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Arsenio C Jesena

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Inasal
by Arsenio C Jesena   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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life is indeed ours...
but ours to share!!!

I n a s a l



The inasal along Lacson Street, Bacolod City was very very tempting. Nothing like that where I had came from—in Barrio Takurong, Buluan, Sultan Kudarat.

Every day as I passed by, barefoot and in short pants, I was enraptured by the inasal's olfactory and gastronomic enticements which like irresistible sirens sucked my starved and willing imagination into its smoky and gentle paradise.

But I had no money, so I had to content myself again and again merely with Pedro Tan’s batchoy.

Ten centavos would get me a giant bowl of soup with generous noodles and unchartered, exotic innards, enough to provide sufficient supper for Nong Baby and Inday Xenia and Baby Stella and Tisay and Mila and me.

But after a whole year of constant batchoy from the gentle, relatively bountiful Pedro Tan, I was nasum-oran na sang tag-diyes lang nga batchoy, and that fragrant inasal along Lacson Street sure seemed maddeningly seductive.

Then one day someone gave me fifty centavos. Was it Tatay Juan Javoneta who gave me that fortune on his June 24 birthday? Anyway, -- my flesh is indeed weak— I soon succumbed to the Chicken Inasal Temptation, and with all my life’s fortune — fifty centavos -- I bought that succulent breast or thigh
with unbounded expectation.

Back home in Lacson-San Sebastian, I went to the room where my family was staying. Wonderful fortune…there was no one there! I locked the door… unwrapped the inasal.

And ate it. Wildly,voraciously consumed it.


B u t ..
Indi manamit…! Wala sabor….!
IT WAS TASTELESS.
The eagerly-anticipated heaven was…tasteless !!!

]
That was when I was ten years old.

Today. Fifty-eight years later, I still do not know why.
Why my inasal was tasteless.

But I can hazard a guess.
God made my inasal tasteless.
To teach me an important lesson.

Food is not meant to be eaten alone.
Food is not meant to be enjoyed alone.
No more than money or land or knowledge
Or victory or happiness or life itself
Is meant to be enjoyed alone.

Everything is given to us.
Everything is a gift.
FOR US….TO SHARE.

That is the lesson I learned from the delicious, tasteless inasal which I bought, and devoured, and spat out more than half a century ago along Lacson Street in Bacolod City.



AND YET, IT WAS NOT THAT INTELLECTUAL INSIGHT THAT SHATTERED AND DEVASTATED ME – RATHER, IT WAS THE REALIZATION THAT I WAS DALUK-DALUK, THAT I WAS EXTREMELY GREEDY, THAT I WAS SELFISHLY AND SECRETLY TRYING TO ENJOY SOMETHING ALONE, WITHOUT SHARING IT WITH MY POOR, HUNGRY FAMILY – THAT DEVOURED AND TORTURED MY YOUNG CONSCIENCE AND MY DELICATE, INNERMOST BEING.


Life is indeed ours. But ours … to share !

+juni jesena 29 Aug.07
 


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Reviewed by Nellie Feng
this excellent, beautiful write made memories of batchoy and inasal nga manok more meaningful ... gid!
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