Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Hindu Times..

My foot injury has actually helped me in expanding my social circle. I have time for other machines in the gym. Earlier my time was measured and then divided with great precision between running and weight training. Of course, there were a few exceptions to this. The days when 4 miles turned in to 8 miles I would excuse myself from the weights room.

Now that running is out of the picture I am stuck with all types of cardio machines. I am still trying to remember some of their names. When you workout on these machines you end up being engaged in conversations. The person next to me is invariably chatty. I guess they just spot the chatter-box next to them. Anyhow, I have had a few very interesting conversations and later when I thought about them they all circled around the same topics.

"Are you a vegetarian?" Ken asked. He's white, American, in his fifties and was a runner back in the day. He is very cheerful. I quickly replied "Nay" and he quickly asked if I was a Hindu.
I said "yeah, I am a Hindu and I eat meat".

"Does that include beef?" He asked
"Yeah", I nodded

"Aren't Indians supposed to worship cows and isn't beef banned in India?"
"Yes and Yes" I replied

He had a very confused look on his face and he was trying hard to come up with something.
I told him that Hinduism exists in various forms. There are various ways of being a Hindu and practicing hinduism. Some don't even touch onions, while some Hindus offer animal sacrifices to God (quite prevalent in Kumaon). It has different faces and different sets of beliefs exist every 150 kilometers.

And so my friend absorbed every little piece of information that I dished out while maintaining his heart rate above 150. While I was adjusting my machine dials he pointed towards my kara and my white stone ring (the latest addition to my jewelry) and asked if those were religious Hindu symbols.
I told him about a nice sikh couple who prayed for me when I was really down and out. They gave me this kara and it has worked like a lucky charm since then, I am just superstitious. The white stone silver ring was my mothers and it really caught my attention and I use it to accessorize (forgot to take it off while working out that day).

He asked me about alcohol and I gave him my biggest smile and said " Wine is good for heart and soul, any day". He told me about his dream of visiting Taj Mahal and I silently joked in my head about it being regarded as a monument of love. He said " You are totally different from my regular Hindu colleagues". I didn't know how to react to that. I have spent my time in different places and know that religion is a very personal thing. There's no one-template-fits-all. I think my experiences have shaped my sensibilities and I always pick and choose my battles.

And then his eyes lit up and he asked " From where do vegetarians get their protein?
Daal, Bitch (Almost silent, was louder in my head though)!


Ciao..
P.S: The post title is a song by Oasis, check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKj6gNLNGvA

5 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha.. Funny post . I have come across so many expressions when I tell them that I am a vegetarian . In paris, I went to a Café , and since I couldn't read any French , I asked the chef , if he can make me a Mushroom omellette without Ham .
    And he gave me a weird expression , Asking are you a vegetarian . I said yes. then he asked me " Why " :P :P , And then he got really chatty .
    Asking me what all you can eat , He thought its something religious. and I told him , Its not. Its by choice . :P And again he asked me .. what do I eat to get protein:P:P :P

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    1. I find French people too closed to interact with the foreigners.. (Horrible experiences)..
      Frankly I just want to tell them - Paneer, tofu, milk, Daal, sprouts every time.. There are too many stereotypes.. :)

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  2. I get to hear the same jokes day in and day out,by the same faces whenever we have lunch together or if we have a lunch meeting and sandwiches are provided. "Where is your veggie?" "Haha I ate your last veggie sandwich".
    One day my rage is going to let loose and they will rue the day they were born. Till then I will continue with the fake giggle.

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    1. Hai naa? I eat everything and yet they all crack jokes repeatedly. I can totally imagine your irritation :). What annoys me is that they find Vegetarianism too hard to believe and that too when there are so many vegans around...

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