Thursday, November 23, 2006


Being vegetarian in Philippines could be a crime or a disease.All the penalties of legitimate crime/severe disease (varying from curious glances to condemnation to sympathetic looks) imposed by civilized society on petty criminals who are the victim of circumstances, are reserved for Vegetarians. No kidding.
Here’s a real life exchange between me and X (it could be any of the 80 million lovable Filipinos that make up the pork loving nation). Stuff in italics is the unstated emotion behind the words.
- Ok…let’s go for lunch! There’s a great place I know which serves fantastic local cuisine-you like Pork?
- Actually, I don’t think I’d be able to eat there- I can’t have pork.
- Oh. You are Muslim? You can try the beef instead. (See, I know about other cultures)
- Actually no. I don’t have beef either. I’m vegetarian, you see.
- Aaaaaaah You are a Vegetarian? So you don’t eat red meat? Are you for real?
- Umm…no actually being vegetarian means I don’t eat any meat. You carnivore!
- So you can have seafood right? Surely you ca’nt be that weird!
- No being vegetarian means you don’t eat meat or fish or any type of seafood for that matter. You Omnivore!
* Blank face. * *Wide eyed expression*
- - Pause You are not a recognizable human form
- - Pause I wish I could take you to Gujarat!!
- - Wide grin. So you only eat salads? I think there is one place where we can ask them to take the shrimp bits out of the salad…
- - Wide grin returned. No no!…being vegetarian does not mean eating only salads- there’s so much more- you have vegetables, fruits, pulses, rice, bread-so much variety-really! I have to educate this person!!!
- - Pulses….what’s that? You are turning out to be entertaining…hehe
- - Pulses….Dal- Umm…Cereal…they taught this to me in school 15 years back-I even made those pretty school scrapbooks with all pulses glued to the pages with a description of the well…pulses. Umm, its like a curry…not that spicy..Something that you dip your bread into…you have different types of pulses. Its really nice-you should try some..It’s quite tasty you know! *Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swaad*
- Polite smile. Yeah. Are you kidding-how can anything vegetarian be tasty??
- So are all Indians vegetarians? I'm trying to figure out whether I can ever go to India!
- Not really. About 80% are non-vegetarians I guess.
- So what made you turn into one? Religion? Hindu freak
- Well, its more of a choice actually. It was religion to start with-coz my family is Hindu, so I never really had a choice. Am I sounding confused? But actually now its just by default-something I’m used to-and it just helps that eating vegetarian is eating healthy! I wish I could introduce you to Maneka Gandhi-she’d make you apologize to all the remaining pigs in the world and then she’d sue you for distressing them with their apology (you were the one who killed their brethren, na!!)
- Ok..I’m confused. If it’s not religion, then why don’t you just eat…. normal food? Also, how is not having milk or butter etc healthy? Also, how is not having milk or butter etc healthy? YOU ARE SUCH A FREAK.
- Oh no oh no….Not having milk or butter is being Vegan..where you don’t have milk or milk products besides being a vegetarian.
- So you are a vegan who has milk and milk products?
- No I’m just vegetarian. Actually I have eggs. Ab mazaa aayega!
- ?????????
- !!!!!!!!!!!!!
- So can you have duck eggs? There’s this local snack called Balut- that’s half boiled, half formed duck egg….Finally…some sign of civilization !!
- No….like I said I’m vegetarian….! And terribly hungry!! Don’t make me convert straight into a cannibal.
- Should we try going to Mac? Maybe you can have the apple pie there?
And at this point, I ready myself to eat Fries fried in lard (pig ka fat) and continue being vegetarian. The famous Indian Veg. Resilience shines through the fat that glistens on my French Fries.