Monday, February 13, 2006


When in one of those highly contemplative moments where time seems to be at a standstill, one gets a wide array of thoughts transcending across momentary happiness driving (stray)thoughts of wisdom that seemed no where within your thinking boundary. As I was reflecting on the past seven months of stay in the United States, I thought of the little things that can so easily get magnified at such moments. This is purely from a religious perspective. As the vedas proclaim, a Brahmin should never cross the seas. It sounded funny when my friend told me about this initially. I was of the view How does it matter whether a Brahmin crosses the seas and the oceans? In what way is he going to be affected? Being a strict vegetarian, I have to pour over the contents of any small item that I purchase here. Anything can get into your stomach in any form! All sorts of animal based ingredients lurk in the most innocent of meals, and the clear winner in such a product is undoubtedly Gelatin. To quote wikipedia, Gelatin (also gelatine) is a translucent brittle solid substance, colorless or slightly yellow, nearly tasteless and odorless, which is created by prolonged boiling of animal skin, connective tissue and bones. It has many uses in food, medicine, and manufacturing. What appears to be a harmless product can be most deceptive, and a thorough study of these food items can actually be startling. In spite of our best efforts to be fully vegetarian, we have been caught napping at some of these inconspicuous ingredients. The religious quote does make sense now!

But, United States is much better than the German experience. The language is a great barrier in Europe. English is a fancy language there and nobody makes even the tiniest of efforts to converse in a language(basically English, obviously he can't know Kannada, Hindi or Tamil) other than German. There, the ingredients check has to be done at two places, first at the mall and next at home in the presence of a German-English dictionary. Hard work indeed! I was a big fan of fruit yoghurt in Germany. I used to gulp a new one almost every other day. Once when I was at office, I happened to check up on Gelatin and my heart definitely skipped a few beats. I just couldn't get myself to concentrate on work(atleast I had an excuse not to concentrate!!) for the rest of the day and I went back in the evening, pulled open the Yoghurt cans to thankfully find it to be gelatin free. That was relief unexplainable.

I was involved in another similar incident in Paris. Pizzeria is one of the best joints to have Pizzas in France. After a tiring tour of the city, we were starving. We ordered pizzas with an add on note - Strictly vegetarian please! After a few minutes, we had the pizzas served on our table and the one right in front of me had something slimy and slithering. I asked him if it was vegetarian. He told me - Of course sir, that's just fish!! What do you say about that! Thankfully, we had a non-vegetarian group to help themselves with the pizza! Sometimes, it is sheer ignorance in identifying what is vegetarian food that can lead to problems.

Ultimately everything is a learning experience. But, it remains to be seen at what cost you want to learn. With this, I sign off from my 50th blog entry!!!

Go Vegetarian!!!


  1. Sorry, 5 para blogs will be read when I have time later...

  2. 50 blogs! dont you have anything else to do? it doesnt come as a surpise that you are still single.

  3. does your Prof know that you write such lengthy blogs more than once a week, but cant turn in a 2 page research summary ? ;-)

    Anyway, nice summary of vegetarianism in USA... Amen

  4. Hey man,

    It is a almost a fortnight since I wrote my last entry. Not very regular with my blog these days, though got to be!

  5. Cpild you please Disclose the name of your freind Who told you about Brahmin crossing the Sea which made you to laugh?