At 8 AM cold Delhi morning I went to Sarvodya Enclave to observe how Ravi Gulati ( Manzil) and Dharshan Bhat are working with Social Entrepreneurs. This is a weekly gathering where social entrepreneurs come and discuss the growth and challenges of their social enterprises.
An off- discussion during break somehow took us to the question of becoming vegetarian. I shared with Ravi that how becoming vegetarian has been one of the most difficult things that I have done in my life. I love meat and leaving it was really challenging for me. I still get tempted especially when Haleem and Nihari is on the menu.
So Ravi narrated this incident from Singapore. He met someone who runs a vegetarian association in Singapore. I can’t even imagine how difficult it will be to run something like this in Singapore. I have heard horror stories of people surviving on boiled rice, bread and tomato sauce. But this person had a very different approach. His focus was not on the person but on the meal. He was not out there to make people vegetarian. He simply asked people to have a vegetarian meal. So there was no pressure to be a vegetarian . Just have a vegetarian meal.
This is actually brilliant !
Imagine if people just switched one meal from from meat to veggies the effect will be similar to half of the people becoming vegetarian. This means less animals being killed, people more healthy and not living under the pressure of becoming vegetarian. And who knows people might start enjoying the change of having one veggie meal a day and eventually become vegetarian. At a personal level this shift is far easier than trying to be a vegetarian all your life.
This whole incident reminded me of something I learned at B-School but soon forgot which is about having clarity of what problem that you are trying to solve. Our friend in Singapore is trying to reduce the consumption of meat and not make people vegetarian and he has got a brilliant plan in place. Else he will be on a completely different road.
Time for me to review why I’m a vegetarian and make a new years resolution.