Random Thoughts

Fourth Delhi Durbar; Women in Love

Fourth Delhi Durbar
A New Beginning
Women in Love
Lose While You Snooze
Changing Regimen
Take Your Choice

Fourth Delhi Durbar

Delhi and Delhites aren’t unfamiliar with Durbars in true regal style. Long before the Congress Raj began its no-so-glorious innings and the sun had no serious plans of setting over the British Empire, there had been three Imperial Durbars of Delhi held in 1877, 1903, and 1911. The 1911 Durbar was the only one attended by the British sovereign. Our family history has it that my great grandfather came all the way from Rawalpindi to attend it.

Those at the helm of affairs in the Capital have had their unique personalities. Jawaharlal in his day ruled like a Colossus. So did his dear daughter once she settled down. When Rajiv Gandhi and his cronies ruled the roost, Sonia Gandhi had her first taste of power that only whetted her appetite for it. PV Narasimha Rao was mocked for his perceived indecisiveness. The letters P and V in his initials stood, it was darkly murmured, for prevarication and procrastination. HD Deve Gowda was known for his soporific postures, caught having catnaps during meetings. IK Gujral was reputed for affable vagueness and Manmohan Singh for supreme silence, which earned him the nickname Manmuan Singh. The exception, BJP’s own Atal Behari Vajpayee, was an orator in the parliamentary mould and remembered, today, more for his poetic humor rather than thunderous roars.

Wait and watch the stamp of personality Narendra Modi leaves behind. Though it is premature to say what it would be, one thing is fairly certain. It will usher in a new era which was heralded by the media with its minute-to-minute coverage of ‘Rashtrapati Bhavan's biggest-ever event’ and the announcement of a guest-list that boasted of seven Heads of State, business tycoons and renowned artists.

Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony as India’s 14th Prime Minister had all the air of royal coronation. Never before has an oath-taking ceremony of a prime minister and his cabinet been so characterized by so much ‘pomp and grandeur’, tell us who in their life times have been close witnesses to the town’s celebratory extravaganzas, reminiscent of the coronation of Edward and the inauguration of the Lutyens city in 1911.

What used, once upon a time, to be a drab and formal event that held little interest to the wider public, let alone a global audience, with Modi’s take-over turned into a hugely anticipated event that will go down in history for its pomp and show.

Modi’s decision to invite eight heads of state for the ceremony, an unprecedented move by a PM designate, raised the profile of the event to a whole new level.

On a day when every move of his was being watched and analyzed closely, Modi’s first public event was to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

The biggest surprise Modi sprang on the world was his invitation to and its acceptance by the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. This ‘diplomatic coup’, as it has been described, has won Modi praise from some of his severest detractors, and that’s saying something. Indeed the man has a sense of theater.

Now hold your breath and wait for his first day in Parliament, then the August 15 speech at Red Fort, his first visit to the US to meet the old pal in White House. If there is someone who knows how to convert anything he deems significant into a media event, it’s good old Narendrabhai.

A New Beginning

In a rarely self-reflective mood, The Guardian described the result of our 2014 elections as the final departure of the British. And thank the Good Lord for it. I know it’s a harsh judgment, but true. There was indeed n inglorious continuity between the two: the British Raj and the Congress Raj.

T B Macaulay’s Indian Penal Code (IPC) still rules, as does the Civil Service established in his day that was copied from the British after the Northcote-Trevelyan reforms. The home country has reformed both its penal code and its civil service to cope with a changed world. India still remains the museum of British Imperialism.

That perhaps may be why the young were, and still are, impatient for change. At last, there is a party in power that is unburdened by an outdated history or cumbersome heritage. At long last India has both a party and its leader born after Independence, and attuned to the realities of the time. Who was it who said? William Wordsworth, isn’t it?

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven! - Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!

Women in love

Neglected most of the day - hard pressed with repetitive domestic chores - young women go to Church for solace. Is it their fault that sometimes they fall in love with the young handsome priest who shining in the aura of celibacy appears the center of their attention and not the sermon of the day!

Twenty-six such women who had fallen in love with Roman Catholic priests have written to Pope Francis urging him to make celibacy optional. Will His Holiness relent? The chances of the Bishop of Rome relenting in his stern resolve are remote indeed. But if another few thousand append their signatures to such a future petition, His Holiness the Pope may have to give a second thought to the temptations of flesh. Meanwhile, the only comfort in the lives of such love-starved women may be more frequent visits to the Church to have a glimpse of the man they love.

Priestly celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, while not an unchangeable dogma, is a tradition. And since it goes back more than 1,000 years, it becomes all the more difficult to get rid of.

In recent decades the Vatican has come under pressure to make celibacy optional and allow priests to marry, with supporters saying that this would help ease the acute shortage of priests in many areas.

The women asked the pope to “bless our love,” adding that few people could understand the “devastating suffering lived by a woman who has a strong love for a priest”.

Lose While You Snooze

Traditionally, the much-dreaded formula has always been: more exercise and less food, equals weight loss. Now — and thank the Almighty for that - some wise experts are recommending improved sleep as an inexpensive, newly-discovered key to obesity intervention.

Studies of sleep and obesity have proliferated in recent years. Just type some title containing both the words “sleep” and “obesity”, and you would be flooded with list of titles for further reading.

How could it be that the duration of our sleep could affect our weight? By restricting sleep in adult volunteers over several nights in the lab, some potential mechanisms have emerged. Lesser sleep (e.g., just few hours per night) is accompanied by a set of hormonal changes that impair the body’s ability to balance blood-glucose levels.

A relationship between curtailed sleep and obesity exists and we have possible mechanisms to explain it.

I look forward to the day when it is universally established that by sleeping more one can weigh less. Gyms will down their shutters and you and I will get up after lunch to just get ready for supper. Don’t you too look forward to the arrival of the day when we all swear by the “You snooze, you lose,” mantra, implying that sleeping is the way to weight management?

Changing Regimen

The good old idea that we should burn at least 2,000 calories a week during exercise seems to have its origin in data gathered decades ago, and that too as part of a Harvard Alumni Study. That study followed male Harvard graduates for as long as 50 years, tracking how they lived and died. One of the first publications based on the data, appeared in 1978. It showed that the older alumni who expended less than 2,000 calories a week in exercise were at 64 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack than those who burned 2,000 calories a week or more during exercise.

Those were good old days when the study was originally conducted. The researchers’ definition of exercise was generous. It included such routine activities as climbing stairs and walking around the block, as well as playing sports or jogging.

Widely reported at the time, the 2,000-calorie guideline still gets bandied about today. But the current exercise guidelines from the US federal government, based on a large body of recent scientific evidence, emphasize time, not calories, and recommend that healthy adults engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such means brisk walking or cycling.

I don’t have to be an exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic to tell you that having a walk every day and not availing of the lift just for climbing a flight of steps is the best way to keep yourself going. But then I’ve known of worthies living long years whose only exercise during the day was bending the elbow to lift the glass every evening. And that they did the Biblical three score and ten times every day. And unfailingly.

Take Your Choice

Which in your reckoning is the best of the lot among the following:

Near, far, wherever you’re
Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar

Circumference of a cirle is 2Pi R
Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar

Don’t you think we’re pushing it too far
Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar

Chutney ke bina dhokla hai bekaar
Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar

Abcdefghijklmnopq R
Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar


More by :  Sakshi

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