The Story of a Single Mother


“We grow when we allow changes to change us”

— Neetal Parekh

A single mother is taking care of 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. Each day, she makes enough food for the children, leaves it in the fridge and entrusts her eldest son to take care of his siblings while she goes to work. Every night, when she returns from work, the food is gone but her youngest daughter is still hungry and therefore, she makes more food the next day. This goes on for a while until the mother is now making 46 plates of food every day to feed her 8 children.

Each day, the eldest brother takes 40 plates of food and makes one sister feed them to farmed animals. He then instructs another sister to extract food from these farmed animals and she returns with just one plate of meat, dairy, fish and eggs. Then the eldest brother announces to his siblings that there are only 7 plates of food while there are 8 mouths to feed and therefore, they all need to work for him so that he can determine who gets to eat and who doesn’t.

He makes one brother build fast cars and another create shiny objects for his entertainment. He makes the third brother mine the fossil fuels and raw materials needed for building fast cars and creating shiny objects.

He makes one sister sew fancy clothes for him to wear.

Finally, he tells his youngest sister that he has nothing for her to do and since she is now jobless, she won’t be eating much food either.

He gets away with this for a while using divide-and-conquer techniques, pitting sibling against sibling based on the color of their skin or their religious and gender identities. However, despite all serving his every whim, the eldest brother himself isn’t very happy either.

He had been lying to his siblings that they must strive to eat animal foods because such foods are the only source of protein and calcium, important nutrients for their wellbeing. He had also been arguing that if the family stopped eating animal foods, the two sisters who work on feeding and milking the animals would become jobless and starve like their youngest sister. Such lies and specious arguments were now catching up to him.

The sister who sews his clothes recently turned VEGAN (Vitally Engaged Guardian of Animals And Nature) and she realizes that the family could not only live, but actually thrive on a whole-foods plant-based VEGAN diet. In contrast, the eldest brother, who had been consuming the lion’s share of animal foods, is now fat, sick and miserable, popping pills just to make it through each day. Therefore, everyone began seeing through the lies that had been keeping them working so hard to feed the desires of their eldest brother. They realize that the color of their skin or their gender identity doesn’t make them inferior, as they had been told. Indeed, they are all created equal and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, just like the enslaved animals that had been exploited terribly in their midst.

Therefore, they get together and imagine a different way of living in which everyone’s needs are met and even the eldest brother can regain his health. They reject the exploitation of animals and resolve to share the abundance of food that their mother had been making each day so that no one goes hungry. They resolve to clean up the mess that they had made during the process of building fast cars, creating shiny objects and sewing fancy clothes. They resolve to regenerate the forests that they had destroyed for the production of animal foods.

As a result of making all these changes, the family heals together and lives happily ever after.

Review of "Living in the Time of Dying"
What Else Has To Happen?
Sailesh Rao
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