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Eat, Drink and Evolve - Part II

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    [JUSTIFY]Replying to the feedbacks in the first part of this Snippet brought back some more memories and I thought it better to put it down as a sequel.

    My tradition of being a vegetarian was due to my upbringing. I don't know whether it had to do with religion or conviction - meaning for my parents. My neighbours were non vegetarians. As I have mentioned in other snippets we were very close and I virtually grew up in their house. The landlord was a doctor and his wife a teacher and we addressed them that way (Doctor and Teacher). Every Sunday they used to buy fish for lunch. There used to be a fish monger who used to come along selling pomphrets. I have seen Doctor buy those silver coloured fish and bring them into the house. I used to watch with tremendous fascination. I would be sitting on the window sill and would take deep breaths to smell the fish. :rotfl I loved it. Once I asked mom to buy some and make it at home. Mom tried telling me we don't eat. It is unclean. I asked her how the neighbours eat it then. She promptly changed track. (She was smart and knew that I might go and blurt it out to them - yes, I was born with congenital "foot in mouth disease"). Then she told me something that appealed to my 5 year old mind. She asked me how I would feel if someone took her or dad or my sis away, killed them and ate them up. That was it. After that I could never consider eating any form of meat. (Some friends found it very funny when I told them this, but I think psychologically speaking she had touched the right nerve in her 5 year old).

    However, she had been forced to drink liver soup when she was extremely ill one time and had suffered from severe anaemia. Doctor used to make liver soup in their house and come and make Amma drink it. :drowning She used to shudder when telling us. But I really think it was extremely sweet of them to have cared so much for her.

    Later in life, I used to always what meat or fish tasted like. I had asked Teacher's granddaughter who is about 2-3 years younger than me whether she could explain to me in vegetarian terms what fish tasted like. She was not able to. One afternoon she called me out and asked if I would like to taste fish. She had brought some along. I told her I was not mentally prepared. I was holding my niece who was around 3 years old at that time. She was severely short sighted. The kid had to wear thick glasses. It used to break my heart to see her beautiful eyes hidden behind those. She said she wanted to eat it. My friend looked at me with a question mark on her face. I felt particularly generous towards my niece and told her to give her a piece. Fish is rich in Vit A - good for the eyes ..... She ate a piece and wanted more. I had never reckoned what a hard core non veg eater she would turn into. (My guilt was tremendous and many years later I tried to reconvert her. She loves animals. I told her to either give up non veg or to never to talk of love for animals). :hide: Poor kid gave in and tried very hard. Whenever our neighbours offered her chicken or fish, she used to say with a sad look that she had promised Satchi chitti never to eat non veg again. They told her her Satchi chitti was mad and she was also mad. :bonk Well, with the blessings of my sis and my nephew she went back to eating whatever she wanted.

    There were a couple of very sticky situations I landed in when I was in the UK and once when I went to Germany for my teacher's training course.

    When I was in the hostel in the UK, I was friends with a French couple who also lived in the family block. They had 2 kids. I am a complete sucker when it comes to kids. So I used to take care of their 2 month old if they had to go anywhere. One day they invited me to lunch. That was the day of the week when the husband would cook for everyone. I went along and found all the vegetables cooked for me (they knew I was vegetarian) were in the tray in which they had just cooked some sausages :shock:. My stomach churned at the thought. But I could not refuse to eat as they had taken trouble to invite me and make what they thought was vegetarian food. :-D I just shut my mind out and ate what was offered.

    The other time I was to live as a guest in a German family for the 3 months I was there for my training. I was put up with a lovely elderly couple. The day I landed and got to their place, the lady very proudly put out a quiche on the table. One half of it had meat pieces and the other half didn't. Her logic was half was vegetarian, the other was non veg :bonk :spin. My friend (who had also come with me for the course) and I looked at each other and did not know what to do. We had to explain very carefully that we do not normally eat anything that has been cooked along with meat in the same vessel. Anyway, as she had taken so much trouble, we did eat the veggie half. (That my friend has now turned to eating non veg is a different matter).

    However, I was not so generously disposed at an Asian gathering in the hostel one day. When deciding the menu, we had mentioned that some of us were vegetarians. Despite that some members from the other side of our western border went to the restaurant and bought rice with meat in it and told us we could remove the meat and eat the rest. If they genuinely did not know or if we had not explained ourselves before hand, I could have forgiven them. But since that was not the case (this was just plain meanness and lack of consideration), we had to go hungry that night. :rant [​IMG]

    Such situations really test one's nerve and will-power. They put one into a quandary. To eat or not to eat is the question. On one hand one has one's years of deep rooted conditioning. On the other hand one realizes that one's friends who belong to a to a totally different culture (and have no clue of what our concept of vegetarianism is) have gone to so much trouble to cook something different for you. In the case of the German couple, we have an elderly couple who does not know you from Adams who have offered you place in their home and hearts. What does one do? I still don't know the "right" answer. I did what I felt I had to do. What was more important? Responding to human sensitivities or thinking of the purity of the food offered? I was torn between my love for animals and my concern for the sensitivities of my human friends. The animals were already dead (no fault of mine) and I was not eating them. My friends were alive and well and were feeding me with love and affection. So the choice that appealed both to my head and my heart was clear to me. Well, my conscience is clear and I know my God will not take offence.[/JUSTIFY]
     
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  2. kelly1966

    kelly1966 Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Satchi..
    I Love animals.. but I'm a through and through non -veg... I see no connection unfortunately.. but I guess thats the way our thought process is.. I mean people who eat non-veg.. its not seen as cruelty to animals.. but yes throwing stones at a street dog.. ill treating animals.. behaving badly towards folks who are considered"lessor" than oneself is surely a form of condemnable cruelty..
    what you did was absolutely correct.. europeans generally don't realise the religious taboo about food.. and as for as your asian friends go.. if they are from far east or china then I think even they don't understand the difference..
    My son the other day was mentioning how is it possible for a person like me who loves non veg to have 90% of friends who are pukka veg???... well I told him may be thats God's way of making me respect someone else's preferences..
    kerman
     
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  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    You are right Kelly. Each one's concepts vary considerably and our way of rationalizing is very different. But as for the friends from the other side of the border - well they were from Pakistan. We did explain to them before hand, but they just lacked the consideration. I can understand that perhaps their concepts were different and they could not understand. But when you have a party and the people who are vegetarians explain to you clearly, at least respect their difference and don't starve them.
     
  4. beautifullife30

    beautifullife30 Finest Post Winner

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    Hi Sachi

    my husband was a hardcore non-vegetarian and a diehard fan of chicken biryani. You wouldnt believe it but he used to scout all across hyderabd just to have tasty biryani everyday.....but he changed his ways and now he strictly practises vegetarianism mainly for me (since i am brahmin) .... so one of those initial days i used to ask him how he justified himself eating chicken and other live creatures...he said the 'he was actually giving moksha' to those poor souls by eating them .....
     
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  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Satchi
    At the mention of the word 'Evolve' in your title, my mind travelled several thousands of years to find a comparable soul who evolved through eating. The story of Adi Sankara came very nearly to yours. He was once walking with his disciples to collect alms for their sustenance as the Sanyasis were wont to do in days of yore. One toddy shop fellow gave him toddy respectfully and Sankara drank it. His disciples were dumbstruck and twiddled their fingers not knowing how to react. On the following day, someone offered him meat which he accepted and ate. There was more of twiddling of fingers , more furious this time. One disciple asked Sankara reluctantly if this was in order. Sankara merely walked on smiling.

    Next day, Sankara was on his routine trip. This time he was confronted by a non-believer who wanted to put Sankara in his place. He was a blacksmith and there was some molten iron in his work place which he offered to Sankara for drinking! Sankara accepted it and drank it smilingly. That was a moment of instant evolution for the disciples. They realised the true meaning of 'Sarvam Krishnaarpanam'!

    My life has also been a mixed bag so far. I do not hold on to any strict principles of my own if it means countering my avowed objective of 'communicating happiness'. I have lived 70 years for myself. Why not live whatever that is left for others? In saying this, I am only hoping that you will not put this objective of mine to test by offering me a glass of molten metal when we meet! Anything else is ok!
    Sri
     
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  6. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Satchi wow. your childhood fish experience reflects mine. I too watched with fascination when the fishmonger used to deliver his goods to the Syrian Catholic Mallu family who lived on the first floor of our house and wanted my mother to cook fish. I got a slap in return and a rebuke that brahmins don't eat fish. However her vegetarianism didn't prevent my mother from swallowing cod liver oil capsules or feeding me malt-flavoured shark liver oil which I hated. Her excuse was while eating fish was a sin for Tambrahms swallowing fish oil capsule's wasn't because it was medicine. Even as a kid I was keenly sensitive to such double standards. That helped me demolish with gusto fish when I grew up.But even here I set some limits. I can't eat aquatic creatures that have legs, say crabs, lobsters or crayfish. And I don't bother about the curdling agent of my cheese be in animal or vegetarian rennet and as I have already said no probes into the base of my soup stock please.-- I don't give a damn whether they are meat or veggie based. As long as meat is invisible it is fine.
     
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  7. arch1209

    arch1209 Platinum IL'ite

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    Hey Satchi....You guessed my name :) wow!!! I wonder how

    Coming back to the post, I remember as a teen I would often go to buy chicken from our neighborhood poultry farm and once my vegetarian friend decided to accompany me. I did not know the experience would be so horrifying for her. After that experience she labelled me "cruel and heartless" for killing the poor chicken and eating it. I told her that it was not that bad, but the way she said it made me feel bad for exactly two weeks, and when my grand mother made some chicken fry my resolve was tested badly and I gave up.
    I have a die-hard communist friend who is a namboodhri from a very pious, spiritual and religious family. Much to his family's disappointment he is also a die-hard beef and pork eater, when I asked him why he gave me a very amusing answer "I don't believe in a God that tells me don't eat what you like," I argued for him for a while but we then decided that we would agree to disagree....
    Despite being a non-vegetarian, I dislike diary and hate and detest milk. Last summer we visited my husband's paternal side of the family who are based in UP and not only are they die-hard vegetarians but they are also farmers and have cattle in the house. In their family there is a culture of giving guests milk to drink, and this was the first time I was visiting them after marriage so they were very excited. Every night all his aunts would come with glasses of fresh milk for us and there was no way I could say no to them because they would give it to me so sweetly.
    As a policy I also do not use leather, but on my last trip to India my paternal aunt's family gifted me a bag, which my uncle had specially gotten made for me :( I felt so guilt tripped that I accepted it. I don't use it that much and am thinking of gifting it to someone. But a few months later I told my aunt that I have stopped using leather.
    Coming back to your story, I think if I was in your place I would do the same thing, sometimes just being sensitive to other people goes a long way and you did just that :) I think there is so much to food than just pleasing the senses, it is also a way to show someone that you care and you probably just returned the feeling and making them feel good.
     
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  8. Anitap

    Anitap IL Hall of Fame

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    God cares more for what comes out of our mouth than what goes inside. :)

    You did the right thing.
     
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  9. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Beautifullife,

    :rotfl Some definition of moksha, I must say. :-D But I must say, he sounds like a very sweet person. It must be incredibly hard for a person who eats non vegetarian food to give it up entirely.
     
  10. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya sir,

     

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