Anyway, when we consider the broader picture, life is a struggle though we really don’t know if it is good or not. But still there’s nothing wrong in some excursion into whatever it is.
Life is a struggle, every minute of it. A struggle against self, against negative thoughts, against our tendency for procrastination and against our own tongue. Every time an out of turn tea is offered, it requires a struggle to say no. Every chocolate that goes unaccepted is a result of enormous struggle. Every time a chilled soft drink is held before us, we need to draw every ounce of our will power to say no. To say no to cheese, to say no to rice and to say no to second helping is a constant and an enduring struggle.
When that extra Idli has to be turned down as if it were Ravichandran Ashwin’s ridiculous LBW appeal, we need the impartiality of a truly neutral umpire. We need Rahul Dravid’s dedication and sagacity to let go off the Paneer Pakora as if it were a ball on the fifth stump outside the off stump. When a plate of crunchy munchy Jilebis are offered to us like those juicy leg side full tosses offered by Ishant Sharma and we have to show the ruthlessness of a match fixer to let it go, that is true struggle.
You are hungry and you walk into a restaurant. The menu is a virtual feast of irresistible delicacies that sends your juices on a Tsunami. Then you order a plate of Dal with two dry Rotis and fill the rest of your stomach with Dihydrogen Monoxide. That is struggle. When you drown the Tsunami of your juices with Dihydrogen Monoxide, you are inching your way in a struggle against the weighing scale to shave off that precious 350mg on next check.
You open your eyes to that bitter gourd juice and the struggle begins. It ends with the carrot, tomato and cucumber salad that looks as if there was an ABVP vs SFI clash on your plate and you are the victim of the clash, wrongly placed under arrest. The struggle against calories has never been won. When you lose the struggle, you gain kilos. When you apparently win it, you’ve lost all those good things in life. At the end of the day, diet was the winner as Ravi Shastri would say, because that was what the Doctor had ordered.
Will power will not be kind to those not willing to will themselves to struggle. When the word Diet is pronounced, it sounds very much like a time fixed for us to ‘Die at’. There honestly isn’t much difference. We know we are going to die at the hour we are destined to. Yet we diet because we are told struggle makes us stronger. I thought a double cheese Paneer Pizza made me stronger or at least bigger.
It’s such a criminal offence to tell people not to do what they are best at. Imagine Tendulkar being told not to play the straight drive, Dravid not to defend, Ganguly not to slice that cover drive and Laxman not to flick his wrists. Imagine telling Sehwag not to play Upper cut, Kohli not to chase and Australians not to sledge. It’s like the proverbial fish out of pond; good only to be fried. Oops, that again is about food and a delicacy loved by millions.
Though this might come across as a case of directionless rant, it still is about struggle. We spend about a third of our lifespan trying to gain weight and then spend the rest of it trying to lose it. We succeed in the first and seldom succeed after that. But struggle we all must because that is the essence of our life. Even Sehwag restrained himself from playing Upper cut on some occasions and Dravid scored the second fastest ODI fifty by an Indian.
It’s all about saying ‘NO’ when it matters. When you say ‘No’ to that second helping, your mother or wife might feel exactly like how Shoaib Aqtar might have felt bowling to Dravid. Imagine he steams in from the petrol pump outside the stadium and hurls a ball just outside the off stump at 100mph and you raise your hand like Dravid does his patented shouldering arms. But that is struggle and wisdom says, “Struggle makes us stronger” though I fail to understand how.
Anyway, when we consider the broader picture, life is a struggle though we really don’t know if it is good or not. I believe diet and all those fads just extend our lifespan by making us live longer into old age. But again that will be struggle because suicide is illegal in our country. A Cardiologist recently told a meeting, “Sugar and salt are slow poisons that kill us inch by inch, slowly but definitely.” Then so is Dihydrogen monoxide. Someone in the audience whispered loud enough for everyone to hear, “Well, what’s the problem? Who is in a hurry to die?” Even the Cardiologist laughed a consenting laughter.
As a kid, it was extremely tough feeding me, says my mother. In those days, I must have been like Virat Kohli in England during the 2014 series. But into my teens, I had turned into Virat Kohli of 2016, just unstoppable everywhere and against all kind of attacks. The faster the food was served, faster it disappeared. In fact, one of my Professors in Medical College had suspected, the Bermuda Triangle was located in my stomach because he could see me eat mountains and it never showed on my regal physique weighing all of 43 kilos. But marriage is like Captaincy, it starts showing on your form sooner than later. I was eating just like the olden days but suddenly it started showing. I had turned into one and a half times myself in no time. There was a time when I suspected if I had become pregnant because I was bloating even without eating.
Well, I had digressed again. This is all about struggle and right now the struggle is about losing weight. But no struggle is easy and one against the weighing scale is the toughest of them all. The weighing scale can be more brutal than your wife. It can be equally perplexing, if not more, than her all at once. I was offered the choice of the scale showing both kilos and pounds. I cut the demonstrator off with the shrillest admonition. Who on earth wants to watch those ghastly figures of 160 plus in pounds? It is a relief to see those numbers under 100 in kilos. This is one place where the Cricket lover in me doesn’t love centuries, though there was a time when I dearly yearned to score my first fifty on the scale.
Life is cruel. If you rice to the occasion, you rise the bathroom scale to a new high. A thing as beautiful as a chocolate bar can break the bar on your will power. Makhanwalah Paneer can blow your diet plans into smithereens. I understand how Virender Sehwag felt all his playing days. He had a motto, “See ball, hit ball”. I too had a similar motto for a long time, “See food, eat food”. After getting out and sitting in the pavilion, Sehwag used to complain, “Chauka Gaya, Chhakka Gaya” [Four gone, Six gone] while watching Dravid and others leave those balls outside the off stump. I am now living the life of Sehwag after getting out. I can see food but just see it from a distance as others do the eating or rather wasting. Life indeed is cruel.
I was never a Gandhian. Though I don’t believe in violence, I disliked Gandhi immensely for his stand on food. He had told Indians, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat” I never understood that philosophy. What is life if not for eating? He used fast as a measure to blackmail people. I would have used eating to same effect. In fact, if I had to protest against any policy, I would never fast until death. That is for cowards. I would rather eat until death. I would prefer to protest by eating. I would continue to eat until my demands are met. Even in terms of effectiveness, eating until death ought to be more successful. If you don’t eat or drink, it would hurt none. But if you can eat and continue to eat, you can easily browbeat the administration as people will be more worried about running out of food. I strongly believe hundred people on an eating spree can scare a Government a lot more than hundred people fasting.
Such weighty ideas can arise only in the enlightened minds of food lovers. I would not like to patent this idea of eat until death. Anyone, anywhere in the world is free to unleash this any time against those who oppress them. But I will be definitely happy if I am invited as a participant for not claiming intellectual property rights. But what leaves me inconsolably sad is the fact that I can’t use my own idea of eat until death protest against the oppressive nature of the bathroom scale. The scale would never stop terrorizing me and the buck stops there!