Cool Buddies

Article: Murder in my neighborhood [by Ratheesh]

Posted in Animals, Education, Environment by Ratheesh & Sharada on March 18, 2006

I woke up to a very loud noise. As I forced my eyes open and tried to get out of my bed, I could trace the source of that noise. It was coming from the kitchen, where my mom was busy with her next mouth watering creation. As I neared the kitchen in my slow sleepy-steps, the noise of the running wet-grinder became unbearable. But before I could complain about it, she looks at me with a big smile on her face and declares the name of her new menu item. ‘I am making Ragi-bread-crumb dosa with onion chutney’.

Mom was always like that; trying out new dishes she learns from her friend, the television. Since it was a Sunday, I decided to change my routine and step into the kitchen instead of sitting with my friend, the PC. ‘Do you need some help’ I asked. ‘Yes, cut those onions for me’. There I was, drowsy eyed, unclean teeth, sitting and cutting onions. I made a clean smooth strike, chopping of the head of the onion.

‘What is that noise?’ I had heard something that sounded like the cry of an animal. ‘Oh, paavam, I saw them buy a goat yesterday’ mom said. ‘What? Who?’ before I continued, she did. ‘Our neighbors; they are celebrating bakrid today…’ she said a few religion biased lines which did not matter to me much. In fact I did not care which religion practiced the killing of animals. I only cared about the fact that animals were being killed and the only way of stopping that would be educating people.

I could not bear the thought of the coincidence; as I had chopped of the head of an onion, my neighbor, or his wife had chopped of the head of a living animal. An animal that had eaten grass a few minutes ago, an animal that had probably looked into their eyes with unconditional love, an animal which their young kids had probably touched due to a mix of curiosity and the warmth that fur emanated. How could human beings be so brutal as to kill another living organism, watch their own hands smeared with its blood; then eat those dead bodies with hardly any guilt or shame?

It did not stop with goats. Probably it was happening everyday, all around my house. There was mass murder in my neighborhood on a daily basis. They must be chopping off the heads of chicken, fish, pigs, cows, camels, goats and what not. I had always believed non-vegetarianism was state sponsored murder. Or rather I must say it was part of an unwritten global constitution; ‘you can murder any living organism other than Homo sapiens, and eat those dead bodies’ the line must have read.

When would human beings understand that killing was wrong? And eating dead bodies was wrong too, since they had been brutally killed by heartless people. It always amused me when I saw typical cooking-show hosts found it very tough to touch or pet a chicken but held its dead body by the neck proudly and declared the mouth watering dish she would prepare.

My mind was cluttered with too many thoughts. How can I stop this murder? Can I bring in even a wee bit of humanity in ‘humans’? Can I just go out and educate them? I could not come to a conclusion. Most people laughed when I told them to stop the killing. In fact some of them got defensive and even went ahead and ate more animals just to show their anger towards me.

A considerable change can be brought if we educate children at really young ages. My generation and the generations before mine have already corrupted their thoughts with wrong notions about eating animals. Some conclude that it is healthier and will make themselves and their children strong. Some do it because they see everyone doing it at home and assumed that it is the right path. But nobody really thinks beyond the ‘eating’ part of non-vegetarianism. Nobody tries to understand that a living organism was murdered to satisfy their greed.

Children are thankfully born with a pure mind, which is free of misconceptions and superstitions (till their parents feed it to them). So if they are taught at a tender age to love and trust animals, they would never take the path of non-vegetarianism. The curiosity in children is very high during the pre-school years when they pick up insects, pet dogs on the street etc. Instead of ‘shrieking moms’, I would like to see the parents encourage their children to interact with the animal kingdom more. That would inculcate in them a respect towards animals. And once you achieve that, they will never take the unjust path of killing those animals.

Changing a non-vegetarian to a vegetarian may or may not be an easy effort. But ensuring that our children do not turn out to be meat eating murderers is probably easier. Till we figure a way out, the mass murders in my neighborhood will continue.

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