Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I am vegetarian. I am selfish?!

Well, apparently yes. According to my sister. Because i am the only vegetarian in my family.
I decided to turn veg last year as some sort of birthday resolution. I am always asked "Why?" and it’s a question i struggle to answer. I come from a family that loves its meat and it’s not an exaggeration to say that i was probably the biggest carnivore of the lot. I have never been fussy about food, have always open to experiments and have tried pretty much all kinds of meat and seafood - cooked, uncooked, marinated, what have you.

The change came slowly. Over the past few years i pretty much stopped eating red meat primarily because i stopped enjoying it. This slowly spread to chicken as well and i became pretty much a fishitarian for about a year. Somewhere down the road i started thinking about turning vegetarian, first just in passing and then more seriously. I also wondered whether this was something i could even do. Sure i had pretty much given up on meat but I could always eat it if i really wanted to. Could i really go without non veg indefinitely? Well, anyway i decided to try and it’s been 9 months now.
If i really have to think of one, i think the most straight forward answer as to why i decided to turn veg is linked to yoga. The entire process started with yoga and the more i read about yoga, spirituality and food the greater the pull towards actually turning vegetarian became. In any case, despite living abroad i haven't really felt that turning veg has meant a drab choice of food to eat - of course it's lucky that i love tofu and rarely tire of it.

Coming back to India is of course wonderful. I don't think any other country can boast the variety of vegetarian fare that we have. Not to mention the sweets, which i have a terrible weakness for. While i have been eating yummy food and kheers and halwas (i must have put on a ridiculous amount of weight in the process, i haven't confirmed my suspicion as i am too scared to step on the weighing machine), my sister has been eating my head about the fact that my turning vegetarian is the most selfish decision i have taken. Ever. Her reason? Well since I've turned veg every time we go out for a meal we ending up eating basically veg food with perhaps one non veg dish for everyone else to dig into. All this of course in keeping with the fact that i am pampered silly when i come home for a break. And also because earlier this would mean a month of happy non veg gorging for my sister as well and doesn't any more.
She grumbled "Just because you have eaten enough non veg food to last a life time why do i have to suffer and be forced to eat ridiculous amounts of paneer tikka? How selfish can you be!"
Now, how to respond to that?!


Tabula Rasa said...

as someone who's married to a vegetarian, i completely sympathize with your sister :-)

shark said...

Why can't they order one vegetarian dish for you and the rest non-veg for them to savour?

And this is a very nice change.. I mean, I always hear veggies becoming non-vegies after coming abroad, but had never heard the other way round :)

They say the choice is less and can't survive... but hey! I have been surviving for 2 years almost now being a strict vegetarian :) And, I have never starved myself or anything !

Szerelem said...

tabula rasa: hehehe...a year ago id have probably reacted just like her, so i just listen to her rants and ignore them =P

shark: well, my parents socialize a lot (no lack of non veg for them) so they pamper me when we go out. Thats also why its basically my sis who grumbles!
And i have become a poster girl for all my veg friends abroad!!!
i agree with you, being veg isn't bad at all and ive never starved either. Plus theres incentive to try innovative veg stuff, which i probably wouldn't have earlier.

Tabula Rasa said...

saw your comment re sashimi on thalassamikra's blog, but decided not to comment on it there. so...

you're vegetarian. no shellfish.

Szerelem said...

yeah no more shellfish (or any fish for that matter!). It doesn't stop me from telling other people to try sashimi and other non veg stuff i (used to) like.
is it a surprise my sister thinks im ridiculous =) ??!!

jhantu said...

I completely sympathize with ze sister, one beggie in a party of 10 non-veggis and that too a pampere one, spoils the whole damn meal ;-)

Full sympathies for ze sister

M (tread softly upon) said...

I've tried giving up on meat consumption for over an year now. When I say tried I mean I haven't been able to avoid a couple of random occasions when I did actually eat some meat. But I gave up because of some disgusting revealations about the factory farming industry in the US. I know it's hard and it's probably harder for people around you. But good luck!

Szerelem said...

jhantu: dont be mean!! ;) i didnt ask her not to eat meat, why blame me??!!

m: i think its quite hard to give up non veg over night.i feel and whatever i read said as well that it should be a stage wise elimination.
And yes, some of the stuff one reads about the meat industry are quite disturbing.
Surprisingly turning veg has been a relatively easy ride. And well, my family really has to put up with it only when im visting, plus its not like we used to eat non veg everday...