India is the least happy country in the subcontinent. We have slipped four positions to number 122 in the UN Happiness Index report. By the time you read that sentence, we must have slipped another position because this news makes us sad. According that index, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all fare better than us. Heck, Iraq is happier.
Lankans are typically tropical sons of beaches and are definitely happier. China has no freedom to believe you are unhappy. Nepal has mountains and having mountains makes you humbler and happier. Bangladeshis are just happy that they aren't Pakistan. Pakistan is happy because she is not Afghanistan. Not yet.
But Iraq should make us rethink our priorities? I am sure suicide bombs, ISIS and a 14-century-old Shia-Sunni conflict don't make Iraqis happier than us. One possibility is that just being alive makes Iraqis the happiest thing on earth. But being alive is a good ting here too, right?
So what is it that we lack? How did we, the karma-believer dharma productions, become such sorry ass-suckers that we are ranked lower than Ethiopia and Myanmar? I suspect it has to do with what we consume. You remember the old adage — "You become what you eat"? Well, we deserve this.
The Hindustan Times informed us today that newly anointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath eats boiled grams, papayas, apple and daliya, two full spoons each, before he drinks a bowl of chhachh (buttermilk). No word yet on whether he blows into the bowl. Sometimes, he has two bananas and a lot of water.
|We become what we eat. Everybody can eat tomato. (Credit: YouTube)|
You give me that food for a day and I will be the opposite of happy for a month. You report that in a newspaper, you make thousands of people regret their choices in life. What is the point of going into details like daliya and where the spoons are full or half-empty?
When Vasundhara Raje became Rajasthan's chief minister, no one called to inform us what she ends up having for dinner? We still do not know the number of idlis Rahul Gandhi leaves untouched? We all understand the editorial judgement behind not revealing the details of Arvind Kejriwal's dinner, but what stops the newspapers from describing that of Devendra Fadnavis? Why is there so much secrecy around Arun Jaitley's lunch and Nitin Gadkari's samosas?
Is it because Yogi Adityanath is exotic? The man with a monkey on his lap and earrings going across not the lobe but the conch of the ear? He does look exotic in his Ray-Bans, but it's the saffron robe that makes him robe-daar. He is a human after all, yogi or not. He eats the same things that the rest of us do. He's head of a sect and won't eat meat but when did vegetarians who don't eat exotic greens become exotic?
There is this trend to flaunt vegetarianism as a virtue, but hell freezes over if that virtue is not practised with avocados, broccoli and other myriad shoots and leaves that can't be pronounced have become the hallmark of true vegetarianism. Boiled gram, papaya and daliya don't make the cut. Local leaves are called saag more like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and less like Run Lola Run.
When a bhola TV reporter went to Bundelkhand in 2015, people enjoying a local delicacy involving roots and leaves were lamented as poor people forced to live on grass. Don't know about the grass eaten in Bundelkhand, the one smoked by these reporters is of good quality, I tell you. Run Bhola Run.
We have already been told that Adityanath sleeps four hours a day. Sleeping for only four hours may not be a bad thing but it is not a virtue. That he has a pet dog for company and a monkey to balance. And that Muslims love the Maharaj. That the hospital he runs doesn't discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. That a Muslim keeps his room tidy. In two days, we have basically been told that he treats Muslims as humans. That Adityanath is human. Who ever doubted that?
Some are insisting that he has no vices, so he is a better human than us lesser mortals. He doesn't eat meat, drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Things are bad for you. Eating, especially. What you consume will consume you eventually. But media omits that eventually bit. Newspapers keep telling you there's pesticide even in a mom's milk. Baba Ramdev keeps going on and on about haanikaarak chemicals. Sugar is bad for you. Sitting is the new smoking. Standing up for long will give you blood clots.
Chocolate is bad for you and wine is good for your heart but will definitely kill your liver. Don't eat red meat and fowl got bird flu. Fish have Omega-3 but the mercury will make up for that. Muslims can't eat bacon, Hindus won't eat beef. Everybody can eat tomato. Red and soft. Fresh with a promise of pulp. Cut it and it's like something really ugly and alien died inside.
We become what we eat. Tamatar!