“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” - Albert Schweitzer
Susmitha, is the co-owner of Carrots, the first Vegan Restaurant of India located in Bengaluru, India. A vegan for over 14 years, she has been instrumental in weaving the labyrinth to carry forward the social justice movement for our friends from the animal and water kingdom.
We visited this wonderful space and had the opportunity to interact with her. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Q: What is Veganism?
It is a social justice movement to stop the exploitation of our animal friends. It is a movement about compassion and mutual respect for all life forms. It is our hope for a better world.
Veganism is a conscious choice you make where in you eliminate all animal products (including leather, wool, silk etc.), all dairy products and all brands that support the testing on animals from your lifestyle.
Q: How is Carrots part of this movement?
When I turned Vegan 14 years ago, I started writing a blog “Veganousaurus” where I would share vegan recipes. It was a small community back then, where mostly all of the vegans in the city knew each other. In 2013, when Carrots had just opened, Krishna Shastry, its co-owner invited me to be a part of his team. Since then, we have grown leaps and bounds having taken various initiatives to spread awareness about Veganism. Some of our key initiatives are:
Regular cooking workshops and recipes that we share with the community either at our restaurant or through our YouTube channel
Activist Rewards programme wherein we support the Vegan activists in the city who are supporting their bit for the movement;
Good Karma Meal, which works as a social experiment as well as pay-it forward action. We place a Rotary Fridge (given to us kindly by the Rotary Brigade Bangalore) on the streets stuffed with vegan food couple of times a week with a “Free food” signboard that people just take from the fridge and consume.
"Even though I have always been spiritually inclined, only once I turned Vegan with a firm intention, I began to dive deeper into my passion."
Q: From an Explorer to Enabler, what lead to the transition?
The first step towards any action, is the intention, the desire. Know your intention very strongly and with crystal clear clarity. Couple that with an open mind and conscious awareness of your every choice, you open up a sea of possibilities of astounding opportunities to create something beautiful and meaningful!
Even though I have always been spiritual inclined, only once I turned Vegan with a firm intention, I began to dive deeper into my passion. With no background in the food business, today it is only through my passion arising from my life’s purpose to "be an example of the change I wish to see” that drives me to be a part of this thriving space.
Q: As an individual, as a part of Carrots, as a part of the Veganism movement, how does it progress from here?
In the past 5 years, the number of Vegans in India has grown exponentially. Slowly and steadily, the awareness is increasing. No one knowingly wants to hurt or harm another. It is only a matter of time that everyone begins to build the connections and join the dots. One of our major learning continues to be developing patience with all those around us, who are yet make the connection with all the facts about compassionate living.
Having said that, the transformation is slow and gradual. There are very many new vegan businesses that are coming today. There are more than 40 Vegan café/ restaurants 40 in India, 4 of which are in Bangalore. We are now a growing community of home bakers, ice cream and cheese makers, vegan farmers etc.
We are all interconnected in the intricate web of our choices. And each one of us completes the other, to co-create and co-exist in harmony and joy!
One step at a time!