Why I decided to go guilt-free

With this weekend, it’ll be a month since I turned vegan or should I say, started following a plant-based diet. The day I informed my family that I was going “vegan”, most of them were perplexed.

“How would you get the energy to do anything at all? What if your bones start crumbling because of the lack of calcium? Did you know that soy leads to knee pain? What about paneer? What about all those desserts that you love?”

I got that they were all worried but the poor things were ignorant; ignorant of the fact that milk isn’t as healthy anymore because most of our cows now prefer plastic to bananas, that calves are taken away from their mothers the day they are born so that we human beings can get most of the milk and that we are drinking the blood of cows which is in the form of milk and its by-products.

Now, my intention is not to get anyone to go vegan, but let’s face facts; hard hitting facts that slammed me right across my face when people in my city, my dear city Chennai, were fighting for the cause of Jallikattu just about a month ago, and my heart ached; here’s why:

Jallikattu is a sport that is over a 1000 years old where a bull let loose and the strongest of the men capture him and try to get control of this “beast”. In other words, bull-taming. This is apparently done in order to save our native breeds — this statement bothers me and it always will. No amount of reasoning with reference to a sport that actually proactively allows cruelty towards animals is acceptable.

Let me put it this way — you get to torture these poor souls so that their sperms swim faster and they probably would have a 100 of their offspring instead of having one and a time? What a way to save your native breed!

This sport was banned by the Supreme Court of Justice given that investigation — mind you, legitimate investigation — by the Animal Welfare Board of India that shows that men twist the tails of these bulls, add chilli powder to their eyes to enrage them and also bite their tails if need be-this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s the link to the disturbing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coZvTRHt2m4

When our ex-Chief Minister’s ordinance was accepted, this was the day justice failed and Jallikattu was conducted in a few places. And guess what happened? History repeated itself — bulls were tortured and people died too. That’s a double whammy now, isn’t it?

There’s a good chance I’ve lost a few friends because of this argument and you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because you practice what you preach. This was the day I went vegan, cold turkey. A lot of people have ever since told me, “how does it matter if you do it? A lot of people have to do it for it to become a movement”. Now, I possibly can’t wait for pigs to start flying, yes? More importantly, these guys must be blind! The number of people I’ve met and conversed with in India ever since I went vegan is just phenomenal and I am so glad I jumped right in to the bandwagon.

There is nothing wrong with going guilt-free and cruelty-free. Yes, it is a difficult decision to get rid of your clothes, cosmetics, personal and home care products that possibly test on animals and saying no to products and brands that you’ve been using for ages. But it’s worth it; it’s all worth it when you are finally guilt-free.

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