Word of the Week #105:

Nuance

Tonight, as I was ordering my dinner, I had many thoughts running through my head. You know, as usual…

At the foreground of my mind, I am scanning through the several menus, considering the several options. Unfortunately, all the food I saw could be easily divided into two major groups: Extremely Unhealthy and Extremely Boring.

After having worked quite hard to lose my tummy, and intent on keeping it at bay for as long as I could, I was somewhat leaning towards the latter group. After all, I have other means of entertainment. Food being purely sustenance to the body, while an alien thought to me, still seemed rational.

Then, in the deeper layer of my internal monologue popped a question, one that a friend had earlier asked me in passing and I had earlier disregarded, “Are you anorexic?

Well, I had disregarded it once, but this time, knowing quite well that I had lost almost an eight of my body weight in a span of four months, I decided to consider it.

Now, let me begin by saying that the symptoms associated with anorexia are rather vague, and also vaguely applicable to me.

  • Rapid Weight Loss: Well, that can happen, in life…
  • Fear of Gaining Weight: Isn’t that fairly normal? Some people are protective of their cars or bikes or homes or what not. I am protective of my abs. What is wrong with that?
  • Food restriction: Well, that is just relative, right? If only more people practised moderation…
  • Excessive Exercising: I have goals, but not the corresponding patience. Sue me.
  • Dry skin and hair: Yeah, swimming does that to you. I guess I should moisturise better.
  • Intolerance to cold: I’ve had this one for quite a while, okay?
  • Solitude: Okay, now you’re just picking on me…

Now, this raises a couple of questions. Let us consider one of them, and we could think about the other one later.

Okay, so the question being: “Am I anorexic?

Now, I am far from an expert, but I would like to hazard a guess and say, “No, I quite certainly am not.”

I am a smart kid. I have sufficient experience of sports and exercise and food. I know what my body needs.

Sure, I have lost some weight, but that is not all there is to it. I am smart enough to realise that I was ill far a certain period during that span, and that I ended up losing a significant amount of muscle mass as a result. Therefore, I need to regain some muscle, and I still have fat to spare. Both of these require an apt combination diet and exercise.

So, no, I am not starving myself to death. I am working towards a healthier being. This is not a disorder. This is a lifestyle, and a pretty healthy one at that.

I know I have wavered in the past few months, but as long as I can find the right balance and then continue to maintain it, I should be quite fine.

I will admit, though… Reading about it did give me a momentary scare.

Self-diagnosis over the internet is so not a good idea.

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Word of the Week #104:

Denounce

Ever since I can remember, I have always heard how cricket was supposed to be a gentlemen’s game. Playing the sport for all of my childhood, the concept of sportsmanship had been etched deep into my mind.

It is partly because of these memories that the events of this week about the details of the state of the sport, and the attitudes of those who practise and govern it, have left me quite disheartened.

Now, of course, I am not talking about the allegations of corruption surrounding DDCA. No, today, we talk about the rot at the very top.

Today, we talk about what is increasingly being referred to as the Sandpaper Gate.

Sure, enough has been said about the players who were caught in the act, and were thus forced to confess. But what about the men sitting high up in the governing council, who thought a one-match ban would suffice for the mastermind, while the actual culprit gets away with little more than a slap on the knuckles?

To put this in perspective, back in 2008, when Australia was visiting India, Gautam Gambhir received a one-match ban for seemingly elbowing a Shane Watson who was quite obviously impeding the batsman’s natural running motion and was clearly in the wrong. You cannot jump in the path of a moving vehicle and then blame your injuries on the driver, can you? Well, apparently you can.

This was not an isolated instance, of course. Many players from the subcontinent have faced punishments disproportionate to their infractions, while Australian and English players seem to get away conveniently.

I wonder what the reason might be…

 

Word of the Week #103:

Vexation

Generally, I love science fiction, especially the futuristic ones.

And while I do enjoy a good post-apocalyptic dystopia, tonight I am talking about the more urban futurism, the kind one would expect from something like I, Robot or Avatar or Fifth Element, or even Altered Carbon, more recently.

I love how these stories transport us to a wonderful world where the realm of reality has been expanded upto, and often beyond, the limit of our expectations.

The brief escape they provide can be valuable…

This escape, however, comes at a cost. The stark contrast they offer to this ridiculously mundane world of ours can be quite disheartening, and even infuriating at times.

Sure, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, but it has not even nearly caught up to what was promised in Back To The Future.

And do you know where this contrast between what is and what could be becomes the most jarring? Why, the banking sector, of course…

Have you been to a bank, lately? Since the advent of e-banking and such, we don’t have to, as often as we used to, so we don’t have necessarily care as much. However, an occasional encounter is enough to remind us exactly how archaic and patchy our banks still are.

I mean, an entire afternoon to reset your net banking password and linking your PAN to your account is not reasonable, okay.

And the removal of what doesn’t work is really the bare minimum. There are still way too much we can do, and it is annoying when nobody does it.

Now, is it fair to blame them for not living up to our expectations? I don’t see why not.You see, the technology does exist. If you won’t use it for banking, of all things, then where will you?

As consumers, it is our right, nay, duty, to keep whining about mediocrity, and to keep dreaming about excellence.

As a great man once said, the future must remain bright.

Word of the Week #102:

Defiance

This has been an interesting week. There are quite a few incidents we could discuss.

A large part of it has been the Farmers’ March, here in our home state. In a nation build on peaceful protest and dialogue, the past few instances of unnecessary violence have left a poor imprint on our collective memories. Therefore, the maturity and consideration of the protesters, and the kindness with which the common citizens have responded, is a refreshing sight for these sore eyes.

But, instead, let us focus on the aforementioned eyes, for a moment.

You know, my life has recently undergone a tragic change. I have had to bit adieu to my favourite drink in the whole wide world: Thums Up.

For the uninitiated, let me just say that Thums Up is a cola drink presumably prepared from the caffeinated waterfalls of heaven, and no earthly drink could ever compete with it. And, in a cruel twist of fate, my body has grown completely intolerant to caffeine.

Now, I haven’t been able to consume chocolate and coffee for all of my adult life, and I have had time to make my peace with that, but this is too sudden and far too cruel, and I have not taken it in my stride just yet.

So, as it would happen, I ended up falling off the wagon, tonight, and boy, did I fall hard. Not because I am weak willed, of course, but only because I refused to drink an orange soda. I mean, there are many atrocities I am willing to tolerate, but orange soda? I’d rather drink my cola and embrace the consequences than put that putrid hell-spew in my mouth.

So, I am now lying in my bed, dizzy and weak, but I remain as proud as a Saiyan Prince. With my head throbbing, my ears ringing, my eyes smarting and my limbs wailing, my only regret is that I have no Senzu Beans to spare…

Yeah, pride comes at a price.

Word of the Week #101:

NemeSis: 

Hypocrisy

If you are a woman reading this, please tell me what you want. Equality? World domination? What?

Do you want reservations so that you can get by with poorer achievements compared to the boys? Remember why reservations were made and for whom. If you are reading this on a mobile device that belongs to you, you probably don’t need reservations.

Do want those two seats in the metro every single time, even if you are feeling alright and standing 30 minutes is going to do you no harm? If a tired, old man is sitting there quietly cursing that he will have to get up when some woman walks in, you probably don’t need the seat as much as he does.

Do you want the women’s line while waiting in line to buy a ticket or submit a form? Why?

Do you want to get rid of the stalkers and lechers? Yeah, me too… actually no, I have never really had too many of them. Some people do not back off, I get that. But the rest can be reasoned with.

Do you want your male friends to stand up for you when you are in trouble? I do. But it is easier when I stand up for myself first.

Do you want rallies on the streets for a rape victim for you to address your own bad memories with abuse? Do want to stand up for the other women in your own life who are going through abuse? Do you want to stop abuse from happening when your own mother, father, brother or sister is dishing it out to another woman?

Do you really want a specific day to remind you of your womanhood? What about the other days?

What do you really want, woman? What makes you think you are entitled to certain privileges because of your gender? Entitlement… that was not the reason these concessions were made. They were meant to give you a foothold when you started climbing.

Do you want to be your own hero? Or do you feel entitled to having some knight come save you?

Happy Women’s Day.

Word of the Week #100:

Centenary

There was a time when I was quite serious about cricket. Playing professionally was not a far-fetched dream.

10 years have passed since then, and as one would expect, my life has changed a lot. Regardless, everything that I learned during that span is still fresh on my mind, and is still applicable to the challenges I face in my life.

One of the things I learned was the art of building your innings. I never got to apply it in cricket itself because, well, I’d hardly ever last long enough.

Regardless, let us take a quick look:

  • 1 – 15: This is the toughest phase. Try to get through this without doing anything stupid.
  • 16 – 40: This is where things get easier. You begin to understand yourself and the conditions around you.
  • 41 – 60: This can be a bit of a transition period. The ball is no longer new, the pace of the game has changed. You either adjust, or you fall.
  • 61 – 80: Everything seems to flow perfectly. This is when most of highlight shots come.
  • 81 – 99: This is the treacherous part of the path. Fatigue and complacency are your biggest enemies, and you just want to trudge along out of sheer persistence.
  • 100: Finally… This is the realm where only a chosen few can tread. Take off your helmet, look to the crowds. Take a moment for yourself.
  • 101 and beyond: Just keep moving forward.

Word of the Week #99:

Lambent

So, if you were to take a quick look at the events that transpired throughout the past week, you might end up feeling quite dejected, or you might just stop feeling altogether.

Yeah, it has been that kind of a week, where we feel let down by the world around us.

I talk about the real world, of course. My world is still pretty cool, and that is what keeps me inoculated from everything real. And this is a part of art that we do not seem to discuss nearly as much as we ought to.

You see, in today’s world, art is too often evaluated by the impact it is supposed to have on the world around it.

Black Panther released last weekend, and its portrayal of minorities and women is the discussion that seems to dominate the media.

Last weekend was also the NBA All Star weekend, and an initial part of the proceedings was usurped by reactions to some Fox News anchor’s racially insensitive, extremely demeaning, and frankly quite stupid comments about the greatest basketball player of our generation.

It is gladdening, of course, to see artists and athletes using their platforms to try to change the world for the better. Their excellence grants them this prerogative.

However, that is not where we begin, right?

Art is not always a beacon that guides the entire world.
Sometimes, it is just a flickering candle that illuminates a single soul…
And sometimes, that is enough.