I was born to a non-vegetarian dad and a vegetarian mom. Clearly, I had a difficult choice to make very early in life. By the time I was 3 and finally aware of “where lollipop chicken comes from” I was already hogging on Butter Chicken (amazing recipe- Here), Drunken Chicken (go here for another amazing recipe), salamis, soups and every other form of meat that my vegetarian mother could dish out (Best part is- in spite of being a pure vegetarian by choice, she makes the most juicy and succulent tandoori chicken ever).
So, there I was. All of Three. Addicted to eating anything that could walk. And guilty as charged of devouring innocent animals that I so loved. If you were ever three, you probably know that there isn’t a tougher spot any three year old could be put in. I was in a Catch 22.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the three year old me, My father moved to a post in Kohima, Nagaland. And we had to tow along! If that doesn’t convey anything to you, Here is what an average street side food market in Kohima looks like:
And this what the local delicacy looks like, raw:
And to make things worse still, Our house help got us a Hen and Cock couple as a welcome present! Her babies looked like this:
So we ended up petting the Hen(who the maid christened Rani- Hindi for Queen) and the cock(who inevitably became Raja- Hindi for King) and their exponentially growing number of chicks. We could never muster up the courage to take one of Rani’s eggs and turn it into an omelette. But one day Jessypie (our pet cat) decided Rani’s chicks were too much of a temptation to pass up. There was blood and little feathers all over their hut.
And no chicks. I cried the entire day and refused to eat anything. But when I woke up the following morning, I woke up a new person. A part of me dead. I’d lost all faith in Vegetarianism and not eating things people do eat because my logic said “Somebody is going to eat them, anyway”
An year and a half later, we left Kohima and my troubled past behind to seek new horizons.
Then followed 10 years of being true to my carnivorous instincts. It was also the same period when McDonald’s and KFC breached Indian borders and introduced my country and its people to a whole new level of AWESOME. They redefined fast food. That and non-veg. It was no longer about chunks of meat floating in a sea of gravy eaten with flat bread. Finger food was here. And it was here to say! Chicken wings, McChicken and Mexican Chicken Wrap became second nature to me.
But how could my life be that easy? I am peacefully sitting in the backseat of my car when it stops at a red signal.
I turn my head to the left and look out the window. And what do I see? A man with a knife that looks like this-
He raises the knife high into the air and forcefully brings it down on a bird he is suffocating with his other hand.
I witnessed my first Butchery. I regurgitated everything I’d eaten right there.
And when you’d think things couldn’t get anymore complicated my Physiology teacher taught us about a certain Proteolytic Enzyme found in Human Beings specifically designed to digest the proteins present in meat. Not only that, she very strongly advocated that we were designed to consume meat as a part of our diet.
This is what I looked like right then
The amount of confusion and frustration that a simple diet habit can create is ridiculous. At times I stop and think if my whole life has been reduced to a single question-
To be or not to be…Vegetarian. To meat or not to meat.
What is my status now? Non-vegetarian and not ashamed of it anymore.
As for some of my closest friends who are vegetarian and for my vegetarian mother-
Please don’t take offense. Its all in good Humor. I firmly believe that every organism has as much of a right to live as you or me. But I guess I am too small a person to put my taste buds aside and embrace better things in life.
I love you all, vegetarian or not 🙂