When Someone Asks: Do You Mind If I Eat Meat In Front Of You?
Coming from a Marwari household, where my grandparents don’t eat garlic or onions, there is a lot of sensitivity around our food eating habits. Considering the fact that while my father was in class 1, he went to a boarding school, a lot changed. He developed his own sense of tastes, likes and dislikes and it became a bit difficult for my grandparents to negotiate his food choices.
He would come back home and ask for eggs. He apparently needed meat for his protein intake. My grandparents wouldn’t allow it first, but they realised that even if they stop him from eating this at home, he was going to eat this back in school. Since it was a more of a religious belief amongst the elders at that point, it was hard to convince the kids about why they shouldn’t be eating meat.
We also grew up in the same house, with the grandparents but by now things that changed, everyone was a bit more flexible. Onions and garlic had made their way into the kitchen even though they were only reserved for special dishes. There was a separate pantry that allowed eggs to come in. The pantry was fully equipped with pans, forks, plates that had to be washed and used only and only there. This pantry was located outside the house, in the backyard.
Now, being surrounded by only meat eaters, it was hard to resist eating or at least trying the different varieties of meat available. So, we made our choices, tried some and after a while decided what we liked and we didn’t.
Everyone around would assume that we are marwaris and we don’t eat meat, so they would ask “Do you mind if I eat meat in front of you?” and I would respond saying “Not at all, please go ahead, I also eat sometimes.” The after reaction would be “Really, your family members don’t say anything?”. I would just nod and be like I made my own choice because what they say is not convincing enough!”
Then a few years back, I met someone who gave me a perspective about how he doesn’t eat meat or doesn’t want to try it. It was partly religious, but he was convinced that it was a not a great idea given the animal cruelty angle. That’s when I actually understood that I definitely liked the taste of meat but not the act.
Since, then it has been really easy for me to give up eating meat because how can we enjoy food that was extracted from another being, only for the taste? Given that there are hundred more alternatives and similar tastes, we can enjoy the same at a much much lesser cost.
If someone asks me now, “Do you mind if I eat meat in front of you?. I smile and say “No, Please go ahead.” and look away, Hoping that one day they will realise that it’s not just a dish they are eating, but it’s so much more.
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