Tuesdays are burger days.
As I was putting together the burger for L,
she noticed a new Ketchup pouch,
and she read what it said - No Onion No Garlic.
L: Mummy why does it say No Onion No Garlic?
Me: Because it doesn't have onion or garlic.
L: That’s weird. I eat onions and garlic.
Me: Some people believe that God will punish you if you eat certain things. That's why it says that on the pouch.
L: What? That does NOT make sense. Why would a kind Ommachi punish me Amma?
Me : (My inner goddess does three flips, and like fifteen somersaults of joy). Yes. If Ommachi is kind, why would ommachi punish you for what you eat? You don’t need to let anyone say things like that to you. You eat whatever you want.
L : Oh yeah Amma. That is so weird and
does not make any sense to me, Amma. Ommachi would never do that to me.
Then she goes to S who is sitting at the dinner table and they process this brand new information.
L : S , do you know some people think Ommachi will punish them for eating onion and garlic?
S : But I think I believe in a kind ommachi.
L : Yeah, it is just their opinion S, It is not a fact. People have different opinions on things.
(They are learning the difference between facts and opinions in science this week)
S : I think Ommachi is….. (whatever she was saying)
L : Yes, that is your belief, and my belief is ….. (whatever else she thinks currently)
L : And that is ok - different people can have different opinions (and start enjoying the burger)
Phew. I think my work here is done. I cannot control or predict what her aunties, uncles, neighbors, friends, school watchman or grandparents say to her.
But I can for sure prevent this purity culture nonsense from getting into her head. She is vegan today.
Tomorrow she may not be. And if or when that happens I don’t want any moral guilt tearing her apart. More importantly very loudly and vocally break the cycle of moral shaming people for food choices. Even if it exists as a marketing gimmick on a Ketchup pouch, even if it exists in the extended family, that is where it lives. It is not invited into our household. Not today, not ever.