of the meditation pack was to count how many times I chew in two minutes!! Pretty simple….. Well, not actually!!

The timer was on and i started the count. The first bite of roti sabji was in my mouth and i chewed the first time, i counted, 1.. it  was a hard bite  and it took time to finish the bite.  

Another bite , My brain went to count 2. Chewing was an effort and for the first time it felt like some labour. My mind drifted to think about the why it felt laborious while i have been chewing for at least 3 times a day X 365 days X (47 minus 1  ) years of my life. That’s 50370 times, I have repeated this act and never felt it like a labour. 

On that thought, I lost the counting continuity…    Aah . Never mind lets start again…

Google assistant was put to work again,  reset to 2 minutes and the counting started 1 2 3 4… I was determined not to loose focus on counting. I was focused on what is happening in my mouth. its felt  huge and big like never before…..

Speaking of My big mouth… one that i don’t have…,  I felt the jaws in motion, little flicks of the tongue to turn the food this way and that way for better chewing, saliva getting mixed with it and making the food palatable.  It was a machinery at work , my machinery and i wasn’t even vaguely aware of it all these years…. 

ohhhh….. that thought and the counting was lost, start again. I gulped. “Hello google, start 2 minute timer “… a fresh bite of roti sabji melted in my mouth …. And my brain went to work ….1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 … 

Double digit crossed, the thought crossed my mind. Focused shifted  Meanwhile the machinery under the influence of habit  was moving the jaw up and then down as if I was a cuddling animal. I became aware that shift. before i could loose the count, i was back on counting without a miss. It was a narrow escape , a fraction of second and i would have lost again… Just managed in the kick of time…. Felt like a car which went off track and pulled back to stay in the race….. 

11, 12, 13… 

Food had softened with this much of chewing and it was a moment of decision, should i gulp it or should i just continue chewing … 14 

I was reminded of what my aunt used to tell me when i was a little kid ” chew your food 32 times….. or I will…….” 15, 16 … another off track moment managed… barely!! 

The roti sabji had melted into a jelly and my chewing speed had increased automatically the counting  had to keep pace with chewing 17,18,19…

Ooops lost again…. My chewing speed faster than my counting speed and it was facing the speed bumps of thoughts of chewing more or gulping and trying to keep pace with chewing…. Phew !! what a fight it is ….. What a journey between Mind full to Mindful.  😣🥺

Start again and cycle repeats… The only good thing was was getting closer to the finishing line each time…. 

This time counting crossed the 20+ mark and i was well on the way to finishing the 2 minute race when I hit by loud bang. I thrusted out of my Mouthful world to a bigger reality. My wife had put a bowl on the table with a fresh serving of sabji…… and the gentle laying of bowl sounded like a gong struck next to my ears, it took me out of my mouth…… literally.

I still hadn’t recovered from that sudden bang. My wife leaned sideways to get a look of me rather it was to give a look…. Her face had that usual dejected expression…. 

” Can’t you tell me that you need more sabji…. Why do I have to keep an eye on what’s finished in your plate.  You would never tell me what you need. Disgusting… Why cant you keep your mind on your food when you eat !! “

😳😬🤐.

This is all I could do!!…… I wanted to explain the whole sequence to her but then it will turn the two mouth against each other…. I mean her word against mine. Dont get any ideas!🤫

For the first time, I was mindful of my food and she thought I was mind full… What an accident. The perfect example of  difference between “Others Point of view”… and one more added to many of  ‘Wife is Always Right.” 

Before I could realise, not only the count was lost, i had gulped the food for good. I was off track with that loud gong and banging. Dont get any ideas!🤫, Stay here mindful people

“But I was focused on the food, Swamiji, Not Fair!!” I  complained in my thoughts.

Food

Now i was under pressure whether to pay attention

to food on the table or count the food in the mouth. 

फिर हमने सोचा !! हटाओ यार, रोटी स्बजी पर concentrate करों। 😊😊

Realigning to the 2 minute count process,  I was back to my obedient, always ready to serve assistant (without any backlash or comment ). With a stern, rough tone “Hellooo Google, start 2 minute timer”. She replied in her ever pleasant voice. “Sure , 2 minutes , that’s starting now!!” my stern voice had no effect on my assistant. Even this lady doesn’t care about my feelings, she must be somebody’s wife!!  Uhhhh! 

Never mind, i was back in my mouth…. Aaah, you know what i mean right.  Counting started, 1 2 3 4 ……. 24 25 26 ….. 32. Done, I gulped. Two minute timer wasn’t up. I immediately took one more bite and started 1 2 3 …. Finally, I finished up the food and went to keep the plates in the sink. My wife’s passed the comment, ” You ate very slowly today….. good …..but why only 3 chappati….. Just don’t know what to make and how much to cook for you guys…..Uffff!!. ( it me and my two boys whom she handles alone).  Now I didn’t now whether to feel good or bad…. so as  usual, I was  😳🤐, Kept my  mouth shut!!

Speaking of Shut Mouth, Chewing Mindfully  I became aware of things I never paid attention to…. 

The efforts my jaws and teeth put to chew.

The saliva makes the food palatable and tasty. 

The taste of it last longer with mindful chewing 

The eating speed had slowed.

Chewing mindfully negated the feeling of bloated belly. 

I ate less and yet I didn’t feel hungry. 

I somehow know exactly when to stop and how much of food is enough. 

The urge to be on the phone or TV had diminished significantly.

And most important of all the effect of my wife’s tongue lash vanished off faster with little to no emotional turmoil.  and I intent to make it a habit  at least for this bit. 

While i was writing this piece, she came into the room and gave a half cut Orange to eat. She sat opposite to me. She ate her part and I ate mine. All the while she was watching me eat and I kept looking her….. two of us just ate with half a smile and Mindful of each other not the orange. Romantic Fantastic !! …. I was just sure what to be mindful of !!!  

Trying to get a tick off on the BL app of the Mindful Chewing act, it not only made eating better, it made a lot of other things better…. Now you can let your ideas fly. 

And For all of those who are sitting on the fence about black lotus subscription like I was, कुछ खान पान हो जाए।  कुछ मिठा हो जाएं !!  

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Vejay Mehta

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