We buy our meat from a nearby butcher shop which is manned by a person we call 'bhai'. He sells his chicken and meat at very good markups but given my wife's hate for the processed meat, we buy it fresh at least 2-3 times in a week from him. But this is not about him. This is about me.
When I started eating meat, I cannot remember. It must be pretty early. But most of our family occasions, marriages, festivals are all invariably linked to eating meat.
I remember the cook ups for my great grand father's 'திதி' in Sivakasi under a big tree in huge utensils. The goats are around and some how after some time, they disappear and start showing up in the utensils. And you get to eat while play around the trees. When we meet in my grand ma's house, all I remember of my auntie's is them cleaning chicken or cutting fish and eating the same after the male members of the family had their lunch.
When I go to my maternal grand ma's house in Sivakasi, I remember the trips to the fish market with my grandpa and buying goat blood for breakfast (its not as morbid as it sounds, its actually tasty). And of course, having it for breakfast along with Idlis and 'கொத்து கறி'.
And the pigeon kolambu my periamma used to make. It was never enough as the meat from the pigeons is so less.
I also remember all marriages that happened in the family and the day after when we get to have the 'கறி சாப்பாடு'. It is a custom that happened for my marriage as well. Since you cannot eat meat on the marriage day, eat it the day after. It was fun.
I also remember the difference in lunch boxes in school when most of the kids carry curd rice and puliyotharai's, my mom packed chicken and eggs. Its strange but true. Also the fact that I was taught to eat everything and not waste anything. My father still makes sure the left over bones are
really void of any meat. Intestines, brain, blood, liver, pancreas and the head of the goat. I can confidently say, the only things I've not eaten in a goat are the horns, eyes and hooves.
And the beef curry I tasted in Trivandrum and beef eating that started in US of A. I ate pork, beef and of course any meat that I could lay my hands on and even now, it is difficult to eat anything which does not smell like meat. Sibi is not so bad and he likes Chicken and eats Fish often and
Vanathy has started liking chicken only now.
Yesterday, after dropping Vanathy in school, I went with my wife to the butcher shop. I was standing outside as my wife was buying goat brain. I was looking at the butcher's skill in removing the skin from the head of the goat and slowly crack open the skull to take the brain out. Then I noticed,
the goat's eyes and teeth. That's when I realized how impersonal it seems to me. Here was a goat well and alive the day before and was having its brain extracted I am standing in line to get at it and I don't even feel any amount of compassion for it. And half kilo of Chicken that came along with it.
I was wondering when I became insensitive to the plight of all the hundreds of chickens and goats and fishes that were killed to feed me. But I also tried to shoo it away as it was making me uncomfortable. I am not even sure what was happening. Then lunch time came and the brain was indeed delicious. It was uncomfortable, but really juicy and good.
Putting things in perspective, I may never, ever become a vegan in my life. I think the process of buying it in the butcher shop is what is putting all these thoughts to me. May be if it was processed chicken, its more like a vegetable and I won't even think about it. .
On the other hand, I was watching this Japanese movie called 'In the realm of senses' and I was thinking of the goat as I watched the climax. Not much difference and the climax was more morbid than the brain extraction (yeah yeah, I know the usual film-festival defense, but it is still morbid)..
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