The recent furore over the ban on beef has brought the veg non-veg debate to the fore again. In coffee shops and workplaces, people are furiously welcoming or questioning the move. (I hear opinions like “Why can’t you not eat just this one animal?” to “How can the government tell me what to eat?”).
Many of my chicken/meat-eating friends are forced to address the issues of animal protection / religious beliefs and defend their personal choices to steak eaters. It’s karma, I observe wryly. For I have been in a similar position countless times as a vegetarian. As someone largely tolerant of others’ dietary choices, it is often annoying to be the butt of (what is wrongly assumed to be) jokes.
Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight:
- Beef eating makes a lot of you uncomfortable because of your faith and/or social conditioning. I may feel the same too – with ALL meat. Respect that.
- Don’t ask stupid questions like “What will you eat if you’re marooned on an island?” I may forage for roots n berries. I may start a cannibal cult there, you never know. Either way, it is not hypothetical, it’s dumb.
- I respect all your food as a source of sustenance. Please extend me the same courtesy. Dissing my paneer, khichdi or idli is immature at best, hypocritical at worst. I may laugh along, but am secretly wishing you diarrhea.
- Don’t keep asking the better half why he hasn’t “converted” me yet. It’s not our fault you’re an idiot.
- You know when you tell me to eat “the curry without the chicken pieces”? or when you declare you’ll trick me into eating non-veg some day? Remember Newton’s third law. Also remember, laxatives are easily available in the market.
Ok, so what do we order for dinner now?