I look up from petting about 4 at the same time and reply - "grown up with dogs yaar, prefer them to humans most of the time, a pet mommy to a naughty beagle boy as well". I smile as only pet parents can when they recollect how the house is going to be a mess of 'all things within reach' when they get back.
"you are a hypocrite"
"why do you say that?" .. Puzzled and hurt at this accusation from my friend.
"how would you feel if people ate dogs?"
"no one eats dogs... are you mad.. how can you even think of killing and eating these beautiful creatures? must be so emotionless and made of stone to do it"
"You eat chicken don't you?
"How can you think of killing and eating 'those' beautiful creatures? Either you are emotionless or you are a hypocrite"
He continues... "You relate to dogs because you understand their emotions towards you... you don't understand how a chicken or a lamb or a cow crys out before being killed... you have not given it a thought... you understand one creature's emotions and you don't understand another... that's why I called you a hypocrite..."
Butter chicken and naan | chicken steamed momos - yum yum! Every time I had a chance to order or eat out, the protocol was to go to a place that serves yummy non - veg food. Although I have never been a red meat eater- chicken was pretty much my staple food for over 2 decades.
Being a non- vegetarian was always a choice - a Iyer Brahmin eating chicken ( has to be a matter of choice). I remember not going to an all - veg restaurant because I wasn't sure what I would eat there..."Arre we make all the veg dishes at home... why go to a veg restaurant da?"
*then what changed*
The conversation with my friend made me think, the recent hue and cry in China about the dog festival made me think more...
everyone condemned that... who kills dogs they asked... who eats dogs?? ... "how inhuman" they said.... we said... I said... are we hypocritical? am I being a hypocrite?
The conversation made me uncomfortable, all of it made me question something that I had been doing without thought for 30 years of my life. I did it for the taste on my tongue. I blocked out what was actually on my plate.
How does that make sense?
*I think back - school days*
Cousins are home- task of cooking chicken curry and rice falls on me while the parents are headed out to a wedding. I learn up the recipe and 4 eager mouths are waiting for it.
It's done-smells great - it tastes amazing - my sister and cousins are already demolishing the meal- but I don't eat - I can't eat - infact I eat nothing because I feel like throwing up after cooking the meat.
*but I forget this and after a few weeks I order chicken anyway*
but now, but today - I read up and research about non-veg and humans... did you know that in vegetarian animals, the digestive pipe is very long? do you know why?
The toxic content of veg food is less and vitamins and proteins are more - so the digestive system is designed to hold this type of food for longer hours in the body.
For non-vegetarian animals, the food pipe length is very short as meat rots faster and needs to be absorbed quickly into the system before it goes bad in the stomach!!
And guess what? Human beings have a long digestive system - we are designed vegetarians... strange that as a science student I never paid attention to this. Moreover before being slaughtered animals generate toxins and hormones that we consume when we eat their meat... good or bad you decide.
*was this a first time a vegetarian had crossed paths with me and turned her nose at my being a non - veg by choice... no not really. But this time it made an impact*
An impact that caused a change in my perspective. The same thing I did over and over most of my life suddenly didn't make sense to me any more. I looked at my food not with my tongue but with my heart.
I no longer blocked out what I might feel on hearing how they are killed for me to eat. I looked, I heard, I felt and then I could not any more.
I changed the way I look at life.
I turned vegetarian for life.