One of the most common, funny and at times quite frustrating assumption people not from the Indian-subcontinent make is that our curries have nothing but oil in it. That all the meat you see in the bowl is floating in litres of oil. And it’s really unhealthy to have this curry, for how can one live after having so much oil in one meal!
This logic is flawed on so many levels. For starters, they don’t realise that if what they think of our curries is true, then our diet consists up of drinking spicy oil with boiled meat at least twice a day for our whole lives, which is quite silly. But I digress. This isn’t supposed to be an article supporting particular food or food habits. On the contrary, there is a lot we can learn from this way of thinking and attitude that people have.
You see, in actual Indian curries the oil you see on top is just there, on the top. It doesn’t have any depth, so to say. The rest consists up of gravy, spices, vegetables, stalk…the usual. Generally speaking, the total amount of oil used in cooking a curry is not even 5% of its total contents. And still it is judged unhealthy by many without even trying it. Reason: it LOOKS unhealthy.
This is what I want to highlight. You might see just the oil at first glance, but in reality it is a layer only a few millimetres deep floating on top.
And is this not how we perceive things in life, in general? The moment we observe some quality, an incident, a habit, a reaction, lack or excess of something, some lifestyle, a good deed or a sin we judge it on its face value sub-consciously, spontaneously. It can’t be helped as it is an inherent human tendency. Of course it goes without saying that passing judgements in such a manner is not an acceptable trait, especially for a Muslim.
So what about when someone’s actions are actually wrong? Should we not judge people on what they do?
Let’s delve into another facet of this discussion to understand different perspectives.
Don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely have feelings or opinions against something specific. Let’s take the same example: Judging the curry to be unhealthy by seeing so much oil in it and not eating it is quite different than having an aversion to curries simply because they’re really hot and spicy, and it’s not your thing; the first part is being judgmental without knowing anything about the curry and latter a disapproval because you don’t particularly like that food, which is perfectly acceptable! Personally, I find a lot of habits and qualities around here quite unacceptable and have strong feelings against them (I mean, at least add some garlic to your rice!!!). But that does not mean I judge them!
The point I want to make: we can’t judge something on its apparent qualities or effects, although we are completely allowed to disapprove or approve the same thing as a standalone occurrence based on our preferences, inclinations and especially context; irrespective of its significance in the bigger picture.
So next time you happen to have a curry on your table, try to look past the layer of oil you see. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up liking what you taste!