We hope you have managed to keep your sanity intact despite all that is going around. That we believe is the tallest ask for the times we live in. We have been saying this for long enough now that the current world chaos is a continuation of the old world chaos, and will follow us right to the future world. This is the mantra we follow to keep our sanity intact. This is our suggestion for yours too. And if you have a sane sanity suggestion, you know how to share it — that is, if you want to share it. There is a comment box right at the end of this piece.
Continue reading to get to the box.
So, yesterday we told you about temperatures rising in the country with people making below-the-belt comments against who but people. In that series of who was lashing out at whom, we told you about actor Rajinikanth saying that Ram and Sita were insulted during a 1971 Periyar rally. If you didn’t read it yesterday, you can do it today. Where? Here.
But why are we bringing this up again today? Because when heat rises, things burn. When tempers rise, things both break and burn. Not on their own, of course. People break and burn things. Angry people, we mean.
So these angry people vandalised a Periyar statue near Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu.
People are known to vent their anger out on statues. You know statues are built by followers of famous people to serve as a reminder of their legacies. But if you are a Mayawati, you do get to build your own statue (read statues) too. Think that’s too much? Think about your childhood when you turned yourself into a statue while playing that 'freeze' and release game. In many parts of India, the game was just called ‘statue’. We have said a lot about statues and we intend to say a bit more, because statue is our Word Of The Day.
Let’s make this fun. So, statue! Read. If you are on your phone, move nothing more than your eyelids and fingers to scroll. If you are on your PC or laptop, move just the scroll. But if are using public transport, watch your steps and don’t participate in the game. For the rest, let’s start.
First, let’s see how Oxford defines it. According to Oxford, a statue is a figure of a person or an animal in stone, metal, etc, usually the same size as in real life or larger. Talking about sizes, let us remind you that the world’s tallest statue is in India. Yes, the Statue of Unity.
Statue comes from the Latin word ‘statua’, which comes from the verb ‘stare’. So you are statue when you just stand and stare. Remember the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue that stood staring down Wall Street? Let us help remind you.
In 2017, the bronze statue of a little girl with her hands on her hips became a tourism phenomenon. The statue’s message was for a bigger role for women in corporate America.
Over! No, not today’s news, views and nonsense. We meant your statue phase. Release after the freeze.
Did you notice poha trending for most part of the day on Twitter today? That was, of course, more because of BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya saying some of the labourers carrying out construction work at his house recently were likely to be Bangladeshis as they had 'strange' eating habits and were consuming only 'poha'.
BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya says some of the labourers carrying out construction work at his house recently were likely to be Bangladeshis as they had "strange" eating habits and were consuming only 'poha' (flattened rice)— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 23, 2020
Now, we don’t mean to patronise the poha or exalt it as the ultimate breakfast dish because views on the poha are deeply divided. Not its health benefits, just its taste. Healthy it sure is. And healthier it can get as you add more veggies and paneer and pomegranate to it. But taste is a subjective matter. Let’s say more people like it than people who are indifferent to it or dislike it. This assumption is based on general observation, not empirical evidence.
So there is this legend — popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated — that Vijayvargiya seems to have forgotten. Or maybe he doesn’t believe in it because it is just a legend. What is the legend?
Yes, yes, coming to that.
It is said that Krishna’s childhood friend Sudama, in a state of penury, came to visit Krishna, who was the king of Dwarka. Sudama brought with him a handful of poha as a gift for his friend. Krishna, it is believed, ate it all saying it is his favourite food. Now, we can’t confirm two things here. One, if Krishna genuinely meant it and wasn’t just being nice to his friend. Two, this episode ever happened. It may or may not have, who knows?
Not Vijayvargiya for sure.
Now, to the question of strange eating habits. We have already explained why what may look and taste strange — even disgusting — to one, could be another person’s delicacy. If you missed it, you must take a look at this.
But talking of strange things reminds us of this news piece on BBC which talked about how the voice of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian priest has been brought to life. How, why, who? We know the questions popping up in your head. We will get down to answering them straight away.
There was a priest named Nesyamun who lived between 1099 and 1069 BC. Nesyamun worked at the state temple of Karnak in Thebes. His duties included singing and speaking and he needed a strong voice to perform his duties.
Scientists have recreated much of Nesyamun’s vocal tract using medical scanners, 3D printing and an electronic larynx. Nesyamun's mummified remains were on display at the Leeds City Museum in the UK.
Talking of mummies reminds us of the curse of the pharaohs. Pharaohs were basically political leaders of ancient Egypt. It is believed that anyone who disturbs the mummy of an ancient Egyptian person, especially a pharaoh, would be followed by bad luck, illness or even death.
Many tombs had curses inscribed on them.
This again is the stuff of legends.
Talking of legends and curses, have you heard of Egyptian ruler Tutankhamen’s curse?
Tutankhamen is believed to have died in 1323 BC, aged about 18. In 1922, the pharaoh’s mummy was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter across the Nile in Egypt. Carter, of course, wasn’t alone. There was a group that accompanied him on the excavation. Tutankhamen’s tomb found company in the many other tombs that existed in the area.
When Carter reached the spot, he found most other tombs in the area had been plundered. Tutankhamen’s was the only one that stood untouched. It was untouched even when it had no curse inscribed on or around it. The belief in the mummy's curse came back to haunt humans when Lord Carnarvon, patron of Howard Carter's archaeological excavations, died five months after the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. Carnarvon died of blood poisoning. And you know how that started? It started with a mosquito bite. When Carnarvon died, the lights in the city went out.
More than 20 deaths are believed to have followed the exhumation of the mummy in the years that followed.
Now, when Carter died alone of Hodgkin’s disease in his London flat in 1939 at the age of 64, the story of the mummy’s curse sprang back to life in his obituaries and it has persisted to this day. Sometime before Carter died, his canary went missing.
But when curiosity gets the better of you, superstitions can take a backseat. None of these deaths have stopped people from continuing to dig out mummies to unravel the mysteries of life and death that they buried with them.
We leave with this to process over what remains of today and the whole of Saturday and Sunday. In the meanwhile, if you're done worrying about curses and mysteries and just want a good break from reality, take refuge at the movies. There's Kangana Ranaut's Panga and Varun Dhawan-Shraddha Kapoor's Street Dancer 3D in theatres.
See you Monday.