“I thought we were supposed to judge in proportion to our defects? Isn’t it the first hand experience that permits us to better judge?”

The above comments are from Looney for my blog post Walk. The image that elicited this response is this:

Looney has got my creative juices flowing with his comments that I thought it best that I get Shackman also to offer his two bits on the same topic without the background of Looney’s comments to get a different perspective. You can see what he has to say on this, our Friday 2 on 1 blog post here.

Let me start by looking at it from my imperfections or defects, keeping the blog post Walk in context. Both my hip joints have been replaced and revised, I walk with a limp and with considerable difficulty. This handicap also prevents vigorous exercise and so I find it difficult to reduce weight using normal routines. I am also blessed with COPD. I am not giving excuses but, this are facts of life for me. Before the second revision of one of the replaced hip joints and the onslaught of COPD, I was an avid walker and had managed to keep my weight down. After that surgery, it has not been possible for me to that.

When I see some one else obese, without a similar background, I find it difficult to understand why that person cannot exercise to lose weight. On the other hand, when I find someone without such handicaps exercising and / or dieting, I cannot help feel jealous while at the same time applauding them.

So, to answer Looney’s question, yes, first hand experience permits us to better judge.

Proceeding further, while the health issues of obesity need not be overstated, the aesthetic aspect of it has taken alarming proportions due to an industry that hopes to gain by condemning large bodies. I would like to introduce here a remarkable phenomenon called Wabi Sabi from Japan that celebrates imprefections which in my opinion includes plus sized human bodies! I quote – “In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”

To conclude however, I would like to sign off with my own preference. Be non judgemental in all situations and just accept people, things and situations as they are. I am not there yet but, hope to reach there ere too long.

Dashed Hopes!

A friend who lives in the deep rural part of India, rang me up to find him a good Bariatrist as he was having a massive obesity problem. He tilts the scales at over 160 Kgs.

I called up my cousin who is a very senior physician and sought his advise. I specified the problem to him and he promptly searched around and came back with a recommendation to a clinic close to the place where my friend lives along with the name of the bariatrist.

He also told me that the bariatrist and his entire team were very keen to see the patient as they had never met someone like that before. I asked what was peculiar about my friend and my cousin said that a dwarf with an obesity problem weighing that much has not been seen by them ever.

I was stumped and sought clarification as to what prompted the conclusion that my friend was a dwarf. My cousin told me that I had specified that. I was stumped again and iterated that my friend was six feet two inches tall. It was my cousin’s turn to be stumped as he confessed that he had misheard me to say sixty two inches tall!

Poor bariatrist and his team. They cannot now write scholarly papers on the unusual patient that they treated!

The Latest Obsession.

I weigh 85 Kgs. That makes me clearly way above average Indian weight. On the other hand, I can comfortably be an American, though I am sure Shackman will give me a complex.

Seriously, I can talk about India and the reason for this rather nice piece of statistics. Indian population is still predominantly rural where people have to toil and also walk long distances. Rural Indian cuisine is also by and large frugal and nourishing with emphasis on fresh local produce. There are also millions of Indians who get by on one meal or less a day. So, the average gets skewed.

In the cities, with the well off with motorised two wheelers or cars, there is an obesity epidemic and the fastest growing service business is health centers aka gyms. The less well off use public transport and walk or bicycle and there is no sign of any obesity there!

To conclude, India, at least the better off part of it, has the problem in as large a measure as the West.

Post Surgery Prospects.

I was chatting with my lady friend currently in the USA yesterday and she was quite concerned about my forthcoming surgery and recovery and expressed her regret that she was not in India to be of some help.

I asked her when she expected to be able to visit Pune where I live and she said that it would probably be December by the time that she would be able to.

I said that it would be fine as by then I would be back on my feet and capable of taking her out for a dance. After a stunned few seconds, she laughed like only she could. I asked her why she was laughing and she said ‘never mind’ and changed the subject.

I suspect I know why she laughed.

I was shot.

I had gone to my doctor’s clinic to get a prescription updated for my father. There was a patient inside the doctor’s consulting chambers and there was a father/son pair waiting in the waiting lounge. I had to wait my turn and so sat directly opposite to the father. There was about eight feet separating us.

The man was huge. Would have been around 5’8″ and around 150 Kgs. He was impeccably clad in a checked shirt, jeans and pump shoes with tassels.

When the patient inside came out, the father got up and turned towards his son who was dozing. I heard a noise like ‘phut’ and felt something smash into the middle of my spectacles, right in the middle and on top of the bridge.

It was not very painful, but I was stunned.

In the meanwhile, the father started to do something odd. He was trying to grab his jeans around the waist while shaking his son’s shoulder to wake him up. He looked at me and grinned sheepishly and it struck me that perhaps his jeans had come undone.

Yes, it was the metal button from his jeans that had shot out when he got up and hit my spectacles. I found it lying close to my feet. I picked it up and gave it to him and said “Thank God, it was not a bullet”. He dragged his son and scooted inside to the chambers. When he came out he avoided eye contact.

Good that I was wearing my heavy plastic frame spectacles. If the trajectory had been a centimeter on either side, a lens would have certainly cracked and perhaps a splinter would have gone into my eye.