To "V" or not to "V"

It was an occasion for celebration, as the pretty HR person handed over the team spot award. But the next moment, the heart sank, as she announced that the reward was to be a team lunch sponsored by the company. Now, any sane person would never “cringe” at the prospect of a free lunch; and team-lunches as we know, are a tradition by themselves in the industry we work in. It’s the time when you’re allowed to “officially” have fun, bonding with the team, getting to know everyone better – a fact accepted and encouraged to build a healthy and balanced work environment.

All said and done, the heart still plunks down – all of my 156 cms, at the mention of a team lunch these days. Uninspiring visions of previous such team lunch-es float before the eyes. As in the general case, our team too has a generous percentage of non-vegetarians as against a few veggies like me. And as it always happens, bowing to the majority’s choice, veg-&-non-veg serving restaurants are chosen on such occasions.
Now, before the non-veggies in you sharpen your claws and spring to tear me apart, lemme put in one disclaimer – I have nothing personal against the non-vegetarian fraternity. I have several non-veggie friends with whom I have shared a table on many an occasion and I do not squirm in my seat when I eat with them.

But a couple of experiences of-late have turned me into a skeptic. During my travel abroad, I have been asked point-blank and pointless questions like – “Why? What will happen if you eat?” This was on the occasion when I and a colleague expressed our shock and distress on realizing that the seemingly innocent veg-rolls offered (and declined) actually contained pork sausages, after reading about the ingredients on the packet!

And of course, the aforesaid team-lunch-es where the minority of just a handful of us veggies, are pitted against the huge bunch of up-until-then well-behaved and well-meaning colleagues, who suddenly turn into this gluttonous gang – ordering nearly every non-vegetarian dish in the menu and gorging like there’s no tomorrow!
Here again, the issue is not with how much they order or what they eat, it is the apathy and the insensitivity shown towards veggies – the seemingly “lesser mortals” if you ask them, that enrages me. Not only do they not care for your preferences or comfort, they look at you in pity and distaste for not appreciating the tastiest and most sumptuous food, that they think, exists in the world.

Why can’t we be more understanding of the different needs of different people? If not share why can’t we respect others’ preferences? Why can’t they make an effort to realize that, while for some it is a matter of choice, for others it is something which runs much deeper – it is about beliefs and values, principles and practices?
Each one is a master of self and is free to do as one chooses. But at-least when we are in a group, where not everyone thinks and enjoys in the same way, why can’t we be a little less loud and a little more reticent in flaunting our acts and choices?

And finally, here’s a piece of advice to all those all-questioning morons out there – if you can’t very well fathom why I choose to be vegetarian, the least you can do is respect my choice by not asking me the reason there-of!


4 thoughts on “To "V" or not to "V"

  1. To answer those nasty questions, here are some quotes that can come handy:

    How can you eat anything with eyes? ~Will Kellogg

    If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. ~Paul McCartney

    You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car. ~Harvey Diamond

    Heart attacks… God’s revenge for eating his little animal friends. ~Author Unknown

    Why do you call some animals “pets” and others “dinner?” ~k.d. lang

  2. staying in the yankee land for years and sharing a table with red meat dripping with blood/foul smelled sea food eaters…i share your predicament. but believe me, the questions asked to you were really innocent. the next time, you been asked, smile at them and say something positive about eating leaves and so and mention that you never ate meat and you won’t eat it too. that will allay the meat eaters’ curiosity about a leaf-eater like you. you will get accostomed to being a minority (now you realise how it feels to be a minority — by gender/religion/beliefs/habits/appearances etc etc) and you can cherish it…

    and you can always order your yummiest ice cream and eat it all accusing all the meat eaters that there was nothing for you other than the ice (s)cream.

    fyi: i just had my lunch…the espanol and non-englis speaking lady said there is no turkey in the bread wrap and i am not sure if she were correct…there was something that looked like an inter-breed between a mushroom (mushrooms are yuckier) and a turkey meat…but i was hungry and i just removed that unknown stuff and ate my lunch…because i felt it is a crime to waste that food throwing in the trash.

    fyi: the fairer sex among the meat eaters (with names like jane/tasha/candice/vivian li/tamara/rajeswari) are sensitive and you can drop in suggestions that eating meat causes one to get fat and you can try converting them to your lef-eating habits. but for a 6 footer guy (named bill/ted/josh/parminder/toby/hugang li) who needs lots of protein for that huge belly, you can just look down upon him for his blood stained lips of that large chunk of meat.

    fyi: being en eggalatarian, bisibelebath is my dish. and when ruth ate it the first time, she screamed “is that all vegetarian???” at bisi bele bath. i do love ruth and i do love bisibele bath. i will never stop loving bisibele bath, but ruth had been told by me that she may ne un-loved if she does not wipe clean the microwave after microwaving that ham.


  3. [anamika] – hey thanks for those quotes, they sure will come in handy! 🙂
    [w_u] – thanks for the interesting notes and tips 🙂

  4. Same here, I always hated this question. Are you a veggie? you dont even eat sea food? how about shrimps? they are tiny teny beings which live shorter than plants which you eat!! Please help me with these questions!

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