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The path to recovery

First written on #ArtoonsInn…

Bhumi stood before the crowded hall, her eyes burning with defiance. The cross questioning had gone on for long but she refused to budge. It was as if the whole league had gone against her desparate action plan. 

Finally Kamalodbhava got up from his throne, fuming in anger. A part of his creation was facing unprecedented danger and he could not just sit back. He was surprised that it was the docile Bhumi, who had lost her composure.

“Bhumi!” He thundered. The hall went quiet, the sisters of Bhumi stared wide eyed at the fiery Kamalodbhava. 

“Bhumi, this cannot go on any longer. You cannot just take out your frustrations on your own children. They have every right to take advantage of your sustaining power.” Kamalodbhava’s eyes bore into Bhumi’s looking for a glimmer of surrender.

Bhumi stared back at Kamalodbhava.

“Answer me Bhumi.” Kamalodbhava uttered these words with an authoritative tone.

Bhumi rose from her seat. Her blue eyes combined with the blue garment, embellished by a white wavy pattern, stood her out from the crowd. 

“Surajyeshtya! I know I am being made into some sort of a monster but please understand my plight.” Bhumi was ready to defend herself.

“Surajyeshtya! You know that the Manus have been my most favoured children. Right from their childhood I have admired their ability to learn. While my other children like the Vyaghras, the Gajas, who are so majestic and the Mayuras, the Hamsas who are beautiful; they all stuck to a routine, living life only to eat, procreate and die.” 

The sisters knew that Bhumi was passionate about all her children, while they had none to call her own. It was no secret that a few of them like Mangala and Shanini were jealous of Bhumi. Shanini wore beautiful drapes, which formed a halo around her and she would have been the cynosure of all eyes in the Mandala, if only Bhumi had not grown into a graceful, blue-eyed beauty. 

Mangala had lost all her children due to the utter foolishness of one of them, whom she had banished. This child had managed to seek refuge with Bhumi in her young age but it was rumoured that he had been a bad influence on the Manus. It’s another matter that Mangala’s child escaped from Bhumi’s Adobe as well.

“Surajyeshtya! You will say that I spoilt the Manus, I indulged them.” Bhumi was almost pleading.

“But who wouldn’t? See the speed at which they progressed. Weren’t they the only ones to tame Agni? Weren’t they the only ones to increase their speed manifold? Within no time they had progressed from an ox cart to the fast vehicles of today.” 

Suddenly her countenance turned steely. “I should have known then itself, when Manus used and abused their brothers and sisters for their own selfishness, for their…but no, I was blind with love for my Manus.”

“But Bhumi, don’t your other children eat each other? So how are Manus any different”, Kamalodbhava interrupted her.

With a helpless smile, Bhumi answered, “Yes, I satisfied myself with this very logic. But now I realise that while the others eat their brethren, they do it only for satisfying their hunger; Manus eat and kill wantonly…for pleasure.”

Now tears were streaming down her cheeks. Everyone sat, avoiding eye contact with her.  

Bhumi continued, “In the years gone by, they looked at me for sustenance. The green, docile Vrikshas provided them with their vital pranvayu; whenever needed Manus used to clear the Vrikshas but were careful to settle them in nearby areas. I never realised when they stopped settling the poor Vrikshas in other places and started the aridification. This in turn wiped out many of my children.”

“And then they violated my very body to reach at the tailadrava, the drills hammered away, shaking me up to the very core.” Her voice choked up as she remembered the violations. 

She continued between violent sobs, “And they used the tailadrava in the most reprehensible way; with most Vrikshas already history, the tailadrava’s misuse resulted in increased poison which killed more of my other children.”

As the entire hall listened to her in rapt attention she continued passionately, “Using the tailadrava to make abhigatya, their most heinous product, they had gone too far. One day it will kill me, Surajyeshtya! I don’t want to die. Too many of my other children are still dependent upon me to let that happen.”

Though his most favourite creation, the Manus, were in danger of being wiped off, Kamalodbhava was getting influenced by Bhumi’s strong logic.

Suddenly she declared, “Ok, Surajyeshtya! I can still forgive the Manus, they were my favourite too. But they have to change their ways. I am sure they won’t do it on their own because my past warnings have gone unheeded. 

“The vishanu I have released, it was always there with me for many years, the Manus themselves helped release it from its heem confines, and now it is devouring them. Mind you, Surajyeshtya! It is not poisonous for any of my other children. 

“Now Manus can only survive by making lifestyle changes, they cannot stay in huge groups together, they have to spend maximum time within the confines of their abodes, majority of their time will be spent in curing themselves till they find the antidote, which I am sure they will. Surajyeshtya, you have certainly given them a big advantage in their heads; it’s a pity that they hardly use it productively. But by the time they find the antidote, I am sure to heal myself for the benefit of my other children. Already, I have started feeling better, my other children have a twinkle in their eyes, they are roaming about freely even in the ghettos of the Manus…”, Bhumi’s voice trailed off, a smile finally lighting up her face.

Kamalodbhava was now fully convinced and he granted a mandate to Bhumi to stick to the path charted by herself.

—-

Glossary :

Bhumi – Mother Earth

Kamalodbhava – A name of Lord Brahma

Surajyeshtya – another name of Lord Brahma

Mangala – Mars

Shanini – Saturn

Manus – Human race

Vyaghras – Tigers

Gajas – Elephants

Mayuras – Peacocks

Hamsas – Swans

Vrikshas – Trees

Tailadrava – Oil

Abhigatya – plastic

Vishanu – virus

Heem – ice or snow

humour

Superpowered life

First written on @#ArtoonsInn…

I woke up one day and was zapped that my left eye was fluttering. Mind you, it was just the left eye and the right one was blinking like usual. Suddenly I remembered my guru.

My guru, Shri Baburao, snorted hard through his one nostril while jamming shut the other one, his snot flying through the air towards me. Me, being his ardent devotee, had ungrudgingly accepted the divine gift and let it fall on my palms and eagerly waited for his blessings. He had blessed me with his divine vision and declared that the day I wake up with my left eye fluttering, I would have a superpower whose nature I would discover during the course of time.

So here I was, with my fluttering left eye, trying to understand my superpower. But first, as advised by Shri Baburao, I rushed to the cupboard to dress myself in red track pants and brown baniyan for that was to be my attire from now on. And though apprehensive, I followed his next advice to a Tee. I fished out my blue underwear and wore it over the track pants and observed myself from all angles in the mirror. To my horror, I found that the underwear was torn on the backside. Though this mishap was invisible to others with my normal clothing in public, I was dead sure that it would not be socially acceptable with my current attire. With a heavy heart, I made the unfortunate decision to replace the blue one with a yellow one, thus deviating from my Guru’s strict decree.

Now I was ready to face the world. But before that, I wanted to check the effect of my superpower on my cat, Priyamvada, who was sleeping in the hall.

I stepped into the hall. Priyamvada was having his bath cum yoga, but as soon as he saw me, he froze, with his bristled tongue hanging out. In the next moment, he bounced with his hair standing on end, and as soon as he landed back on the floor, he gave out a blood curdling combination of screeches and yowls and flew out of the window. I had been told that animals detect things which are beyond the understanding of mere mortals and Priyamvada’s robust reaction assured me about my superpower. So I decided to step out and opened my apartment door.

Old Mrs. Municipaltiwala coincidently had the same idea and we opened the respective doors simultaneously.

“Dikra, what happened to Priyam…”, but before she could continue, her eyes took in my divine, cosmic sight. Overcome with ecstasy, she swooned to the floor.

That gave me much confidence to face the world and I entered the lift. I did reflect on directly jumping out of the window due to my superpower but hesitated. Though Priyamvada and Mrs. Municipaltiwala had given the right vibes, I thought of taking careful steps into my superpowered life.

Afterall, I am quite a sorted person.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Population control

From the title, you would think I am going to sermonize. But I have not joined any administrative service so why should I? Neither have I a target for sterilization.

After sterilizing his own species to control population explosion and then using this weapon to sterilize his pets, man was itching to apply this birth control method on sundry species on the planet. So a search started for the most dangerous pests.

And which other species is dangerous as well as a pain in the neck for the humans? The tiny mosquito, of course!

In addition to stinging on all areas of the body, this pest has a tendency to buzz around the human ears, that too, in the dead of the night, acting like an alarm clock.

And finally today, it made it to the news.

The final frontier has been crossed. A protein has been found. And also a way to block the protein has been found too.

Apparently it works like this. With whatever chemicals the scientists work with, a protein is blocked and this results in faulty eggs in which the mosquito embryo does not develop. And more than that, the female mosquito is rendered unable to concieve again in her three week life.

So is it possible that in a few years there won’t be any mosquitoes left on Earth?

I think not, the mosquitoes might turn into a Super Bug.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

The Monks who brew

In ancient India, Soma was the preferred drink of the Devas and the Asuras. They fought a lot of wars for possessing this valued drink. It was so popular that it is praised in many hymns in the Vedas. 

Not much is known now about its manufacturing process however it is thought that it was made from some hallucinogenic Himalayan plant. The supreme Indra is said to have enjoyed drinking Soma to his heart’s content. 

It is not known whether the Rishis made it or someone else but now that knowledge is lost, maybe for ever.

But not to worry as in today’s world, the monks have taken to brewing beer and this beer is for the common man like you and me. 

Yes! 

These Belgian monks have been brewing, what is known as Trappist beer but they have certain rules for their customers. The customers cannot resell the beer; it is for their own consumption. 

The monks have a well defined process of selling their beer. People can order by phone and can collect a maximum of two crates in person. But due to its limited availability this beer is comparatively expensive. 

Precisely the reason why it piqued the interest of middlemen. They saw cool profits by selling it in the black market. Or to make it a part of legitimate business. Just like a famous Dutch supermarket did, by selling it at inflated prices. And they had been able to stock a staggering 7200 bottles! How? How was a company able to buy in such volumes?

This question caused them sleepless nights and they had to take steps to overcome this commercialisation of their non-profit venture, which was meant to cover the annual costs of running their abbey.

So they have stopped phone bookings and turned to a more efficient and customer friendly online reservation system. Under this system the customers will have to give their Aadhar card details, or rather, their address and car number, as they stay in Europe. And a single buy will be limited to two crates of beer for a period of 60 days. Priority will be to those who have waited the most since their last purchase.

And no, the Trappist beer is not expected to be sold in the near future in India. We don’t have any Belgian monks… otherwise I was already imagining a few Indians reading this, sharpening their Aadhar Cards for booking a crate or two and swiping their credit cards.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Under the belt index

Originally written in 2019…

A noble soul made me aware about this index denoting an economic slowdown and and I am thankful for this addition to my knowledge.

Like all things men, this is simply called as the ‘Men’s underwear Index’, an index with no gaudy frills. It is theorised that tracking this index is a good indicator of the state of economy of a country.

Every problem related to below the belt matters of the Indian male is simply known as ‘Gupt Rog’. They will try to find solutions to their Rog in all secrecy so that nobody else, especially the fellow males, get any inkling of it.

Similarly, the Index is not much talked about except in the inner recesses of economic circles. For eg. I had never known about this index, as IIP Index was more commonly used. So this was the Gupt Gyan of the economic circles.

To think that a man called Alan Greenspan thought about it, way back in the 70’s. He theorised that a slowdown in the sales of men’s briefs can be very revealing. I had always thought that not wearing any briefs is revealing but how wrong was I.

To enhance the knowledge of the commoners, the innerwear sales growth fell sharply in the first quarter of this year and this proportionately reflects on the state of the economy. The buying of briefs comes under the discretionary spend head, and this has fallen.

The sale of the bottom covering briefs has touched the rock bottom and no one is happy.

All the main brief manufacturers are going through hard times with their sales falling, the weakest performance in a decade. Perhaps they need performance enhancing drugs, a power booster, an aphrodisiac, to bring them back on track.

All this is an indication of poor state of economy. The primary reason is that the disposable income of Indian consumers is shrinking.

The knowledgeable people dealing in economics say, “The primary reason for the drop is rural distress, and the ailing health of financial institutions. The unemployment rate is also very high. All these factors have led to a decrease in expenditure at the consumer level. Availability of funds also slowed down at the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) level as well.”

But I have a simple reason. The economic downturn has resulted in more Indian males being forced to stay at home. And when at home the Indian male doesn’t like being unencumbered by the tight elastic, thus increasing the life cycle of his briefs resulting in delayed buying.

This is his brief contribution to bringing the economy back on track.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

A Public Library

Recently a library in New Zealand had to un-install a buzzer from outside their premises. 

Apparently this high frequency buzzer had been installed by them to get rid of bullies who did not allow the students of the studious variety to study in peace. In short they were a nuisance. 

But the authorities decided that the buzzer itself was a nuisance since, in addition to the bullies, it disturbed the students too. 

And it was said to violate the fundamental rights of the bullies too. And , what may we ask, are the fundamental rights of the bully? 

And mind you, it was not any library attached to a college or something, it was a public library.

In India, there is no such need for a buzzer to get rid of bullies, especially in a public library. First of all, the public library is usually situated in a real public place, which is quite noisy in itself. Due to which, there are not many patrons for it. 

Usually such libraries are bang in the middle of the vegetable markets thus the major study which happens is, “potato 100 Rs. A kg.”, etc. 

If a person goes to study physics, the only knowledge he will gain is, how the vegetable prices go on rising defying the laws of gravity. And if he goes to study the mechanics of flying rockets, he will be brought harshly down to earth, by slipping on a banana peel on the way. 

I know of a public library in Thane, which is located near a fish market. It is a good place to study about the edible aquatic life and also the local names of all such fish. But then you should be able to survive the olfactory onslaught on your senses. And you can also learn haggling of the highest order. 

Another library that I know of is situated bang inside a cloth market. Here you get good knowledge of the traditional Indian sarees like Kanjivaram, Paithani, Banarasi, etc. and the latest trends in fashion industry. 

To keep things short, there is no need of such buzzers near our public libraries since the job is done very efficiently by the very fact that they are located in real public spaces. 

One must say too efficiently, since the patrons too keep far away from them.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Dance to the ‘Moo’sic

It is said that life on Earth depends on survival of the fittest. Hence the most weak species like the Dodo were wiped out or the most powerful species like the lion and the tiger are endangered as they have to deal with the so-called sharper minds of humans.

Do IITian’s have the sharpest minds among the humans? At least in India, we believe so, as most parents would love to have their wards in an IIT. They think that once their children are into an IIT they have that extra advantage over other ordinary students when they start out on the rat race. Yes, the every day struggle of humans to earn a living and achieve something in life is called a rat race.

But when they get into IIT, and especially IIT, Mumbai these students have to vie for space with so many other species.

Once, students in IIT, Mumbai were vulnerable to dangerous species like the Leopard and the Cobra. The nearby Powai Lake was infested with crocodiles. Yes, you read right. Don’t think that the IITian’s have it easy inside that sprawling, tree lined campus.

Nowadays, the Leopard and the Cobra have almost disappeared, though they do manage to make special guest appearances at lecture halls.

However, today the street dogs, the monkeys and cattle, lord it over inside the campus. Few months back, I had written about the monkey menace there. The dog infestation is across Mumbai, hence nothing special to write about.

But today, a student was run over by two, fighting bulls. It so happened that they were chasing each other on the IIT campus street when an unfortunate student happened to be in the line of their stampede. Of course, he happened to be staring into his mobile screen, which is an invention of a particularly mad scientist, bent upon making the human race to go backwards in civilization. So the bulls steamrolled the student who miraculously escaped with minor scratches though he did lose consciousness at that instant. But happy to report his survival.

This goes to show that a few species are putting up a good fight to try and prevent the human race from running away and ruining the planet by infiltrating the highest echelons of human learning.

Last heard, the humans have appealed to their highest authorities to rid the campus of other animal species. Or atleast control them, as these other species do provide a stress busting environment to the extremely stressed students.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Rowdy Rooster

There was nothing rowdy about it. Maurice had malice towards none. It was in his nature. To crow early morning; his daily salute the morning Sun. And the French countryside loved him for that, their morning alarm which never failed to rouse them from deep slumber. In fact, few people in the village did not get their morning pressure till they heard him. 

Maurice had a booming crow and the online friendly young folk of the town had made him into a celebrity in France. But no one in the village were to know that their way of life was soon going to be challenged.

Maurice had a booming crow and the online friendly young folk of the town had made him into a celebrity in France. But no one in the village were to know that their way of life was soon going to be challenged.

We in the Indian metros are very familiar with the concept of a holiday home where the nuclear families yearn for a break from their stressed lives and builders take advantage of this craving by offering homes in idyllic surroundings of the countryside.

It seems this is a common phenomenon in other countries as well. Certainly France, where our hero, Maurice comes from. 

His neighborhood changed fast and soon his owner’s small dwelling was boxed between big bungalows in which the city folk moved into, especially during the weekends. They came, looking for some peace and quiet, which they got in plenty but putting up with the loud crowing of Maurice in the early morning was a challenge. His owner was faced with complaints and being a simple woman, she tried various tricks to quieten him.

Suddenly he found himself locked away for the night. Extra care was taken to ensure that the morning rays did not reach him. 

Poor Maurice!

What was he to do? He started crowing louder to plead with his owner to let him out. 

Finally, a city couple from the neighbourhood had had enough. They were retirees who had moved to the village to imbibe the village life but forgot to put their city egos in the city. They slapped a case against the owner and accused Maurice of making a great cacophony every morning and disturbing their beauty sleep.

Soon the case grabbed headlines across France and the Maurice Fan club gathered supporters. 

“The complainants are fools who have suddenly discovered that eggs don’t grow on trees!”, thundered the Mayor of the town.

The other animals of the countryside came out in support, the donkeys braying and the cows mooing.

The lawyer defended Maurice’s right to make himself heard. He himself was not in court otherwise he would have crowed in his own defence.

Last heard, the city folks are getting used to Maurice as they are finding his crowing an early morning stress buster compared to the sounds of the city.

Yatindra Tawde

humour

Tu cheese badi hai mast…

“Tu cheese badi hai mast mast”, went the superhit song of the 90’s, which had Khiladi Kumar and Raveena Tandon gyrating to the lyrics. The spelling of cheese above is not a spelling mistake, it is deliberately spelled so, since it is the heroine of this story.

It is said that all living things, including trees, respond to various types of music, in different ways. While we have seen cats enjoying piano music, dogs have been known to headbang to rock.

Trees respond to music too, and Indian classical has been proved to help the plants to thrive. However, certain research says that trees or plants respond to the vibrations produced by music.

Taking inspiration from above I decided to study the effects of music on cheese; I was very eager to know how the flavour and ripening of cheese would respond to different frequencies of musical sound.

So I went to the mall and bought 8 packets of cheese. After coming home the cheese was gently escorted out of the packs and kept on 8 wooden dishes seperately.

Then eight pairs of earphones were placed surrounding each wooden dish. Lot of thought went into the selection of eight types of music.

One dish of cheese wiggled itself to Elvis Presley while Beetles serenaded another.

While Country Music took it back to its country roots, afrobeat shook it up to its core.

Jazz was music to its core, and Folk music welled up its eyes.

The cheese really thrived in Indian classical, growing in size and spilling beyond the borders of the wooden dish.

But when I played it, its namesake song, “tu cheese badi hai mast mast…”, and tasted, I slurped my fingers; it has a strong flavour. Perhaps it was influenced by the pair of handsome specimen who wiggled their booty seductively.

You would think I have lost my mind but no.

Recently a team of researchers, who, usually don’t have anything productive to do, conducted an exactly similar experiment.

The team used mini transmitters to diffuse the musical energy into the cheese and this experiment went on for 6 months for the results to be concluded and finally the results were announced.

The cheese exposed to Mozart had a milder taste, but it was the cheese exposed to hip-hop which had a tangy flavour.

Hope, further research doesn’t say that the Gully boy binges on tangy cheese. Or the Classical wizard is a connoisseur of mild cheese…

Yatindra Tawde

book review

The Vedas and Upanishads for children – A book review

Book title : The Vedas and Upanishads for children

Author : Roopa Pai

Publisher: Hachette Book Publishing India Pvt. Ltd.

No. of pages: 410

Let there be no doubt about it, The Vedas and Upanishads are no simple subjects that anyone and everyone can attempt writing about them. First of all, they are so ancient; second, they are originally written in the ancient language of the Indian subcontinent, Sanskrit. This language has very few current aficionados. Third, there are quite a few translations available, from the 19th century to quite recent, where, not everyone has managed to capture the true gist of those great works. 

However the author, Roopa Pai has studied the best among them like the works of Bibek and Dipavali Debroy, Swami Vivekananda, S. Radhakrishnan, Sri M and many others. Please refer to the select bibliography at the end of the book.

Studying is only half the battle won. Interpreting it for the target audience, who are the teenagers, and keeping it interesting enough throughout the entire length of the book is a stupendous achievement. 

And mind you, this book is not only for teenagers, though written in a language they understand. Those who have only a cursory knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads, like yours truly, will find it equally interesting and wonderous. I mean, those ancient rishis and sages really developed some profound thoughts which acted as guiding principles to innumerable generations. 

Like the author says, there might be parts of the Vedas and Upanishads that you will love and others which you don’t feel comfortable with. Just take from them the useful and illuminating lessons and set the rest aside. Even those ancient sages are not asking you to believe everything they have said but exhorting you to think for yourself.

Speaking for myself, I felt those sages certainly had a scientific bent of mind, the way they thought and tried to unravel answers to some very fundamental questions. They sought to inspire people to seek the truth for themselves. Of course, the science of those times may not have been so advanced (though many would disagree) that few of those ideas would be relevant in today’s age too, but you can’t deny that the methodology they employed is still applicable. You might think I have said something preposterous, but read this book and then form your own opinion.

Hats off to Roopa Pai for attempting to communicate in simple language, the very difficult and sometimes confusing world of the Vedas and Upanishads. She says that the old, old answers of the Upanishads are among the most convincing, for a significant number of people still swear by them. So grab this book to find out more!

Totally recommended.

Yatindra Tawde