When Rohit Mishra bought a house at Santacruz five years ago, the society asked him to give an undertaking he would not consume ‘non-vegetarian’ food in his house. The reason – Jains form a majority in the society.
“We have non-veg food at hotels or at friends’ homes. Who wants to get into tussle with neighbours?” said Mishra.
Thursday’s Dahisar incident has once again highlighted how housing societies try to dictate members’ eating habits, even going to the extent of restricting the entry of fish vendors or hotel delivery personnel bringing non-vegetarian food.
Sumita Sen, a Mulund resident, said: “As Bengalis, our staple diet is rice and fish. I had to fight my society for a year to allow fish vendors inside.”
These restrictions are in place at many colonies in Malabar hill, Bandra, Juhu, Kandivli, Vile Parle and Ghatkopar, among others. Right from the 1980’s, during the construction boom, builders constructed buildings for vegetarians, in which people consuming meat were unwelcome. Non-vegetarians were not called for society functions, taunted, and even their children shunned by other kids.
According to Prakash Rohera, CEO, KKarma Realtors, this trend is slowly, but surely, changing. “The young generation is not bothered about the diet of their neighbours, and is open minded. The problem persists in older buildings,” he said.