(I had the chance to briefly share my story at The Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Manila this afternoon. This is how I intended to share it, but the actual was a bit different. It was an honor to be introduced by Climate Reality Board Member Don Henry who I had the privilege of meeting in the Asia Pacific Climate Reality Leadership Congress in Melbourne in 2011. Meeting Climate Reality founder and chairman Al Gore at the back stage was so surreal, but that’s another story.)
I’m a farmer’s daughter. My father took pains to send us to school and not spend a day of work in the farm. But as a child I loved climbing trees and taking showers in the rain and daydreaming. However, my father’s dream for me was to set me out to make something of myself. And despite some detours, I found myself teaching in college and taking up a masters course. I was actually on my way. But I was burned out.
Today is Ekadashi, and to me, that means fasting day. I follow the Ananda Marga fasting calendar which prescribes full, dry fast twice a month. Since 1996, when I became a vegetarian, I’ve struggled to fast, with no success. I couldn’t for the life of me go beyond lunch without food or drink. But it all changed when in 2007, my partner in grime guided me towards fasting using this strategy:
Unintentionally, I’ve been increasing the difficulty of relatives and friends to invite me for dinner or eating out. This started when in 1996 I became a vegetarian, and that’s a very long time ago, but take two prodigal years when I vacillated with my food.
For a long time, I couldn’t understand why other people thought a vegetarian could set aside the meat from a vegetable dish and go on just fine. I later realized that this misgiving is not their fault, but mine, since I would have to give extra time and effort to explain to people my food preference. So I started explaining that I was lacto-vegetarian, eating dairy products but not egg, mushrooms, onion and garlic (although I got to eat them unconsciously a few times). People always argue that mushrooms, onions and garlic are vegetables but my diet is much like Jain food, vegetarian with more restrictions. And yes, no eggs. People sometimes couldn’t get that eggs become chickens, ergo, I couldn’t eat them.