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Bangalore, India - Breaking bread with a group of vegans

Citizen Matters, Bangalore | Theresa Varghese | 04/09/10

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A Bangalore Vegan group meets once a month over a potluck meal where deep thought goes into what it eats.

The venue is Lalbaug, the time two in the afternoon. It's a hot day, the kind where you'd prefer to be in the cool confines of your home indulging in a siesta but, under the shade of a spreading tree, an enthusiastic group is getting ready for a session of food and fun. They settle down with glasses of pulpy grape juice to watch the magician among them perform card tricks. Once the informal show is over, the food that each has brought is laid out and collectively partaken of.

There's a variety of items - things like samosas, pasta salad, hummus, chocolate cake and biscuits, all vegan. It is the Bangalore Vegan group's monthly potluck meet where like-minded people get together to talk, discuss issues and eat.

For most people, even vegetarians, a vegan is something of an oddity. How can one not eat things that have traditionally been part of Indian vegetarian cuisine - dairy products such as milk, curd and ghee? This is the most common objection. Another oft heard remark is that vegans are extreme in their choice of lifestyle. To you and me, it may seem extreme having to seek substitutes for items that are commonly eaten. However, you have to admit that vegans have a point: that one cannot draw a line when it comes to compassion.

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