I knew that people arranged barbecues and brought food to Tailgates. I also imagined that if I were to roam around aimlessly at the Tailgate arena with an amiable expression on my face, I would surely be invited by some Tailgaters to sample their fare. It was with this hope, an empty stomach and the Grad student's well-known affinity to free food that I decided to venture into this great American mela.
And believe me, there was good food. And there were great smells. And God was witness to the extremely amiable expression on the face of a certain aimless wanderer. However that wanderer was to find out, much to his disappointment, that the American people intended to carry on chomping their food and guzzling their beer without any help from outsiders. In all decency I tried my best not to curse the chompers and the guzzlers, but if some people in that lot suffered from indigestion on the following day, then I would not blame myself too much.
Reflecting on that day's incident with a saner mind and a relatively less-empty stomach, the American people's behavior may be easily explained. Imagine Indian people out on a picnic at Botanical Gardens, Kolkata. Every group usually arranges for their own food. Considering that on one such picnic, I was busy tucking into some Tandoori chicken and Egg-Fried Rice from my lunch box, and I saw a well-dressed Chinese person roaming around clicking pictures, I would not think of offering that person my food. Instead I would be more intent on checking which of my cousins was not eating the Pantua so that I could stake first claim on it.
I realize that the Tailgate is quite an American festival. It is one of the traditions that are quite endearing and I did know of before I came here. Being curious, I read up about Tailgates and found the following interesting trivia from here:
- The first Tailgate occurred when people came to watch the Battle of Bull Run. Yes, a real war (Not particularly endearing, this particular trivia).
- 30% of Tailgaters never attend the football game (I would do that).
A must see: this slide-show on Tailgates put up by Time magazine.