Opening the door of the refrigerator, Rohit Ingle, a hard-core non-vegetarian, stood still staring at chicken. His eyes reflected guilt, and for the first time, he wasn’t eager to gorge on his favourite food. It was a usual day in the office when he was scrolling Facebook posts and got hooked to an article on veganism. Sometimes all it takes to make life-long changes, is an insightful article.
Veganism — a lifestyle
Learning about veganism, Mumbai-based professional Rohit, 28, turned his lifestyle around 360 degrees. It has been over two years that he stopped consuming meat, dairy products, honey and any products tested on animals. When it comes to fashion, he has cleared his wardrobe of leather, wool, fur and silk. For him, circus, aquarium or zoos are never on the list. So, how difficult was the transition? “It’s easy when you listen to your heart not your habits,” says Ingle. While surfing the internet, he came across the interview of international animal rights activist, James Aspey, where he talked about a bicycle tour to promote veganism. This triggered Rohit to become a Man on a Mission and he sets out on a journey to cycle 19,000 km across the country, to raise awareness on animal rights and persuade people to follow a more compassionate lifestyle.
Learning to peddle
The mission which seems like child’s play on paper took Rohit an immense amount of sacrifice to actually pursue it. After starting his ride from Mumbai, he peddled on to Surat, Vadodara and was in the city on November 3. When asked if he was always inclined towards cycling, he smiles and says, “No! Earlier if someone asked me to cycle for even 12 km, I would refuse. To develop physical stamina, I underwent a training session for over two months and that gave me the confidence to peddle across the nation.”
How to turn a vegan
Talking about his journey, he reveals how he helped people make small and gradual changes in their lifestyle. “During an awareness meet in Vadodara, I met a guy and spoke to him about turning vegan in stages and giving the body time to adjust. Gradually, eliminate meat, dairy products, and then all animal products over many weeks, while adopting alternatives. We talked for over 30 minutes and he was convinced to turn vegan. Such things make me more determined to pursue the campaign.” While he is influencing people one city at a time, he hasn’t been successful in his own house.
“My parents have always been non-vegetarians and in spite of trying to make them aware of veganism, they resist changes. It has sure affected our bond but woh parents hain, you love them no matter what,” he rues. His bicycle was loaded with luggage comprising handmade charts promoting veganism. When asked what keeps him going every single day, he recalls the heinous treatment given to animals, his eyes turn moist as he begins to answer, and he takes a long pause and says “I love animals more than humans.” The journey has just begun.
Date : 06 November 2017