Steps to convincing your parents to get you a pet

Convincing Bangladeshi parents on anything is harder than conquering the Mount Everest. If you want to climb the Everest, you know that you just have to train hard and start your journey. When it comes to your own parents, however, you will need thirty business days, elaborate PowerPoint presentations, an abundant amount of tissues, the mental preparation to climb the stairway to heaven through continuous prayers and day-long fasts, and there is a chance that they still might say no. If your parents are anything like mine, they will dismiss you the second you start saying, “so… I was thinking I’d like a pet” and they will say, “Stop thinking. You have low CGPA; you won’t get any job, so start being a halal girl so we can marry you off.”

Yes, I know. It’s very frustrating when you are an adult and your parents refuse to treat you like one. But you can’t really blame them, because you ARE their baby. You will always be their baby. Even when you’re old and wrinkled and you cannot walk without a walking stick anymore. Your mother will still say, “What posture is this? Straighten your backbone. Stop being a disgrace to our family and the Cow we just sacrificed”.

So is there no way to get that puppy you’ve been longing for ever since you discovered how much of an angel a dog is? Or that kitten that stares into your soul with her dead, watery eyes and still manages to make you feel loved and understood?

Manipulating human beings, especially mothers, is a very easy thing to do. So buckle up.

I am about to tell you how to get the permission to get a pet and make them love it more than they love you. The latter part is a tad easier cause literally everything else and everyone else is more appealing to your own children, from the parents perspective.
So here’s how you can get a pet without pissing your parents off.

1. Be a responsible adult first

Millennials have this tendency to stay up all night, sleep until 12 and get out of the house the second they open their eyes. Remember, the second you’re adopting a dog or a cat, you are taking the responsibility of a life. A life that cannot do ANYTHING on its own. And they will never learn how to clean after themselves, to not eat anything poisonous, they will never know the difference between work times and play times. So unless you yourself get into a proper adult routine, getting a pet is probably not the brightest idea you have had in your sorry life.

Show your parents that you can take care of yourself first, otherwise, they are going to end up taking care of you AND your cat. And since they can’t throw YOU out, they are going to throw your pet out. Do you want that on your conscience?

2. Ready to make sacrifices

So your mother doesn’t want a dog. Get a cat instead. Or a bunny. Maybe even birds. Or if the worst comes to the worst, get a plant. They are alive too, they want some love and affection and someone to take care of them too. But whatever you get, make sure that you take full responsibility for its actions, just like your parents apologized to your neighbours when you pooped on their bed. Your life Is going to be full of these apology sessions, but eventually, you will get terms with it.

3. Find out the reason for your parents to not keep a pet

Suppose you absolutely want a dog,. Nothing else will do. What do you do then? Find out the reason why they don’t want you to have a dog. Is it hygiene? Is it the religion? Because of preexisting allergies? Is it fear? Or is it just the sheer possibility of having a large animal roaming around your house? Get to the bottom of the problem, and solve it. At some point, your parents will give in because they will have nothing logical left to say against it.

4. Do your research

I cannot stress this enough, but information is power. The more you know about what you want, the more ways you can find out to get it. Plus, reading up on a particular animal gets you an idea of how its natural habitat is like, and you will be able to take better care of your pet. It will also give you a clear idea of what your responsibilities will be as a pet parent.

You might discover that you are not ready for that responsibility after all. Because having a pet is like having a kid- you can’t change your mind after the crying starts. Once you adopt one, you are bound to them for as long as they live. And there is nothing more heartbreaking than getting a pet, realizing that it’s not really your cup of tea, and abandoning them. There is a special place in hell for people who do that.

5. Make a PowerPoint presentation

Load it with information regarding the benefits of having a pet. For example, they are great companions; they help with depression, anxiety, stress, and multiple other mental health issues. Students who have pets actually perform better on tests compared to students who don’t. List down all the promises that you are willing to make in exchange for this one small kindness on their part, AND STICK TO THEM. Don’t forget to list down the challenges as well, and make clear points about how you plan on tackling those issues. Make yourself heard, be a good kid, and give your parents time to contemplate. They will eventually come around because they love you and they want the best for you. There’s no way that they will ignore all of the efforts that you are putting into this.

I might as well warn you, life is unfair. Sometimes, despite all your efforts and longings, you cannot get what you want. But you might as well try, because that way, at least you will know that you did everything in your power, and there is nothing else that you could have done. And that is a lot better than not trying at all.

I pray for your success.


Challenges of being a vegan in Bangladesh

One or another form of animal product is present in most of the popular foods in Bangladesh, be it biriyani, mishti, or doi fuchka, or the distinctly non-vegan or non-vegetarian menu at desi weddings. Just the thought of giving up any one of these for life seems unbearable to most Bengalis. Vegetarianism itself is a difficult feat to follow through here, considering the kinds of food items usually available at dawats and restaurants. For vegans living in Bangladesh, this journey is packed with ten times as many hindrances, but – as many a  successful vegan will tell – with sufficient perseverance, achievement is not only possible, but sweeter. Biplab Das is one such Bangladeshi vegan.

Image : Gemma Correll

While vegetarianism – where one can consume dairy products and eggs in their diet while avoiding meat – is more of a diet, veganism is its own lifestyle.

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from consuming all sorts of animal products, particularly in diet, and is associated with the philosophy of abnegation of any kind of harm to animals.

For Biplab, a follower of the Vedic philosophy, just the knowledge of the requirement of veganism in this philosophy was insufficient in strengthening his efforts to convert to veganism for four years. Biplab had considered going vegan several times since 2012, but what finally helped him stick to it was the renewed revelation of the core idea of the Vedic philosophy – to never cause violence to any animal. With the realization of the true essence of this ideology, helped achieved by a friend, turning to the vegan lifestyle was a simple choice for him, and he has been following it for two years now.

Image : kondratya

Like the adaptation of any other major life-altering philosophy, the beginning was awkward – not because of the diet itself, but the idea behind it. While family members resisted a little at the beginning, and the cultural practice of over-hospitality at dawats even hurt a few hosts when he refused to “try just a little bit of this non-vegan dish, it won’t count!”, those family members are now Biplab’s strongest supporters, and the same dawat hosts are now so understanding they even prepare special meals for him.

While vegetarianism – where one can consume dairy products and eggs in their diet while avoiding meat – is more of a diet, veganism is its own lifestyle.

The awkwardness of having to customize orders at every restaurant still lingers, and decent ready-made vegan meals are still unavailable at a lot of places, but having friends of the same lifestyle and learning to adapt has helped Biplab in seeing through this. With the help of a nutritionist, he started by creating a diet chart to ensure that his nutritional needs are still met. It’s an ongoing hassle to pick out the right items and go through every ingredient list to make sure it’s vegan – finding a suitable salad dressing took a whole year! With places like Unimart, Gourmet Bazaar, and even the food places near Hindu temples, it has become easier for Biplab to maintain his diet.

Photo : Nataliya Arzamasova / Shutterstock

Practicing veganism – or any kind of diet – purely for reasons of personal health can prove to be difficult – after all, who hasn’t retorted to just a small plateful of kachchi the day after vowing to go on a diet?

The real trick to sticking to this lifestyle is the acknowledgement, appreciation, and embracing of the core idea behind this lifestyle – that is, the abstinence from harming any animals.

Once the philanthropic element behind the philosophy is ingrained into one’s decision, nothing can sway them from the vegan lifestyle. Whether it is to convert to the vegan lifestyle or not, there are some beautiful lessons to be taken away from Biplab and other vegans living in the very meat-obsessed culture as is in Bangladesh – lessons of perseverance, strength, and core values. Theirs are the stories that teach us that the incredibility of spirit needed to achieve anything is always matched with an equally incredible feeling of accomplishment. As Biplab himself would tell, the only regret is not having started earlier. Be it veganism or anything else, to feel that way about any aspect of one’s life is truly the essence of fulfillment in life.