Bands: Djinn & Miskatonic (traditional doom metal), Ghost Rockets (sludge)
When, how and why did you go vegan?
In 2011, I watched a few minutes of a documentary by PeTA on the Indian dairy industry. I’d already gone back to ovo-lacto-vegetarianism in 2006, and had been vegan-curious for a while. Just a few visuals of cows attached to milking machines, bull calves marked for slaughter and the conditions in poultry farms pushed me over the edge. I’d been working in animal welfare for a while and it was a matter of becoming completely consistent in my ethical choices.
Do you have any nonhuman companions?
I have a house full of cats and dogs! All rescues.
Do you help animals in any way?
I am the co-founder of an animal welfare NGO called Animal Aid Alliance. We run a home shelter for cats and dogs, help independent rescuers with veterinary bills and coordinate adoptions of rescued animals. We sometimes help owls, crows, goats and even the odd rabbit.
What do you think is the way forward for veganism in India?
Veganism has to be delinked from religion. Jains and brahmins don’t have some hotline to virtue. Muslims are not evil monsters. Veganism is the philosophy of a British man who joined the dots and made an ethical connection our ancient philosophers and demagogues did not. Instead, we need to show how veganism intersects with other movements for social justice and is not just an elite fad. Especially in India, anyone can go vegan and live a healthy life without any extra expense. The ethical dimension is primary, but the linkage to religion and class has to be shattered.
Physical and mental changes you’ve noticed since going vegan?
I feel lighter, more agile. I lost a bit of weight, but I was never really big to begin with. Mostly, it’s the peace that comes from living in harmony with my conscience.
What kind of food do you like and dislike?
I love everything that’s bad for me – burgers, pizzas and fries! I also love a good pasta, a traditional South Indian thali meal and did I mention potato chips?