This is a story about a boy named Prasad alias Prasad Subramaniam who lived in a village in the western region of Tamil Nadu named Nallagramam.
He was the only son in the family of two elder sisters and parents from a middle class brahmin community. And a brahmin from a south Indian community means a pure vegetarian family.
He and his sisters attended the local govt matriculation school in the village .The eldest sister had completed her schooling and was helping her mother at home , the second sister had one more year to go and Prasad had three more years in the school.
When prasad completed his matriculation, his family planned to send him to Bangalore City for his further education. Since they didn’t have any ally or extended family or relations living in Bangalore, they opted for a full boarding school.
It was very fascinating for him to move to a bigger city. He enjoyed and was excited to be in this city. He was mesmerized with the place, the people and enjoyed every bit of it.
His school routine started, and he made friends in his class quickly. Life at school started moving smoothly. He used to visit village every three months and used to spend a week with his family. When back in school , he and his friends often go out to send some nice time in the city for watching movies and dine outs.
Once during an outing with friends on a particular evening he realized that though he is very close to all his classmates, but there was one thing uncommon between him and all his friends… and that was his eating preference… he was a pure vegetarian and all his friends who came from various other cities of India were all coincidentally non-vegetarians.
Over time this became an issue since the friends make eat out plans separately and did not include him. He used to be upset in such situations as he was always singled out.
Friends outing became frequent and Prasad didn’t want to lose any opportunity being with them and decided to be with them irrespective of whatever they plan.
Once when they were all out and enjoying their mutton cutlets at one of the new shop, they had found out… one of the friends offered him to take a bite to taste. He decided to take a bite and taste it. He liked it and tried more. He developed a taste for non-veg food and started enjoying with friends. He was excited in two ways – One, he got an opportunity to try something absolutely new to him and second, he didn’t have to miss out any listed activity in his friends’ group.
He kept his secret with himself and never shared his liking for non-veg food with anyone especially in the village including his family. None of his school friends belonged to Tamil Nadu , so he wasn’t worried about his secret getting revealed ever.
Years passed, he completed his school , moved to college and then to a management school to do his Masters. During the course, he made all new friends, lost many of his old friends since they all had their own plans and moved on. He knowingly or unknowingly developed a habit of preferring non-veg food over veg when he was in Bangalore.
Back home, whenever he paid a visit whether for his sisters’ weddings or his regular casual vacations, he maintained his secret and stuck to his veg food at home for all of them.
He got a job in a technology company in Hyderabad through a campus placement. Hyderabad is city famous for its authentic varieties of Biryani’s from the kitchen of Nizamis. His excitement was doubled to accept the offer. Back home his family was very happy and they wanted him to settle down and get married soon. While he was home before joining his first job, his parents persuaded him to marriage and like a obedient son of every parent, he acknowledged.
The search for bride began in the village. And he joined office. Finally after 18 months of search and traditional horoscope matching, they found a suitable well-educated girl from a middle class family from the neighboring village. Her name was Kartika Iyer working in an Multi National Company in the nearby town.
Prasad was all happy and was looking forward for a new development in his life.
The families made an arrangement for them to meet in his next visit to village. They organized a joint lunch plan at his house. Prasad and Kartika met and spoke for hours. They both were pretty happy and decided to more forward. The date was finalized.
Once he got back to Hyderabad, he started analyzing the situation after marriage. He found one conflict, his secret passion for non-veg food. First, he thought to try and convince Kartika and make her a company , but then he realized it to be more difficult than it seems easy. So he decided to continue his secret with her too. He decided he would have non-veg food whenever his out travelling alone or with friends’ parties alone and maintain his Vegetarian image with Kartika.
The day arrived and they got married in their spectacular week-long wedding ceremony with all their friends attending it. A perfect south Indian wedding backdrop. After a month-long celebrations and holidays they both returned to Hyderabad in their new house. Kartika has quit her job since she had to relocate.
Kartika focused on setting up the new house while Prasad rejoined office and life carried on as plan. Kartika also took up a nice opportunity close to the house. Prasad’s secret plan was working effectively. He managed time to go out frequently and enjoy the magic of Nizams. At time he wanted to openly discuss his secret with Kartika but kept silent. They both frequently visited the village and spent time with parents together almost every fortnight. Life was excellent.
Years passed; they made their family of two children while they both carried on their professional life. Grandmothers took charge shift by shift of taking care and groom their grand children. Evenings and weekends were pleasant with family time. Prasad realized that he spends more time with family than friends . Gradually his liking for home cooked veg food has gone up.
Today children are going to middle school, Kartika is doing very well in her professional life and they jointly started managing their life. Grandparents now only visit occasionally since they are also getting old. Holidays at the village now take forefront again on frequent intervals.
This is when Prasad realized that his involvement within the family is so much that he hardly feels to go out alone to satisfy his urge for non-veg. Now even in his corporate parties where non-veg food is served, he prefers to carry on with his veg options. Rather over the time his urge for non-veg food has completely died.
I am not sure what message this story conveys, or it is just an experience of life or shall I call it an anecdote.
Whatever it seems to be. But the truth is….
I am Prasad Subramaniam, this was my secret, and this is my story !