Biswas Baral

Since when? But you are so lean.” I know. “What, you take eggs? You are not a vegetarian, then.” I am. “But not those who gobble up eggs.” Grr — why not? “Chicks hatch from eggs, you dimwit.” Balderdash. I consume only those eggs that are cursed by the hen never to hatch. And the eggs I dispose of come from chicken, and not the other way round. But if the folks hell-bent on splitting hairs should find no reprieve in my explanation, yes, I am an “egg-munching vegetarian, thank you.”

If the source of my appetite is the major point of concern, you blighters might raise an eyebrow or two about my milk-drinking habit as well. But apparently, you deem milk-drinkers vegetarians per se. I, though, see little difference between the extract of the lady-chicken and milk from cows, buffaloes or goats. And both milk and eggs have dual properties — propensities to render themselves solids or liquids, at our choosing. Cattle are vegetarians. By the same token, the snow-white, opaque liquid, prior or after the sluicing down at the auspicious hands of the milk- man or woman, classifies as a veggie diet. I have enough reasons to believe that the eggs I eat come from vegetarian hens, before the humanity has had the chance to meddle in the strictly hen-nish affair.

The meat muncher might contend that much like most of the animals they consume, many plants are shown light into this world through non-vegetarian means. Sperms and ova, or close renditions, evidently know their birds and bees well. Where then lies the justification of being a veggie?

Well, you are not entirely wrong. But my tongue-in-cheek answer is that I no longer have the stomach for meat: red and white; dead or half-alive at the adept hands of my father with the culinary acumen of Sanjeev Kapoor, his moustachioed counterpart in the Indian television. Besides, I hate the gory-groggy spectacle of animal slaughter.

I must have taunted plenty of biology classes in my school, you say. If present, I would have known that plants are living beings too and should be treated with equality, even in the country with a defunct democratic apparatus. When ripe, aren’t paddies ruthlessly garrotted by sickles to whet the gluttony of us humans? Why this impartiality, then? Okay. You win. But, can’t both of us, we veggies and you meat-gobblers, agree that in each of us, are equal number of perpetrators of gross injustice to other species of flora and fauna? To humanity, then — let us stop this inhumane butchery and starve to death.