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Non-vegetarians get a raw deal in Mumbai?

January 3, 2008

Mumbai has developed a strong vegetarian culture with areas in the city (Malabar Hill for example) being predominantly vegetarian. There are reports of housing colonies which do not admit non-vegetarians and recently there was some fuss made when a non-vegetarian eatery selling kebabs wanted to set up shop in Chembur near a ‘vegetarian’ area. And this wasn’t even an outlet inside of the colony, but out on the street. It was contended that a non-veg eatery would ruin the atmosphere of the place as it would attract the wrong sort of people! In fact a group of residents in Chembur filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Bombay High Court to prevent the coming up of this non-vegetarian eatery. I tried to find out what had happened to this PIL, but am not sure whether it was admitted.

Winds of change
I am not a native of Mumbai, but of Pune, but am familiar with the city as I have been visiting Mumbai since childhood and have also spent several years working in Mumbai. To me the winds of vegetarianism are something new. While I can understand why MacDonalds was not initially welcomed (interests of hoteliers, politicians, and those against anything ‘foreign’), any area or colony not welcoming non-vegetarians was befuddling. Only a small section of Maharashtrians are traditionally vegetarian (mainly brahmins) so this phenomena (of shunning non-vegetarians) is unusual in Maharashtra. At least in my experience.

Eat Veg or else…!
I realised how strong the vegetarian culture had become when my kids were in school. While packing lunch for my kids they warned me not to pack eggs or chicken under any circumstances in their lunch boxes as everyone around them was mostly vegetarian and could get offended. They went to a prominent school in Santa Cruz and told me stories of girls being boycotted if they brought non-veg food. And one of my daughters is in Jai Hind College in Mumbai today has a friend who makes it quite clear that ordering non-vegetarian food offends her.

Acting Veg
Things have got so bad that people pretend to be vegetarian. This is in the context of housing. Good housing in Mumbai is a perennial problem and some people pretend to be vegetarian so that they can get a place! This has been reported by the International Herald Tribune – this phenomena of undercover meat eaters! Here is what they recount:

Shailaja Hazare’s preparations are meticulous. She travels to a butcher a few kilometers from her home to avoid running into a neighbor and makes sure her purchases are disguised in layers of plastic bags and paper. She lights sandalwood, rose and jasmine incense on her doorstep to mask the smell of frying meat…If the doorbell rings while she is eating, she clears the surfaces, retreats to her bedroom with her food and lets her vegetarian daughter open the door.

Only Mumbai
I have not heard that such things happening in other metropolitan towns like Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. We lived for a few years in all of the above cities, except Chennai. Of all these cities, one would expect the least non-veg phobia in Mumbai as it’s the most cosmopolitian of the lot, but that’s not the case. I personally find it disturbing to see a city like Mumbai, which is like a second home to me, becoming this intolerant. To my mind, it is an elitist culture that Mumbai has acquired.

Are the majority of Indians vegetarians?
The IHT article gives the impression that Indians are mostly vegetarians but this is not true. The majority of the very poor eat non-vegetarian food and a large majority of our population is very poor. Also, the majority of Maharashtrians are non-vegetarians and of late many brahmins have also started eating meat. I cannot speak for too many other communities, but I do know that Bengalis are non-vegetarians and those living in the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Kerala are inveterate meat eaters and we are not talking religion here! These are Hindus! To say that meat eating is a western concept or a non-Hindu is not true either, but that is what people have told reporters of this foreign newspaper, IHT.

Update 1: A reader (R.S.) has given a link to an article in The Hindu which talks about a survey conducted by the newspaper and CNN-OBN. This survey reveals that about 60 percent of Indians are non-vegetarians and another 9 percent eat eggs. However it would be interesting to see which socio-economic classes were interviewed. I doubt that the very poor were.

Update 2: wishtobeanon has give a link to another blog discussion on a similar subject. Sujak has written in detail about castes in India who reject non-vegetarianism.

The law allows discrimination against non-vegetarians
If housing societies decide to keep non-vegetarians out, the law can do nothing. It’s not against the law. Quoting from the same IHT article:

Denying someone the right to move into an apartment on the grounds of caste or religious affiliation is illegal in India, but vegetarian-only homes occupy a gray area under the law. Although the government does not record numbers, vegetarian leaders say thousands of such buildings are dotted around the city. No other city in India has such a concentration of vegetarian ghettoes.

Ghetto is the word. Frankly I wouldn’t like to live in one…but wait, I forgot. I wouldn’t be allowed in because I am a non-vegetarian! I think flesh-eater is the right word. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

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114 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2008 3:06 am

    I have been reading about this phenomenon with some amusement, and some Muslim blogs interpreted it as being discriminated against by Hindus.

    I myself am a vegetarian and live with non-vegetarians, and I know first-hand the assault of smell when my house-mates cook sea-food or pork/beef. Out come the sandalwood incense sticks, the candles etc. and opening of windows – by me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    While denying people residence in a building (in a separate unit/apartment of their own) is probably a bit too much, even if it’s kosher and within their rights, I do understand first-hand the desire to have a vegetarian kitchen and live with other vegetarians in a house from a practical point-of-view. I grew up eating meat, so it’s not as if I’m elitist, but after being vegetarian for so long – nothing personal – but sometimes just the smell of cooking meat is enough to make me want to throw up.

  2. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 3:28 am

    Nita,
    Nice article! I never thought that people would be so intolerant.And that too in Mumbai.But “vegetarians only” areas! That is pretty bad for a coastal city.

    Here in Chennai and in the rest of T.N.,most people generally eat meat,except mainly one group(the same as in Maharashtra).And just as in Maharashtra,even they seem to be changing.

    But it is not uncommon to see classifieds ads for houses to be let out that state “vegetarians only” or a somewhat milder “vegetarians preferred”,though I believe that such ads are decreasing progressively.But as far as I know,there are no “vegetarians only” colonies,except maybe a few tiny ultra-orthodox corners.

    Some foreigners think that all Hindus are vegetarians.That is not true.The vast majority of them are non-vegetarian.(As you have said,Nita,sadly,many people in our country do not get adequate nourishment so they do not even care whether what they eat is vegetarian or not.)

    As you have said above,this is just another instance of rising intolerance in our society.

    P.S.: For all those who think that this comment is written by a “flesh-eater”,let me state clearly that I am a vegetarian for my own reasons(definitely not religious though).But I never feel offended in the company of others who eat meat,either at the dining table or elsewhere.(Infact,most of my family and friends are non-vegetarian)

  3. January 3, 2008 5:07 am

    Agree with Raj and Amit. I’ve never really eaten meat in my life and I do have a problem if my roommate wants to cook meat. So, I’m particular about only staying with people who are vegetarians. But I really don’t have a problem if my neighbors are cooking meat (even though the smell of the meat gets a little nauseating sometimes) or if I’m sitting at the same table with others who are eating meat. We need to be flexible and accommodating.

  4. January 3, 2008 5:47 am

    I think a private organisation or citizen is well within rights to determine their rules. You can, as landlord, decide not to allow non-veg tenants, but entire localities (which are public areas) cannot be off-limits for any kind of discrimination.
    I have the same kind of aversion for cooking fish. Ugh.

  5. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:09 am

    Nita, Doc:

    //…but entire localities (which are public areas) cannot be off-limits for any kind of discrimination…//

    I am not sure of the legal position on this, but in practice it is not at all uncommon for a brute majority (even a supposedly civilised, sophisticated, and suave one) to impose its will in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. In some of the affluent orthodox Jewish residential areas of Jerusalem, I have seen public notices asking people not to eat non-kosher food in public spaces “as it offends the religious sentiments of the inhabitants”.

    By and large, I find that it is the affluent who can and do get away with imposing their will on others. The example of Malabar Hill being off-limits for NVs is a good one. Over the years, increasingly it is old wealth that has become the dominant group living in the area. And in Mumbai, old wealth generally means two or three communities that are orthodox vegetarians (drinking, gambling, womanising are ok, but meat-eating is not).

    As long as Malabar Hill was predominantly bungalows, its residents were spaced far enough apart to live and let live, as they did not get so much into each other’s hair. With the bungalows getting replaced by apartments, “personal space” has become tighter, and sensibilities get ruffled more readily.

    In Ahmedabad, not unexpectedly, this phenomenon is becoming increasingly pronounced as the city attracts more and more immigrants in the middle-to-upper income brackets.

    However, as the old adage goes, ’tis an ill wind that blows no one good. As an urbanist, let me advance an unconventional and provocative hypothesis: With cities becoming more and more “cosmopolitan” i.e. losing their own distinctive cultural identities to the demands of hordes of outsiders from all over the country, discrimination of the kind we are discussing in this thread may, in fact, be beneficial by serving to promote the emergence of cultural ghettoes. This will help protect the pluralities of cultural identity that make India so special.

    I would certainly NOT like to have Hindi becoming the lingua franca of the streets, shops and homes of Mylapore or Sadashiv Peth, or “makki-di-roti-te-sarson-da-saag” becoming their staple diets.

    There is a good modern model of cultural ghettoisation in Chittaranjan Park in Delhi (though there are, sadly, a few examples now of the Chaddhas and Chopras buying out the Basus and Deys). The principle of Chittaranjan Park should be emulated in big cities all over the country. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. January 3, 2008 8:25 am

    i spent a part of my growing up years in Bangur Nagar Goregaon West. It was a fairly mixed community and there was meat eggs and other non veg stuff available fairly easily.

    IN the last two decades or so the profile of the place has changed….. it has become predominantly gujarati vaishnavite / jain. meat has disappeared…. friends of mine who rent there have to go to the bhajiwalla and ask for ram phal….. the code word for eggs….the same is the case in parts of vile parle… when i was growing up it was predominantly maharashtrian and there were definitely meat shops and neighbours who ate meat….. but now it is difficult in that area too…

    In walkeshwar – there are pizza companies that are completely vegetarian.

    Thank fully, I live in a multi cultural society where the predominant ethos is mutual tolerance….

  7. January 3, 2008 8:40 am

    cooking and eating meat is not like you open up a disgusting slaughterhouse whose smell and effluents would trouble everybody…
    today fish meat are packed and cooked like vegetables…. infact the boneless version is hard to distinguish from any other vegetable… esp jack fruit

  8. January 3, 2008 9:18 am

    Thanks all.
    Amit, I do believe that meat doesn’t smell much but I guess that’s perhaps because I am used to it. As Ankur pointed out, some vegetables can also smell but as non-vegetarians eat them, they may not be bothered by it. But I am glad as a stauch vegetarian you do realise that one cannot stop neighbours from eating meat. I wonder what you would have done if you were in India though, in Mumbai in particular. Would you have chosen a veg only colony?

    Raj, Ruhi, Harini, yes I agree. This is intolerance for others way of life,and as such should be unacceptable in any modern city.

    Rdoc, I wonder what you would say if there was a landlord who made his house for hindus only, brahmins only, with additional things like no gays etc. I guess you would think it’s okay because of freedom of choice! ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, maybe so, but I look down on people who discriminate againt other groups. Thankfully I have the freedom to do that!

    Vivek, I think such people should buy bungalows. ๐Ÿ™‚ In any case I am not sure about cultural identities surviving because of living in a ghetto.

    Ankur, thanks. You brought out an important point. That some vegetables stink…and btw you forgot spices and oils. I remember when I was pregnant the smell of spices and strong oils would nauseate me but I could hardly tell my neighbours to stop their way of life. The thought wouldn’t even occur to me. Today I know people who are nauseated by coconut oil, smell of coconut, mustard oil and strong spices, even ghee! Though I don’t get this much, I tend to get what we at home call a ‘grease rush’ when I see too much of fried food and I feel slightly sick and lose my appetite.
    And another important point you brought out…nobody kills their chicken in their kitchen anymore…today packed meat is quite without any kind of smell.
    Thanks.

  9. January 3, 2008 9:48 am

    Nita, I have no issue with what others cook in their kitchen in their private homes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, the discrimination between students in school is not a positive development by any means. Yes, the smell part is subjective and psychological/physiological, and if I were still a NV, it probably wouldn’t bother me (with the exception of sea-food – that smelled terrible even when I was a NV). But for some reason, now it does.

    I’m curious, which vegetables are you thinking of that smell? I know there’s durian – the smell of which is found offensive by some. Other than that, I can’t think of any other. The reason for this trend in Mumbai is different from my reasons for being a vegetarian, so I probably wouldn’t be a part of it. But if I were living with others in the same house and had to choose them, I would prefer to live with other vegetarians – that’s just practical and common sense, and I wouldn’t call it discrimination, just like I’d prefer to live with liberal-ish folks instead of conservative ones, or people who clean up after themselves instead of messy ones, or people who don’t do drugs.

  10. January 3, 2008 9:58 am

    Would you have chosen a veg only colony?

    Probably not. I’m still not completely clear on what the reasons are – is it religious based and a revival of what they think is a Brahminical diet? Or a status symbol? Or influence of Jains? As far as I know, Hinduism doesn’t really say that one has to be a vegetarian, though there are concepts of ahimsa (probably borrowed from Jainism/Buddhism) and sattvic diet which can lead one to follow a vegetarian diet.

  11. January 3, 2008 10:00 am

    Why vegetarians don’t prefer non vegetarians in their area is mainly due to
    1.Disposal of non veg food waste is not done properly
    2.There are some non veg eaters who cook non veg every day which is not comfortable to neighbours because of smell
    3.The worst thing which is difficult to withstand is the smell due to cooking of dry fish.
    Another thing to be noted is slowly most of the people are switching over to vegetarian food.

  12. January 3, 2008 10:07 am

    Sorry for the flurry of comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I wonder what you would say if there was a landlord who made his house for hindus only, brahmins only, with additional things like no gays etc. I guess you would think itโ€™s okay because of freedom of choice!

    Nita, if I were a landlord, I wouldn’t refuse to rent my house to gays or a specific caste. But at the same time, I do have the example of my dad who rented his house only to army officers so that the probability of a renter refusing to vacate when my dad retired and needed to move in, were slim to none. If you look at it from one angle, it can be considered discrimination, but given the ground realities in India, my dad was justified in his decision and within his rights to rent the house to a specific person. So I think it depends on the situation and there are gray areas.

  13. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 11:07 am

    Nita:

    Where ARE the bungalows — or even the more modest single houses on handkerchief-sized plots? They are being edged out (often by coercion, violence or worse) by ruthless property “developers” — among the flagbearers of capitalistic urban development. If one is stinking rich, one has the option of additional houses — a weekend house or a farmhouse just outside the rough-and-tumble of the city, a vacation home to which the whole family can afford to take a flight every three months or so.

    But for those who barely managed to acquire their own modest dwellings in a neighbourhood of their choice out of a lifetime’s thrift and savings, if the neighbourhood itself is turned into a designer slum, the only option is to stay put whether they like it or not.

    About cultural identities surviving in ghettoes there are any number of well-documented examples from around the world (including from developed countries). Of course there is a cost to it, but it is not an economic cost, not determined by aggressive market forces, and not incurred under compulsion or duress. And with modern communication technologies, it is quite possible to combine life in a culturally homogeneous neighbourhood with a genuinely cosmopolitan world-view. However, a word of caution about the “genuinely cosmopolitan world-view”: it is not as common anywhere as many of us would like to believe. You don’t have to look very far. Just within this blog, look at the number of negative comments people make (or cite) about the traditional local inhabitants of the environments which they have adopted as their own habitat, for whatever reasons.

  14. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 11:28 am

    Talking of kitchen smells, I am reminded of a cartoon that appeared many years ago in the British magazine Punch (anyone remember it?).

    The setting is a typical working class “terrace houses” kind of neighbourhood in London. Two adjacent houses, both with first-floor windows open, a Sardarji sticking his torso out of his window, and what are obviously kitchen fumes from the nextdoor house wafting in his direction. He looks back over his shoulder at (most likely) his wife and says:

    “If there is one thing I can’t stand about the British it’s the smell of their cooking.”

    Jokes apart, if you have the experience of visiting an urban English terrace house of the kind described, in which the chimney flues and fireplaces have been sealed because of the ban on wood fires, you would know how the smell of cabbage soup prepared a week ago lingers. And we are talking here about a vegetarian item!

    Why don’t we just accept that people’s prejudices for or against particular kinds of foods (and their smells) are deeply ingrained in their cultural make-up. While I am an incorrigible advocate of tolerance, I also believe that I don’t have the right to impose my beliefs on others. And if the others came first and have lived there for generations, their beliefs and norms must prevail in “their” neighbourhood. As a non-vegetarian, I would not seek to impose myself as a neighbour to people who can’t stand the sights, smells and leftovers (and the kind of scavengers they attract) associated with meat.

  15. January 3, 2008 11:52 am

    Nita:

    What an interesting post! A once-boss of mine had begun his career in Schlumberger where he was posted in Australia. He was warned that Australians were rude and racist and even at 22, he had the good sense to remind that nothing trumps Indians when it comes to discrimination. Stories such as your post remind me of how wonderfully innovative (!) we are when it comes to discriminating.

    I wrote a post earlier on the fallacy of vegetarianism and the broadly held belief – even now – that all Indians are vegetarians which is still one of my most read posts.

    As a meat-eater who changes the content of her diet often, I have no sympathy for militant-anything. When I lived in Bangalore, my north-Indian-ness was often seen as synonymous as being non-vegetarian and I was refused rental property in 14 places. This is mid-1990s Bangalore for you. The irony was that I was a vegetarian by choice then and in any case, never cooked at home, thanks to my long work hours..

    I just spent a holiday in Europe where one of us was a vegetarian and most of our time was spent reading menus so Madam could eat. On top of that we had to hear every single time how the food was tasteless. She is so used to eating overcooked, masala-laden food all the time that she cannot really taste flavours of vegetables – so much for being a vegetarian! Needless to say the tacit agreement now is not to invite her on the next vacation together.

    It was however very amusing on one occasion to hear that the restaurant – a very posh one – would make her pasta off-menu. But the manager said pasta is made with egg and if she was ok with that. Pat came the reply: can you make it without egg?

    Those of us in the group who enjoy more familiarity with our food and have better knowledge of ingredients – I am allergic to many things and I like eating and cooking – enjoyed a hearty guffaw at the comment. The said person had been eating pasta all through her holiday. So much for the question of ‘smells’, ‘I can tell egg from a mile’ etc.

    I think all this is just another way of being intolerant. Whether it is intolerance towards gays, towards single women, towards non-vegetarian eaters, it is nothing but prejudice. When it becomes organised so much so that entire localities start forcing people out, there is basis for a law suit and a good lawyer will find it easy to prove. If the case ever comes to court in India’s judicial system… but then why not hire a celebrity to the cause and expedite one’s case? Just a thought… Salman Khan can be hired by the NV and Shilpa Shetty by the Vegetables, sorry, Vegetarians…

  16. January 3, 2008 12:24 pm

    Shefaly thanks. Vegetarians do tend to suffer when they go abroad…and as you said they cannot see how unreasonable they can sound to others (ref to pasta from egg). Actually I think religion comes into it in many of the cases, so in a way it is a kind of religious intolerance.

    Vivek, I too would not like to ‘impose’ my food smells on others, but frankly eating and socialising go together. So if there are people who cannot stand my food smells, it is unlikely that there would be any sort of social contact. Believe me those who cannot stand food smells in another apartment are not likely to tolerate a non-veg dinner or lunch. So either you make friends with people and never eat with them ever or you avoid them. I do not think such behavior is desirable for any society.
    Those people who cannot stand to be around people who eat non-veg food are being imply intolerant and I cannot comprehend how it can be right. Such behavior leads to increasing bigotry and frankly goes against my grain.
    You may be right about preserving identities via ghettoes, I have never studied the subject, but frankly I am quite averse to the idea of ghettoes, however noble their motives.

  17. January 3, 2008 12:41 pm

    Vegetarianism & Non-Veg apart, I think the issue in hand is our ability to adjust & co-exist.

    Given the property rates in Mumbai, I think every individual has the right to choose his/her accomodation suited to their own needs. As a pure vegetarian (not even products with egg) I have a huge problem if some odour wafts into my house. In Indian villages, at least in south india, the veg & non-veg houses were seperated by quite a distance.

    Talking about the ability to adjust, I think as long as both parties can remain civil, this is a non-issue.

    True, veg dishes also smell – but that is a feeble argument because it is all about how used one is to the odour.

    I think caste/religion has nothing to do with diet these days – so bringing in these two aspects would be purely controversial in nature.

    Every society has the right to choose its occupants; terrorists are humans and they have a right to live too, so can we argue that refusal to rent out property to them is wrong? NOT comparing Non-veg eaters to terrorist here – merely an example. Human civilisation or colonies have developed on the plank of like mindedness and that’s a better thing to do since it is easy for everyone.

    To be noted that more than 65% of restaurants in India are pure-veg compared to an estimated 3% of pure vegetarians

    Also, if there is a only non-veg colony, vegetarians will have no right to even look for accomodation there.

    Rules will be for both.

  18. January 3, 2008 12:43 pm

    Nita: Thanks and this particular one lives ‘abroad’ i.e. in London. I have heard for years how bad it is to have to eat pasta etc. from her. ๐Ÿ™‚ Her monoglot status means that much negotiating with waiters is done by me with my portfolio of languages. Mea culpa! And naturally it bugs me sometimes.

    Esp because I have allergies – one could say it is a kind of physiological intolerance – I am mindful of ingredients and avoid some foods.

    What is interesting in all this that some of my vegetarian friends are now bringing up children in an environment in Europe where meat is a standard component of diet. The mothers would not even handle meat for the children who in their growing years need a lot of protein. So the children go without much protein (there is too much carbohydrate in their vegetarian diets in my observation). It is ok when they are small but in the playground and in school (after 5 years of age) these desi kids, who look like runts, compared to their beefcake British friends, are prime target for bullying, being left out from teams etc.

    I can understand people’s own choices but to limit the child’s access to all variety of food because of one’s own queasiness or stubbornness is beyond my comprehension. Surely even the hardest of heart makes compromise and sacrifice for their children, no?

  19. January 3, 2008 12:48 pm

    //Believe me those who cannot stand food smells in another apartment are not likely to tolerate a non-veg dinner or lunch. So either you make friends with people and never eat with them ever or you avoid them. I do not think such behavior is desirable for any society.//

    Nita, I’d disagree with you there. I at least, believe that friendship or contacts goes a long way and does not depend on pure food habits.

    I happen to have friends & a girl friend who love non-veg but never ever ask me to accompany them to a non-veg restaurant. for them, i mean so much as a friend (I hope) that food hardly matters so long as we are together. In my absence, however, they indulge in their choice of food.

    My girl friend has categorically said she’ll not cook non-veg at home and will have it outside – this is without me pushing it on her.

    As for reliegion, if religion is stil alive enuf to dictate renting trends, I am impressed!!

  20. January 3, 2008 12:51 pm

    //I can understand peopleโ€™s own choices but to limit the childโ€™s access to all variety of food because of oneโ€™s own queasiness or stubbornness is beyond my comprehension. Surely even the hardest of heart makes compromise and sacrifice for their children, no?//

    Shefaly, sorry to barge in on your dialogue with Nita, but my parents have never given me a choice about non-veg – they are strict veggies and insist on me being the same. And I have never felt anything about loosing out on an important feature of life.

    My grandparents were all octogenarians with a pure veg diet. If that isn’t enuf, I don’t know what will suffice. Veg diet, I am sure has enuf minerals to lead a healthy life.

  21. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 1:23 pm

    Nita,

    //I am quite averse to the idea of ghettoes, however noble their motives//

    There are NO noble motives underlying the creation of ghettos. They are primarily the outcome a survival strategy adopted by a group (ethnic, religious, linguistic, or anything similar that can count as an identity tag) which perceives itself as being vulnerable to discrimination. Usually (though not always) such people are economically and educationally deprived, and seek security in spatial cohesion. Thir primary consideration is not preservation of culture. That is an incidental outcome.

    I made that point not as a justification of ghettos but as a phenomenon that has often struck me. It goes without saying that I use the term ‘ghetto’ in a very broad sense. It would include not only CRP in Delhi but also places like Southall and Wembley in the UK.

  22. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 1:35 pm

    Nita,

    //…eating and socialising go together…//

    Limiting my observation to India, this would generally not be true. Traditionally, our diverse communities and caste groups would scrupulously avoid eating together and yet they engaged in civilised social discourse.

    My statement is based on my own observations of my grandparents’ generation (the only orthodox generation to which I had first-hand exposure). They were not at all averse to social interaction, but would not eat (or even drink water) in each others’ homes. Their children (my parents’ generation) would play together, but eating a snack prepared in the “other’s” home was taboo.

    It is true that such prejudices and taboos were more pronounced in the Hindu “upper castes” than they were in other segments of the community. But interestingly enough, no one in those days thought there was anything seriously wrong about such behaviour.

    Today, of course, there is a much higher degree of intolerance, and save for genuinely cosmopolitan people in large cities, the taboos are more hardened.

  23. January 3, 2008 1:45 pm

    @ Raman:

    You say your friends indulge in their choice of food in your absence. I guess it is their friendship for you which is making them do it and I guess you feel it’s fine so it’s fine. Everyone is free to make compromises, in this case the non-vegetarians. But when you say your girlfriend will not cook her choice of food for your sake, does that make you feel good?
    I guess I cannot speak for everyone, but as for me personally, I cannot be friends with anyone who expects me to eat vegetarian food in his/her presence.

    You also say:
    //True, veg dishes also smell – but that is a feeble argument because it is all about how used one is to the odour.//
    That applies to non-veg food too.
    Also you have mentioned something about non-veg colonies. Such a thing is unheard of. ๐Ÿ™‚ This whole argument is about the intolerance of vegetarians. I have not heard of any non-veg colony and I doubt that such a thing will ever happen.

  24. January 3, 2008 1:48 pm

    thanks.. i myself did not knew i had a point… conversing/arguing/debating with you has really helped me in crystallizing my thoughts

  25. January 3, 2008 1:53 pm

    Raman: My grandparents lived to their 90s and one lived to be 99 and they were non-vegetarians. In fact longevity in Japan and many countries in Europe – where meat and fish are the mainstay of diet – far exceeds that in India, where vegetarianism, as popular folklore goes, is the dominant choice. This, I am afraid, is not a line of logic; this is random data ๐Ÿ™‚

    There are other arguments for vegetarianism (for which you may want to read the comments on the post on All Hindus Are Vegetarians on my blog – I am too lazy to link it here but that post is usually in my most popular posts link) but that is not how man evolved. Vegetarianism to some extent also suffers from what is referred to as naturalistic fallacy in philosophy.

    As for the lady friend going out to eat meat but not forcing you to come along: in case you have missed noticing, you _are_ missing out on the social occasion, just as our ill-informed friend will miss out on future holidays with the rest of us, unless she learns a few languages and sorts out her own dietary needs in continental Europe. Over time, such loss of interaction leads to lost friendships and relationships. I never thought that possible when I was younger but now I have no time to deal with people’s peculiarities and I would rather invest in some valuable and compatible relationships than in a large number of random and largely difficult relationships.

    That she says she will not cook meat at home is laudable; what about reciprocating that love and setting aside a few days when she _can_ cook at home? If you were the meat-eater, would _you_ make the same sacrifice? Just a thought about _adjusting_ in a relationship, as an observer.

    And you seem to have missed my comment about many desi kids looking like runts. In India it may not matter but when one is surrounded by beefcakes in Europe, it does stand out that Indian kids are mostly puny compared to their counterparts. It does not matter to adults but to kids, being able to fit in is important and I am already noticing this in a few friends’ kids who are finding it hard to fit in, in many ways, armed with their long lists of I-do-not-eat this.

  26. January 3, 2008 2:03 pm

    @ Nita: I see you and I have made similar points here – our comments crossed in the ether ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Vivek: You have a point about ghettos and why count only Southall and Wembley? Why forget the Midlands, Manchester, Birmingham etc? And why not Brixton which is a black ghetto of sorts in London?

    Equally why spare whites-only areas where people of my colour are a minority? I live in one such area but the word ghetto does not come to mind when the cars driving by are expensive Mercs, BMWs and 4WDs, not to forget the 2 Maseratis in the houses up the road from me.

    I once lived in a close earlier where selling to non-whites was a no-no. Of course I was told by a neighbour that this was the case and that I was observed for 3-4 months, helped by her (so she claimed) spreading the news that I was an MBA and an engineer and worked in a high-flying job, by the neighbours. I wonder what they could do if they found me wearing desi clothes! Nothing legally as far as I was concerned and as law enforcement goes, my complaints of any harassment would be taken seriously. That my car was bigger and better and that I employed staff to work in the house and the garden immediately put paid to the ethnicity argument and moved on ‘class’ related things suggests that humans are wont to focus on differences. That is all.

    The fact, that a large number of recent Indian migrants live far, far, far away from these ghettos and never visit these ghettos, says something about the differences in how secure each feels with their identity along a time line that stretches from the 1950s to the 21st century…

  27. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 2:29 pm

    “And you seem to have………………. being able to fit in is important …………………… in many ways, armed with their long lists of I-do-not-eat this.

    Most Indian’s would stand out from the Europeans due to the colour of their skin. So they have to change that as well. Bleached skin and blue contacts lenses for them.

    What better way to “fit in” with the white kids in Britain than “binge-drinking”. It is high time parents started encouraging their kids to drink. They woudn’t fit in, otherwise. Smoking is an important social activity too.”Surely even the hardest of heart makes compromise and sacrifice for their children.”

    Shilpa Shetty ate chicken in the BB house. Fitted in very well with the rest. didn’t she?

  28. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 2:34 pm

    Shefaly: I wasn’t out to do an exhaustive listing, and those were the first two to come to mind as representative examples. The whites-only areas would certainly count as ghettos if their inhabitants felt insecure in their surroundings.

    As for holding you up as a representative sample — of anything — well, you seem to be atypical if not sui generis (not to make too fine a point, I would include Amartya Sen, Meghnad Desai etc. in the same class).

    I totally agree with your last paragraph. I should imagine Whitehall, Wembley et al should now count as white ghettos. With Indians having moved up from backroom boys to front office managers in department stores and hotels “of the better class” (in British advertisers’ parlance), things have indeed come a long way.

    At the end of the day, it is not all that pertinent whether Indians have moved out of ghettos or reversed the definition of ghettos. The question is, how many of the old migrants and their progeny have, inspired by the successes of the later arrivals, got out of the ghetto mentality?

  29. January 3, 2008 2:46 pm

    @Shefaly

    Today, we are facing issues like child obesity, heart diseases from the age of 25 and so on. I am sure eating non-veg wasn’t the only thing your grand parents did to lead such glorious lives cause surely, my grand parents did not just sit & eat. The quality of food, the demands of work & physical activity all were factors in life. Today, most urban humans have limited physical activity if at all any and therefore, most questions related to food are on the rise.

    The data is not random – I have a huge family and have seen most people live at least till 80.

    What social occasion am I missing? If I am not able to tolerate the stench of dried fish, if my body & mind cringes & repulses by that, then that’s it!! I hardly can do anything about it!! There is no point is putting myself through the motions just for the sake of so called “Social Occasion”. Since I haven’t been present on hundreds of such occasions, I can safely say that I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything and neither does she.

    My dad is a frequent traveller to Germany and he has managed to survive pretty happily – now your friend may have been subject to certain discomfiture made explicit by the rest of you or some such thing for her to suffer so. Moreover, if a “friend’s” basic needs can’t be taken care of, I whole heartedly support your views of her staying away.

    In fact, that’s the point!! Just as she should stay away, non-veg eaters can stay away from veg colonies!!

    Coming back to the point, I appreciate and am thankful to my friends for accomodating their needs while at the same time realise the importance of not imposing my needs on them every time.

    Longevity in Japan & Europe has more to do with quality of life & medical facilities than diet – this again, is no random stuff.

    As to the kids physical structure, as long as they are fit and are getting the right nutrients, how they get it should be of the least concern. If you tell me that there are certain minerals/nutrients that kids need, that are just not there in veg diets, then we can take our discussion to the next level. But meat may be an easy solution, but easy doesn’t count for best.

    I am receiprocating my love in 10 different ways and as long as we are happy, I don’t see how non-veg may be a problem. Lovers, my dear, as someone said, are not people with similarities; they are people who can appreciate the differences and live with it.

    I am 6 feet 6 inches tall and I am always asked if my girl is tall or not. Always, my reply is height is not the only & most important parameter on the basis of which I’ll decide on whome to share my life with.

    If I look out for people who have food habits similar to me, I may loose out on some real good contacts/relationships/people/experiences that are dissimilar to mine. If instead, I develop the ability to adjust, or change the nature & place of meeting, I might just as yet, get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

    This is my humble opinion.

    @ Nita

    It does make me feel good because I appreciate the love she has for me – it takes a lot to say that and I value her love.

    Your comment // guess I cannot speak for everyone, but as for me personally, I cannot be friends with anyone who expects me to eat vegetarian food in his/her presence.// incidentally displays the same intolerance that the pure veg landlords have been accused of.

    And beleive me on the non-veg colonies – they do exist. I rejected some 3 houses in Mahim & Sion.

  30. January 3, 2008 3:41 pm

    @ Raj: Your comment suggests that this is no longer a discussion based on rationale and logic and data; this is now simply an argument, the kind that I am not interested in. Thanks.

  31. January 3, 2008 4:42 pm

    @Raj

    On the contrary, you comments seem the logical extension of the //being able to fit in // comment.

    @Shefaly

    Arguments, if not supported with apt logic will fall flat on its face. therefore, I believe what Raj says is a logical extension. He is only using a different method of arguing.

  32. January 3, 2008 5:18 pm

    Raman, you say:

    Your comment // guess I cannot speak for everyone, but as for me personally, I cannot be friends with anyone who expects me to eat vegetarian food in his/her presence.// incidentally displays the same intolerance that the pure veg landlords have been accused of…

    I fail to see the logic of this! ๐Ÿ˜€ I cannot put what I want into my own stomach and I am intolerant? Well, I guess your attitude is not surprising. I know people who think like that and they are certainly not on my friend list…but please note, it’s not me who is boycotting them. It’s me who loves flesh and well, I will eat it! That’s my choice in a free country. If people don’t like it, they are welcome not to, but I will not change my favourtie food for anybody and my veg friends certainly don’t expect me to. I consider them to fall in the tolerant zone.

    p..s if you rejected the colonies that means they were nto non-veg colonies. they were for everyone who wanted to live there.

  33. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 5:32 pm

    Raman, Nita:

    I’m getting a bit confused by your dialogue.

    I enjoy all kinds of food and drink, but don’t feel any lacuna or withdrawal symptoms if they are not part of the day’s fare.

    If I am breaking bread with someone I know to be vegetarian/vegan and/or a teetotaller, then in deference his/her preferences (which, please note, [s]he does not seek to impose on me) I would abstain from indulging in all the available options.

    I am often invited by vegetarian/teetotaller friends to dine with them at a restaurant, and they expressly indicate that I feel free to order whatever I wish to. But knowing their own preferences, I prefer to conform. I consider this a simple matter of good manners.

  34. January 3, 2008 5:40 pm

    Vivek, there is no confusion. I am a lover of non-veg food and luckily my husband is too. In fact he cannot eat veg without a non-veg dish and slowly cooking for him, I too have become someone who has to non-veg every single day. My kids have it more than twice a day, almost every meal. I am not saying it’s healthy and definitely am trying to change this by adding vegetables to everything…but the fact is that for us eating out means non-veg. And luckily my veg friends are very understanding and have no problem with it. If they had, I would see them as intolerant and ill-mannered.
    Thanks.

  35. January 3, 2008 6:01 pm

    i am veggie….but almost all my friends eat non-veg…..even though there is a rule we aren’t supposed to bring non-veg at school…many do…i have no problems,when we eat lunch,we sit in such a way,i a little away…my friends are aware i don’t eat,so respect my feelings…i have no problems others eating…it is there choice….

  36. January 3, 2008 6:06 pm

    @ vishesh:

    Thank you! That’s exactly what I mean. We have vegetarian friends, and in fact one of them is abosolutely fantatic about it, but the couple came and lived with us for several days and I always made it a point to have more vegetarian dishes. But a non-veg dish was always on the table and we kept it nearer us, and they never minded. The only thing was they tried to convince us to go veg! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe one day we will, for health reasons.

  37. January 3, 2008 6:24 pm

    Hi Nita,

    I’m a vegetarian, although it depends on the definition. This issue of discrimination based on what you eat, is something I’ve never come across before. Outside of major cities, vegetarian restaurants are very rare, and meat is king in most places.

    Estimates vary widely, but in the U.S., around 10% claim to be vegetarian. It’s fairly easy now to buy soy and rice protein products in stores and to eat at home without meat.

  38. January 3, 2008 6:35 pm

    @Nita

    The logic is this: If you can’t be friends with someone who may, as a basic courtesy similar to that a smoker may show to a non-smoker, expect you to be kind enough to not eat non-veg if s/he has a problem with it, that is intolerance. In a society, when we live with so many humans, it is important to adjust to situations & people. If everyone insists on his & her own rights ans stands up to do what s/he he wants to, then there is no society. Might as well live on different planets.
    Further, if you insist on eating non-veg even after knowing that the person opposite may have a problem, fine – it is your right to eat what you want and you can go ahead with it; but kindly do not criticize societies that insists on vegetarians. If you have the right to insist on X, someone else automatically gets the right to insist on Y.

    I agree with what you say about the colonies – I may never know whether they were 100% non-veg or not. By rejecting the colonies, I am saying that there are a lot of colonies where no one gives a damn about what one eats. I rejected them because I, given my diet would prefer a veggie colony.

    If you think I expect people to change their diet, well you are hugely mistaken. All I am saying is, like you have the right to choose what you eat, I have the right to choose what I eat & where I stay. If I am a member in a colony with a majority of veggies, I also reserve the right to refuse admission to a non-veggie.

    @ Vivek

    What you say is true – if the person with has no problem, you can go ahead and eat what you want. Otherwise also, you can do that but it goes against basic courtesy.

    Kindly let me know where I am confusing, will be glad to clear the clouds.

  39. January 3, 2008 6:52 pm

    @ Raman:

    I have no idea what you mean. No one is stopping vegetarians from eating vegetarian food! ๐Ÿ™‚ Frankly I do not see the logic of your argument. And please remember, – I do not eat non-veg if the person opposite is intolerant!! I do not socialise or eat with people who are intolerant! I have a right to eat what I like.
    How can you compare smoking to eating non-veg food? Passive smoking is known to harm people and cause cancer!

    Also kindly stop telling me what to write on my own blog!! I have every right to criticize it as this is my own view. You have no right to tell me what to do. Get it??

  40. wishtobeanon... permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:03 pm

    Hi Nita,
    This has become a controversial topic too! Wow, I didn’t know there was so much intolerance towards non-vegetarians. Although I am a vegetarian, I don’t mind people eating non-veg on the same table neither do I believe in segregated colonies based on one’s diet. Tolerance is lessening in every aspect of life, isn’t it?

  41. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:03 pm

    Raman:

    // What you say is true – if the person with has no problem, you can go ahead and eat what you want. //

    While I agree with you, that’s NOT what I said. What I said was that if I am eating with a vegetarian and/or a teetotaller, then even if that person (whether guest or host) has no problem, I would still forgo the freedom [s]he offers me of making my choice of what to eat. It is what you have called “basic courtesy” and I have called “good manners”.

  42. January 3, 2008 7:12 pm

    @ wishtobeanonโ€ฆ:

    Yes! And people usually don’t like to write about this, knowing the strong intolerance there is some sections of our society towards non-vegetarians! You can see the intolerance in the comments itself. All views are welcome but if you realise, my own views are not welcome, on this blog, my own blog!
    Frankly any kind of intolerance is what I abhor. I find vegetarian societies intolerant and I have a right to hold that view and I have a right to air that view. I think people who cannot tolerate even others eating non-veg food are intolerant. And I have a right to believe that.
    If there are people like Vivek who want to be accomodating, that is fine too. that is his wish.

  43. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:35 pm

    Nita,Shefaly and others,

    I want to bring to your notice that there are two different persons by the name of Raj in this post.

    My post is the second one,not the one in the middle.So I may not post a reply to certain posts because I believe it is directed at the other Raj in this blog.

    Just wanted to clear any confusion.Thanks!

    Oh good! I was wondering what happened to you! The style of speaking was completely differentโ€ฆthanks for clearing that up. – Nita.

  44. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:41 pm

    “Shefaly, on January 3rd, 2008 at 3:41 pm Said:

    @ Raj: Your comment suggests that this is no longer a discussion based on rationale and logic and data; this is now simply an argument, the kind that I am not interested in. Thanks.”

    You were the one going off topic by talking about “fitting in” to European soceity. What is the “logic” there?

  45. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:42 pm

    “Raj, on January 3rd, 2008 at 7:35 pm Said:

    Nita,Shefaly and others,”

    ****I will change my name. Don’t worry.****

  46. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:52 pm

    Hey Raj,

    There is no need to change your name at all.

    I just wanted to clear the confusion,if any.

    Anyway,my contribution is over with just a single post.You keep it going.

  47. January 3, 2008 8:06 pm

    I am extremely sorry for the inflammations caused. I take back my comments.

    My Apologies.

  48. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 8:50 pm

    Hey Raj & Raj:

    You remind me of Thomson and Thompson (or is it the other way round?) in the Tintin comics. Hope we’ll soon have Captain Haddock and Tintin himself with us too!

  49. January 3, 2008 9:03 pm

    Nita,
    Wow this is a really hot debate! I wonder why this issue of veg and non-veg is so strong… I feel that many people whom I’ve met in my life think of vegetarianism merely as a status symbol of being of a certain caste (myself belonging to that caste). But I never care about these issues. I love chicken, but don’t eat it/ minimize intake for personal health reasons. I always wonder how come so called “staunch veg” people eat yogurt!!!! Aren’t they put off by the smell of bacterial action and by the thought of eating bacteria?… lol..

  50. January 3, 2008 9:16 pm

    Vivek, how can I get in touch with you?

  51. Raj permalink
    January 3, 2008 9:47 pm

    Vivek,

    This post has become a site for ten thousand thundering typhoons!

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 10:10 pm

    Raman:

    You can request Nita to give you my email ID.

    Nita, please note.

    You email id has been sent to Raman. – Nita.

  53. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 3, 2008 10:11 pm

    Raj:

    Blistering barnacles! You’re right.

  54. January 3, 2008 10:29 pm

    Thanks Vivek, Nita.

  55. January 3, 2008 10:55 pm

    Looks like this discussion has (unsurprisingly) evolved into the pros and cons of a vegetarian vs non-vegetarian diet, from the original post about housing discrimination.

    What is interesting in all this that some of my vegetarian friends are now bringing up children in an environment in Europe where meat is a standard component of diet. The mothers would not even handle meat for the children who in their growing years need a lot of protein.

    Ah, the protein myth makes an appearance, though I’m surprised it’s coming from Shefaly. ๐Ÿ™‚
    There are many famous vegan athletes who have achieved success, so to affirm that a non-vegetarian diet is necessary, is simply not true. As for “beefy” Europeans, I’d think that genetics would be a huge factor, among others. And Gandhi was physically a puny man as compared to the Brits.

    I can understand peopleโ€™s own choices but to limit the childโ€™s access to all variety of food because of oneโ€™s own queasiness or stubbornness is beyond my comprehension. Surely even the hardest of heart makes compromise and sacrifice for their children, no?

    I see no issue with raising kids according to the way and outlook-on-life of parents vis-a-vis diet – whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian. What I’ve seen in the US, adults who decide to be vegetarians are very educated, and have done their research on dietary issues before making the change. Sure, there are always some who become vegetarians to fit in or because of peer pressure, but for the most part, it’s a well-thought out decision based on sound research, and/or health, and/or ethics, and/or logic, and/or environmental reasons. When the kids are of age, they can make their own decisions about what’s good for them.

    I have friends who are non-vegetarians, and I have no issue with sharing meals with them where they eat non-veg food on the same table.

  56. January 3, 2008 10:57 pm

    I can understand peopleโ€™s own choices but to limit the childโ€™s access to all variety of food because of oneโ€™s own queasiness or stubbornness is beyond my comprehension

    Shefaly, would that include all kinds of junk food, candy, soda etc. that are unhealthy for kids and can cause obesity? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  57. January 3, 2008 11:00 pm

    Nita, as a non-vegetarian you can’t understand the problems vegetarians can have with non-vegetarian food. There is nothing wrong with eating animals. If most of the world’s population consumes meat how can it be wrong? Still the smell of BBQ’s and fish really bothers people who don’t eat meat. I know people who don’t want Bengali neighbours because they cook fish. My mother does not eat at restaurants where non-vegetarian food is cooked. I don’t mind eating with people while they are consuming non-vegetarian food but the smell of sizzlers is difficult to handle. I never forced my children to eat only veg food. They are vegetarians by choice. I would not like them to grow up in a colony where there is only one type of people. I don’t want to limit their vision. I am able to handle non-vegetarian food better than my mother and my kids have no problem at all with the smell and sight of non-veg food. My grandfather had Muslim friends but my grandmother would never eat at their house. They also understood her dilemma and never misunderstood her. We used to eat in their house but they took care that we were served only veg food. It is not about religion but the way you are brought up. Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims don’t eat pork. Most Muslims I’ve met seem uncomfortable by the idea of eating at a table where pork is being consumed.

  58. January 3, 2008 11:16 pm

    Amit, thanks for that comment on diet. I tend to agree with you. I personally believe that a vegetarian diet is quite healthy and red meats are particularly bad for health. The only problem is that many vegetarians do not take in adequate protein, I think that is what Shefaly meant. There are some very good protein foods in a veg diet which need to be consumed. But as I do not know too much about this subject, I will not say more!

    Prerna, thanks. Yes, I understand what you mean, the smell cannot be borne by them. I am from a traditional vegetarian family, so I understand that as many of my relatives will not touch meat and yes it’s diffcult for them to tolerate it, but tolerate it they do as their close relatives eat. It’s not as it it’s a daily thing anyway, to watch and smell meat! Mostly in one’s own home, people compromise for the sake of loved ones.
    The way I see it, there are several things that one can hardly bear about others and yes these things may physically nauseate but they need to be tolerated in a liberal society. Certainly, I do not expect an old lady of 70 to change (my grandmother was the same btw!) but I certainly do not expect modern people to act like that. My best friends in school were two, one was a muslim and the other a Jain. they are still my very close friends and we never ever had a problem with what the other ate. when I visit my jain friend’s house I do not expect to be served non-veg food and when she comes to mine, she does not expect all veg fare.
    I am not saying people aren’t uncomfortable, why I can give you a long list of things right here that make me uncomfortable about people, but my point is tolerance. And if the relationship is an intimate one, well, one does need to marry someone whose food habits do not nauseate one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. January 3, 2008 11:39 pm

    One more comment (hopefully last). Based on my experience of living in India and the US, the term non-vegetarian would translate into somewhat different behaviors in these two countries.

    In India, for many non-vegetarians (with the exception of those on coastal regions probably), meat is not a central part of diet, the frequency of meat-eating is maybe 1-3 times/week and they also include legumes and vegetables in their diet. When I was growing up, meat was really expensive, so my dad used to buy it maybe once in two weeks – we couldn’t afford it.

    Whereas in the US, most non-vegetarians have a meat-centric diet where they eat meat almost on a daily basis and vegetables are peripheral. So yes, both are non-vegetarians, but on a closer look, the frequency and diet are quite different. Just something to keep in mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. January 3, 2008 11:42 pm

    @ Amit:

    My comment also included a note about proportionality – so it is not the protein myth but the fact that in my observation, vegetarian parents often end up giving a growing child too little protein and too much of carbs and sugar, which means that if the kid is not puny, (s)he is bordering on fat. Neither observation is easy to share with parents who are hyper-sensitive for many reasons not least about preserving and passing on their sense of identity to their progeny whom they are bringing up in a complex, foreign environment where they need to fit in terms of appearance and behaviours. This is too complicated a point to be comprehended by many (you are thankfully not one of them).

    And on your infra-dig ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I believe that in moderation a child can have candy as well as soft drinks. To teach a child the nuanced concepts of moderation and balance is difficult if (s)he never learns about the ‘bad’ stuff and is always protected.

    It is also an ongoing process from which parents, alas, have no chance to disengage till the child grows up. I for my part educate my friends’ children in reading labels, understanding the need for fruit and vegetables, assessing commercial messages etc (most of these kids are now over 6 or 7 so it is a good age to introduce them to slightly complicated concepts and I am a hellishly popular aunt, so much so that a friend told me today her son says he likes her and me equally.. tough one that!).

    @ Nita:

    While on smells, an issue raised often by many, may I cite some examples of stinky vegetables too such brussels sprouts, cabbage, brinjal/ aubergine, artichoke (an acquired ‘taste’ of smell), asparagus and to some people – cauliflower and broccoli? I eat all of these and any thing that hangs off a plant so I have learnt to mask the smells or just ignore them.

    I cannot eat eggs but I love the smell of an omelette. I can also not eat sea-food but I love to watch people eat clams, mussels and oysters with the slurpy noises they make. I have found octopuses and squids interesting too with their rubbery texture (alas if I touch them my fingers swell up and if I touch my eyes, they swell shut…).

    I love burgers but the smell of oil and meat wafting in American malls is enough to make me want to throw up.

    Smell is a very acquired ‘taste’.

    I think your point about intolerance was expressed well in the discussion following this post. It is plain to see that while intolerance from vegetarians is seen as some sort of virtue, all meat-eaters are assumed to be awful people when enough of us – sometimes willingly sometimes not – suffer the difficulties of finding vegetarian food for friends who know less about what they eat than they think.

    The said friend – the pasta story above – also loves Thai food. Since she does not cook it, she does not know that nearly all Thai stir-fry and noodle dishes contain oyster sauce. (My allergy and my interest in cooking require that I find synthetic products that do not contain oyster but will render the taste and aroma to the food anyway…)

    Enough said. Thanks for a good post.

  61. January 3, 2008 11:46 pm

    @ Amit:

    “Based on my experience of living in India and the US, the term non-vegetarian would translate into somewhat different behaviors in these two countries.”

    There are of course other differences. Definitional ones.

    The inclusion of fish in vegetarian diets in Europe and Singapore, for instance. As Ruhi said in one of her posts, do fish grow on trees? ๐Ÿ™‚

    My eating habits are simple – everything that walks or flies; nothing that floats or swims. No eggs – neither of hens, nor of fish (caviar).

    The famous vegetarian Linda McCartney similarly said that she would not eat anything ‘with a face on it’.

    Indian vegetarianism would be referred to as Veganism in Europe but veganism in Indian terms would be more close to a Jain dietary regime.

    Lost in translation, and smells, all of us!

  62. January 3, 2008 11:50 pm

    @ Amit

    (Sorry, Nita, last comment)

    Your household sounds like my dad’s with emphasis on dals. I have noticed that in many households in the north dal is not compulsory in every meal. And it is not because they are eating chane or rajma. They just eat a tari-wali sabzee and are done with it.

    The protein imbalance in diet thing is most pronounced when old people change suddenly. A friend’s dad in the US re-married and went from being a meat-eater to a strict vegetarian because his new wife would not let him cook or eat meat. The food is mainly South Indian with an emphasis on idlis, upmas and appam. (Note: where is the dal?)

    Within 6 months, his cholesterol and weight have gone up. It upsets my friend who is a doctor too, like her father and her late mother, but she cannot say anything for fear of being seen as a discordant step-daughter.

    It is tricky to discuss food with the best of people, leave alone people we hardly know…

  63. January 4, 2008 12:05 am

    Shefaly, a balanced vegetarian diet does provide all the necessary and sufficient proteins. If some parents are ignorant, that’s not the fault of vegetarianism, and it can be corrected by modifying the diet to include balanced, protein-rich vegetarian food as easily as the suggestion to eat protein-rich non-vegetarian food.

    The said friend – the pasta story above – also loves Thai food. Since she does not cook it, she does not know that nearly all Thai stir-fry and noodle dishes contain oyster sauce.

    Good one, and Pad Thai contains fish oil/sauce. I found out about all the “hidden” ingredients in so many foods here in the US early on thanks to friends from the Boston Vegetarian Society and reading up on it. So now if I eat some unfamiliar food, I always ask about the ingredients first. Many people don’t know that some vegetarian items in Mexican restaurants (like white rice) are probably cooked in chicken/beef broth, or that the vegetarian miso soup in a Japanese restaurant may contain beef or fish stock.

  64. January 4, 2008 12:12 am

    Shefaly, yes, dals were (almost) a daily staple (and protein source) and with so many varieties to pick from, it never got boring. ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. January 4, 2008 12:50 am

    pr3rna: If most of the population committed crimes does it make it right? Centuries ago, meat was necessary for survival and everything was used. People didn’t have the choice to be picky. Nowadays, people take meat for granted so much that the meat industry is full of “factories” to produce as much as possible as quickly as possible, usually inhumanely and with hormones to speed growth, produce more milk, etc.

    Amit: I began my vegetarian diet at 13 when my parents thought it was “just a phase”. Naturally, they had their concerns, but also knew I always ate pretty well anyway. I did my research and voiced my concerns when my mom went on the Atkins diet, which led to problems. (I told you so.) I originally went veg because I didn’t like meat anymore, animal rights, and health- there were a lot of cases of sickness/death from bad meat. This was before the ethics and environmental issues became more known.

    Every body is different. My family needs their meat, though they’ve decreased their intake of red meat. After 10 years, I began eating seafood again because my body told me to, but am selective of what, amount, and its’ source. I currently have 3 trout in my freezer from this summer’s trips to the river.

    Nita: Crazy is an understatement to what’s going on in Mumbai. If it were a Chassidic neighborhood, then I could understand not wanting unclean food in a rented house. But to that extent for those reasons are absurd. Dietist, is what it is.

    I don’t choose who I dine with based on their diet and will go to a steak house on occasion, though my friends/family are pretty good about picking a place where I can eat more than a salad. The biggest problem I had was when I started cooking in a restaurant. Cooking the bacon would turn my stomach, but I had grown up in a no-pork household. I might not partake, but will make a meat meal once in awhile for loved ones.

  66. January 4, 2008 1:21 am

    Mish, thanks for sharing your experience, and yes, everyone is different – what worked for me may not work for an Inuit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. January 4, 2008 7:56 am

    The comments came fast for this one and I haven’t been able to keep up with the responses.

    Old Sailor, the majority of Indians are non-vegetarian to my knowledge and in any case that isn’t the point. The point is that no one has a right to tell another what to eat and discriminate on housing because of that. As for waste disposal, these things can be handled.

    Brian, thanks. even in India the majority are non-vegetarians but as amit pointed out most Indians love veg food too and meat is nto a daily affair. therefor a lot of veg restaurants dot the landscape.

    Mish Lee, thanks for that objective comment. What goes on here is pure racism because of the intolerance of a few. It’s the minority who is ruling.

    Shefaly, yep what you say is right/ vegetarianism has become a virtue rather than a simple diet preference amongst some people. Just as we might hesitate to have a child molester or a criminal as our neighbour, these people discriminate against non-vegetarians and are not willing to have them as neighbours! ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 4, 2008 7:58 am

    Shefaly:

    //(My allergy and my interest in cooking require that I find synthetic products that do not contain oyster but will render the taste and aroma to the food anywayโ€ฆ)//

    I was very interested to read the above. My wife is severely allergic (anaphylaxis) since infancy to three things — green peas, masoor and chana (including its derivatives such as besan). Besan is particularly dicey, as it finds its way into many common preparations, especially in Gujarat, sometimes in such small traces that people don’t even consider it significant.

    Over the years she has taken the trouble to research the ingredients used in a wide range of dishes from all over India, but every now and then there are unpleasant surprises, with items containing ingredients that are no supposed to be there. She has, of course, developed her own rough-and-ready tests, but still always carries an emergency kit.

    When buying packaged food (either ready-to-eat or nearly-ready-to-eat) we find that the list of ingredients printed on the packaging, required under law, is often not adequate to meet the information needs of people with allergies. What is the position on this in Europe and North America? Are there laws designed specially with such people in mind?

  69. January 4, 2008 9:58 am

    Spot on article Nita. I am also sick of these so called Veggies (I respect those who don’t eat meat as part of a policy and don’t make fun of non-veggies) who describes the non-Veggies as cannibals and make fun of them at every opportunity. I have one question to ask them. Don’t plants have life in them? Studies have shown that the trees respond to people who treat them well or those who come to cut them out. In ancient India, people used to ask permission of the tree before cutting a piece of wood or a branch. What happened to that? So don’t the Veggies have respect towards those ‘living things’? Shame on such people!

  70. January 4, 2008 10:06 am

    What is the position on this in Europe and North America? Are there laws designed specially with such people in mind?

    Vivek, going by what’s on the package in the US, they explicitly state if the product was made in a facility that also processes/uses nuts, even if the said product itself doesn’t contain any nuts – to inform those who have any allergies. Same goes for any non-dairy products that are processed in a facility that also makes dairy products. The reason for dairy information is probably two-fold: one is to inform those who follow Jewish dietary guidelines, and the other for allergy information.

    Wishing the best for your wife, and hopefully, India will follow suit in near future. I think if cases like your wife’s are publicized in the media along with the risks involved, it could get the ball rolling.

  71. January 4, 2008 10:18 am

    Hi Jo! Good to see you here after a long time. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I agree with you that those vegetarians who have a holier than thou attitude are being hypocritical. I too believe that plants are living things and just because they do not have the ability to feel and scream it does not mean that people who cut them down are being kind.
    I certainly do not respect a lion or wolf less because they are non-vegetarians as compared to elephants, lambs or giraffes. I know a lion will eat me if he is hungry and that doesn’t mean I look down at my nose at him! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am proud of the fact Jo, that in my personal life I have close friends from all religions and all castes and all regions and I know this is possible because I am not finicky about a person’s personal life.
    The main idea is to be open to different types of people and embrace them as fellow human beings, and their race, food habits, caste, colour, religion does not matter.

    Hey Peace nice to see you here after a very long time! Thanks for you comment and I share your derision for those who think no end of themselves because they are vegetarian.

  72. January 4, 2008 11:48 am

    @ VIvek:

    If you would like to read more on the UK situation on labelling, may I refer you to my obesity blog (you can reach there using a link ‘About my other blog’ on the sidebar on my usual blog?

    I can answer questions in detail there esp about how allergens are labelled; what things are and are not on the label both in the UK and the US; what the bases of claims are; history of labelling etc. I have studied this in some detail because labelling is used as a big tool and PR thing by both industry and government in case of obesity but those not obese and those only health-conscious would also benefit from it.

    Indian labels are so inadequate that although I regularly receive ready-to-make sweet packets (Badami Halwa etc) and veg curries ready to eat, I do not end up eating them because I am a compulsive label reader and I am also a compulsive recipe browser and chef botherer.

    I am sorry to hear your wife suffers anaphylaxis. My recent experiences suggest I may need a kit to carry with me. My reactions this time were more severe and swift than ever before – allergies do not improve with age as many wrongly believe. Anaphylactic kits here are on prescription and not OTC; and my last GP told me allergies were ‘all in the mind’ so I am hoping the new one will be a bit more open minded.

    Thanks.

  73. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 4, 2008 12:10 pm

    Thanks a lot, Shefaly. Fortunately for Nirmala, her mother, a systematic observer and recorder, had identified the causes of the allergies before she turned two; and being a daughter (however rebellious) rather than a son, I guess she was easier to discipline to take the appropriate precautions :-)(though both she and her sister, in all other respects, were brought up very much the way sons would be).

    Even her various doctors, whether consultants or just friends, never took her allergies seriously. Surprisingly, she learnt rather late in life (after turning 40) from a physician cousin about the high fatality risk attendant on anaphylaxis. That’s when she started carrying the kit (not ready-made, but improvised under advice from her cousin, and the components of it — drugs and injections — are easy to buy OTC in India).

    I will certainly visit your other blog, and also direct Nirmala’s attention to it.

    Once again, a million thanks.

  74. January 4, 2008 12:16 pm

    There are vegetarians with stomachs sensitive to even the smell of meat that it would make them nauseous.

    I know, one time years ago it happened to me in times of spring and autumn. I blame puberty.

    Otherwise, to me, a Westerner, veg-only flats sounds way too rediculous, this form of segregation sounds more ludacris than discrimination because of some forms of discrimination against redheads in Britain!!!

  75. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 4, 2008 12:23 pm

    Shefaly:

    //…allergies do not improve with age as many wrongly believe…//

    Nirmala’s experience suggests (partly) that they do. As a child she was also allergic to certain milk products (especially cheese) but that has vanished now. Her reaction to accidental ingestion of besan and green peas is now milder than it was before. Masoor, of course, was and continues to be the most extreme villain, but fortunately it is not very common in our habitual cuisine (Maharashtrian, Mangalorean, Gujarati), and in any case when in doubt, we ask.

    Of course one cannot draw any generalised conclusions. Allergies are so individual-specific in both causal factors and manifestation. And unfortunately they are among the less-researched areas of medical science.

  76. January 4, 2008 1:11 pm

    @ Vivek:

    You are welcome.

    My allergies are the same as my father’s so when signs appeared, we did not need much research, just some additional observations and it was very apparent that I suffered the same problems as he did.

    Re change with age: My lactose intolerance has reduced with time in that I can have a Starbucks small bucket size latte, but I still get stomachaches if not vomiting. Lactase tablets can help the metabolism of lactose. The best alternative for milk proteins is to take yoghurt instead. But if she is allergic to cheese, then it is probably not lactose intolerance. My seafood allergy is worse with time, as are my skin sensitivities which mean I cannot wear ‘costume jewellery’.

    The kit is not OTC here because it contains adrenaline. I use OTC anti-histamines but they induce terrible stupor at times so one has to be careful.

    Thanks.

  77. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 4, 2008 1:35 pm

    Shefaly:

    You are the first person to tell me that an allergy can be inherited from a parent. My understanding was that IF AT ALL it is transmitted, it skips a generation.

    Incidentally, there seems to be a correlation between infantile eczema, asthma, and some kinds of allergies. I have this as purely anecdotal information. Wonder if there are any hard data on it.

  78. January 4, 2008 1:49 pm

    @ Jersey:

    Thanks. I guess it’s a good thing to see this concept of housing segregation from a foreigner’s point of view. Puts things in perspective.

  79. January 4, 2008 2:06 pm

    The main idea is to be open to different types of people and embrace them as fellow human beings, and their race, food habits, caste, colour, religion does not matter.

    Rightly said! ๐Ÿ™‚ And hey, have a wonderful, peaceful and prosperous New Year!! I’ve been reading all your posts through email (I have subscribed through email). ๐Ÿ™‚

  80. axinia permalink
    January 4, 2008 4:11 pm

    Nita,
    I see that topic hast become one of the most popular on your blog – congratulations!

    Let me contribute something very relevant, namely to share my experience as a traveling foreginer in India.
    When last year I made a 3-week Maharashtra tour I could only find some chicken (by the way, in Mumbai!). Everywhere I went in Mansharashtra, it was wirtten “non-veg”. In restorants I kept hearring “Sorry, madam, only vegetarian”…After one week without meet I notice I miss something very badly… BUT i was prepared for that, as I knew from friends that it is too difficult to get some meat in India. I took a package of some good Austrian sausage with me to India, and was enjoying eating it with the black bread which i also had to take from home :)) That is how I survived…

    Honestly, from my 3 trips to India I got a strong impression that Indians are mostly vegetarians! I wonder if your dogs are also vegetarian? ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, I was a vegetarian for 1,5 years 10 years ago and that definetly did not do any good to my healf – but at least I know what it is…

  81. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 4, 2008 4:28 pm

    Axinia,

    Your experience non-vegetarianism (or the lack of it) in Maharashtra is certainly strange. There are hardly any places in the state that are exclusively vegetarian. These would usually be in the immediate vicinity of important temples and places of pilgrimage. Examples: Nashik, Kolhapur, Pandharpur, Shirdi, Ganpatipule. In the first two, the embargo on meat would be confined to limited quarters of th city concerned. In the latter three it might cover the entire town or village. Of course you will find many more examples in both categories, as Maharashtra is a fairly large state.

    //…from my 3 trips to India I got a strong impression that Indians are mostly vegetarians…//

    Not at all true. It is very likely — indeed probable — that your interactions were mainly with people from socio-economic groups that are predominantly vegetarian. Especially if you interact with the traditionally affluent business communities of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Jaipur, Jodhpur etc., such as the Banias, Jains and Marwaris, they would almost certainly be Veg. Your conclusion is based on a non-representative sample.

  82. January 4, 2008 5:44 pm

    Axinia, Vivek has answered your question perfectly but I might also add that a small section of Maharashtrains (brahmins) do not traditionally eat meat. But more and more of these people are changing into a non-veg diet, particularly in the younger generations.
    Non-veg food is available in plenty all over maharashtra and naturally, as the overwhelming majorith is non-vegetararian. Mumbai is choc-o–bloc with non-veg restaurants. Walk into any mall and there are stalls selling chicken rolls and frankies. At Nirmal, the biggest mall in Mumbai, most of the restaurants are non-vegetarian. Here vegetarians eat their veg fare along with non-vegetarians and let me assure you that vegetarians who cannot stand the either nieghbours or those who are eating non-veg next to them are a small minority (of vegetarians)

  83. January 4, 2008 5:59 pm

    @ Vivek:

    I do not know of any data but I am inspired to look for it now (esp as my unfettered access to research databases may come to an end with graduation, unless I find more academic links with Cambridge on which I am working…) ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Axinia:

    Your experience is very interesting indeed. As for whether all Indians are vegetarians, I hope it is ok with Nita but I once wrote a post on why this is a fallacy and why this may appear to be the case. This post continues to be one of my top posts suggesting this is a sensitive issue for many.

    all hindus are vegetarians and other fallacies

  84. axinia permalink
    January 4, 2008 6:20 pm

    Dear Vivek, Nita and Shefaly,
    I just wanted to share my impression, not statistics ๐Ÿ™‚

    I indeed visited all these places like Nashik, Kolhapur, Pandharpur, Shirdi, Ganpatipule, Pune and Mumbai, but I was not interacting with many Indians. It was an organised tour and we also had some time to eplore the places for ourselves, but almost no contact to locals. So I could only make my conclusion from what I saw..

    You listed lots of facts here and I am also sure you are right, as you actually live there and know the situation. But see what is the impression one gets as a visitor! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think Nita is right, that there is probably a tendency or kind of policy, that is why the impression is like that. You see, who easily the stereotypes are build up ๐Ÿ™‚ If not for Nita`s article I would never learn that the veg-non-veg situation is acutally the opposite of what I felt… Interesting!

  85. January 4, 2008 9:15 pm

    Axinia, thank you for your kind words. I think perhaps you visited certain small tourist areas around temples, perhaps that is why you got that impression…but as Shefaly’s post explains very well, vegetarianism is not ordered by Hinduism. Certain sects practice it. You see the elite also does so in certain states and as the elite tend to dominate, these myths get perpetuated. Next time you come, please contact me and I shall take you around Mumbai, or wherever I am at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Shefaly, your post is very good. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  86. R.S permalink
    January 4, 2008 9:19 pm

    Non-vegetarians get a raw deal in Mumbai?

    Title totally misleading. Just because there are a few housing colonies that don’t allow non-vegetarian’s, it doesn’t mean the whole city is against them.

  87. wishtobeanon... permalink
    January 4, 2008 9:19 pm

    Hi Nita, I came across this blog talking about vegetarianism.
    http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/rejection-of-rationality-v.html

  88. R.S permalink
    January 4, 2008 9:27 pm

    “You see the elite also does so in certain states and as the elite tend to dominate, these myths get perpetuated.”

    We are quite elitist ourselves. So many people in India don’t have anything to eat, and here we are taliking about Vegetarianism and Non-Vegetarianism.

    I think that’s why people get the impression that Indian’s are mostly vegetarians. They usually don’t see them eat at all, around the temples especially.

  89. R.S permalink
    January 4, 2008 9:30 pm

    Just go through this,

    The food habits of a nation

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/2006/08/14/stories/2006081403771200.htm

  90. January 4, 2008 9:47 pm

    R.S. I think you didn’t see the question mark after my title?? ๐Ÿ™‚ And btw, thank you very much for that link. It’s got statistics and I am always fond of stats. I will be adding it to my post.

    wishtobeanon, thanks for the link . Have added it.

  91. R.S permalink
    January 4, 2008 9:54 pm

    Did see the Q mark, but, still…..

  92. January 4, 2008 10:49 pm

    //โ€ฆfrom my 3 trips to India I got a strong impression that Indians are mostly vegetariansโ€ฆ//

    Axinia, it is possible that the (less) frequency of meat-eating by Indian non-vegetarians leads foreigners to come to that conclusion, because their benchmark is nv’s in Europe/US. Just a thought.

  93. axinia permalink
    January 5, 2008 3:58 am

    dear Nita, thanks for invitation ๐Ÿ™‚
    acutally I was thinking about meeting you in person the next time I go to India! Just a thought of meeting you makes me very joyful! hope it will happen 2008…

  94. Sahil permalink
    January 8, 2008 1:14 am

    lol…I went to Udaipur (Rajasthan) this Saturday, and would you believe it there isn’t a SINGLE non-vegetarian outlet in the whole city..and it isn’t really a religious town. In fact, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the most shuddh vegetarian states in the whole country (Mumbai being an honourable exception because of large Jain/Marwari vegetarian complexes)-the remaining states are more or less non-vegetarian -at least eggs are common wherever you go. And no housing society in other 26 states of India will throw you out if you eat non-veg.

    And I live in Gujarat and a pucca non-veg person -but isn’t really all that bad. I can eat non-veg food here as long as it is not very apparent…and does not offend my friends and neighbours…when we cook chicken or fish, I usually make sure the windows are closed and we don’t start the exhaust as long as the cooking is not over. Can you imagine -cooking under that cloud of smoke for 45 minutes or 1 hour? Nowadays the rules are somewhat relaxed in Ahmedabad -due to a large number of non-veg outlets opening in the city -McDonalds being one. 10 years back it used to be almost a CRIME to eat or even think of non-veg food in this city! So we’ve somewhat progressed.

    I respect the rights of vegetarians to have their own space -but not when they interfere in the cooking habits of those who don’t think like them.

  95. January 8, 2008 2:03 am

    @ Sahil:

    You say: “Nowadays the rules are somewhat relaxed in Ahmedabad -due to a large number of non-veg outlets opening in the city -McDonalds being one. 10 years back it used to be almost a CRIME to eat or even think of non-veg food in this city!”

    Are you saying this is recent?

    I happened to have lived in Ahmedabad 15 years ago. Yes, places like Vishala were pure vegetarian but they served ethnic cuisine. However plenty of non-vegetarian food was available in places like Hasty Tasty (if it still exists) and others in Navrangpura. One of our projects led our entrepreneur to take our team to Waterfall which was a posh restaurant in an ok-to-middling hotel which has since become a Holiday Inn or something. Some people also went into the old town to eat meat – which others were convinced was dog meat – for some six rupees. And our mess served a lot of non-vegetarian food too.

  96. Sahil permalink
    January 8, 2008 1:13 pm

    Shefali..I was speaking figuratively. It is like finding non-veg food here is searching for a needle in a haystack.

  97. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 8, 2008 2:49 pm

    Sahil:

    //Nowadays the rules are somewhat relaxed in Ahmedabad -due to a large number of non-veg outlets opening in the city -McDonalds being one.//

    It may interest you to know that when McDonalds came to Ahmedabad they opened their first exclusively vegetarian join in the world! Of course now we have several McD’s and I should imagine (not having ever entered one) that not all of them are veg-only.

    You just have to ask. Seek and ye shall find!

    Incidentally, what Shefaly experienced 15 years ago was equally true when I first came to Ahmedabad in the mid-1960s. In certain parts of the old city you had any number of non-veg eateries, ranging from streetside shacks to very upmarket restaurants. And you had a choice of AT LEAST Mughlai, Punjabi, Goan, Parsi and Malayalee cuisines. There must have been many more that I don’t know of.

    Incidentally, I was initiated to meat in Ahmedabad (and particularly, later, to beef). Unlike most Maharasthrian Brahmins foraying into non-veg, I did not go through the tentative chicken-eating stage. I was launched directly into meat and fish.

    Shefaly: Some of the places you mention are no more. But there is now a vast choice even west of the river, while the delights of the old city survive, continuing to offer unlimited pleasure to the old faithfuls.

    Also, every winter, there springs up a seasonal Tibetan market, primarily to sell cheap woollen clothing, but they also do decent momos and stuff like that. Until two years ago this was on the river bank behind Tagore Hall. Now it has been shifted to the open plot behind the Navrangpura bus stand.

  98. wishtobeanon permalink
    January 12, 2008 2:41 am

    Hi Nita, I found this interesting article from a link when I was searching for a particular recipe, hinduonnet

  99. Abhishek Kulkarni permalink
    February 25, 2008 4:48 pm

    Hi Nita.

    An extremely interesting article
    I feel that the vegetarians hating the smell of meat is all in the mind.
    Meat certainly does not smell bad.
    If some vegetarian food which smells similar to Non-vegetarian was given to vegetarian they would not find the smell nauseating.
    At times am I eating garbage that people find the smell so nauseating.

    Regards
    Abhishek

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