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Time for a #thread about why I never ate meat.
My mum is a staunch #Hindu woman with strong principles, upstanding morals, and very much attached to traditional values. For fucks sake, she will not eat in a restaurant that serves eggs, let alone meat.
In her spare time, she is the official family travel agent for guilt trips.
My dad is a laid back coasterian whose views are drastically liberal compared to mum. As they say opposites attract and he is exactly that of my mum. He drinks alcohol, and his view on non-vegetarian food is simple; the only thing with 4 legs he will not eat are table and chairs.
My dad was also in the catering business which exposed me to all kinds of food from a very young age. However, on my mums insistence, I was never, ever allowed to eat meat.

One day 5 year old me was pretty disgruntled as to why I wasn't allowed to eat the same things as my dad.
It was further worsened when I would see friends eating things different to me like sausages with their chips, mutton samosas that smelt divine, chicken tikka every Friday from Dilawer at Mombasa Sports Club. It became too much & I could no longer bear it, so I confronted my mum.
"Ma, why don't you allow me to eat meat like how papa eats!" I asked.
Of course just like you, I assumed she would be accepting with my dad being a full on carnivore and all.
TBH she kinda was and gleefully went to me, "Of course beta (son), you can eat as much as meat you want."
"BUT!" she interjected very firmly, took my hand and led me to her prayer room. As you may know, the Hindu pantheon comprises millions of gods, and this woman probably had a picture or a statue of each & every one of them including Kali, brandishing her necklace of severed heads.
She pulled out the Bhagavad Gita, a hindu religious book, and I can promise you just opened a random fucking page and went to me, "Here, read this scripture, beta..."
I was 5 years old, I could barely fucking make sense of English words and she fucking wanted me to read #Sanskrit
After the whole rigmarole of admitting the obvious that I can't read what it says and all, she proceeds/pretends to read four lines which just sound like gibberish. When I enquire what this has got to do with me eating meat, she looked me square in the eye, grabbed my hand & went
"If you want to eat meat, you must have the courage to kill the animal yourself!"
I was 5 fucking years old and this is not even the tip of the trauma. I start bawling and look at her with incredulity, tears streaming down my ashen face, trembling.
"No, ma. What? How?" I whimper.
With casual finesse, she made this theatrical neck slitting action (sound effects and all), and told me that l have to cut the animals throat myself.

I WAS FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD. Of course I went to my bedroom, wowing never to eat meat.
It gets worse.

From that day, whenever she saw an animal, she would point at it and ask me if I want to eat it & do that horrible neck slit theatrical action.
Whether it was on TV or in real life, whether it was a cartoon or a the news, as long as there was an animal, neck slit.
For 32 years I carried that trauma and I was finally able to come to terms with it in counselling. My therapist helped put things into perspective and at the age of 37, I finally took a fucking stand. I called up my dads restaurant manager and told him, "Obiero, I want a chicken"
Ever helpful, Obiero asked what gravy I wanted it, whether it should be spicy or not, if it should be grilled or fried. I said, "No, Obiero, I want a live chicken.."
It took me some time to explain but he finally understood, I wanted to slaughter this chicken that fateful Monday.
Monday afternoon found Obiero, the chicken, a fat cleaver, Muthama (dad's favourite chef) and myself.
I expected this to be a little out of my comfort zone, so I had done what most people would do; smoked a fat fucking mother of a joint before I walked to the back of the kitchen.
I was staring at this chicken and I could feel my entire body swaying back and forth, in my head all I could hear was the song 'One love' by #BobMarley, and a few moment later clarity came like a white horse running at me on a black beach.
In that moment of clarity, I grabbed the chicken by the head from Muthama and it went "SQUAAAAAAK"

I slammed it on the table, grabbed the cleaver and chopped it heads off...

"SQUAAAAAAK" this time it was me, because no one had warned me the headless chicken thing was not a lie.
I am screaming as this headless chicken is running around, blood everywhere. I came to confront trauma and I just added more fucking trauma into my life.

Muthama slammed a bucket on the chicken and all is well with the world. EXCEPT THE DEAD CHICKENS HEAD IN MY FUCKING HAND.....
Monday is always family dinner night where we all get together for a meal & catch up on each other lives. That Monday dinner was at my sisters house and it was a huge spread. Vegetarian food for my mum, my sister and me; non-vegetarian food for my brother-in-law, ex-wife and dad.
Dinner time came & we all settled in our usual spots including one of my closest friends who had joined us too. As we served ourselves, I reached out and put some chicken curry in my plate.
As you may have guessed it, my mum stared at me with her questioning guilt inducing eyes.
Without missing a heartbeat, mum piped up angrily and admonishingly, "BETA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, THAT IS CHICKEN!!!"

This time, it was my turn to look her dead in the eye and I went...
... and from that day, the only thing with four legs I don't eat are tables and chairs.

... and I blogged about it too.

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