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Kick for All; The Poetic Touch
You must have you wondered why is caffeine being added to everything from energy drinks to chewing gum? Most probably it’s because it is addictive. I cannot start my day without the morning coffee kick. I’ve seen people looking dull and haggard before they sip their inky brew from bucket-sized cup which almost instantly perks them up. Soon thereafter their fingers start flying across their laptop keyboard.
Similarly, as per a well-worn legend the discovery of the coffee bean was made by a little shepherd boy called Kaldis from Kaffa. (God bless them both: him and Fleming too!) He found one day that his goats were unusually lively and active after eating the leaves of the coffee branches. Kaldis tried some of the berries himself and rushed to a nearby monastery to share his discovery. However, the monks believed it to be an evil weed – that’s how these killjoys behave every time something good happens – and threw, so the legend has it – the energizing berries unceremoniously into the fire. An aromatic fragrance rose from the fire and the secret of coffee was discovered!
The Brits indeed are the cleverest lot among empire-builders. Over the centuries, they have worked overtime to build a reputation that in their empire building venture they never indulged in torturing natives. In India, for instance, they contracted the work of torturing to a class of Indians who always were ready to play the hatchet men for all invaders. The Indian Police is one such branch of those tormentors the Brits deployed.
The supposedly educated among our political leaders in their 70’s and above have had their education when some proficiency in Urdu poetry was the hallmark of a formally educate man. And invariably their favorites were Ghalib and Iqbal. Somewhat younger generation went in for Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ahmad Faraz. Giani Zail Singh, one of our ex-Presidents, was one them who could recite an Urdu verse with the drop of a hat. And all this without much formal education (like his major political mentor, Indira Gandhi).
I’ve read something about the galaxies beyond the constellation that our planet is a part of – a very puny part at that – but I’m utterly ignorant of the remaining tests or passion, having miserably failed in the very first few.
Hasn’t the lucky man survived the tornado of scandals that swept his Cabinet Ministers? One day when the hurly burly of power is over and he sits to look back he would recall how colorful the anjuman was.
“People who cheated in an experiment,” reports the prestigious Harvard Business Review, “had slept an average 22.39 minutes less the night before than non-cheaters, according to research led by Christopher Barnes of Virginia Tech. The study, in which cheaters over-reported their scores on a test in order to gain financial advantage, shows that low levels of sleep are associated with unethical behavior.
“Traditional religion is having a tough time in parts of the world,” writes Joel Garreau in The New Atlantis. “Majorities in most European countries have told Gallup pollsters in the past few years that religion does not ‘occupy an important place’ in their lives. … And while Americans remain, on average, much more devout than Europeans, there are demographic and regional pockets in this country that resemble Europe in their religious beliefs and practices. … [H]uman nature seems to demand a search for order and meaning. … For some individuals and societies, the role of religion seems increasingly to be filled by environmentalism. … In parts of northern Europe, this new faith is now the mainstream. ‘Denmark and Sweden float along like small, content, durable dinghies of secular life, where most people are non-religious and don’t worship Jesus or Vishnu, don’t revere sacred texts, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to the essential dogmas of the world’s great faiths,’ observes Phil Zuckerman in his book Society Without God. Instead, he writes, these places have become ‘clean and green.’ ”
James Thurber was a notable American author. Above all, he will be remembered as cartoonist and celebrated wit. Thurber will always find a place as a memorable contributor to The New Yorker. I’ll always remember him for his prescient observation: “All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”
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