1.Rohit, about you in 3 Sentences?
My name is Rohit and I’m 29 years old from Mumbai. Annual Full Marathon runner since 2012. Turned vegan in October 2016.
2. So turned Vegan in 2016, so how was your upbringing and consumption habits regarding food earlier?
I’ve been vegan for over two years now. I’d be happy to share with you a little about my journey. To tell you about my upbringing, I come from a Konkani, seafood loving family. My mom would also cook chicken once a month. I would wilfully eat chicken when I would go out. I drank milk every day after school and post my run. I also relished multiple eggs everyday. I never questioned my food choices.
However, a childhood incident I remember is when I went with my aunt and a cousin to a meat market. There, they would butcher the chickens in front of us. I stood with my aunt as the man picked the chicken, cut its throat and plonked it in a bucket filled with flies. It was flapping its wings and I realised the chicken was in pain. I remember thinking there had to be a less cruel way to do this. All my insensitivity allowed at that moment was a better way to kill it rather than letting the bird live. Society had normalised suffering of non-human creatures and I was conditioned by the same society.
A few years later, I was visiting the same aunt. I had an impulse to buy chicken but when I was actually asked to pick a live bird to be killed, for some reason I was unable to pick. I remember my aunt cooked chicken anyway, and just for that night, I was only able to eat the gravy. Nonetheless, my life as a non-vegetarian continued.
While we struggle with questions arising through our natural thought process, well-wishing family and friends make us feel comfortable eating animal flesh for whatever lies they are told by others.
3.So what was your turning point from old habits to cruelty free-Vegan way?
Finally, a few years later in October 2016, I was done with my post graduation (in Genetics) and was working in Sales in a biotech company. One night while browsing recipes on YouTube I came across a video called 101 reasons to go vegan. I watched it. Then I watched a video called Best Speech Ever by Gary Yourofsky, a pioneering vegan activist. I then watched a vegan documentary called Earthlings. All in one night. Back to back. It’s like I couldn’t stop. Next thing I know, I was vegan for the animals.
4. How this has impacted your life?
Such a profound difference made in my life, all through YouTube video recommendations. The videos connected me with what I had always felt about the animals I ate… that they are the same as us, in terms of expressing emotions, avoiding pain, having the need to eat and wanting freedom.
I remember when I wanted to run my first marathon I took suggestions from my tennis coach, parents and friends. Apart from my parents, few people encouraged me to participate. But I did get a lot of free advice on how to go about it, like buy expensive shoes, pay for a certified Marathon coach, train for years. That was in 2008. It took me years but I still ran my first marathon in January 2012, training in the cheapest running shoes and reading articles from websites like runnersworld.com. I realised something after I turned vegan overnight. People are always ready to give suggestions, they will never say “I am not the right person to tell you about this, I think you should ask a marathon runner”. Being honest with yourself at least for yourself if not for the animals goes a long way. So if you want to become a vegan you should ask a vegan.
5. So you saw Health benefits also after turning Vegan?!
After switching to a plant-based diet, I saw incredible effects post a marathon. The faster body healing from soreness (few hours as compared to 4-5 days when I was a non-vegan), my knee injury was gone forever, blood tests were normal. I ran faster and felt lighter while running.
Relying on animal products is not only unnecessary but also destructive to our health and environment.
6. Do you talk to people about this? How this has impacted your relationship with your circles?
There are many ways you can convince someone to go vegan but I had never thought about it. All I said was how wrong and unnecessary it was to kill animals. I remember I was ridiculed by my colleagues and friends. They made the usual claims: plants also feel pain, bacteria in your guts die when you take medicine etc. I was sometimes not equipped enough with the adequate knowledge.
But all this changed in September 2017, when I left the sales job, had time for myself, and met vegan activists at a vegan festival in Mumbai. I right away gave my name for street activism and joined the band. Street activism happens on weekends at well-known locations for a greater outreach. We show videos of animal abuse, torture and slavery. Of course if you knew that your food didn’t want to die and died a horrible slow death, you would at least reconsider your eating habits. The reactions from people are intense. Since then I have read many articles, watched documentaries, and videos of vegan activists to educate myself and become a stronger advocate of Veganism. As for my personal life, quarrels have happened but I still try to educate those around me. And my family has been very supportive. After a brief break from activism in 2018 I am back to it and have met many positive people. Two things constantly on my mind are the need for affordable vegan options and the practice of giving lectures in academic institutions to reach the youth.
7. Those are some awesome insights about the food we eat, do you have any final thoughts?
I will be delighted to know why are you still not vegan? And if you are, why not spread the word?
8. I think you can be of a great help to people. Why not give your contact?
Contact me! My social platform handles are
Rohit, Signs off !