Vegetarianism

I am told it is a tradition. Somehow the news of Bush releasing 2 thanksgiving turkeys the day before Thanksgiving makes me really sad. Not for the fact that the turkeys can now live, but for the fact that when sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner the next day, you can visualise that it is remarkably similar to the birds that took flight yesterday.

I try to rationalize that when people are served processed meat, they are not thinking about the animal in question. Fair enough: how often do we think of the condition of the cows when drinking milk? Had we lived on the farm, and Bessie the cow was not feeling well, or wanted a walk instead of giving milk, we might have let Bessie out on the pastures before approaching her when she feels like giving milk. In the store, there is just reduced fat, lowfat and whole milk. Bessie might have been sleeping when the milk was taken from her – but, we don’t know that, and that absolves us of waking a cow deep in slumber.

So now my question comes back to relating the animal to the meat on the table. Do people do that, and when they do, does it trouble them or not? I am just trying to think of the meat-eating thought process here. Any insights are welcome. My vegetarianism from birth has endowed me with only 1 view.

Crusades: Imagination Vs Imagination

Eyes large as saucers, voices as vehement as can get, we demanded:

“Who/What gives them the right to throw out processed, dry foods, and that too at Bangalore airport?”

The group, gathered around a table with sumptuous food, demanded between tasty mouthfuls. It was actually quite an effort to sound affronted when every movement sent a divine taste surging through the tongue. But, we are all known to be a determined lot, and piqued we were.

The topic under discussion was that one of my aunts was forced to leave behind much of her belongings at Bangalore airport. The “sambhar podi“, and the various dried powders that can be mixed with boiled rice were all thrown out, we were told by our every chagrined parents. They had heard the news from one of their neices, who must have sounded quite convincing, because it actually prevented them from carrying too many things. We discussed the possible causes, criteria used by the airport authorities in such cases, and sounded rightfully indignant about the whole process.

Later that afternoon we placed a call to the aforesaid aunt, and tried to learn the magnitude of her losses. Come to think of it, my mother started out on quite an apologetic note while asking about it. She explained that she had a tube of Bengay in her hand-carry by mistake, and was forced to throw that out in Frankfurt airport. That apart, some other food packets of hers, were placed in check-in baggage, instead of the hand-baggage. That was all there was to the whole story!

I cannot imagine how many rounds this story must have made, before reaching my parents in its current shape! Every story-teller tied their own ribbons and balloons to the story. Soon the story took its current form:

A monstrous team was out on a vicious rampage at Bangalore airport, stripping legitimate travellers of their chutney mixes, and filter coffee.

I can’t help remembering the cartoon we used to see on Doordarshan about the balloon that burst in a house. Soon, the story takes on epic proportions before police arrive on the scene fearing a violent gunshot crime-scene, only to find a disappointed little girl, looking quite sullen because her balloon burst!

I am now seriously wondering the basis on which religious wars are fought. Most of our religious books were passed down through generations by word of mouth before getting penned as books. So, we use the combined imaginations of centuries to take offense against another form moulded by centuries of … imagination!