My Struggles as a Non-Vegetarian

Protect all Animals!

Isn’t this chick cute? How can you eat it?

I was born into a proud vegetarian family, who have been veggies for generations. I loved eating various delicacies, amazing cuisines from different parts of the world, sumptuous meals cooked by two of the most beautiful women in the world: my mom and my grandma.

So, imagine my family’s surprise and my own, when I was introduced to non-vegetarian food when I turned 19. Things started taking a vicious turn after that, nothing remarkably bad…but, what started as a fad, slowly turned into a more poisonous addiction. I knew I was slowly losing myself to the allures of non-vegetarian food, and suddenly before I could even imagine, there used to be complete weeks when I would eat chicken, lunch and dinner. KFC became my second home, and my struggles to beat the meat and the fat (I had gained over 10kgs) sank without a trace.

I’ve become more controlled now, I can manage by eating chicken once or twice a week, not a great addiction, but an addiction nevertheless. I never believed in the cliched talks offered by vegetarians..”How can you kill animals for food?”, since the non-veggies immediately argue that all vegetarians are eating plants (which itself is a living being) that was primarily meant for animals.

I couldn’t even find the answers in religious texts, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam do not condemn killing animals if it is not for pleasure but for survival. Buddhism did offer me a different view, killing of any living being was forbidden, even the accidental killing of millions of bacteria around us. That I found to be another extreme.

It was at this confusing juncture that I came across 3 incidents that have truly changed my way of thinking.

(Graphic content. User discretion advised)

1. Bite of the Mango (Mariatu Kamara)

Reading the Bite of the Mango first set me thinking about the concepts of killing and death. Mariatu Kamara was twelve years old when she was caught up in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Most of her village was killed in a raid. Heavily armed soldiers, some no older than 12-year-old Mariatu herself, attacked her village, torturing her brutally and killing many of the people she loved. During this senseless violence, they cut off both her hands. She runs away and reaches a village, famished and fatigued. When they offer her a mango to eat, she realizes that she cannot even hold the mango in her hands. She cannot drink water from a stream nor wash her face since she no longer has hands.

Can you imagine someone cutting your own hands off? Can you even begin to visualize the pain that you will go through when your veins are spliced and blood gushes out? We scream in pain if a thorn pricks us. Imagine this pain. Imagine.

2. A dead dog on the highway to Pondicherry

I was travelling on a bike from Bangalore to Pondicherry when I noticed a horrendous sight. Yes, I have heard stories of accidents on roads and all of that, but, this scene made me cringe. A long, winding road was painted with blood and in the distance, I could make out the body of a dog. As we drove the bike closer and closer, we saw something much more horrific. The dog’s head had been completely quashed. Completely quashed. So completely quashed that it was stuck to the road. Imagine that one moment…when the dog faces impending death…imagine…how you would feel if you are facing death…how would you feel if you see someone you love…face quashed beyond measure? Imagine the pain.

3. Beheading of James Foley and Nick Berg

This was the major turning point. Early one morning, I logged in to FB to find the beheading of James Foley video going viral. I knew that it would be an unpleasant experience watching the video, but, I still gathered courage to watch it. I almost puked after watching the horrible incident. Other videos led me to the most horrific beheading ever on camera, that of Nick Berg, and I have a link to the video here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2f30af0d52. Watch it only if you dare. But, I urge you…take a look. You will know how much of suffering there is.

Imagine, how it would be, to be beheaded? Imagine.

These three incidents changed my life. You might argue that you cannot find the connections between beheading of humans versus eating animals, but, all of you know how a chicken is killed. All of us know what happens to a fish, or a cow, or a goat…at the time of slaughter. Now, my question is….why show empathy to human beings and not animals? The pain is the same for a chicken or for a human being.

The world is an universal energy field. We are all from the same source, God. This world needs to be made better, and we can start by loving all living beings around us, humans, plants, animals…everything. One day, when I become a vegetarian completely, that day I will be the happiest…since the world will be a better place to live in. Let us all strive for harmony and love and peace in the world. God bless us all. 🙂

Love me forever . . .

Grief

 

I saw her first in the holy month of Ramadan,

Veils covered her in whole;

But, I fell for her eyes – the twinkle, the innocence

Left me in a trance – I lost myself;

With every twirl of her eyebrows,

My heart skipped a beat – I was in love.

“Excuse me” she said,

A magical, silken voice . . . I gaped back at her;

I knew then…she was my future.

I wanted no one else.

And as the temple bell chimed, and the azaan read out,

I joined my palms, and she spread them apart – in prayer to the Gods.

She was the one. The only one.

We meandered  through life together,

Holding hands and whispering promises

In each other’s ears – we will stay forever together.

Main tumse pyaar karti hun – she said,

Ana he bik – I said,

Languages weren’t a barrier;

Religions weren’t a barrier;

We were in love. And nothing else mattered.

 

 

Beyond our interwined souls, trouble brewed,

But we knew nothing of it –

We made love to each other;

Our souls, our bodies – lost within one other.

Outrage reared its ugly head a while later,

The religious fanatics, weilded swords and sickles

And threatened us with death;

A hindu and a muslim together?

Yaaa Allah, hey bhagwan, never ever.

But, we knew – we were either both or nobody;

So, we ran, we ran and we ran.

We took shelter in dilapidated huts; we crossed states –

Everyday was a nightmare – everyday left like our last;

She conceived on the run – And, that kept us together;

Laughter and smiles forgotten – fears and dread and tears;

We wilted, we cracked, we shattered, but –

It was not two now – It was to be three;

And so we prayed our prayers to Allah and Shiva

And they heard our cry –

The fanatics caught up with us.

They were merciless.

They laughed…mirthless – They stared down upon us – remorseless

I cry and I plead and I beg,

Mrtyuh Muksee yam amritaah –

Save me from death, O Shiva!

Allah humma ha tad’arnee –

Save my child, O Allah.

I shielded her from them;

But, they struck me down – They kicked my balls and broke my nose;

and with one lightning moment – they sliced the sickle through her neck;

Allahu Akbar . . . they screamed

Om nama shivaya . . . they screamed

And then they left – sickle-less – The mirthless laughter still hanging in the air

Like the smell of dead souls;

“Behead us all” I screamed after them;

“Behead your gods too”.

There she lies – beheaded; like a goat after slaughter.

Her veins spliced – Blood smeared across the abode of the Gods;

Bismillah hir Rahman nir rahim

I cried, my tears split across the barren stretch of soul;

My heart withered – as I held her head in my hands,

Just her head – beautiful as ever.

Her body was lying inches away –

Gargling blood and intestines.

I held her beheaded body in my hands

And I cried and I cried and I cried;

I ran my fingers through her stomach;

The wails of my unborn baby can never be heard;

I felt a touch on my fingers – I made to move my hand away

And there – on her stomach – the imprint of a baby’s hand;

My baby’s hands.

Let you not be born into this world of demons, my little one;

One day, the world will be a better place for you;

And I promise – I will have you then. With her again.

And as a hindu or a muslim but never both;

I brandished the sickle they left behind –

And I cut my throat apart –

I’m coming to you my beloved;

Fill this void that tears my heart apart –

Tere Bin Khaali Aaja, Khali Pan Mein

Tere Bin Khaali Aaja, Khali Pan Mein

Death is the only way . . .

Eye of God

Who are you, God?

How do I reach you, if not by death?

I closed my eyes in prayer,

And God answered,

Death is the only way.

Death of ego, of possessiveness, of hatred,

Death of doubts, of vanity, of scheming,

Death of chaos, death of your identity, and everything else.

.

.

.
Death is the only way.

To an Eternity . . . In Love ♥

As the last leaf falls from the branches of time,
Drifting slowly, agonizingly, towards nothingness
A heart emptied of love; a soul dead from pain.
I wait in vain for a false dawn – unbecoming,
An unmanifest of emotions, of love.
The earth, moist and tender, caresses me in its embrace,
The rain reminding me of the drop of life left
Within the obscure walls of my heart,
Beating for a love that’s already come by and past
Far, far away. ♥

In Love with You . . . Always and Forever ♥

Love

Waiting an Eternity

Quiet my heart, cry your tears in seclusion.

Rejoice; for today the love of your life will be married.

“Be the best man at my wedding, Vishnu” you said, nonchalantly;

And that was the knife to my heart; I died.

 

Do you remember at all, my angel?

The years of love we shared together,

The dreams of togetherness beyond seven lifetimes,

The castles of unconditional love, the stories of eternity

Etched on the walls of our beating souls?

 

I still ache for you, my love.

I yearn for a glimpse of you – surreal;

Across the floor, I notice

My angel with her hubby, happy and content;

Dressed in a resplendent saree;

Your hair braided till your waist,

Your voice, divine and enchanting;

Your face, the little mole on your lips,

Your deep blue eyes, your heavenly smell;

You laugh, and you smile,

And he kisses you gently on your cheeks,

I feel my tears burn my soul to cinder;

And, I move, in haste, to wipe them away,

Lest you see them;

 

My soul is missing you much, my love.

I wish for a single whiff of your heavenly breath on me;

A single strand of your long, luscious hair to brush past my face once more;

The music that lulls my heart to tears;

The imprints of your kiss, the echo of your whispers of love;

Will survive within me – long after I pass.

Erase me from your heart, my love.

Never were you mine;

 

Come to me, oh beautiful death,

Embrace me in your heavenly arms;

Let my soul be stripped of life,

And my heart be filled with eternal love. 

To an Eternity . . . In Love. ♥

Eternal Love

Eternal Love

 

As the last leaf falls from the branches of time,
Drifting slowly, agonizingly, towards nothingness
A heart emptied of love; a soul dead from pain.
I wait in vain for a false dawn – unbecoming,
An unmanifest of emotions, of love.
The earth, moist and tender, caresses me in its embrace,
The rain reminding me of the drop of life left
Within the obscure walls of my heart,
Beating for a love that’s already come by and past. ♥

True Love. Never Dies.

January 31st, 2014, Koramangala.

I was walking alone along a secluded street late on Friday night, with the beautiful night sky for company. I love the supernatural, and so just to keep it exciting I had decided to walk the lonely road next to the cemetery. It was a moonlit night, and the whistling breeze bristled with sounds of the supernatural, the whispers of the dead, and the insects sang a soulful tune that accentuated the eerieness.

In the misty light cast by a lone streetlight, I could sense a silhoutte of a man leaning over a fence, plucking flowers from a gigantic tree whose branches hung low over the street. I walked closer to him, wary of being trapped alone with a strange man, but also with a beating heart that sensed something amiss. On close inspection, he seemed like a beggar. He had tattered clothes, his face was gaunt and bony, and his pale skin glistened in the moonlight.

I reached within inches of him, and he was still oblivious of my presence. He was lost in his own world, slowing plucking flowers and placing it on the fence tenderly. I cleared my throat, expecting him to stop and look at me awhile, but he didn’t hear me. What a waste of flowers, I thought to myself. I gathered a little more courage, and squeezed my fingers together in an attempt to sound even more brave than I was.

“Hello Mister . . .stop plucking those flowers. Is it your property?” I told him.

He turned finally to face me. I couldn’t make out his eyes. The streetlight cast shadows on his face that hid his eyes, and all I could see was two empty hollows . . . like a black hole. I stepped back warily, taken aback by the features of the man. He looked at me incredulously and  turned his back on me, continuing to pluck flowers from the tree as if nothing had stopped him in his reverie.

I was intrigued. I wanted to know what he was doing, at this late an hour, in a secluded street near a cemetery, on a moonlit night. The man finally finished plucking flowers, and he gathered all his collections into his hand, and held them together tightly. He whisked away, leaving me in his wake. I followed him for a little while, but I stopped the moment he opened the cemetery gate and entered the graveyard. I was afraid of following him inside. I have a fear of ghosts, and even though I act brave, I really do fear that I might be possessed by a ghost someday.

Through the gates of the cemetery, I watched him, walking past a dozen tombstones . . . he seemed to know his way. I watched him more perplexed than ever, as he knelt down in front of a tomb, lay the flowers down, kissed the cold stone slab, and left without another glance.  I was scared of walking into the cemetery, but, curiosity got the better of me. I slowly opened the rickety gate, the echoes of its wails sending shivers down my spine. I walked past the tombstones, cold and eerie, the crackle of dead leaves under my feet increasing my pulse rate to a million beats per second. I reached the tomb he had kneeled next to, and I squinted my eyes to take a closer look at the inscription on the tomb.

“Sarah . . . the woman who never died. Living in our hearts. (Dec 2nd 1985- Jan 31st 2013)”

As I read the inscription, a tear silently rolled down my cheek without invitation. I realised that this man was the husband. What happened to Sarah, or to the man is a mystery . . . but, like all the beautiful mysteries of this world, this one would best be left unsolved. But, one thing was for sure . . . that night . . . as I walked back to my house, tears streaming down my face. . . I understood what love truly is. True, unconditional love . . . Never dies.  For the death of a person might mean that the person can no longer walk this earth again, but . . . the love of that person lives on . . . for an eternity more.

True Love . . . Never Dies

I love you Dad . . . Always and Forever

I lay on the open terrace beside her. The divine smell of her long, luscious hair traversed the inches that separated my lips from her forehead. The wind stroked me tenderly with its ice cold fingers. The jet black sky was punctuated by the glow of million of stars. The moon beamed with all its glow, happiness personified.  With my outstretched arm, I cuddled her even closer into me. I was in love. Pure. Eternal. Love.

“God’s most amazing painting . . . the night sky. Isn’t it?” I asked her.

She grazed my neck with her tender lips, and ran her fingers across my chest.

“I thought you were his most amazing painting” she said with a smirk.

“Bad joke Maya” I retorted.

I turned my face towards her. A smile was playing on her lips. She looked up into my eyes with her blue eyes that were as beautiful and as deep like an ocean. I searched her eyes, eternally lost in its resplendence. She smiled reassuringly and placed her hand on my heart beating wildly and crazily for her.

I was in the most beautiful place in the universe. The moonlight danced across the whole world, the gentle breeze and the million of stars felt like magic floating in the air.

I closed my eyes. 

My dad was standing over me. I could feel his breath washing over me. He was smiling, grinning at me. I peered back at him, disbelievingly. 

“Dad?”

Father - A son's Hero

He smiled. “So happy for you son, that you married the woman of your dreams” he said.

“Like father, like son . . . dad” I replied, grinning.

He smiled back at me. “That’s my boy!”

My dad was my hero. Always was, always will be.

“I miss you dad. Why did you leave me?”

“I never did Vishnu . . . I never did. You can feel me, caressing you always.”

“But you are dead dad . . .you left me.”

“I never died Vishnu ma . . . I’m always alive. In you. Around you. Within you.”

Tears streamed down my face. I missed him like hell.

“Do you love me dad?”

“Always my little one. This moment . . . Every moment. Forever.”

He reassuringly brushed my hair with his hand.

The moonlight filtered through my closed eyelids into my mind. I felt at peace. 

I could feel him smiling down at me. I could feel his warmth, his love flowing through my body, assuring me that his love for me was true, always true.

I wanted to be in that moment forever, suspended in my own dreams, with just him for company.

Maya kissed me on my chest and wiped my tears off my face. She understood my silent communion with the one man I loved beyond the world.

“I love you Vishnu . . . ”

I clutched her fingers even tighter and kissed her gently on her forehead. “Maya  . . . I love you more with each passing day…each passing moment. I’m crazy about you.” The moment I finished speaking, I realized that my dad had told these exact words to my mom moments before his death.

Dad, you are right. You never left me.  

I smiled.

She smiled.

The night sky and the million of stars smiled back at me.

“When I die, where will I go? I will be here in the winds, in the night sky, in the million of stars, in the moments of happiness; and if you loved me, you will feel me around you, always. In your silent moments you will feel my presence. Wherever you are . . . your love will keep me alive…always. And you will find me in your very heart, in your every heartbeat.” he had said to me on his deathbed, his frail arm placed across my heart. 

I remembered.

I lay Maya’s hand on my heart, where I knew my father was. Resting in Love.

I love you dad . . . Always and Forever.

A False Heart

Image

Tears roll down my cheeks unremitting,

Questions thrust at me unflinching,

False accusations…to them I have no answer,

No shield nor mask to protect being wounded,

I hear the evil cackle of laughter,

The ruckus, the cheering, all in jest,

I can hear everything.

My reality seems grim, dark as hell,

And I will go down in history books,

As the convict for a crime I didn’t commit.

You know me for the person I am,

The day I die, with a blemish on my record,

Please don’t believe the naysayers,

I was always true God . . . always true, always pure.

My legacy will live on,

Even if it means tearing my soul apart,

And like the tears that stream down my face,

My withering heart will remain unattended.

When I Die . . . Do not Cry | Audio

When I die,

Don’t shed tears,

Celebrate.

For I lived my life to the fullest,

The way it was supposed to be.

When I die,

Don’t weep,

Raise a toast.

For I achieved all that I aspired to be,

And made a gang of friends and well-wishers.

When I die,

Don’t feel low,

Rejoice.

For I always followed my heart,

I never gave up, nor gave anyone up.

When I die,

Don’t lament,

Fly high.

For I was a phoenix rising from the ashes,

After every failure.

When I die,

Don’t weep,

Party.

For I lived life as an adventure,

With no fear, nor anxiety,

But always with courage, and confidence.

When I die,

Don’t ponder.

Feel proud.

For I forsake my ego,

I made love my religion,

And hearts my temple.

When I die,

Don’t brood,

Dance.

For I lived life like a song,

And lost myself in its divinity.

When I die,

Never be sorry.

Cheer.

For I lived life fully,

And, loved with all my heart.

When I die,

Don’t worry,

Applaud.

For I leave the world a better place,

And go back to the One who I always loved.

When I die,

Don’t sulk.

Smile.

For wherever my soul might be,

Your smile will keep me living on.

For an eternity more.

***

I recorded this poem in my own (untrained, unedited, unmodified) voice. Hope you like it. 

Instrumental Credit: Nils Frahm. Track Name: Sol.