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So, I have two opposites in the house. (What’s new, anyway!) More so, when it comes to food. One likes blandest of the bland food; the other likes pretty spicy food. You know which ones’ which! One likes pizza; one hates pizza. One can eat junk food everyday; one likes to go on a thachchi mammu diet for eternity. Well.. In this line of opposites, we have this.. One is trying hard to convince me to let him try meat; the other goes yuck when such an argument ensues. I’ve been putting off the meat eating request for years now.

I’ve been a vegetarian from birth. Slowly, I started eating eggs but somehow couldn’t get to eating meat, although I had ample opportunities and complete freedom at home. I can’t even pin point a reason for it. It’s the similar case with the husband. My brother started eating meat when he was in college. He was a meat eater until about a year ago and then suddenly stopped for reasons best known to him.

All I am trying to say is I am not averse to the son eating meat. Then, why am I putting off his request? Simply because I want him to be old enough to be able to think about why he wants to eat meat and the moral implications (if he feels there are any!) about it. His deadline is sixteen. ‘When you are sixteen and are able to drive, you can go ahead and decide whether to be a vegetarian or not.’ That’s the standard response he gets. But that doesn’t deter him from trying to convince me every once in a while. And I do humor him for sometime and then go back to utter the standard ‘when you are sixteen…’ phrase.

Now, let’s talk about the other. Whenever there is a meat conversation or a meat picture or a meat anything, the daughter goes ‘oh yuck’. This is a new reaction of hers that has developed over the last year or so. Which I obviously don’t endorse. While I tried to figure out where this came from, I realized it was that her group of friends in school are vegetarians who apparently are not comfortable around meat eaters. I kept telling her that differentiating people based on food choices is a big no-no but somehow her reaction hasn’t changed much.

Last week when one conversation began about a neighbor’s food choices, I grabbed the opportunity to reason out with her (both of them actually!)

Ma.. D’s dad eats everything, you know.. Anything that walks or swims or crawls.. Everything. D and her mom are vegetarians though. D said she doesn’t like her dad because he eats meat.

Isn’t that wrong? I mean, not liking her dad just because he eats meat?

Yeah. But eating meat is wrong too no, Ma? We are hurting animals right?

Okay. Do you like eggs?

Yes.

If no one in the world ate eggs at all, then these eggs could’ve been left to hatch by the hens. They might’ve given birth to a chicken. Which means, you might be effectively killing a chicken even before it came in there?

Okay.. I’ll stop eating eggs then.

Right. So you drink milk, right?

Yes. I love milk.

So, where does milk come from?

Cows.

Right. So cows have milk only for their calves. But we actually force them to give it to us so that us, human beings, can have milk.

(At this point, we did do a short detour and spoke about how blood turns into milk which in turn led to talking about breast milk and lactating mothers and all.. but I’ll censor it for the sake of our sanity!)

Then, I’ll not drink milk too.

Okay.. Which means, you shouldn’t have anything made from milk.

Like?

Butter. Ghee. Cheese. Paneer. More importantly, curd.

She went silent for a while. I know how much she loves curd. Slowly, she uttered a not-so-convincing yes.

Do you know plants have life too? They breathe, remember?

Yeah. They give us oxygen and they breathe in carbon di oxide. We’ve learnt in Brain Pops.

Which means, you are killing the plants to have your vegetables and fruits and grains. Aren’t you?

**sighs** We kill too? So, what do we eat then?

Exactly why I say you shouldn’t mock at the food choices of anyone. Others have a choice to eat what they want just like how you have your own. So never say yuck at anyone’s food, alright?

And well.. it’s been a week now since we had this sermon and it’s too early to know if the advice has been heeded to. I hope it will be of some use. I really hope!

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