Friday, April 29, 2011

Root vegetables and me

(Note: This post is best avoided by non-Jains. You just may not get it.)

I was born a Jain. Jainism is a great religion. Like all religions, Jainism has also been interpreted differently by different people through time. That is why you have sects and sub-sects. A common thread that runs through all sects apart from the basic principles is not eating root vegetables - potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic etc.

I have been an on-and-off eater of root vegetables. When I was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1997, I was off roots. I stayed like that through the first few years. I was fairly strict about it. I understood the significance of it and was a stauch follower of most aspects of my religion. Hence root vegetables were a strict no-no.

Over the years with kidney disease, I tried a lot of alternate therapies that claimed to cure kidney disease. Each came with its own diet restrictions. Fluid restrictions were of course always there. At times I was in a situation where the alternate medicine therapist would have one set of diet restrictions and the regular doctors (allopathic) would impose another set of restrictions. The only way out was to eat only what was allowed by the intersection of both diets! At one time, I was allowed only buttermilk and rice with a hint of moong dal for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

When you are subjected to such diet restrictions (especially with me being such a foodie), you take it up to a point. After that, something inside you snaps. You can take it no further. And then you rebel. You say "Fuck You" to every diet restriction and go berserk. This is one of the things that happened to me. One day I decided to start eating roots.

I still eat roots. Some people in my family ridicule me for this. I honestly cannot help it. They have not been through what I've been through. As I keep saying kidney disease is more of a mental disease than a physical disease.

Coming back to Jainism, I read once on a forum for Jains, that unfortunately Jains of today have made Jainism a religion of "You can't do this. You can't do that.". Full of restrictions. Focussing too much on what you eat and drink. We have reduced it to a diet. There are so many other beautiful aspects of Jainism like Aparigraha and Anekantvad but we tend to only focus on the food part of it. Today a Jain is identified by "No Onion No Garlic" which is ridiculous.

I am not for a moment saying that eating root vegetables is right. What I am doing is wrong. No doubt about it. However, for a moment, look at the history. Then judge.

1 comment:

Karthik Rao said...

I completely agree. No one can judge sitting on the other side of story.
It is your life, live it nice :)
Garlic and Onions are known for promoting health..