i am one of those person who has eaten food alone in restaurants many times. eating food alone is a choice i am making for a long time from my college days. in my college canteen, i would spot the corner where no one is sitting. then again going out for food at road side restaurants (dhabas) i have eaten alone many times. it was like a ritual for me to face my aloneness as well as the questions from other people – “why i don’t take someone along for dinner”.
the practice continued when i joined the IT firm as a software professional. but you know despite that, at many times i had the company over meal. because many of my office colleagues would see me sitting alone and out of sympathy would join me on the table. it was very kind of my project manager and colleagues to have lunch with me couple of times.
its not that i don’t eat food with friends or family. i love to have food with people whom i love or with whom i am comfortable with. but if i don’t find the right company then i am perfectly fine in having a meal alone in a restaurant. i feel its good to eat food with like minded people or have it alone. its better to be alone than to be in a company where you cannot be yourself and you have to pretend things.
but eating alone in a restaurent can be a tricky affair at times. because i know from my experience that eating alone attracts undue attention and glances from people. society expects you to have your meal in public space with friends and family. if you are eating alone then it is assumed that something is wrong with you. you attract questions like why don’t you have friends to share your meal or are you going through a depressing phase? but all these questions from people have not changed my perspective. because i do what aligns with my intelligence.
why i love to eat alone in restaurants:
1. most of time, people don’t focus on eating food silently or enjoying the food. they are continuously talking about other things of life over food. i feel too much talking is just to avoid yourself. why not focus on food and taste different flavors in the food.
2. i am perfectly fine with aloneness. infact at times i love to be alone. i like to be left alone or i should be with people having higher perspective in life. basically no one wants to be alone. most people try their best to avoid aloneness. they read books, watch TV, surf internet or go out with friends or do any other thing to avoid being alone. if by chance or by god’s grace they are left alone then this is one of the sad and scariest moment of their life. people simply don’t know how to face themselves. because life long they are avoiding themselves. i just don’t want to be the excuse for someone to avoid himself !!!
3. when i am eating alone then i can better focus on my thoughts and emotions. i silently witness my thoughts and it gives me a good practice of meditation. i come to know whats going on inside me and which way my energies are heading.
4. its a good chance to practice mindfulness in eating. you can eat the food in a relaxed way and can actually enjoy it more.
if given an option then i would always prefer to eat food at home. because i love the privacy which your home provides. moreover you know that the food is cooked hygienically and plus in a good emotional state.
lastly, i must mention my golden rule. when i eat out with friends and afterwards catch a taxi or auto-rikshaw then i strictly avoid discussing about the food we had in the restaurant. because i feel about the driver. because he is hearing our conversation and the poor fellow will also desire about having the tasty food which we just had. i simply feel its insensitive to talk about food in front of other person who cannot have it. you don’t know the driver might be hungry or he might be a foodie or he might not have the financial resources to eat in a good restaurant. so why to ignite his hunger pangs unnecessarily. why not be kind to him and avoid the discussion about food.
be kind to everybody you meet in the journey of life and also to those people whom you see eating alone in restaurants !!!. don’t glance at them or think about them in your mind. allow them to have their meal in peace.