Monday, December 8, 2014

My transformation from a Non-Vegetarian to a Vegetarian

Since I belong to an Army background, eating non-vegetarian came naturally to me. Moreover, Army's culture of parties and intrinsic stress over non-veg eating activated my taste buds quite early in life. I am also from a Punjabi Khatri family where having non-veg is considered a matter of pride. This early conditioning towards non-vegetarianism deeply influenced my psyche which eventually became a strong barrier when I struggled to leave non-veg. I continued to relish non-veg (mainly chicken & goat mutton) till I was 21 years old; however, it was around this time that I seriously began to have second thoughts about it.

It all began during a post dinner family conversation over eating habits .. whether one should eat non-veg or not. Ours is a highly religious family too, so these conversations were given equal importance. My father and brother proudly stated that, in Hinduism, Kshatriyas are allowed to eat non-veg as it helps to build aggression among them. However, I countered that many Kshatriyas are not owning up to their Kshatriya Dharma in contemporary times, for example, when a weak person is beaten up or a girl is molested, how many Kshtriyas stand for their help? The answer is ZERO ... yet many of the so-called Kshtriyas rhetorically call themselves WARRIOR CLASS when it comes to non-veg eating. 

Nonetheless, non-veg began to trouble my thought-process and one fateful night I had a dream that completely shook my SOUL. Its been more than 12 years and I still vividly remember that dream ... so I will narrate the sequence to all of you. In my dream, I saw myself sailing on a boat in a rough sea. Due to the storm, my boat sank and I was eventually drowning ... I kept falling until I saw a BIG SHARK charging at me and I was shit scared. I couldn't help saving myself and the SHARK took away my entire lower body. I woke up, suddenly realizing that it was just a dream ... took a sigh of relief feeling that I am still very much alive BUT I was sweating profusely.

This dream was the TIPPING POINT .... the moment that compelled me into turning vegetarian. All other factors such as spiritual enhancement, regulated aggression, reduced lust, and healthier lifestyle had yet not surfaced my mind. Only one thing mattered to me THAT I need to save myself from that SHARK.

Phase - I

Hence began my journey towards vegetarianism. I decided not to have non-veg even if my father will home-cook it OR in case of any special occasion. The real fight began now because many in my family, particularly my father and brother actively resisted my move ... They tried to convince me with number of fallacious reasons from 'enjoying life' to our 'Kshatriya lineage' ... This entire DRAMA continued for another 1.5 years; however, I eventually gave in and started having non-veg food again...

Phase - II

By now, I had picked up a job in an MNC and here too, I met many friends who were fond of Non-veg and did not actually appreciate my viewpoint over vegetarianism. Even though I was having non-veg 
after 1.5 years, I wasn't relishing it anymore. So after six months, I tried leaving non-veg again ... BUT was unable to keep my promise. I was thoroughly disappointed because of my inability to resist the temptations ...

I was disappointed because even after trying to leave non-veg two times, I fell again for the trap. This repetitive behavior wasn't doing any good and my mind was in complete turmoil. Meanwhile, I wasn't enjoying my MNC job either ... so after having worked for 1.5 years ... I decided to call it quits. By the time I quit my job, I was 24 years old. 

Phase - III

Due to the stress in the job, I now wanted to head towards a HILL station to spend some time alone. This was a good decision because it helped me to improve my resistance towards non-vegetarian food. I zeroed in an isolated village in Himachal Pradesh, where I planned to stay for a period of 15 days. While I dedicated a lot of my time towards trekking and silence, I also occasionally indulged in spiritual discussions with fellow villagers. It was during such discussions that I understood the impact of non-veg diet on person's thinking and behavior. 

Meanwhile, that DREAM kept haunting me and reminding me about the LAW of KARMA. I thought its about time that I seriously give up Non-veg AND hence, began my journey towards Vegetarianism ... However, this time I succeeded in leaving it despite pressures from several quarters. 

Not only did I give up Non-veg BUT I also eventually succeeded in transforming many of my near and dear ones in giving up this kind of eating lifestyle.