After an early morning flight from Paris to Barcelona, our starving bodies could have eaten possibly anything (mind often thinks in extremes but is seldom prepared).
So, at the airport, we saw a Burger King outlet (a name which was most known to us amongst others) and scouted for the cheapest burger. We didn’t bother to ask what this cheapest burger actually contained and ordered two burgers (we were 3, but it was a 5-Euro burger!). Two of us took our first bites and realized, oops, maybe we had made a mistake. We asked our third friend and the same reaction! We wanted to, but our Indian smugness (to not make a fool of ourselves) didn’t allow us to ask anyone there about this exotic burger and we simply devoured it.
When our tummies gave a green signal, our minds woke up and thought let’s (for the sake of it) ask someone what we ate a while ago (by now you know what it was). In a very nonchalant way, we asked a janitor standing close to us about it and to our dismay – yes, it was beef!
A trivia here – all of us were non-vegetarians and one of us was a Brahmin.
We maintained our poise in front of this kind janitor who just sort of, for a moment, made Earth disappear from under us. According to a large section of the population in India, we had committed the greatest sin of all.
Next 5 min.
I can feel something weird inside me!
I might be disowned for this act!
I knew there was something wrong with it! Blah, blah!
Then we booked our cab to our hostel and forgot about this morning blunder which apparently scarred us for life. We might have joked about this incident the next day. Frankly, I don’t remember whether we ever discussed it, after that day.
Now, the ‘more’ part …
Just so we are on the same page, this is not about vegetarianism or experiences in a foreign land.
The intent of this post is to share a thought triggered by the above anecdote in situations I fail to abide by the value system which I think I have created for myself.
Why in those 5 minutes we were cursing ourselves?
What made us think that we had committed a sin?
Why was it such a big deal?
More importantly, why all of it lasted only for 5 minutes?
An obvious answer to the first three questions is – we thought that our value system didn’t allow us to eat holy cow’s meat that caused a sense of panic and made ourselves feel very small.
But, answer to the fourth question is what I seek!
I certainly am an advocate of creating a value system and considering it the bedrock for whatever you do in your life. However, I want to take a step back here and make you think – who is listing down these values for you? Who is telling you that you should be comfortable doing X but not Y?
KNOW YOUR WHYS!
What I have learnt is that you should allow yourself to decide about your own comfort level and what you think is right or wrong. The journey from a neutral perspective to taking a stand should be yours, not an inherited one.
When you take up this journey, there will be mistakes made, there will be learnings and there will be a crossroads; but, in the end, you would have created something of your own. A solid bedrock, unshakeable in the toughest of times; as you would know your WHYs/WHY NOTs to the core. There will be no dangling thoughts – whether I should feel bad/good about it, did I do a right thing or not, I never expected this from myself, so on and so forth.
A curated value system mapped to your own morality will be the most reliable barometer for navigating life.
Back to my story, now you know what happened after those 5 minutes.
We realized this was not the first time we had eaten meat.
We didn’t understand, how cow meat is different from a goat or a chicken meat.
We didn’t understand, how one animal is more sacred than the other.
We realized that someone else considered this as a sin and hence.
What we needed was our own sensibilities react to this situation.
(Again, all this is not about what one should eat or should not)
But I am not there, yet. I still get confused at times about my value system and my deeds. I still have a long list to be cleaned, edited and updated. What I think, I do have now is a sense of direction.