My Journey to Vegetarianism

1 Sep

Once upon a time, somewhere in a little cyber cafe in Bylakuppe,South India is where we first met.I had just stepped into the cafe  to check my email and he was ready to leave for Pune  that night. (He had come to his Uncle’s place for a short vacation.)After a quick intro by his Uncle, I don’t recall the details of our brief conversation , However, I do recall my first reaction when I saw him.. “Cute”   & us exchanging emails and saying, “Lets stay in touch”

Sure enough,   we did,  We  were both in College at that time. The emails continued .. followed by  phone calls every now and then. We began to know each other better with  every click of the button. However, it wasn’t until….. after we graduated from college and when we actually spent some non virtual moments that we  realized something about  each other… ooopss.. to those of you who are already  jumping to conclusion ….   Nope.. we didn’t realize we were in love. We are definitely not the LOVER type at all.I like my man to be like Denzel Washington in  the movie “American Gangster” and he is like Leonardo DiCaprio  from the movie  “Titantic”. Likewise, he likes the Kate Winslet type of girl  and I am like  Hillary Swank from the movie  “Million Dollar baby”

A very old picture of Monlam at Bodhgaya. I took it out from my archive of memories from college days..

What we realized was ..  how we were  worlds apart  when it came  to Eating and FOOD. He  was this disciplined skinny vegeterian kid who ate in moderation and I was the the girl who loved eating meat especially chicken kebab  &  ate anything I laid my eyes on.  He tried to  instill his discipline in me  which  I tried to follow but.. not for long… Often times, my friends would laugh at me and say, “  hahaha… Chime,  can’t believe you are actually listening to somebody for a change”… I would put my head down and say,“ donno… for  how long though…” Sure enough, it didn’t last  for more than few days and I bet, he realized what a stubborn girl I was. Anyways…..long story   – short  fast forward, all the episodes in between…  We moved on  with our lives and barely met each other since we starting living in different cities . However we continued to   keep in touch virtually every  now and then.

I didn’t see him for years, until recently when I went to  Bodhgaya(Bihar, India)  for the Kalachakra 2012( Not sure  if its  our karma or coincidence  because  we definitely didn’t plan to meet. I had just reached Gaya and was suppose to meet my dad however, in all that chaos( there were around 200,000  people  from around the world , who had come to attend the Kalachakra  teaching) I couldn’t find him (dad hates cellphone and refuses to keep one)   and it was getting dark. I was at my wits end as it was my first visit to Bihar and didn’t have a clue or knew anyone from this place. I frantically looked around  hoping to find a familiar face and it was like as if someone heard my silent cry. I saw the posters of TVA( Tibetan Volunteers for Animals) in the distance and  ran towards it.

Chicken Mascot by TVA at Bodhgaya during Kalachakra 2012.

I knew…  He got to be here… My face lit  up with joy and I   felt an instant boost of energy. I went to the registration tent  and asked for Lobsang  Monlam and where he is staying. They didn’t have a clue  as Tibetans usually have the same name so.. they asked me… if I could give more details abt this friend of mine.. I mentioned that he is the Director of TVA  and then all the guys at the tent  said in unison.. “ALEEEY…. Monlam….!!” and quickly wrote down his tent number .

Me at Bodhgaya in Jan,2012.

I reached the tent for TVA where a energetic team of young people were sitting around and getting ready to  prepare vegan “thukpa” ( Tibetan  noodle soup) for dinner. I asked them if Monlam was there and they said, “ChoMonlam went out for some work but he should be coming any moment, why don’t u sit here and wait till he comes”. I gladly did  and after about 15-20 minutes.. our Monlam shows up with a  bucket in his hand,  pants half rolled up and looking all tired. He was shocked to see me and said ,“Waii.. when did u come…!!!???  I look so   shabby” and I told him,“Monlam… it’s  alrite, I  am not your girlfriend so.. you don’t need to impress . I am glad I found you….”

His team had finish preparing the dinner and we all had  vegan thukpa together in the tent. It was  my best thukpa and most memorable one .( I made sure, I didn’t take second helping coz.. I didn’t want Monlam to go on…. again.. at me like  the old days..)   He helped me find my dad and the next 10 days of my stay at Gaya and the Kalachakra teaching was a life changing  experience for me. It felt like as if  I  did a complete cleansing of my body, speech and mind and turned over a new leaf. I didn’t eat any meat  after the vegan thukpa I had with the TVA team.(looks like they must have put some magic potion in it that turns you to vegetarian)

When I got back to the States after my vacation, I didn’t feel like eating meat anymore. However, I didn’t make any promise because, I know… i have broken them many times in the past so.. just went with the flow.. It wasn’t until,today,when I turned the pages of the calender  to Sept  that I realized that its been  8 months since I have turnevegetarian. Looking back , I know that .. this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the constant update that I see  from TVA on facebook about  how we should live and let live the animals too.Each time, I see Monlam’s name or the TVA post on facebook, its a constant reminder  about the truth that I try to run away from or turn a deaf ear to, due to my own selfish desire to satisfy my need first . Th truth that animals are sentient beings and not a food choice, that they too desire nd hence deserve to live on this planet just as we do, this and definitely the Kalacharka teaching by Dalai Lama which  encourages us to be vegetarian has helped me achieve the goal that I have not achieved for the last 3 decades.

I want to take this moment to thank my friend MONLAM for the positive influence in my life and for being sucha caring soul to the animals and being the voice for the voiceless.For those of you who wish to  make the compassionate choice but have been struggling .. I would encourage you to join TVA if not physically  atleast virtually on Facebook and of course  send a friend request to Lobsang Monlam who will be happy to asssit you through this journey.

Thanks Monlam!!!  I  wish you and TVA the best and I hope to continue this path……

Monlam with his best friend:)

For more details & if you wish to follow TVA… click on the below link.



9 Responses to “My Journey to Vegetarianism”

  1. stanzin gurmet September 2, 2012 at 02:15 #

    Nice article – though i don’t think I”ll ever manage going veg 🙂 keep it going !!

    • Humor in EveryDay Life September 4, 2012 at 23:33 #

      Thanks Gurmet. I use to say the same and I was surprised with my change. I am sure you will also have that moment someday .. if not TODAY 🙂

  2. Monlam Makhampa September 2, 2012 at 02:24 #

    thank you chimmie for listening to your heart!! and for doing the right thing.. this was such a treat.. enjoyed reading every word 🙂 Memories, frenship, nostalgia.. cheers!! The World is Vegan! if you want it.

  3. sonam wangmo September 2, 2012 at 04:25 #

    Inspirational! Thanks for sharing your life story. It will definitely inspire others as well.

  4. Namgyal tsewang September 4, 2012 at 21:05 #

    Hey chime , that was a great read ! I totally enjoyed the genuineness, the honesty and the innocence of your writing. Kudos to your success in staying vegan for 8 long months. Believe me you did not missed a thing! There r great recipes out there for vegetarian. I advise my patient to decrease their consumption of meat if they can’t stop completely and I am trying to practice my own preaching …I admire people who have soft spot for animals … So thank you Monlam, may god give you the strength and thank you chime for bringing the topic back to live ….

    • Humor in EveryDay Life September 4, 2012 at 23:36 #

      Dr Tsewang – U know, I feel extremely proud to put the word”Dr” in front of your name coz, I know how hard you have worked for it. CHEERS to that first!!!
      Thanks Dr Tsewang for your comment and I am happy to know you enjoyed this innocent writing of mine 🙂

  5. Tenzin Dickti November 5, 2012 at 21:35 #

    Its beautiful.. I hope i find someone like Monlam to make me go veggie..

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