I moved from India to the UK in 2002 with my family. I had just finished high school and was anxious and eager to start university in a new country. In India as a vegetarian you don’t think twice about being able to find good veggie food. In the UK, at that time, it was something that needed to be planned when going out. We had to find restaurants that catered to vegetarians or just pack our own lunches.
When I started university and part time work, friends would be surprised to find out that I didn’t eat meat. Sometimes I would get the, ‘oh gosh, how do you survive on grass?’ question. I was always nice with my replies. ‘Well, that is how it is back home’. It wasn’t that Indians back in India didn’t eat meat. They did, we chose not to.
Friends and acquaintances tried to fathom the thought of not eating meat. ‘Is it because you are a Hindu?’, ‘is it family pressure?’, and ‘Is it because you are a Muslim, oh wait they can’t eat pork?’. It was hilarious. They would get worried that I wouldn’t like it if they ate meat in front of me. I couldn’t care less. If that is what keeps your energized then be my guest. Things have changed a lot over the years though. There are many all veggie restaurants and people don’t seem so shocked when you tell them you don’t eat meat because many are converting to vegetarianism and more themselves.
My reason for not eating meat is simple, I just don’t want to eat an animal/fish. I am happy with my vegetables, pulses, fruits, eggs and dairy. Each to their own.