In the wake of the Kerala Beef Fest row in early May, Mahima, an animal lover, urges us to restrict the food on our platter and avoid blood splatter, in a soulful appeal, exclusively in Different Truths.
My esteemed readers, before you begin to read this opinion piece, I would like to tell you a few things about myself. Why? Well, you will understand my perspective better that way. And also will be able to troll me well… if you disagree. To each his own!
I am a Brahmin married to a Muslim. I have not converted my religion, but only my food choices. Well, the vegetarians can blame my taste buds, which again have limitations set on them by my pair-of-eyes. My eyes speak a lot, says my husband. I agree, and in this case, they say: Something that looks cute or repelling can’t come on my platter. So for now, only fish and chicken have found a way to my tummy. Some beings like the ones below are too cute to be eaten…but again a matter of choice – ‘different truths’ really!
Why are we talking about my eating habits? Well, isn’t the whole country right now fighting over eating habits… the choice to eat? Some want to eat beef, while others want to suck their blood over it.
At the helm of this whole Kerala Beef Fest row earlier this month, I was out for an assignment in the hills of beautiful and culturally warm Himachal Pradesh. The three-day tour was fun not only because of the work assigned to me, but also due to the following two little ones. Two-month-old calves in the neighbourhood where I stayed. Within a day, we became so fond of each other that they would try to break-off from their ropes at the sound of my footsteps. Pure love, pure unconditional love, pure bliss. Once the tour was over, I overcame my urge to taken them home! Yeah, I am a bit crazy, have adopted eight pups near my house, in New Delhi. Nevertheless, the time came to bid adieu to the two cuties. Love is painful.
On way back, I got the news alerts on my phone, “Calf slaughtered mercilessly by a certain political party member to prove their point to RSS Brigade.” Not sic, but the crux from all.
I still do not have the heart to watch the graphic video, which fed TRPs to various media houses. But who has control over imagination? I felt like shouting my anger out from the top of the hills! Hills? Oh damn, I had just left behind two adorable babies. What next with them?
My heart thundered and I rushed to call their owner. To my trembling, “Hello” his was with a tone of surprise, “Ji Madam, have you reached safely? How did you call?”
Safely? Could I say I called to enquire the safety of the calves? Or maybe just called a bit later, when calm and composed.
He enquired again, “Are you okay? Can I do something for you?”
Pat came to my teary reply, “Keep the calves safe if you really mean what you said.”
He wasn’t surprised by my sobbing request. “Both are male.” It sent shivers down my spine. But what he added was happily embarrassing, “But my babies are safe till I am alive. In fact, your babies are safe. Did you call just for this? Of course, I know why you asking this, I do watch the news regularly.”
News? Was he showing me my place with that tone he used for the last sentence? He did.
“Your media is cruel, no human values despite so called humans operating it. And that’s what political parties harp on to bring about their motive.” His pitch soared with rising anger.
“The Choice to eat? Restrict it to your platter, why blood-splatter publicly?” His words hit my head and heart.
I had no answer to it, no one has. Does cruelty and its public display has any answer to it? Any justification?
My sobs grew with his anger and, thus, he calmed him down a bit.
“Madam, I don’t even eat eggs but do you know your food was sourced from my house. Why? Because the homestay you chose, the owners eat pork. When they got to know you are married to a Muslim, they requested us to cook food for you.” (Emphasis mine).
I was stunned.
His words, “Choice to eat, Restrict it to your Platter,” thundered in my ears, on and on.
“Madam, our hills are thankfully away from your media-backed politics.” He again shamed me. “But I do not blame you, it is all money game.”
He continued to rant and answer his own questions, “But then again, how can you survive by killing your conscience for money? Be it those politicians or the media-waley? Sabka zameer mar gaya hai.” (Everyone’s conscience is dead).
His words clawed my heart down. The pain raised my head up for a silent prayer, “Oh Almighty, may the sense of humanity and wisdom prevail in my country!”
He finally composed himself, and said, “Sorry, if I hurt you with my words. I am keeping down the phone now, have to bring your babies inside. It is about to rain. Don’t worry, they will be safe. Come to meet them anytime you wish. Namaste.”
With a grateful heart, I thanked him for being a gentle soul. Here’s a “different truth” in the present day India, where even colours have been communalised!
Photos by author.
#ChoiceToEat #RestrictToYourPlatter #ReligionAndFood #AvoidBloodSplatter #Humanity #Wisdom #DifferentTruths
A science graduate from Delhi University and MA in Mass Communication, Mahima began her career with E-Lexicon PR & Mutual PR and Hindustan Times. Soon, ANI (a collaboration with Reuters) got her aboard, where she spread her wings in TV, Print & Digital Journalism. In 2010 Rajdeep Sardesai’s flagship primetime show gave her, a dream job at CNN-IBN. From May 2017, she is a freelance journalist. She is a poet and a Sufi at heart.