There was a time, like the ‘once upon a time’ thing, that all the posts on Facebook defining veganism would make less sense to me. I did understand that it was about standing up for the right of animals other than we humans, but its deeper implications in terms of travelling an enlightened route of compassion through food and lifestyle, hadn’t been that clear to me.
I did always adore watching birds and animals since the childhood days that I recollect and from stories that my family spoke of. However, insects and reptiles are ever still creepy to me but I am certainly neutral to them not having the first instinct to harm them at mere sight.
So, in continuation to the introduction and my almost enlightened phase, it has been almost 2 years for me refraining and then quitting dairy and a successful completion of around 8-9 months in addition, absorbing into the whole peaceful concept of being vegan in terms of diet as well as initiated cruelty-free lifestyle. My spirits have been so pepped up that I even managed to pull my omnivore husband into convincing that this change is for the good of all of us.Not that I blindfolded and kidnapped him into believing in it, since thankfully he is an open mined and liberal man and I vouch to admire his general reasoning abilities.
Turning Vegan, on a serious note wasn’t easy. All the Facebook , Twitter and Instagram posts mocking vegan feelings, addressing humanity at all levels and the million dollar questions about “Where the hell will you get your protein from?”, all started making sense just one fine day.Well, and if you are an Indian & specially a Bengali like me, God has to come down to help you. You have seemed to have broken the rich tradition of eating fish which is supposedly “your” cultural trademark and you out of the blue, have become the revolutionary to conquer the family’s food system. Also when apparently, more than 3 dishes are regularly cooked (including vegetables) and served on a daily basis, it is because of you that the kitchen fails to provide options and there is a complete Food Panic Attack ceremony that blows its siren off. Weird and funny at the same time. 😀
I won’t deny, but at times I find this observed ordeal fun to watch not because I am mean but because my very own folks cannot see things that are right in front of them.
I have been questioned at almost every gathering so far, like a celebrity (Yay!) as to what meals I cook, do I not eat my fellow beings because I worship the God or is it because I am trying to save money? And is my husband “who has no choice” has to stay hungry to deal with my crazy food choices and order food from outside? I am not even wandering around the ‘Protein’ quiz contests and having “nothing to order at the restaurant ” or “starving while on road trip” theories. I guess I am not the only ‘to-be-vegan’/’vegan’ who is bombarded with these trademarked inquisitive questions.
I’d be honest. When on one hand I am enthused explaining to my friends, the ethical and health reasons behind my choices, I do get most occasionally raged when being mocked is the promptest reply but gulp it down like a bitter pill. But as time has evolved around me, I feel the need to be angry or disturbed way lesser than before. Instead I begin to modestly patronize my fancy for baking vegan cakes that are so less in “calories” and in “cruelty” than otherwise. Atleast, “calories ” seem to make more sense to people today than “cruelty” does. It’s strange but is bitterly true.
Off late, my spouse and I have also recognized myself being influenced by the character of the witch who lures people into her house and feeds them with magical and intoxicated food, just that mine are vegan and definitely toxic free. 😀 Somewhat like an advertisement that yells out and says, ” I do eat good food and so does my family and there is really nothing that I am missing out here in my life.” And the moment the question pops up, “really, is this vegan? It doesn’t taste bad at all.” is perfectly a victorious moment for me and my now partly converted omnivore spouse. 😀
With all this and more, at the end of the day and after so many prolonged & futile discussions, it is hard to believe that we take pride to live in a world surrounded by rich, educated and doctorate folks when the wise ones are yet so rare to find. We believe in accepting those who have mindsets similar to theirs and not the one, that dares to be different even if the changing world believes it to be the right step taken. Today, there is a whole bunch of criteria we need to tick, in order to submit ourselves as “fit” to be part of a crowd and individuality is apparently just about being privileged.
Travelling through stereotypes of judgement on the basis of gender, race, beliefs & culture, ethical choices are now, the most phenomenal addition to the list.
And in the hours that I spend by myself, petting my dog (currently the ones I foster), the eyes that look right back into mine, her cushioned paws that raise to give me a shake and that wagging tail and squeaky tone when she finally sees me after a long day, is so profound and hard to ignore. All it does to me is make me feel more and more connected to life in varied forms. Never ever in my slightest conscience can I even dream her or my other non human or human companions as being treated so wrongly for the taste of my palate or pleasure. Each of them have such amazing individual personalities and yet it is sad that most of us fail to acknowledge their existence over ours.
Do I have something different in me? Absolutely not. We all as human beings have been gifted with such immense qualities guided by compassion, strength and morality that if put in the right place, coexistence would never have had to be such a huge deal.
If only we could open our eyes once and listen to what our heart chooses over what our tastes and false luxuries desire, ‘peace’ would be a normalcy and not a luxury. If only, it was not for mankind, who is so adamant and blinded by greed that we force the innocent fellow dwellers run through the stairs of painful hell each day, there would have been more roses in the garden than blood that drains into the rivers each day. If only, we had more giving hands than those that take away, there would have been a little less tear each day that dried away into a silent sleep.
If Only… I Wish.♥