Four Stray Thoughts : October 25, 2009

Here are my Four Stray Thoughts for the day:

1. The Obesity Problem: Yesterday was World Obesity Day. It is definitely not a day to celebrate but something to reflect upon. Let me focus first on the bad part. The problem is obesity is not going away. In fact, the number of obese people around us is increasing. All you need to do is keep your eyes open and walk on the street to see the progress that people have made in their waistlines. Even the recession does not seem to have stopped the growth of obesity. An area of concern is also around obesity in the younger generation and right down to kindergarten and primary school kids. The worst part is that parents normally look at a little bit of fat in their kids as something to feel proud about. I am fairly convinced that within in the next decade or so, India will be the obese capital along with all other dubious distinctions in health statistics like the heart problem capital, the diabetes capital, etc. Now the good part. Except for people genuinely suffering from some health problem that has caused obesity, it has generally been developed by the individual himself. Unhealthy eating, lifestyle issues, stress, etc have been largely blamed as being responsible for obesity. But if you look at it, all these problems are man-made and hence the positive side is that you can do something about it. Put in an half hour every morning for something like a walk, running, cycling, etc or even climbing stairs and slowly build upon it. Unfortunately, the solution that most people go for is to join the neighborhood gym and hope that they will emerge lean from there. With such short cut solutions, you obesity is not going to go away and at the same time  you are ensuring that the bank balances of the Gym Owners are becoming obese too.

2. What is the time? : I have stayed in several hotels across different cities/countries. I cannot say with a 100% accuracy but one item always seems to be missing from the room. And that is a wall clock. I have seen several hotels in the US provide a small alarm clock with a Radio, which has a little digital time display for you but that is not really a wall clock in any way. Of course, it is expected that when I am traveling, I do have my wristwatch or something like that. But still, it confuses me why a simple wall clock is not kept in every hotel room. What is the reason behind that? When I am on vacation, I think the hotel owners want me to not bother about the time and simply indulge in whatever I am there for. Surely I did not check into the hotel to be constantly told the time, that must have been the thinking. And when I am on a work assignment and staying in a hotel,  they expect that your wristwatch is handy with you and it better work. Or maybe the hotels have indeed tried in the past to keep wall clocks and found that they have got stolen. They say “Time flies away”, but maybe in this case “The Time and the Clock flew away” and hence no wall clocks in hotel rooms.

3. Burst a cracker and get jailed for 5 years : According to Environment Protection Act, 1986 there is a law that states that if you burst a fire cracker above a certain decibel (around 100-125) then you are likely to be fined Rs. 1 lakh and even imprisoned up to 5 years. I am not joking. There is indeed a law like this and you can read it up. The law also states in clear terms that the Pollution board is responsible for monitoring this along with enforcing it along with the Police. There are also details where they are expected to prevent firecrackers that go above these decibels from finding their ways into the market. Anyways, let us count the number of people that they have either fined or arrested or imprisoned. The count is Zero. Do I think they will arrest anyone or even fine? Maybe for publicity purposes in the future with a smiling team of cops posing for a picture with some Roadside Romeos squatting in front of them with their heads hanging in shame. So the next time you think of bursting a fire cracker beware you could be put in jail along with your family. Let us celebrate such noble regulations in our typical way: by bursting a cracker or two.

4. Your call is important to us, please hold the line: Yesterday night after 10:00 pm, a large group of pseudo religious people started celebrating something in a temple. I do not know what they were up to but I can surely attest that the person wielding the mike and trying to sing some religious hymns was so horrible sounding that even if a gun was put to my forehead I would not accept that faith. In any case, they were making a ruckus and I decided to call 100 i.e. the Police or Emergency Service, if you would like to call that. And guess what, it went to an automated answering machine and a lady like voice on the other side told me to hold the line and reminded me every 5 seconds that the call was important to us. I kept hearing that tape recorded message for 5 minutes and then gave up. Of course I went to sleep and no damage was done. But the sad part is that the phone number 100 is synonymous with Emergency Services. Agreed that the reason I was calling was not an emergency but what would be the situation if it indeed was an Emergency. What sort of a department is this that takes its roles so callously. I shudder at the fact that if I ever have to call 100 in an emergency and then all I can hope is to hear someone saying that “Your call is important to Us, so please hold the line”. Who is this “Us“? Is it the Police Department or whoever? I simply do not care who. All I know is that whoever it is, is surely not interested in doing anything. And by not answering the phone for 5 minutes, they have given me a life long educational lesson #1 : When trapped in an emergency, Never Call 100. Maybe they should change their tape recorded message to “Hello. This is Imaginary (say it very fast with a twisted tone so that it sounds like Emergency) Service. We request you to use all other means to solve your problem. Please save your time by hanging up after the beep.” Beep….. Click.


One thought on “Four Stray Thoughts : October 25, 2009

  1. All 4 are genuine problems we face.
    1. Obesity i guess has to do with life style we live in.
    2. While i am for sure, Hotel owners never want us to leave on/before checkout time, to make some extra bucks charging you for late checkout.
    3. Arrest whom to, when we had lodged a local complaint only response we got was, “We are not equipped”.
    4. Fun part is, even if you have an emergency, and emergency help line doesn’t work, you still need to dial 100 to lodge a complaint.

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