Naan Vegetarian

Read the following lines from the song ‘Balleilakka’:

ammiyil arachu aakkivacha naattu kozhi patta kelappum
aadu maadu mela ULLa Paasam
veettu ration card-il serkka solli kaetkum

What’s the need to have such contradicting lines? How can the same person who kills and eats chicken (For God’s sake, it’s a baby!), love goats and cows when in all probability he might be eating those as well?!

Though I was born vegetarian, however, in the past few years, vegetarianism is something that I strongly support and I can now say am a vegetarian by my own choice. The very thought of killing a living animal pains my heart. Eating it later is something even worse than that! I can’t stand the very thought of it! πŸ™ Every time I pass by a meat shop, I close my eyes hard!

I don’t eat in a place that serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food unless I have no other option at all and I am satisfied that both don’t get mixed up there. I guess I will be the only one who has not eaten pizza in any of the popular pizza chains for the only reason that they serve both veg & non-veg! The most difficult part comes when I travel to some place. I almost survived on biscuits and ice creams when I went to Ooty during my college tour. I don’t know what I will do if I travel abroad though I have no plans of going anywhere away from India. I have now given up eating cakes (I love cakes! πŸ™‚ But then, who doesn’t? πŸ˜‰ ) having eggs too. Hmmm. Enough for now.

I wish a time comes soon when many adopt vegetarianism. Of course, not all dreams come true. Sigh!

P.S.: Thanks to Prabhu for suggesting a nice title for this post πŸ™‚

45 thoughts on “Naan Vegetarian

  1. Sathej

    Hello Aparna,
    Absolutely agree. By the way, I too have not eaten a pizza at all!! And I don’t eat cakes. I avoid ice creams too as I got to know they use some animal products. Yes, though I am quite nervous even about pets, I abhor the idea of killing an animal.

  2. Adiya

    first unga titlea parthu.. i thought ur going to give a gyan or patti mandram about Naan is Vegetarian or Roti is Vegetarian or Chappati is Vegetarian. πŸ™‚

    appuram dhaan theriunchu .. neeinga patta parthu tension aiytinga ingu..
    first kavithaikku poi azghu innu thalavari solli erukaru.. adhuvey ..
    andhi mazai polighiratu one one drop ur face is comming song how come it apts first for blind person. .that means he dreams like that.. adhu maathiri
    kavithai pattu inna anubhavikkam arayakudhathu..

    Kudos to Veggie Gang.. cool.. keep proceeding.. u wont find anything strange in abroad.. u can get good veggie stuff.. or u need to know to how to customize ur order depends on the cushine. mexicon, italain etc etc differs by nomenclauture that it..

  3. sangs

    A pure vegetarian(vegans ) should stop consuming even dairy products milk ,no thayir πŸ™‚ This reminds me of some graffiti I read somewhere “I’m a vegetarian ‘cos I hate plants ” πŸ˜‰
    To each his own πŸ™‚

  4. daneel olivaw

    apropos of nothing, i had a thought.

    do you support the idea that tigers ought to inhabit the earth as well? let’s assume you do. let’s also assume the plight of tigers right now is a real one.

    what do you think is going to help-a blanket ban on hunting, or letting someone be in charge of a game forest with full liberty to do as one wishes with the tiger population in that area, including hunting/arranging hunting parties, dealing in tiger skin, and all that?

    google around a bit!

  5. Neethi

    Aparna, I tend to disagree with you. I am a vegetarian too-by choice. But not eating in a place which serves vegetarian and non vegetarian food will leave me hungry at the place where I live. It is a challenge in itself to get something made without meat and adding the clause of strict vegetarianism will not help my cause of getting some food to eat. Avoiding cakes, ice creams is all fine but somehow once in a while, we have to let go of these rules and regulations. You say cakes and ice creams use animal products. What is milk but an animal product…butter-animal product, cheese, margerine, I can go on…Even though my family is a strict vegetarian family, my mother had advised me that when in Rome do as the Romans do (read:if you don’t find anything to eat, eat meat). I have stuck to my rules, but going against all people who eat meat is stretching it a little too far I think.

  6. Sathej

    Not against ‘people’ eating meat, but rather against ‘eating’ meat, maybe. Yes,strict vegetarinas would avaid any dairy product do! But, I am not quite a believer in “When in Rome, do what the Romans do” anyway. Yes, it is a challenge outside India for such people to survive without doubt!
    By the way, this post has generated quite a lot of opinion, Aparna! A sensitive topic.

  7. Sivakumar Jayaraman

    A good post and quite debatable too. While many westerners are turning to vegetarianism, i dont think the concept (should i say concept?????) is catching up atleast in India.. I am a born vegetarian but not one by choice now.. as you said it is indeed horrible especially while traveling.. I had been to Indonesia and was put up in a hotel for one and half months before moving to a house.. believe me i used to eat tomato rice (which we thought the cook)..for one and a half months tomato rice every day.. i started hating tomatoes after that.. but then i had to get to eat non veg which also became a habit…now to the killing of chicken etc people can draw comparison of killing plants too for vegetables..!!!! so i tend to agree and disagree with you…. πŸ™‚

  8. ranjhith

    You speak of cruelty to animals/birds/fish/non-humans & not just abt eating habits alone. πŸ™‚

    Neenga Vegiee by choicea? Maatuneenga. πŸ˜› Choose any one below becos of the choice you made & take an oath:

    * Will not consume Diary products.
    * Will not purchase/use leather products.
    * No to pesticides as it kills insects/rodents/birds for the sake of food.
    * Will stay away from cosmetics that use animal fat.
    * Dislike Lord Shiva as he always poses sitting on a Ox.
    * Dislike Lord Ganesha – makes parody of a mighty elephant.
    * Dislike Lord Muruga – done cruelty to Peacocks.
    * No to horse riding/elephant safaris.
    * Pay no visits to Zoos/Circuses.
    * A straight no to pets including fish in tanks.
    (my head is smoking out of over working) πŸ™‚

  9. Aparna

    The green/red dot in all the products comes in handy for all the vegetarians. If you take any of the brands like Amul, Walls, Arun ice creams all those are 100% vegetarian and they have a green dot too.

    anubavikkaraa madhiri andha linesla oNNum illa.
    Hmmm let’s think about all that if and when I go abroad πŸ™‚

    The reason behind not eating in a place serving both veg & non-veg is that the very thought that there is an animal in a plate somewhere near me pains my heart πŸ™

    I am not that pure a vegetarian πŸ™‚ As you say to each his own πŸ™‚

    Maybe the second choice might work. Will think about it for sometime and revisit the answer πŸ™‚

  10. Sathej

    Hello Aaparna,
    Thanks for the ice cream clarification And the photo that you put up long back-you could put it up here too. Very touching!

  11. Aparna

    First of all, I am not asking anyone to agree with me πŸ™‚ And secondly, I absolutely have nothing against anyone who eats meat! As Sathej has rightly pointed out, it is only eating meat I am against.
    Haven’t I written that even I eat in a place that serves both veg & non-veg, though that happens rarely? The reason behind that is sometimes for the sake of hunger we have to let go of our rules.
    There are always bread and jam that comes in handy when you don’t find any vegetarian food. So acting as Romans do when in Rome is something I won’t adopt in this case.
    This talk of dairy products being animal products and strict vegetarians should not consume it is something that I don’t agree with simple because no animal is being killed to produce it. But then, each one is entitled to have a different opinion πŸ™‚

    All the best to you for finding lotsa yummy vegetarian food πŸ™‚

  12. Sathej

    By the way, I have heard of the purest of the pure vegetarians who don’t consume dairy products and eat only fruits/vegetables which drop of their own accord from trees!

  13. Aparna

    Yeah it’s going to take a looong time for the concept of vegetarianism to catch up in India. The scenario here is more and more people are turning towards non-vegetarianism πŸ˜‰ Btw, I agree and disagree with you as well πŸ™‚

    > Will not purchase/use leather products.
    > Will stay away from cosmetics that use animal fat.
    > No to horse riding/elephant safaris.
    > A straight no to pets including fish in tanks.
    I already follow all these πŸ™‚ The third one is more out of fear than anything πŸ™‚

    Why don’t you comment on the lyrics? πŸ™‚ Btw, Adiya has already commented on the lyrics.

    Yeah that’s a very touching photo. I didn’t want to put any photo here.

  14. Aparna

    Let me add one more point to your list. Won’t wear silk sarees or other costumes made out of silk since silk worm is killed in order to produce silk πŸ™‚ Anyway, I don’t follow that. But, I know quite a few who don’t wear silk.

    Yes I have heard that too. Btw, are you planning to create any record of being the person who has commented maximum number of times for a post? πŸ˜› Just kidding πŸ™‚

  15. Sathej

    No, Aparna, I didn’t think of that. But yes, I have already commented 7 times here. It is already a maximum for me, I think. Just that I found this quite an interesting post. Hope you don’t mind the comments column becoming this long, for which I am partly responsible!

  16. daneel olivaw

    some more thought experiments.

    1. are you sure you are not against “people” eating meat? isn’t it difficult not to associate the eater with the killing of the chicken? after all, the thought of a chicken being eaten in the next table troubles you.

    2. are you sure saying no to silk sarees is the way to save silk worms? today, their natural habitat is almost destroyed. if there was no incentive, in the form of silk sarees, to grow them, wouldn’t they have become extinct by now?

    3. extend the above example to all animal products, and to patronizing zoos/safaris.

    4. dairy products do not kill any animal. true, but isn’t it bad to deprive a calf from its fair share of milk?

    5. you are a vegetarian by tradition. means you haven’t been exposed to non-veg at all. are you sure you really are a vegetarian by choice?

    politically, i am a libertarian. so my congratulations on sticking to a difficult choice and not compromising. it’s so easy to give up.

  17. Soundar Arunachalam

    I am not in support to the Non-Vegetarians.but see the reality

    We people cannot avoid the killing of Animals simply because we use animal products every where and every now and then,Examples Listed below

    Brushes Animal hair ,Gelatin/Gelatine,Glycerin/Glycerine,Honey,Leather, Mohair,Musk,Photography uses Gelatine,Silk,Soap,Beeswax,Sugar,Cosmetics and Capsules
    the exhaustive list continues.
    Do u think we can avoid all these stuffs metioned above????????

  18. Bharath V

    As a born vegetarian (not a vegan BTW), I have learnt to co-exist with my non-vegetarian friends, while staying vegetarian. There was a time when I survived on boiled potatoes and fruits for three weeks while on a business trip to an eastern European nation πŸ™‚

    BTW are you allowed to “dissect” Tamil film song lyrics? πŸ˜€

  19. Aparna

    1. I am sure about that. As I have said earlier, if I say I have anything against th people who eat meat, then, the number of people whom I am against will be more in this world πŸ˜‰
    2. I never said anything about silkworms. I said I know quite a few people who say that. I got reminded of that after reading Ranjhith’s comment.
    4. Yes it is.
    5. Yeah I was not exposed to non-veg early in life. But, haven’t I come across quite a lot of people who eat meat? And if I wanted to I could always have tasted meat when some of them asked me to which I didn’t! So, I think I can say that πŸ™‚
    Finally, thanks πŸ™‚

  20. Adithya

    for god’s sake, it’s just a song !
    and there are much more positive aspects abt the song.. say it symbolises peace and harmony.(ayyanaridam kathivaangithaan pencil seevalame)… πŸ™‚

  21. Aparna

    Yes we can’t avoid….

    That must have been difficult!
    Who should allow me to dissect the lyrics? πŸ˜‰

    Welcome to my blog πŸ™‚
    When did i say it’s not a song? πŸ˜› Yeah, the song has good lyrics.

  22. sami

    I agree with you totally.

    But i wont agree with the comments saying that milk and its product are non vegetarian. see non-veg is some thing that is fleshy taken ‘out’ from blood. On the other hand, cow itself turns its blood to milk and gives us that. certainly it is not non-veg.

    But i do agree with the quote “Be a roman, when you are in rome” (But again you do u go rome then :P) Well we can eat in mixed hotels rather than surviving with biscuits. Finally all health matters when it comes to food. All things are our take πŸ™‚

  23. Aparna

    Welcome to my blog πŸ™‚
    I guess milk being vegetarian or not is an ongoing debate everywhere.
    Agreed health matters. That’s why I do compromise sometimes if the place seems ok. But, surviving on biscuits for 2-3 days is not at all difficult, that too, when you like biscuits and there are lot of varieties for you to choose from πŸ™‚

  24. Aparna

    You missed out anything else? πŸ˜›

    Now here are some clarifications for everyone:
    1. When you say you are depriving the calf of its share of milk, remember you are supposed to milk the cow only after the calf has had it’s milk. Only if that’s not happening, it is a cause for concern. Never can a calf drink all the milk of a cow. In fact, it seems a calf of a buffalo dies when it drinks all the milk. So, since we are only consuming the excess milk of a cow, I don’t think it’s wrong.
    2. When you say we are killing the plants for vegetables/fruits, tell me what will happen to the vegetables/fruits if we don’t take them from the trees or plants? It is not the case with animals. Think of what will happen to a chicken if you don’t kill and eat it!

  25. contemplator

    Firstly. This is my first time at your blog, not in terms of visiting, but in terms of commenting. I must commend you on the high quality of posts!
    Yeah. There have been strains of disagreement in the previous comments, I can see. So this is going to continue!
    Why is it that vegetarians seem to portray such a hollow sense of understanding when it comes to their opinions about non-vegetarians. Killing of animals for consumption was the first thing man ever learned to use his brain for. It is in the way our body is created.
    But far from all this logic, I mainly want to say that it is sometimes not very helpful to be highly opinionated about something. It leads to stereotyping and spontaneous judgments. It is a three dimensional world after all.

  26. contemplator

    Firstly. This is my first time at your blog, not in terms of visiting, but in terms of commenting. I must commend you on the high quality of posts!
    Yeah. There have been strains of disagreement in the previous comments, I can see. So this is going to continue!
    Why is it that vegetarians seem to portray such a hollow sense of understanding when it comes to their opinions about non-vegetarians. Killing of animals for consumption was the first thing man ever learned to use his brain for. It is in the way our body is created.
    But far from the logic, I mainly want to say that it is sometimes not very helpful to be highly opinionated about something. It leads to stereotyping and spontaneous judgments. It is a three dimensional world after all.

  27. Aparna

    Belated welcome to my blog.
    I have said all I wanted to say about killing and eating of animals. Let me say anything more now πŸ™‚

    > it is sometimes not very helpful to be highly opinionated about something
    Agreed. But, human nature is such that neither can you stop yourself from forming strong opinions nor will you be able to let go of your opinion so easily. It’s not so easy to change either yourself or the opinions formed πŸ™‚

    Thank you and do keep visiting my blog πŸ™‚

  28. ranjhith

    I’m just thinking… If you get lost, say for a month or so. Like in a “cast away” like situation. πŸ™‚ How’ll you survive? You cant retort saying can eat “grass”. πŸ˜› It might be “wild”. You can’t even try roots/fruits. Because you can’t trust them. πŸ™‚ What’ll you do?

  29. Gayathri

    Hi Aparna

    This topic seems to have generated a lot of response!!!!!…I have at last commented in your blog πŸ™‚

  30. Pingback: Aparna’s Blog » Vaalpaarai & Topslip

  31. rajesh

    Nice Article. I wish your thoughts are taken nicely and more follow into the vegetarian path. I am from kerala and there most of us are born non-vegetarian. It is just a food is food and I strongly feel being non-vegetarian is quite natural. But, looks like most of people in and around my social structure is slowly changing non-veg. When i joined my company in bangalore, out of 50 people on an outing 45 used to be vegetarian. but to my suprise after 8 years in bangalore when i went for outing last time out of 65 people 45 where non-veg !!! and for once i wasn’t feeling out of place.


  32. Luke

    I guess you haven’t heard of something called a food chain.
    And maybe you should advocate the conversion of all animals from carnivores to herbivores

  33. Sharan

    I am vegetarian by birth and continue to be so. Here are just a few thoughts on the question of being vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

    I think it what we really need to do is minimise the pain and damage we cause to this planet and to various forms of life.
    The key word is minimise.

    Some of us humans like to assume that everything on this planet is provided for us to exploit and destroy. But our own philosophy tells us that we are all linked together somehow; we are all part of the same reality.

    I do not believe there is any “god” sitting somewhere and watching us every second and taking notes about our behaviour. That is not the reason for being vegetarian.

    I think we can be practical on this issue. We may kill animal life in order to satisfy our hunger. After all, animals also kill other animals to satisfy their hunger. Life and death are part of existence. We do kill various kinds of pests like mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches, and also rats that may spread disease.

    However, we do not need to inflict cruelty on animals in order to satisfy our tastes. Food has no taste before entering our mouth; it has no taste on entering the stomach. Taste arises only when the food hits the two-inch piece of flesh called the tongue. And yet, to satisfy that little tongue we indulge in all kinds of cruel practices, like beating animals slowly to death, cutting them and bleeding them to death slowly, eating them alive, raw or partly cooked, etc. In many countries they make the meat softer, or tenderise it, by injecting the animals with certain chemicals which dissolve the tough tissues in the body even while the animal is alive.

    Taste itself is usually acquired. Usually because of your culture, you learn to like something, and you learn to dislike something. Why do we need to condition ourselves to believe that meat is tasty only when we are cruel to the animals? It is only your belief system, clever marketing by the sellers of those foods, and beliefs followed by crazy religions. You can also easily teach and condition yourself to believe that food is tastier if you kill the animal painlessly. And then you will find that that kind of food is tastier.

    We also need to avoid cruelty to animals in the way we breed them, hold them, feed them, and turn them into food. Most meat industries practise extreme cruelty in the name of cost cutting. Many animals have no space to move throughout their lives. However, most of the profits go to the board of directors of the companies, and the consumers still pay high prices for the products.

    Vegetarians may also consume milk and other dairy products because these do not require harming or killing animal life. Again, we must avoid using methods to increase milk output which are cruel, like injecting the cows with various chemicals and so on. And we should not be depriving the calves of their mothers’ milk. We need to maintain a balance in everything we do.

    Ranjhith above has raised a few questions to vegetarians. Let me address them in order:

    Will not consume Diary products.
    As I have already mentioned, it is fine to consume dairy products if there is no cruelty to the animals.

    * Will not purchase/use leather products.
    Again, avoid products involving cruelty, where the animal is skinned alive, for example, like they do in China. Anyway, I hardly use any leather products these days. I am reducing my attachment to unnecessary material things as I grow older πŸ™‚

    * No to pesticides as it kills insects/rodents/birds for the sake of food.
    Agree, and not only for ethical reasons. It is practical too. Pesticides are causing a lot of sickness to humans as well as to other species, and are destroying our environment. We need to do organic farming and use natural insect repellants.

    We Indians have the tradition of snake worship, which protects snakes and thereby protects our crops because the snakes eat the rodents which eat our crops. But we are stupid, and we kill the snakes in the fields. So the rodents multiply, and then we use pesticides to kill those rodents.

    It is our own stupidity, because we don’t understand our own culture. Our farmers are also stupid. They know that the snakes come out in the fields at only particular times. If they stay away from the field at those times, the snakes can easily kill the rodents. But yet these farmers and their kids wander in the fields at those times, and the snakes bite them and they die, then everyone cries and kills those snakes. Our own stupidity is killing us.

    * Will stay away from cosmetics that use animal fat.
    I don’t use any cosmetics. But again it’s all about cruelty. Many so-called testing labs inflict lots of pain in the name of safety research, and that needs to be stopped.

    * Dislike Lord Shiva as he always poses sitting on a Ox.
    Surely you know that this is purely symbolic and metaphorical? Don’t you know anything about your own philosophy?! Do you really think he spends his time 24/7 sitting on a bull? Then when does he have the time to dance? Or do yoga?

    Shiva is also seen carrying the moon on his head. Did you wonder about how Shiva is looking bigger than the moon but he is the same size as the Ox? So, don’t you wonder how the Ox is bigger than the moon? Please! These things are all symbolic. You have learnt something useful today! Stop wondering about how some gods have ten heads, four arms, etc. All these are purely symbolic. Hope you will remember that.

    * Dislike Lord Ganesha – makes parody of a mighty elephant.
    Again, your poor understanding of your own philosophy is embarrassing. What parody? It is just a story. You insult your own intelligence, by giving this as an example to justify your stand on eating meat. And why should you dislike ganesha? He didn’t take that head. Someone else put it there for him. How is it his fault?

    * Dislike Lord Muruga – done cruelty to Peacocks.
    Same thing: it is all symbolism in our philosophy. Do you really believe a peacock has the strength to carry a person? Do you really believe there is someone called Muruga flying around in space on a peacock? And, if Muruga is divine, so is his peacock, and we can expect that that peacock will not feel pain the way we may do. And also, if Muruga needed to get around, surely he can find a faster and more efficient way to do that? Really, please think a little more before you write.

    * No to horse riding/elephant safaris.
    Again, avoid cruelty and pain. If these things are painful to the animals, avoid them. By the way, I’ve never ridden on one of these things myself.

    * Pay no visits to Zoos/Circuses.
    I think zoos and circuses with animals should be completely banned. Indian zoos are useless, the circuses are cruel to the animals, the officials steal all the food and meat meant for the animals and give them rubbish to eat, the animals are starving, they spend their entire lives in horrible concrete cells or cages with iron bars. Just ban all these things and let the animals go free.

    * A straight no to pets including fish in tanks.
    I would say, don’t keep birds at home in cages. Let them fly freely. Anybody who puts birds in cages is committing a crime against nature.

    Similarly, don’t keep fish. Let them swim freely outdoors, to live and die as nature meant them to.

    Don’t fool yourself into believing that you are somehow “saving” them by imprisoning them.
    If someone says they want to save you by putting you in a cage, would you agree?

    I don’t have a problem with having dogs and cats as pets, as long as they have freedom and are looked after well. The domestic dogs have actually evolved over thousands of years, and have become such that they depend on man for their survival. They also enjoy the company of humans. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. It is of course unnatural to lock them up in your apartments all day.

    Let us all learn to live ethically. Please look at the PETA website: people for the ethical treatment of animals.


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