Spit Take Food

The Great Breakfast Buffet Migration

Featuring the Indian buffetbeest, a regular sighting at complimentary buffets

If you haven’t been to the Masai Mara to witness the so-called Great Migration, fret not.

I’ll let you in on a far more feral and dramatic migration right in our midst. And compared to the wildlife I speak of – that too within touching distance – the wildebeest is about as exotic as a neighbourhood squirrel.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to The Great Complimentary Breakfast Migration, featuring the buffetbeest (Gutgreedus indica).


The buffetbeest can be sighted at any hotel/resort offering a complimentary breakfast buffet.

The coats

The male can be identified by his posterior cleavage. Observers will be treated to UHD views of furry male patootie crannies peeking-a-boo from ill-fitting track pants or shorts more than once during the course of their visit. A distended gut — navel fluff, and all — displayed ever so teasingly in the chasm between a stained tee one size too small and saggy pants, is a regular bonus. The male also sports a stubble, eye-bags, and lets off the subtle odour of yesterday’s garlic naan mixed with the morning’s cigarette.

Females (sighted in their best attire the previous night, perfect hairdos and makeup, preening for their selfies) assert their independence during the feed, and display their equality to their rear-baring spouses via their as-is-where-is dress code. Makeup is minimal. Just a bit of leftover toothpaste on the chin, accessorised with a forgotten plastic comb in the remains of the previous night’s elaborate bouffant. The expression: grrrrrr, don’t judge me, I live with this nasty furball, I need downtime.

The snot-nosed cubs can be seen in various states of undress, weeping, screaming, and head-butting anyone in their way right in the crotch.


The buffetbeest has a peculiar gait. The waddle says ‘leisurely’. But the keen eye and twitchy nose say ‘alert’. Most buffetbeests also wield a smartphone. To update their status on Insta with food pics. Or scream into with, say, elaborate details about the previous day’s bowel movement.

Feed one

The average buffetbeest starts with a large pile of life-affirming fruit. Because fruit is healthy, you see. So healthy that it can be followed by a four-egg cheese-bacon omelette topped with a chicken’s head, accompanied by six slices of French toast dipped in honey. With no consequences. A tempting bowl of sugary breakfast cereal soaked in watery milk sits on the side, just in case. After all, the buffetbeest knows famine could be round the corner.

Soon after this ‘western’ start, an overwhelming wave of nationalism sweeps over the buffetbeest, brought on by the aroma from the puri/batura counter.

Watering hole

Letting out a growl, the buffetbeest heads towards the fluffy, golden-brown balloons of wheaten joy, pushing a sluggish, but equally greedy, elder from the herd out of the way, when, hark — the colourful juice section catches his thirsty eye.

Passion fruit, watermelon and mango. Hmmmm? The buffetbeest scratches himself, thinking. Maybe one small glass each to rehydrate, and make up for the eight whiskies of last night? And it is fruit, after all. And fruit, as the buffetbeest knows, is healthy.

Feed two

Three steaming puri-cum-baturas with a tiny mountain of yellow potato hits the spot. The passion fruit juice tastes dispassionate, but the watermelon does the trick. Abandoning the mango seems like a good idea because, over the din of the herd’s gnashing teeth, the buffetbeest hears his cub say ‘bonda’.

Feed three

Or maybe the fresh sausages that have come in should be the way to go? Well, who said you can’t pair bondas with sausage? ‘Try the pancakes, jaanu,’ purrs the mate. ‘They are to die for.’ Indeed. But not if preceded by that ripe hill banana within picking distance.

After all, the doctor said fruit is healthy.


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Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books, and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:41:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/the-great-breakfast-migration/article24113115.ece

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