|| Act I ||
How many ‘isms’ can you name? How many ‘isms’ has human history gone through? How many more are we going to go through? Is the agenda behind all ‘isms’ just binary; Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; For or Against an idea? Is there not a grey area to look at these ‘isms’ from? How important is having an opinion? How important is having a correct opinion? Then again, what is a correct opinion? Are we ready for a heated debate? Are we ready to stop using the word ‘no offense’? Have you ever heard the term ‘good-racism’? No! because there is no such thing as good-racism, the term is ‘ethical-humor’!
My alpha test of this piece did just what I expected. It made people critique. I got a roar of criticism from the vegan or pseudo vegan community. So I decided to add a disclaimer. Since we do live in the age of ‘disclaimers’. “You should have an opinion!” , “What is your stand on the matter?”, “You haven’t structured your thoughts”, “It’s so confusing”, “The idea isn’t clear”, and many such uni-directional thoughts. All of you have done nothing but just aided in proving my point. Have you read my blog page‘s by-line? Go back and read it. Or click on the hyper-link.
I do have an opinion on the matter. It may not be as black or white as you’d expect. That’s just my style, to make the reader think, to leave you with a thought at the end of every conversation. For you to reach out to me and say, “this is none-sense”, “what is the meaning of this”. I’m not going to spoon feed you my thoughts! You can read dry-boring main-stream blog posts for that; that agree with your thought process, and, like we’ve been conditioned to do, nod with it or disagree with it. I’m not here for praise, I’m here to raise uncomfortable discussions. Discussions that our society doesn’t allow me to do orally.
I painted this particular graphic on my wall back home a few months ago? A year ago I think? Doesn’t matter. Do you like it? Do you understand it? That matters.
|| Act II ||
How many people do you know around you that have recently turned vegan? How many cafes in your city can you name that are vegan friendly now? Have you made a run to the super-market lately? Did you happen to see an isle dedicated to vegan friendly products? It just doesn’t stop there, I recently went shopping for some basic everyday clothes and guess what struck my eye, a vegan friendly hang-bag! Need I go on?
Like an epidemic, a herd of celebrities have turned vegan too right? I’m a tennis fan so the only person I can think of is Novak Djokovic. This great athlete, who desperately needed a large enough fan base, has been forced to ‘reveal’ (yes that’s the word the press used), that cutting meat out of his diet helped him play better. He’s just one example, there are many many more. My issue isn’t with vegans at all, I think it takes great courage to actually follow something so religiously.
But is capitalism going to leave nothing pure!
Has it taken over the most self-less thing a person can do today in favour of the fight against animal cruelty!
I personally know a lot of people who follow a vegan diet. For some, its been a while, for some it’s been fairly recent. Even my own grandfather in his last days, trying whatever cure was possible to save himself, tried a vegan diet.
The driver behind one following this lifestyle is the real question here.
Yes, it is a lifestyle, because it just doesn’t stop at consuming animal products, but even everyday items that we take for granted, like clothes, wallets, belts, shoes, bags and even medicines then require boycotting. Can you do that? A clean slate? Leaving all your societal obligations behind, un-learning in a sense. But un-learning is in isolation yes, so how do you then educate or spread awareness for the lack of words if one wishes to? Do you wish to? If you do then what is your driver there? Is it guilt?
Now spreading awareness is a good thing, but the way in which this awareness could/should spread, just like religion or a political idea, is a delicate matter. We’ve all read about the so called dark-ages yes, about how the church inflicted fear in the name of religion as a political agenda. How is this any different? Have any of you watched a show called Da Vinci’s Demons? What about the movie ‘The name of the rose’ ? Please do, I highly recommend these. This will give you a better insight as to why I’m uncomfortable with the capitalist agenda behind it.
Let’s come closer to home too. Let’s talk about Indian politics for a second. Most of us have read about the Gandhian principles of Swadeshi. How many of you agree with it? I’m sure you’ve even heard of the other famous freedom fighters. How important was a clean slate back then to leave the British Raj? B.R. Ambedkar is another name that comes to mind. But have you heard of Havell and Coomaraswamy? There is a wonderful essay by Ranjit Hoskote that you must read. I can’t do justice to their contributions like he’s mentioned. You must have heard of Rabindranath Tagore. Most you us are familiar with his vernacular school, Shantiniketan and Sriniketan. But have you heard of Abanindranath Tagore his nephew? Too many names? Too many layers; too much Indian history that we don’t know about. Too much that we need to un-learn before we decide to learn further.
I ask again? Are you ready for it? Can you do it? The driver is really important for a new revolution. How many layers of motivation are required for us to become human again.
A mass movement , a revolution!
|| Act III ||
I happened to meet a young gentleman, must be in his late twenties, who had recently converted and was trying to share all the marketing research he’d done from his own community, his long term plan with it and his environmental trump card.
The environmental trump card, was what made me question his agenda in the first place. See I was all for his idea to make vegan products more accessible under one e-commerce umbrella. It would help so many of my friends, who struggle to find daily products for themselves. But then the unapologetic communal agenda of only spreading awareness in his community in the wrong way was something that I personally do not agree with. My Plato wouldn’t either. Oh you don’t know who I consider Plato yet? You can read my previous blog post on ‘Plato & Aristotle’ for context here.
Did you read it?
Are you sure?
You won’t understand the next few references without it?
Ok let’s move on. Like I mention our modern Socrates, this again is something I’m personally conflicted by. This for me is an Socratonian idea. I can almost imagine having a debate about this with my Plato (Since I haven’t discussed this with him yet). He’d concentrate on the greater good of society being educated and aware about it, and I’d constantly question the morality of the situation. But when it comes down to actually doing it, how many of us are willing to take a stand? How many of us would give up comfort for humanity?
I’m a firm believer in live and let live but this impure thought that my capatalist stranger planted in my head really got me thinking.
I honestly don’t even remember how to conversation started anymore. But this random small talk that let to this random conversation with a stranger who one day might be the face of the vegan revolution!
Yes, this shall be the new revolution!
Aah that trump card, yes I know it’s going to be hard to make that look bad right? But I have my ways. I’ve been trying so hard to think of one flaw in this flawless extensive research based capitalist idea! The crux of it is brilliant. This young man’s years of training in advertising & marketing being used for the greater good is just a mind-blowing thought.
|| ACT IV ||
At the end of the day, I’m not a social activist, I’m an architect. Every design, every change, every line that we draw in any project eventually becomes a sales pitch. We are masters in that, something that took him extensive country wide research took me a fortnight to shed to what his true agenda behind it was.
Then again the rigor of this boy to still sell his idea, is what makes me think that he will get there someday. The poor chap did all his research in his own community; in his own city; in cities that he thinks will become his target audience. His community specific research might be his downfall. Completely stereotyping community based business strategies is what he’s missing out on. I have very little business sense, but coming from a business class family, I know when and where things can go wrong. The forever evolving trade secrets of North India, which honestly with the level of diplomacy that is inbuilt in them, might not be a running market. North India sadly, will do it for a bit, give him his 15 seconds of fame, and then move on to the next big thing.
An intelligent market is his ideal audience. But his majority audience, which he didn’t spend much time on researching about, gave it a half-hearted try, just like a lot of niche communities for any field in our country.
It’s a good thing that he’s doing this in Bangalore, because up in the north, it already exists. People don’t mind traveling to various places to do nice things for the environment. See we are used to living around green space, we’ve developed our post British cities and satellite cities with that in mind. So we as a community are already doing enough for the environment.
We crave to go back to nomadic life, that very nomadic life also came with an evolutionary food chain. A natural part of living in an ecosystem too , if disrupted by a capitalist idea like this boy is trying to do addresses the same problem that I keep raising in all my posts.
How true is his intention of saving the environment? Will it actually save the environment or just like any other pseudo revolution with impure intentions lead to something worse! Think about it, if let’s say tomorrow by some miracle everyone adopted a vegan lifestyle what would happen to our planet! Wouldn’t we all become the same again? Is that really an ecosystem or a unidirectional civilization that we live in already! Years and years of evolution haven’t really taught us anything then right?
Why has routine become a bad word!
When will this guilt trip of raping our mother land end!
|| Act V ||
I’ve heard the good side and holy side of a vegan lifestyle all my life, being a vegetarian by birth, the guilt is much less. This fresh perspective on the matter however made me laugh about something as holy as veganism. The willingness of his boy to keep going on and on and defending his next big business module gave me so much content and I can’t stop writing about it. Sadly, this is the only way to make it a revolution in some sense. It is impossible to break people out of their comfort zones and adopt a cruelty free lifestyle willingly. But I’m still going to keep raising these uncomfortable anger filled questions.
His footnotes are a secret. But I don’t see a point in revealing that yet. Let’s not peak behind the magician’s curtain. What’s the fun in that right? Let him create magic! Wait for it, I hope he makes it big one day, and then I’ll reveal his secrets. My viewpoint on the matter hasn’t really changed.
The driver behind a vegan lifestyle matters.
No he is not helping spreading environmental awareness.
No he is not helping India progress in the right direction.
But, is this a true Global Humanitarian Revolution?
That’s totally up-to your perspective!