Bands: Skyharbor/Goddess Gagged
When, how and why did you go vegan?
I went vegan in October of 2015. It was a combination of a few things converging at the same time. My bandmate Keshav had gone vegan a few months before, but hadn’t been advocating it very hard so nobody really even knew. He’d just quietly mention that he was “off meat and dairy” for the foreseeable future, and would provide some eye opening insight about why he made that decision. He never really used the dreaded V word. At the same time, my girlfriend Selina decided to try eating vegan 6 days a week for dietary/health reasons. That buttered me up and made me realize it’s not that hard to do, and vegan food is delicious. But the real clincher was when I watched the documentary Earthlings, which introduced me to the concept of species-ism for the very first time. Within the first ten minutes of that documentary, I was done. I didn’t want to contribute to that mass suffering just for my own enjoyment. I made a Facebook post announcing my mental shift, and also talking about the guilt I felt for mindlessly engaging in such destructive behavior for 21 years of my life. That Facebook post helped to sort of keep myself accountable for my decision, so I wouldn’t go back on it later. I then went on to binge read Vegan Sidekick comics, and could not believe how illogically I had been living my entire life beforehand.
Do you have any nonhuman companions?
I don’t, but I wish I did!
Do you help animals in any way?
I try to help them by engaging non-vegans in productive discussions about what’s wrong with animal agriculture. Generally advocating veganism as much as possible without being too preachy.
What do you think is the way forward for veganism in India?
The market for fake animal products needs to ramp up. Vegan butter, vegan mayo, vegan cheese, fake meats, etc make being vegan much easier. It would be cool if we started to see vegan versions of beloved Indian food/drink items like lassi, kulfi, paneer, etc. Environmentally, so many people claim to care about water conservation in India, so I think educating the masses about how much water animal agriculture wastes will also be a big step forward. If we could get the whole country to watch Cowspiracy, we’d see some big changes for sure.
Physical and mental changes you’ve noticed since going vegan?
The physical changes are awesome! I’m much more energetic, I no longer get heartburn, and I stopped feeling uncomfortably full after meals. Mentally, I feel more in tune with myself and more conscious of my impact on the earth and it’s inhabitants. But the downside to that is being acutely aware of the mass animal suffering that everyday humans are causing without a second thought. And that can be really depressing. When I went vegan, it was the most surreal experience ever. Overcoming that cognitive dissonance and realizing I lived in a world where the systematic killing of innocent lives for trivial enjoyment was completely normalized…that realization was super trippy. But it also feels good a lot of the times, when you notice how many people are taking part in the revolution. And it’s growing exponentially stronger everyday!
What kind of food do you like and dislike?
I like most food, and I’ve gotten to a point where I’ll tolerate pretty much anything (apart from animal products of course). I have a theory that it’s an individual’s choice to like or dislike a food item, it’s all in your head and if you open yourself up to something you didn’t enjoy the taste of before, you will tolerate it and eventually come to like it. That being said, my absolute favorite dishes are mushroom risotto, penne arrabiata, and pretty much anything with gratuitous amounts of avocado.
Tell me about your most memorable meal and restaurants you like to visit.
It’s really hard to pinpoint one most memorable meal, since going vegan has opened up a whole new world of flavors and foods, and my girlfriend cooks an unfathomably large variety of dishes that are all incredible. But one of my favorite restaurants is called Life Alive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their menu is totally focused on organic, fresh ingredients and they create some of the most delicious rice bowls and wraps that I’ve ever eaten in my life. The “Swami bowl” is my go to item there.