Dr K. Varadarangan
Age: 58 years
Karnatic vocalist, musicologist and creator of the S.R.I Mrudanga – a fiberglass Mridangam with synthetic drumheads
When, how and why did you go vegan?
I became vegan during March 2010. I was a born vegetarian and was always deeply disturbed by the cruelty to animals and wanted to help them in some way. Before I went vegan I had not realized the abuse and cruelty to cows in the dairy industry that involved artificial insemination, separation of newly born male calves from their mothers, administration of harmones and injections to cows to increase milk production and the slaughter of male calves and the mother cows once the milk production stopped. When I happened to read about the abusive practices of the Dairy Industry I decided to become a vegan immediately and thus me and my wife Veena both became vegans then on. We became vegans purely for ethical reasons. Six months from that time both my children also became vegan.
Do you have any nonhuman companions?
We have not kept any pets at home but we take care of several of the community dogs.
Do you help animals in any way?
Yes we do. We take care of 5-6 community dogs in our neighborhood by providing them food and water everyday. We have kept a large bowl of water outside our house gate so that animals that pass by have access to drinking water. We have got some of these dogs spayed and neutered. Puppies born to these dogs have been taken to adoption camps where they got adopted. We always talk about veganism with people to spread the awareness. We also do lot of AR campaigns through social networking sites such as Facebook. Perhaps most importantly, I have created a vegan Mridangam after 6 years of research (South Indian classical percussion instrument) and my company “Karunya Musicals” manufactures and markets these vegan Mridangams. The vegan mridangam replaces animal skins by synthetic materials and the wood used for the shell is replaced by fiberglass.
What do you think is the way forward for veganism in India?
Massive campaigns for spreading awareness through talks,and audio/video presentations is the need of the hour. Also vegans must get united burying their ideological differences and keep only the liberation of animals in mind. Availability of affordable vegan products as alternatives to animal products is also going to be very helpful.
Physical and mental changes you’ve noticed since going vegan?
Certainly better health overall after turning vegan. My migraine headaches have stopped and energy levels have increased. I am definitely more active now than before (when I was not a vegan). Most importantly a mind that is guilt free.
What kind of food do you like and dislike?
I generally like home cooked food, the regular type of meals and breakfast of a typical South Indian family I like a lot of cooked vegetables. i also relish eating raw vegetables and fruits. I dislike too oily or spicy stuff.
Tell me about your most memorable meal and restaurants you like to visit.
As I mentioned I like home cooked food the most. My wife Veena prepares excellent food with a lot of variety. However, we do go to outside restaurants once in a while along with family. Our most memorable restaurant meal was at “Paradigm Shift” in Bangalore where we ate vegan cake and ice cream after a long gap. Recently we have been enjoying the vegan ice cream by white cub which has now become available in Bangalore. We have a restaurant called “Rasoi” in Kasthurinagar Bangalore which is quite vegan-friendly.