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

Friday - - CONTENTS -

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.

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