Thursday, February 23, 2006


For years I have had a tempestuous relationship with meat. My family, of the landowning proudly non-vegetarian ancestry, has reacted to this situation with predictable inconsistency.

Mum: Oh look darling, there's chicken fried rice to be had. Shall I get us some?
Me: Uh, no thanks, you go ahead. I'll stick with the veg.
Mum: Goodness, you're just like < insert name of prominent member of father's family >. God knows I never brought you up to be a joyless puritan who can't even enjoy her food.
Me: Alright. I'll eat some.
Mum: ... your lack of moral fibre is deplorable.

Over the last two years, I've returned purposely to eating non-vegetarian food at intervals of time, partly to prove that I'm not a vegetarian for morality, partly to ascertain if I am, in fact, disgusted by the thought of eating flesh. AndomgyesIam. For the most part. Fried fish passed the disgustometer. So did fish curry and rice. Not that anything could prevent the combined forces of a Malayali nature and Bombay-ite nurture from winning out in the end. As fish is a moot meat in Hyderabad unless you are very stupid, very rich (I suppose) or unaccountably fond of the taste of chlorine, I remain practically vegetarian.

Still, infected fish would have been less of an issue than this avian flu that has lamentably befallen our nation's chickens. One almost expects fish to get dodgy. They live in the sea, where all our sewage goes. Everyone could just let them stay there until they got alright again. But sick chickens are like radioactive waste. Where do you bury them?

To pre-empt further tragedy, sick chicks are being counted before they are hatched, the argument being that if the chick is sick, the egg will beg ... general standards of good health. Conveniently untying the Gordian knot re: the age-old question of which came first. It's saddening to see the little chick foetii sidelined by an unfair disadvantage. All in a day's work for the anti-evolutionary patriarchy, bah.

Readers are cautioned to stay away from pre- or post-hatched chickens in any shape or form until the flu's passed us by, then. Sometimes, when you're laid a golden egg, it's a great idea to step away from the bird very slowly and wash your hands well. Contrary to popular wisdom, it's best to place them all in one handbasket, and send it on its way to hell.

(pic courtesy edward monkton).


  1. I don't understand what is wrong with the moral issue of not eating meat. Personally I hate the question why I don't eat it. The most important thing is I don't and nothing will convince me to eat meat. Unless I am in extraordinary conditions when my survival is based on it. I don't expect such.

    Anyway, Indian food is the best and most delicious vegetarian food I have ever tried.


  2. As a child in rural New York State, I had a dozen chickens as family pets. And they could fly.

    ... OK, not well, but well enough. They would hang out in the trees by the driveway and when guests pulled in in their cars would fly out in a panic, which was certainly confusing for those guests unaccustomed to such a greeting.

    Just thought I'd share that. Good luck with not getting birdflu.


  3. @ sirielle: don't undertake any stay on a ship longer than a week. if you do, then please do very much expect your survival to be based on eating non-veg.
    I do totally agree tho, Indian veg food rocks! it's just that you dont get it anywhere else :(.

  4. This reminds me of a comment someone made the other day abt an article in which the French found some virus in one dead duck in some arbit farm. I am cutting pasting his exact statement here :)

    "i wonder how the french found that one duck - do they run around catching birds and taking them for a blood test!! no wonder the french economy grew only less than 3% last yr!"

    I really found it funny to think abt the entire nation running arnd cating birds :)

    YO indian food rocks!!!!

  5. Thanks to the flu i am now on an enforced diet of vegetarian food stuffs. This had better not be my entry into a pesticide infested world of foods.

    Ill make sure to wash them vegetables personally, just to be safe!

    and btw, your style of writing is very crisp. With a generous sprinkling of humour. Ill be blogrolling you shortly :)

  6. @ sirielle: I totally react to the 'meat is murder' idea in a visceral way, although logically, I can see why the argument might have holes. I hope you have access to delish Indian food wherever you are, though!

    @ bartender: Awww. Looks like Ed Monkton will have to rethink his art. I don't personally remember the last time I saw a chicken. Even my landowning rural points of contact are all primarily vegetarian these days.

    @ golu: But the French have always been a culture in touch with the higher life. :)

    @ archster: Alas, washing them too vigourously will suck the numminess out of them. Given that we generally tend to boil our veggies, however, you are in luck.

    And I'm amazed and flattered. Thank you! I should love to return the compliment.

  7. Dear Sir/Madam As The Case May Be:

    About the moral issue of meat-eating, my humble opinion is that there isn't any. If some food makes me salivate like a rabid dog, and causes my heart to jump up and down in anticipation, that is good food in my opinion. Morality was invented by well-fed, content people. I am not.

    Thank You.
    -by Muppala Suryaprakasha Borthakur ("Surya")

    ps: Your posts are very good. Where do they teach such excellent language?