A Few Good Things

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." – Ibn Battuta

A Few Good Things

Month: August 2013

In a world of our own !

8th , 9th , 14th , 19th – thats what I hear every morning as I enter the lift to my office. Its 8.30 AM  as hordes of hassled people jam into a lift juggling their bags , tiffin boxes still managing to talk on the phone. One lone voice and a smiling face greets the old lift operator in Tamil “ Appu Sir – Did you have your breakfast” . You can see the joy in Appu Sir’s  face as he finally feels acknowledged. He feels he exists.  To everyone else he is just a robot who for years has been pressing the lift buttons to your floor.

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The 32 lane Toll booth on NH 8 between Delhi & Gurgaon is the second largest in Asia. Over 2.5 Lac’s pass thru them daily. Its a sight to see the speed with which the toll boy collects and dishes out changes in the evening rush. He is just a nameless face.  One morning when the crowd was not a mad rush my friend Rajesh Marwaha a good rare samaritan  greeted the  Toll Boy with a pleasant smile ” Good Morning Ji – Kaise Ho” . The guy literally fell off his chair. For so many years nobody had even noticed him – and here someone was greeting him. A simple act – but the millions who cross him daily had never thought about it.

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While Govt may claim that Wholesale price inflation is 7 – 8% the truth on the street is very different. Food inflation is at an all time high – galloping past 20 % YoY. Onion prices in many parts of the country are touching Rs 100/Kg and most vegetables are priced above Rs 50/kg. Govt employees DA is increasing by 20% , most companies are doling out pay hikes in the range of 12 – 15% – but have you even given a thought to your maid & drivers salary. People who live from hand to mouth. While the Planning Commission & Montek may say that Rs 32 / day is all takes to be a middle class citizen of the country the truth in the street is very different. Maids earning 3000/ HH / Month and Drivers earning 10 – 12 K / Month need a big fat hike now.

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I have tried convincing many in my building to give maids a weekday off. But thats a touchy topic and 125 angry women pounce upon me as the discussion starts. These  people  are indispensable to the Housewife ( there are over 15 M of them in the country and they form the largest group of unorganized labour) they are supremely skilled and can manage a wide variety of work ambidextrously. They are efficient , fast , tech savy with HH gadgets , they are not maids they are Super Maids. If they knew english they could be the next big export from India –  and yet when it comes to feeding them – the first thought is to treat them with leftovers and cold food. Dammit they are human too – treat them to a nice warm lunch after they have slogged in your house for 4 hrs with backbreaking work. When you give them Diwali sweets get a nice new box for them. Its not the cost that you save – its all in the thought.

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The MP’s gang up together to give them pay hikes and block thru legislation any rule that puts them at a disadvantage ( RTI for political parties , no participating in elections if you are in Jail etc) – and we shame the politicians for this. But the smiling housewife your friends & relatives & maybe at your very house needs some introspection. Like they say change begins at home.

We see the contractors at Maruti & Bajaj protest against low wages and long hours. The era of “salam saab” is fast ending. We are lucky that the poor in India are not violent ( Aka S Africa / Brazil) – but lets not push them into a corner so far that they have no choice but to revolt – and that can indeed be a violent volcano.

Food – Eat to Live or Live to Eat

Have you ever weighed the amount of food you eat in a  day ? Across Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner , a few snacks , some Coffee , Tea – add it all up – it will be about 3 – 4 kgs/ day. Thats about 1000 Kgs a year. Assuming you live for 75 years thats 75,000 Kgs of food you have consumed in your lifetime.  

A large adult male African elephant weighs about 6000 Kgs – so in effect an average adult in his lifetime consumes  12 Elephants. That sounds scary given the fact that the average weight of an adult is about 75 Kgs . So 74,925 Kgs of shit is generated by a human being in his lifetime. Sounds Gross – but think of this the next time you gobble down an extra serving.

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If every indian reduces his food intake by 20 % then food prices will come crashing down and so will inflation. So rather than a food security bill maybe the UPA should enroll Baba Ramdev and preach the benefits of eating less and doing Yoga.  Added benefit is no more additional sewage maintenance plants will be needed for a few years.

So how much food do you actually need ? Very less given that 70 % of your energy comes from Sun & Air. The more you eat the more you consume energy to breakdown the food in your body. Some say that in 24 hrs all you need is 24 times the quantity of food you can fill in your palms.

People living in Ashrams , monasteries , the ancient Rishis seem to have figured this out . And that was the core doctrine of their good health and source of energy. A good lifestyle , coupled with Yoga , Meditation &  minimal food can generate enough energy and more for you.

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The discussion on Veg & Non Veg food is also interesting. 80 % of Indians and more than 90 % of the 7 Billion inhabitants in the world are meat eaters. Think of the meat that is being processed every day ! Unlike animals Humans have no canines to tear the flesh. Our digestive system is also designed in a manner that 70 % of the digestion happens in the mouth and throat , we also have a very long intestine when compared to carnivore animals.

In humans Non Veg food takes about 35 Hrs to digest. The temperature inside the human bods is about 40 Degrees – its dark & humid. Ever tried keeping a piece of cooked meat on a hot summer day in a dark corner of your house for 35 hrs – see what happens to it. Thats exactly what happens to the piece of meat that you eat.

Eating meat has no correlation to strength & energy – the Horse & the Elephant two of the strongest animals are pure vegetarians. So a simple Veg diet rich in fruits & vegetables , coupled with regular exercise and some meditation is all you need to feel light and energetic.

Dont let the tastebuds dictate your life. A few 10,000 cells spread across less than 1 Sq Cm should not be dictating your health & wellbeing

( Information based on discourse delivered by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudey in his Inner Engineering program)

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