Musings

Should I become vegetarian?

April 22, 2012
Photo by S McGarnigle

Photo by S McGarnigle

 

Life is extraordinary. Just when you’re starting to feel comfortable and content, you’re thrown a curve ball.

One minute you’re tucking in to a Thai Green Chicken Curry dish, savouring the flavours and commenting on the tenderness of the chicken. And then a traumatic event occurs and the next minute you’re swearing off chicken, meat and all its relations.

The said traumatic event happened to me at 8.30am this beautiful Sunday morning.

Chatting on the phone with a best friend who currently lives in London, I was only half paying attention as I picked some silverbeet leaves and tossed them into the chicken pen.

Several minutes later, I noticed that the chickens were more preoccupied with what they were doing. From where I stood, it looked as though they were each pecking at a rope. Still engrossed in my phone conversation, it took me a while to conclude that chickens would not be pecking at a piece of rope. It must have been a worm! The longest worm I had ever seen! My mind absorbed on the conversation as well as entranced with watching the chickens devour the worm my attention then focussed on a chicken still and lifeless on the ground.

When the realisation came to me that the worm the chickens has been feasting on was the intestine of the other, I got off the phone to fetch Ben. He ran to the pen with a plank of wood to put the chicken out of its misery and I began to feel nauseous. I went through the motions of dry reaching and as I hadn’t eaten any breakfast, nothing would come out.

I turned around and Ben, the adult that he is, was carrying the dead chicken telling me his plans to bury it and I being the witness of chicken brutality, ran to the shed and slammed the door shut. I had made up my mind that I was never eating chicken again.

Carnivorous, treacherous, evil chickens!

Ben returned and asked me to put the TV on and get my mind off the event. So I flicked through the movies I had saved on Austar and settled for Sex and the City 2. Frivolity and fashion worked it’s charm until Ben asked me me to help choose a tree so that we could plant a tree over the burial plot. The burial plot was located in the chicken pen. I explained to Ben that I hadn’t forgiven our chickens yet and that I was considering becoming a vegetarian again (the reason for becoming vegetarian the first time round is a story best left for another blog post). Ben explained that what just happened was a natural part of life and told me not to make any rash decisions. I told him that I understood that, but I wasn’t sure my upset stomach did.

But in my heart of hearts, I know that Ben is right. Nature isn’t always kind. It can be brutal and unforgiving. Wishing it to be different isn’t going to change it. The ways of the world were here long before me and it will be here long after I am gone.

So it’s been two hours since the ordeal and the Sex and the City movie worked its magic, bringing me to a calmer and more docile state.

But I still have a conundrum: to eat or not to each chicken and meat, that is the question.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Shikha Sachar July 1, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Dear Jennifer,

    Reading through your article, made me realise the gravity of a long-drawn debate that has surfaced and resurfaced its ugly head in our society for a long time.

    I am still struggling to understand when will humanity understand the link of emotions (while preparing the food) to the emotion after eating that food product. i would like to term it as end-to-end-food-emotion (I know- it definitely sounds like a made up term :) .

    I was lucky to be born in a family which was strictly vegetarian as most Indians are and to top it, my mother has been a yoga instructor for 30+ years. When one tries to argue with her about the benefits of eating a non-vegetarian food, she has only one argument which no one has been able to beat. She says when you kill another being, you become numb to the emotion of killing. When another organism dies, it goes through a cycle of emotions – fear, hatred, anger – though they cannot succintly express it in human language. A human killing a chicken/goat/cow etc will have created such an aura of negative energy in the left over dead flesh that when consumed , human without realising actually ends up consuming the negativity of dear, hatred, anger etc. All of this spills out in the character and personality of a human no matter how nice that person is.

    All of this has been recorded in ancient Yogic Food Science as ‘Food types': Rajasik , Taamsik and Saatvik. This article here – http://www.artofliving.org/types-food
    gives the underlying message being – ”What you eat – you become”…
    http://www.artofliving.org/yoga-and-food

    Other researches done in Yoga related to food-absorption (I know I am going off on a tangent now) is on Human-Body-Type , they are broadly classified as Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. Please read about them here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dosha

    • Reply Jennifer Nini July 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Yes I understand completely where you are coming from. I was given several Krishnamurti books and I get the sense that I am listening to him when you wrote this! Very wise. You have given me food for thought by what you have written. I will find my own way through these questions however. I have been vegetarian and non-vegetarian. I will make the choice to be vegetarian again I am sure ;)

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