Eating (not) Beef in Lahore

Joginder Anand



Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.

In my childhood and early adulthood, we ate only jhatka meat (from an animal that has been killed instantly). Did not touch halal, let alone beef.

In 1955, there was a cricket Test match between India and Pakistan. Venue Lahore. (Editor’s note: the match ended in a draw.) For some reason, the two countries agreed to let people claiming to be cricket fans to go to Lahore with the minimum of formalities. A chit signed by the Dipty Kannaster (Deputy Commissioner), and bearing his stamp permitted you to hop in to the train from Amritsar. Of course, one paid for the ticket.

In Lahore, walking along a road (was it Anarkali? I cannot remember). Found a fragrance redolent of Seekh Kibaab eaten in times past. So, friends and I savoured the food at the Dhaba.

Next day the Seekh Kibaab and Chaampan drew us again to the Dhaba.

The owner recognised us and suggested that we go up the stairs and sit in the restaurant. So, up the stairs. A large table covered with an iron sheet. A few chairs.

Waited and waited.

By chance my glance encountered, hanging on the wall, an almost complete cow.

Felt sick. Tore down the stairs, apologised. Threw all our change on the desk. Ran. to catch the train. Caught the train to Amritsar. There we ran to Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple). Prayed for forgiveness. Then returned to Ludhiana.

In England, did not eat beef till 1962. No corned beef either. No tongue. 


© Joginder Anand 2016

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