ON THAT NOTE
Suresh Menon is a writer based in India. In his youth he set out to change the world but later decided to leave it as it is
Our columnist Suresh Menon has helpfully given us a list of all the different vegans you’ll encounter today.
Last week I had lunch with an old friend famous in the past for ‘eating anything that moves.’ In the years we were at university that was still fresh enough (the description, I mean) to bring a smile to some faces. That should tell you a) how old I am and b) what we considered funny those days. They were simpler times, and the Twitter joke hadn’t been invented yet. But I digress.
My all-eating friend of the past is now an ethical vegan. His food cannot be something that moves or flows or curdles. And he is doing it not for medical reasons, but because of his empathy for animals and their rights. The point here is that today there seems to be as many types of food eaters as there are food groups. When you book an airline ticket, you are given a choice of food. Perhaps Indian Brahminical faux-chicken organically culled? Western almost-vegan diabetic for the epileptic with a touch of blood pressure omelette without chillies? Such range.
I have nothing against vegans. Some of my best friends etc. To each his own, I say, sometimes altering that to ‘to eat, his own.’ I saw a youngster recently wearing a T-shirt with the line: I am a vegan. Below that, in smaller letters was: Ask me what that is.
A vegan, for those who haven’t seen the T-shirt, is a person who does not eat or use animal products. It is a matter of choice, sometimes of convenience, and at all times a conversation-opener. Only ‘I am a serial killer’ is a more disconcerting start to a conversation than ‘I am a vegan.’ There are many varieties of vegans. Here they are:
Hypocritical vegan happy to break the rule when wife is away: More common than you might think. Loves ice cream, but has to wait till the wife is visiting her parents before he can order it at a restaurant. Sometimes has sausages pretending he is eating disguised potato chips.
Hypothetical vegan but only when no one is looking: In theory, he (or she) is vegan, but practice trumps theory nearly every time.
Hypochondriac vegan: Blames his choice of food for everything. Headaches on lack of cheese in the diet, colds for not having the stomach for red meat.
Hyperventilating vegan: Like all recent converts, can’t stop talking about the life choices made and how she feels like a different person now and why everybody should be like her and avoid all those things one loves on the dinner plate.
Hyperopic vegan: Long sighted, sometimes called far sighted. Far sighted enough to suggest he is vegan so he doesn’t have to eat the hostess’s fish cutlets.