Chip of the Same Block
All Sweets Are Gone
CAT, WAT & SAT
Think it Through
Chip of the same Block
March 2014 is the Month of Political Stunts in India. And a-Stunt-a-Day! Of all the places in the country the best shows are being mounted in New Delhi.
The latest attraction for which spectators are queuing up is the much-talked of Rs 20,000 per plate dinner date on March 15 with Aam Aadmi boss Arvind Kejrival? It is fund-raiser stunt of AAP – a pale imitation of the Republican-Democratic presidential campaigns in the US. (In America, it’s invariably a million dollar per plate which the chief representative of the aam aadmi has scaled down to Rs 20,000 - a sum that would support the much-abused poor fellow for a month or two.)
The man who assured us two months ago that he has no aukaat (i.e., worth per se) has now priced himself pretty high. If I want to have the darshan of the leader of the aam aadmi I have to shell out a pretty stiff amount. The next step, I reliably learn, is to charge Rs 100,000 if you want to spend five minutes in the august company of the great neta. Logically, if you want to have an exclusive meal with him, the fee will be Rs.25 lakhs. And all the money so collected will go to the election fund of which no political party, led, of course, by the family- owned grand old party has ever rendered an account of.
Long ago a crafty farmer brought piglets in a bag to the weekly market to sell to credulous customers. When asked to show a sample, a big fat jumped out as he opened the bag. That gave us the phrase first used in The London Magazine in a 1760: “We could have wished that the author... had not let the cat out of the bag.”
Let’s be thankful to Kejriwal for letting us know that he is no different from the other fellows in the trade – ever-ready to hoodwink the credulous voters like you and me who look up to gods that unfailingly fail.
My wife misses no occasion to remind me that I don’t do a jot of work or even move my little finger at home. I personally think the charge is utterly unfounded. Come to think of it, isn’t staying at home to be available for help when needed, in itself enough of a contribution?
However, I was in for a shock to read a recent survey by Organization for Economic co-operation and Development (OECD). It says that an average Indian man has the dubious distinction of spending a mere 19 minutes a day on routine housework. And the report added that among the lowest in the world are Asians who score low on the index – Japanese (24), Korean (21) and Chinese (48). I’m sure it was written by a team of women from Europe and America.
The report goes on to say that women at home are slaving for hours over the stove, mopping the floor, looking after children while their husbands, fathers and brothers are busy watching a cricket match.
The report tells us that in Slovenia men spent 114 minutes a day on unpaid housework, followed by Denmark and Estonia.
I rechecked with professional social workers. They tell me that it is a well-accepted reality in most Indian households, even where both spouses are working, that women end up handling most household chores. The OECD study showed that Indian women spent as much as 298 minutes on routine housework such as cooking, laundry, pets, home maintenance etc. They spend 221 minutes on leisure which includes watching TV, sports, entertaining etc. compared to 283 minutes for men.
So how do Indian men while away their time? The average Indian man spends more than 703 minutes (11 hours a day) on personal care – mostly sleeping, eating and drinking.
I’ve made up my mind to start calculating henceforth the time it takes to make the bed, wash my plate after lunch and above all the tea I make when my wife is still snoring in the bed. And of course all those precious minutes I give her my company and the minutes I spend offering my expert help which is generally declined.
Politicians are known for throwing tantrums to establish their importance at the time of elections. So, the sulking RJD MP Ramkirpal Yadav is no exception. As Lalu Prasad’s old comrade he wanted to fight the elections from Patliputra LokSabha seat, which Lalu’s dear daughter Misa lately inducted in the party wanted to reserve for herself. Sulking Ramkirpal left Patna for Delhi in a huff. Ms Misa – incidentally she owes her name to Indira Gandhi’s MISA: remember the notorious Maintenance of Internal Security Act of the 1970’s –dashed to Delhi to persuade dear Uncle to have his way. On learning of her arrival Ramkripal gave her a slip. Misa and her dear husband waited good five hours for Uncleji’s return. Nobody knows how many hours’ ego massaging had to be done to keep the recalcitrant Uncle within the RJD fold. But I hear he has finally quit the party.
Good lesson for Misa-bitia in the art and craft of Bihar politics.
All Sweets Are Gone
The World Health Organization, I hear, has dealt a cruel blow by recommending that sugar intake should be reduced drastically. Bad news indeed for countries growing sugarcane. Incidentally, India was the first country in the world to have discovered the famous “reeds that produce honey without bees”.
Recommended levels of sugar, nutritionists tell us, should stay below 10% of total calorie intake a day. According to some killjoys they should be below 5% for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI) which category I fortunately still fit.
The WHO guidelines recommend limiting the consumption of sugar to reduce public health problems like obesity and dental caries (commonly called tooth decay).
The suggested limits on intake of sugar apply to all types of sweeteners – monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) that are added to food by the manufacturer, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. Blessed with a sweet tooth, I accept the limit of 10 % though with a heavy heart.
The real culprits to deprive us of an innocent pleasure of life are, as usual, the Americans. Their trouble is whatever they do; they do so with real vengeance. It is they more than anyone else to promote unwitting consumption of sugar and all the trouble that followed. And that is the “hidden consumption” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweet. Do you know one tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 gram (around 1 teaspoon) of sugars? A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 gram (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar.
Thank the good Lord, John Keats had written those immortal lines before the WHO-recommended limits
The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
Sweet voice, sweet lips….
All public functionaries, including our beloved Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh who has been a mute witness to the largest number of financial scams in history, unfailingly endorse the maxim that they should be like Caesar’s wife above suspicion.
I was shocked to discover that the all-too-common referent doesn’t really refer to Caesar’s first but only his second wife, Pompeia. There were rumors in Rome around 62 BC that she was linked with Publius Clodius, a notorious dissolute man of the time. Of course as a wise, practical man Caesar was least concerned. It was only when he chose to divorce her to take a new and younger one, he is supposed to have uttered this hypocrisy that even Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.
No one ever doubted the fidelity of Caesar’s first wife. So, in our times of monogamy, doesn’t the phrase sound trifle quaint?
CAT, WAT & SAT
Whether you like it or not – frankly, I don’t – we live in an age of abbreviations. After successfully clearing CAT- the Common Admission Test, MBA aspirants – meaning all unemployed youth - gear up for the next stage of admission in the country’s mushrooming B-schools across the country. These include the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and institutes such as XLRI, Jamshedpur; Management Development Institute, Gurgaon and Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
Students get ready for WAT – the Written Ability Test (WAT), GD i.e., Group Discussion and then PI, namely, Personal Interview. The GD as a testing tool is being scrapped by most of the IIMs and is gradually giving way to the WAT.
One of the reasons the IIMs have favored the WAT over the GD is that the former offers a more equitable platform to all participants to showcase their communication skills without being affected by their personality traits. The WAT is a daunting test for any student as it is a test of one’s written skills, language and style and above all – content.
And for all the above you must have been through SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Think it Through
The great philosopher, Prof. A N Whitehead famously said: “I have always noticed that deeply and truly religious persons are fond of a joke, and I am suspicious of those who aren’t.”
Wasn’t Ramakrishna full of zest for living and a jovial soul? Do you find this trait in the self-declared spiritual gurus of our time?