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Rai Atul Krishna , Hindustan Times
Patna, October 05, 2013
A culinary ‘know-buddy’ who made a political career out of Lalu Prasad’s legendary fondness for non-vegetarian delicacies, is devastated to learn the jailed RJD chief has again turned vegan. “Sahab has again gone back to purely vegetarian food. He has little use for my services now,” said Anwar Ahmad, who was once known as the ‘kebab mantri’ in Lalu’s kitchen cabinet.

Denying that he actually cooked with or without secret ingredients, Ahmad said he got cooks from the old city to prepare Lalu’s favourite mutton and fish dishes.

In the 1990s, Lalu even rewarded Ahmad with a stint in the Bihar legislative council.

“All I can do under the circumstances is to pray to god for Sahab’s early release,” said Ahmad, recalling with a touch of pride how Lalu couldn’t have enough of the mutton dishes he supplied to 1, Aney Marg, his official residence as Bihar chief minister, from 1990 to 1997.

Ahmad said Lalu was also extremely fond of fresh water fish so much so that he used to rear several varieties of them in a small pond on the premises of his official residence.

While Ahmad remains reticent about his culinary relation with Lalu, an RJD leader who witnessed Ahmad’s rise from his humble Subzibagh origins said he had a reservoir of secret curry pastes he added to Lalu Prasad’s favourite dishes.

“He never revealed the ingredients,” the leader said.

Ahmad’s reach to gourmand Lalu suffered a setback in November 2001 when, during his incarceration in a Ranchi jail in connection with a fodder scam case, the RJD chief vowed to shun meat.

Years later, Lalu confessed Lord Shiva visited him in his dreams and told him everything would turn out fine if he gave up eating meat and fish.

“I rushed to a Shiva temple on the jail premises and vowed to heed his directive. A few days later, I was released on bail,” he said.

Lalu did not touch non-vegetarian food for almost eight years.

“A day back, I had fish and chicken. I really loved them,” he told reporters in Patna on July 4, 2009, adding, he had requested Lord Shiva to forgive him for breaking his promise.

RJD leaders close to him said his recent troubles with the law over fodder scam cases had once again prompted him to turn vegetarian.