Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is this what's called a 'Glass Wall' effect?

It was in the month of December 2012, during my endless hours of futile browsing, I stumbled upon a PETA’s link. 70 beagles were imported from China by a pharmaceutical laboratory in Bangalore to use the animals for their experiments. PETA requested animal lovers to sign their petition. And you know me! I so LOVE animals and it didn’t actually take a minute to sign the petition for them. After a couple of weeks, PETA promptly shared the status of the petition. Their email read, “In a landmark move, 70 beagles, who were imported from China by a pharmaceutical laboratory in Bangalore, have been released to People For Animals and Blue Cross Chennai today following a rigorous campaign for their release by PETA India and these groups. The dogs have been removed from quarantine and handed over to animal protection groups with the permission of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.”  I screamed out of joy. Perhaps, I was not with the PETA team in the field. I didn’t hold placards for them. But all that I could do was to sign a petition and pray for the fur-babies. The moment when I saw the confirmation email sent by PETA, I was on cloud nine. I virtually thanked all the big hearts which worked for the rescue of the innocent animals. Well, you must note the usage of the word ‘who’ in their email. “70 beagles, who were imported…” Usually, even if it were me, I would have used the word ‘which’ in the place of ‘who’. One side of me was so elated for the babies which were freed. But I was deeply saddened to realise that I was not in the position to adopt one of them. So I whined for a couple of days. I told people that I hated myself and then I moved on.

A couple of days ago, there was another email from PETA that was intended to pass on the first message for the New Year. The subject read ‘Resolve to Help Animals in 2013 – We'll Help You Get Started!’ I didn’t pay attention. But I managed to just browse through it. The email read as below.

“We shared many victories for animals in 2012, and I'm really looking forward to teaming up with you to make 2013 even more successful. The most effective New Year's resolution is to take – and get other people you know to take – the vegan pledge. We can make it easy! As you know, the meat, egg and dairy industries kill billions of chickens, pigs, cows, fish and other animals every year. To inspire more people to take the vegan pledge, PETA India has released Glass Walls, a video exposé shot by undercover investigators and the first film to graphically reveal the extreme cruelty animals suffer on India's factory farms and in our slaughterhouses. The video takes its name from legendary animal rights advocate Paul McCartney's famous quote, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian". Narrated by veggie actor R Madhavan, the footage shows how chickens have their throats cut with dull knives and how pigs are stabbed multiple times in a crude attempt to pierce their hearts. And cows, goats and sheep watch, terrified, as members of their herd have their throats slashed and are often skinned and dismembered while they're still conscious. Imagine how many animals we can save if each one of us helps one person go vegan! Please show "Glass Walls" to your family and friends and share it on your social-networking sites and encourage everyone to pledge to save animals' lives in 2013 by going vegan.”

Did I tell you that I’m a weak-hearted person? Once, I watched a video on Aghoris and it took a couple of days for me to recover from the shock of watching a gory footage. So I chose not to watch the ‘Glass Walls’ video. But this morning, at work, we picked up a discussion about the ‘Glass Walls’ video and I was given an opportunity to write an article about it. So I played the eight-minute long video, but refrained from watching it. I just made notes as I listened to Actor Madhavan’s narration. At one point, I could see my notes getting smudged. I didn’t feel the tears that rolled down my cheek. I just cried! Then that sudden realisation of crying at work hit me. But how would a weak-hearted animal lover keep calm when listening to a hard-hitting video. After the eighth minute, I was compelled to make a choice. To be a vegan or not to be a vegan?

When I was asked this question, what would I love to have with me if I got stranded in an island, I told that I would want my husband, a pet and a bowl of curd rice. Yes! A bowl of curd rice does all the good to me. But if I chose to be a vegan, then I would have to give up dairy products, which mean a lot to me. Yes, a lot to me! As soon as I step into the house, the phrase that slips from my mouth is ‘Amma, hot hot hot strong coffee please!’. So I should be mentally / physically prepared to give up the big pleasures of my life. Those pleasures certainly look big to me! But the tears which I shed should have a purpose. Perhaps, those drops should not be like the ones which roll down when I watch a touchy movie. I don’t want to just wipe those off and go watch another video on Youtube. I’m contemplating about making that big decision. That fruitful decision! But I’m scared. I fear that I would treat this resolution like all the other fad diets that I tried. So I’m just thinking aloud or thinking along with you all. Deep down the heart, I can hear the inner voice saying ‘You can be a vegan!’ But I’m still reluctant and waiting for a firm word. Perhaps, I’m waiting for someone to tell me, “You have a point. Just go ahead. You will be all right.” But wait a minute! I’m a big girl. I should not wait for others to assure me. I should inspire myself to live by my decisions. I should be able to make up my mind. Yeah, I think I'll be okay and I understand the fact that it takes a lot to change the lifestyle. But it wouldn't hurt much to give it a shot!

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