Follow Us

Sunday, 14 June 2020

To "Meat" or "Not to Meat", the saga of a Bengali Brahmin

June 14, 2020 0 Comments
So! That happened! Never in her life did Andy think she would be called an asshole for being a non-vegetarian but there he was, the guy she lovingly called "The Tamilian", saying she is as much of an asshole as him, coz she wants to cook meat at home.

Andy was in a daze...


Growing up in a Bong household (Bengali for our traditionalist readers), it never occurred to her to give a second thought while wolfing down a plate of yummy fish curry or gorging on the next chicken roll served at the roadside stall.

In her life, so far she has interacted with people from various cultures and tried out a variety of cuisines based on religious and cultural significance - some more palatable to her than the others. Some liked her type of food, some chose not to. But lately, she is coming across a bunch of these religious bigots who has been raising a finger at her food habits - a very dangerous thing to do to a fish loving strong headed Bong chick!

For as long as her memory serves, Andy has always had fish. In fact, that was her staple diet while growing up. It didn't matter that she grew up a Brahmin. In a Bong family, your caste is determined the football team you follow (her house was strongly divided between Brazil and Argentina my friends - a sight to behold during world cups) rather than the food you ate. Yes they were Brahmins! Yet they revelled in the next serving of mutton biriyani as much as their Muslim brethren of Park Circus.

She first encountered this caste based food bigotry when her roommate's Grandma chastised her for eating meat in spite of being a Brahmin, a dialogue she chose not to engage with out of respect for her old age.

In the inside though, Andy was in turmoil.

What does being a Brahmin meant exactly and why does she need to prove her Brahminism to these other group of Brahmins from the rest of India? It almost seemed like the majority of the remaining Brahmins didn't eat meat and expected her to apologize for indulging in such delicacies.

However, like most of the Bongs Andy was lazy as fuck to have joined a heated conversation justifying her eating habits. Instead she treated herself to the next serving of chicken rezala and moved on with her life.

Fast forward 10 years, as she tried to get back into the world of dating, she kept on bumping into these "vegetarian" sect. Contrary to the popular belief that a non-vegetarian like gay people would forcibly try and convert all the vegetarians, she was finding all the vegetarians acting exactly like homophobes - literally looking down upon her food habits and trying to make her give up fish and meat.


One of the men she met had the audacity to ask, being a meat eater how can she call herself a Brahmin which prompted her to thoroughly research the various kinds of Brahmins in India, including the references of having beef in the original vedas which were replaced by practising "Sattik" or "no meat philosophy" down the line.

Inspite of not believing in cast and creed, Andy found herself learning about how sections of the Saraswat and Kanyakubja Brahmins settled in Kashmir, Konkan regions, western parts of India and sections of Bengal, Assam and Odisha, have always retained their non-vegetarian diet - something that baffles the rest of the Panda-gauda (to the north of the Vindhya Mountain range) or Pancha-Dravida (to the south of Vindhya Mountain range) Brahmins.

While she was busy educating this new horde of vegetarian dates, in walks the Tamilian, with his complicated soiree of long lost words that hardly gets used in day to day life. Looming over her like the next big disaster, he was completely opposite to the kind of guy she usually falls for - anal retentive and rigid as fuck, something she discovered months later. His kindness and stoic nature made her blind towards his rigidity and she started finding his anal habits such has fixing the lining of her shoe while she was crying loudly in his shoulders, cute.

However, months of engaging conversation and care couldn't save her from this conversation that Andy was having now.

She was not allowed to cook meat in the same house as him. As she accused him of being a rigid asshole and not believing in "live and let live" policy, the Tamilian surprised her by calling her an asshole for insisting on being herself and wanting to cook meat at home - the very thought of which he found offensive.

There it was! The red flags that she was trying to overlook when he said that he has only ever stayed with other Tam Brams has now suddenly become traffic stop lights and halted her in this unrealistic dream journey. Months of conversation was nothing to this guy just because of her food habit and it broke her.

She started reflecting on her eating habit, and started wondering why it's always the vegetarians who think they are better than the non-vegetarians, just because they don't consume animal protein? Were these practices followed in the era of cavemen where survival was the key? As she tried to drown her sorrow in her tear-soaked pillow, Andy realised how one man's rigidity is another man's religious bias. She won't make a deal with the devil and give up her fish and meat or freedom of expression for ANYONE.

And no more trying to date vegetarians! Those snooty bastards seem to be the worst of the lot, thought Andy next day as she happily chomped into her crab roll, choosing herself over any rules and regulations.