Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Paper, The Information, The Conclusion!

My reading mostly entitles anything printed I could lay my eyes on..from any source, as I sit in front of my computer and browse the internet, or cursorily glance through the news paper, magazines (while I wait in the pediatrician’s office or the physical therapist’s office to help me fix my back or neck ). It could be the most pointless of articles or the most touching, intelligent or wittily written blog entry. Basically, any small non-fiction articles.

Fiction and non-fiction BOOKS seem totally off limits for me at this point, for lack of time and focus. Yeah! I have the attention span of a toddler.  I never grew up in that respect. Look at me, I brag about this like I’m so proud of my accomplishment and then, get mad at my kids if they exhibit the behavior. Maybe, I can also add “reason” to my list of “never-grew-up” stuff. No wonder, I feel so much at home with my kids and they with me!

Since mistakes do happen, I do sometimes get carried away by a book or two, like I used to in those bygone days....but then, Richa will not spare a moment to remind me, what else I should be putting my mind into, like, a tiger game where I get to be the crawling tiger and also get to catch her while she runs around, or, the triplets would remember, they needed  help with their homework just when the clock strikes the gong to inform them,

“Lights off, Its Sleepy time”

just enough to get me back into my nagging routine of how irresponsible they had been, to save this for this hour. Or, they would have created a show, ready for us to watch.

Luckily, creativity is not alien to them as it had been to me  So, this situation of mine, where I crib so much about lack of time..seems to be a win win for me.  After, blaming my lack of reading on,

“Why aren’t there 30 or 50 hours in a day?”

and my kids, I do eventually, get to do lots of fun stuff that I like and a little bit of parenting too in the process.

The one newspaper I get a lot to read, (or skim through) thanks to Hubby dear who doesn’t want to subscribe to any other, is the Wall Street Journal, or WSJ. Its one paper that needs some conditioning to get used to, just like one needs to condition your tongue to Thai food. I remember the first time I had it..couldn’t stand that weird taste.

Seemed so close in taste to an Indian curry yet, there seemed to be some flavor that spoiled the whole dish.  While all the others among our group were hoggin on saying..Yum! ( I remember one colleague from work, who used to use all the paper towels at the table to wipe the sweat of  his forehead  and still continue to order cut green chilies' on the side, apart from his extra hot red curry order.), I was unable to appreciate it.

Coming back to this WSJ, it comes like this big fat book and looks so raw and in no sense attractive. There are hardly any pictures..just reams and reams of paper with letters and numbers printed so tiny, that a person with a 20/20 vision would need a magnifying glass to read. There is nothing that hints “Masala” on it. There is no “E!” news anywhere.

Eventually..after a little struggle, one gets to know the spots to find the “Masala” news! Not the “Masala” we Indians know Masala as, but, what WSJ wants you to construe it as.

The way this paper is like this. Its delivered early in the morning even before sunrise, wrapped in sheets of plastic. Most people commuting by train read this ( ignoring the ones that yap on the phone sitting beside you ), like its their indispensible caffeine, only, they need a cup on the side, with that real hot beverage too, to help assimilate the stuff in the paper lest, it puts them to sleep! Once people reach their destinations…there are newspaper bins all around where those papers are disposed off. But, Hubby brings them back for me, most times, like he used to, for my Dad, during the time he visited us when the triplets were born.

My Dad,  was a diabetic, blind in one eye, and could hardly see much from the other too. He was always spotted with this big magnifying glass trying to make out words from those tiny prints of the WSJ. He used to hold on to each letter until he figured out the word and consequently the sentence.  The visual of him bent on that paper with the magnifying glass, still so clear in my head. WSJ had managed to capture his interest too.

You would realize how difficult this process of getting used to reading newspapers like WSJ is,  if you would come across the Indian newspapers like “Indian Express” or “Deccan Chronicle” or “The Hindu” and many others that are circulated, in the city I come from, in India.

Those have big pictures, quite a few tasteless, without any censor when it came to showing crime scenes, of Movie stars and socialites. If there wasn’t a scam to report, or a political scenario where some politician, had not changed parties, or, forming a new one, news bits like, “John Abraham insures his tush for 10 Crores” would be top news. (That’s the bit I read when I was in India last summer).  There is no dearth of such “Masala” and the newspaper is so light almost without any grammage attached to it. Used to be fun reading them.

That I’m stuck with WSJ now, aware of what's happening with the Arab nations right now, I start to turn the pages. I’m not interested that Facebook raised $50 billion with help of Goldman Sach’s or that there is a poll on how people perceive Apple’s Steve Jobs leaving the company for health reasons, or that Goggle’s CEO is very smart but most times very rude too. That he idolizes Steve Jobs or that Jobs has been on medical leave again..or that, walkway rage is as real as road rage or that ICU treatment has been shown to cause some brain damage in the long term due to keeping patients sedated for long durations.

What caught my attention was this tiny article that said that a happy marriage is always about finding the right sized partner. Immediately, my mind raced around sizing up myself with Hubby and many other couples,  and sizing them up against their partners weight wise and height wise! I’ve seen couples where the man is tiny compared to the woman, or couples where the man is as tall as a tower and the wife a tiny midget, ( our classic Big B couple, right! ). Were they happy?! 

I continue to read, research mentions that as the years progressed in ones marriage…men with body mass index greater than his wife’s were found to be happier.  Similarly, in a woman’s case, the happiness index in her marriage stayed put or increased if she was tinier than her man.  So, all happiness in marriage melted down to one thing that I myself, had been struggling all along to achieve, in my marriage too. The woman needs to be tinier than her man. I mean … Thinner than her man! But, how does one achieve that with a Hubby like mine?!

I know Hubby dear loves challenges, but, why does he have to choose mine for me?  He could have made this easier on keeping his BMI higher than mine, right? No! he will go ahead and reduce his BMI further and brag about it too!  Then, he tops it by convincing me over the years..that, it didn’t matter to him, that I’m out of shape, I’m fat, or growing older.  He would love me irrespective of anything, even if my BMI was more than his, reminding me that my BMI was more than his :-(

Somehow, I knew all those sweet words were too good to be true. Now, research has proved it so. It had opened my eyes as to why Hubby dear would insist that I work out, and keep fit.  For my own self, and for our kids, he had said. He had conveniently put all that “To be liked” onus back on me! How do I convince him..I already am in love with myself. I have always been..since the day I came alive into this world. The most selfish kind of love.

So, I decide to take on this challenge of getting my BMI below his disgustingly low 1#% (I’m guessing its around 13-14 maybe, who knows, could be less too!). I increased the pace of my workouts, reduced the amount of food, but, I see no signs that I’m anywhere close to my goal. I struggled ignore all this food around me, as I work out in the kitchen, washing dishes and cooking while he easily looks through all this food it was just thin air. .

With just enough salt to dress my wound, he’ll have a smoothie for lunch like his magic metabolic rate needs it, while I would think of what’s for lunch, after having the smoothie.  Wouldn’t the world have been a better place for me, if I had not caught a glimpse of this article? Ignorance is so blissful. And if it is so..why even bother thinking so much, my lazy mind reminds me?

There’s more to add to my woes. Its never so bad that it can’t get worse, right?! There was another article waiting to catch my attention on another page…on something called the “Gut Brain”. I had always had this Gut feeling that something more was to come.

So, this article tells me, our Gut has nerve cells as many as the brain of a cat and it can tell the bigger brain, the one that resides inside our head..that its not hungry anymore and that, it should turn on the “not hungry” sign now. That, the hand should stop approaching the food. That the eyes shouldn’t find the site of food appealing anymore..and its smell, should feel nauseating!

How come my Gut Brain wasn’t wired like that? My Gut Brain did many more things than what was mentioned. My gut brain had made me feel “Panic” when confronted with a difficult situation. It had made me feel weak in my knees and made it wobbly. My gut brain only gave me “Butterflies” in  my tummy, when I felt nervous, like the time when the results of my exams were to be announced. It had made my tummy feel that “Weird” feeling when Pavan came close to me for the first time. The feeling very well used in this blog and described by Hobbes from “Calvin and Hobbes”.

My gut brain had made my head feel  “Giddy” and my heart “Stop”  when we couldn’t spot one of the triplets in the mall..while they played a prank on us at the mall. ( That was the day we had decided never to go to the mall with the kids.)

I remember, holding on to my tummy for support, squeezing it, like something was jumping inside, during such situations.   But, It never told me that I needed to stop eating because I wasn’t actually hungry during the times, I wasn’t hungry and still hogging away to glory. In fact, I ate more in such situations.

“I had told you this all along, didn’t I?! “, squealed Hubby dear,

to remind me, I didn’t need to eat as much as I do..when I mentioned to him about this Gut Brain.

“I need all that food Dear!!” I screamed,  “How will I be able to do all that work I have in the day? I hardly get to sit down in the day!”

So, I decide, I’m now going wait for those foods that Nestle and others are developing that’s going to be very slow to process by the Gut..and going to makes one feel full very soon. The 2 main signals that the Gut Brain is able to tell the bigger brain that makes us less hungry, and feel full for longer!

Then I come to the disappointing part of the news..

”it’s going to be 5 more years to see them in the market”, I read.

“Oh! what a torture!”

In the end..I give up and realize, there is no way to satisfy Hubby dear.

“My BMI is never going to be lesser than Hubby dear’s” and if our marriage is to continue with its happy days, it’ll have to do that in spite of my BMI compared to my Hubby’s or my Gut Brain refusing to tell me..that I’m not actually hungry.Or how about, I just change to reading another newspaper.

But, then I’ve noticed in the recent past, the articles that were short listed by Hubby dear from the WSJ, later caught on with the other networks and newspapers as well, means, there is no winning in this situation.

Then I remembered the old couple I saw last summer, as they were going about their evening walk talking with each other, engrossed in each other, listening to each other, so preoccupied with each other. Nothing around the world mattered more to them, than each other. The man was tiny and short,  the woman huge compared to the man. They looked so satisfied and happy together.  Did it even matter that the woman’s BMI was more than her man’s? Did it even matter that the woman was not tinier than her man? That’s the picture that brought back the calm in me and I told myself, I need to trust my Gut some more.

I went down to the kitchen and had a sumptuous meal. :D

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