Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turning Vegetarian!

It’s been 10 complete months of vegetarianism for me. I let go of my meat eating habits in the month of January this year. It’s been a tough ride for me considering my love for non-veg food, but somehow I stayed put at the decision. Subconsciously I had been aware of the benefits of turning vegetarian since a long long time, but it just remained that - awareness. There was no motivation to make this lifestyle choice, especially when the existing option involved lip smacking food. Also my family and in-laws comprise of staunch non vegetarians and at both sides celebration has a common expression – non-veg food. So there was never any social or religious pressure on me to quit. Infact my quitting may have disappointed a few considering now there would be someone paying attention to the vegetarian dishes in the menu that earlier no-one cared to cook and if cooked, no one really cared to eat.

To tell you frankly, the day I decided that I would turn vegetarian, I did not believe that I’d travel so far without faltering. Not that I did not want to succeed, just that I thought I could not J The rationale behind this decision was as follows:

  • Didn’t want to carry the guilt of being responsible for the sorry life of an animal which is bred for eating purposes.
  • Didn’t want to carry the guilt of being responsible for another animals death, only so that it can become part of the food on my plate.
  • Guilt or no guilt - Didn’t really want to participate in another animal’s death so that it could become food for just 1 of my meals.
  • It’s a healthier lifestyle choice – Vegetarianism comes with lower risk of many diseases like - hypertension, heart diseases, stomach ailments, cancers of different types. They say non-veg food is also bad for your overall temperament.
  • Wanted to test myself and see if I can give up something really dear to me.
  • It’s a greener lifestyle choice, 1 less non-vegetarian meant 1 less person to breed CO2 emitting animals for.

The arguments are arranged in order of strength, meaning the first point was the strongest motivation and the last one being weakest.

I have since been questioned by people about why I did so and mostly I tell them the truth unless it is more entertaining to lie. More often than not I meet a cynic who tells me that even plants are living beings and I should have mercy on them too. I tell them if my life did not depend upon it, I would. But since it does, hence I can’t show mercy towards them(just like the idiot who asks me this question). Then there is another set of people who find it incredulous that a girl in her right mind would give up something like that for nothing(yes the points above are nothing for them). I just smile at them and tell them to consider it as one of my quirks. Another category of detractors are people who want to prove that despite giving up meat I am still an animal hater/sinner/whatever. These people are generally non-vegetarians themselves and they’d tell me how the lipstick I use has animal fat in it or the leather bag I bought 5 years ago killed an animal or the new stilettos caused a death. That’s right, but I never claimed to turn anything but a vegetarian. Although I could say that there is no match between the frequency of buying a bag or a pair of shoes vs eating non-veg food. The former, one does once in a while(considering there are so many beautiful non-leather products available) but you eat non-veg food several times a week. Since I don’t explain my choices to vindictive people, especially when they are the right choices, I just tell these people how smart they are.

That said, let me tell you that giving up meat is by far the toughest thing I have done in a very long time. It requires enormous amount of self discipline, especially when you have to occasionally cook a non-veg dish for some guests or when you have to feed a chicken drumstick to your 2 year old. Eating out has also lost its sheen for me, since I always end up peering in the non-veg section and the veg section looks so slim(in terms of number of dishes) and pale in comparison.

Everyday when I travel to work(which I do relatively earlier than most people), I see many chickens, that look tired and sick, head over feet, travelling in cramped little cages on a dingy little bicycle or a scooter, probably to their death. I feel so sorry for them but then I feel good that I am not responsible for their condition. Atleast, not anymore!

5 comments:

  1. Great going Gunjeet, I will forward this post to people who want to turn vegetarian.

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  2. And hats off to you... Its always good to see one believe in doing instead of talking :)

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  3. Hey Gunjeet, nice post and it is quite an achievement too. Great Going!!

    However, I like to be non-judgemental towards people about the kind of food they eat. Because I do believe strongly that eating animals and eating plants, both amount to killing of one or the other form of life. So I am probably one of those "idiots" you came across.

    I agree with your views about the unhygenic and cruel way the chicken are kept. And I would like to do something about that if I can. But I am not going to give up meat because I prefer to kill one life form over the other for my food.

    -V-

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  4. Thanks Vibha. I respect your point of view.

    I am stressing upon the difference between "want to" and "need to".
    Other than humans(or maybe stray city animals) no life form eats something they don't need to.

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