Thursday, June 18, 2015

I am Joe's other Eye

You must have heard about Joe from old Reader's Digests and old English textbooks. You know, the series of articles where the human (Joe's) organs describe and speak about themselves. But truth be told, it's seldom the whole truth over there. Let's just say, Joe isn't your average Joe, he does stuff. Secret Stuff.

No other organ in Joe's body can equal me. No larger than a Beer-Pong ball, I have millions of electrical connections and can handle 1.5 million simultaneous messages. I gather 80 percent of all the knowledge Joe absorbs, 80% of THAT knowledge makes me sleepless at night. He thinks of me as a miniature Tv camera. I consider the comparison insulting. I am much more sensitive than the biggest, costliest TV camera ever made, but Joe gives more importance to his tiny bathroom-spy camera. I am responsible for one of the greatest of all miracles - Sight. 
But who'll explain to Joe that Sight doesn't always have to be XXX Sites!!

Today's world is giving me a hard time. I was not built for it. For Joe's prehistoric ancestors, the eye's main job was to see things at a distance, danger to be avoided, game to be killed. Today Joe has a 6 inch phone at 17 inches, a 17 inch netbook at 10 inches and a 10 inch Tab at 6 inches from my face. All this just for his stupid 5 inches.

When Joe looks at a girl, the light passes through my lens, which brings her babylons in correct focus on my retina, which covers the rear two thirds of my interior. While Joe sees with me, he sees in his brain. A crushing blow at the back of his head, severe enough to destroy the optical center of his brain, would produce permanent blindness. A lesser blow (You know) and he sees “stars” - a chaotic electrical disturbance. Joe gets clinching evidence of the brain's role when he dreams. He "sees" the horrid stuff, even with my lids closed in total darkness, not to mention that he 'feels' too . Had he been born blind, he would dream in terms of other sensory stimuli: touch, sound, even smell, and at least have had a chance to go to heaven.

When he was young, Joe used to read magazines in dim light. His mother warned that he was "ruining" his eyes. Nonsense. The young see better in dim light than adults; and viewing under even the most adverse circumstances does no harm. That's what I thought, in reality, this gave him a heads up on life, magazines and uncensored pages. Now Joe's ruining everything except his eyes.

I try to ward off fatigue by resting as much as possible. I get time oh when Joe blinks. And my partner and I spell each other. For a while I may carry 90 percent of the work load, while Joe's other eye loafs; then it goes to work and I rest. Some days are more restful, when Joe uses his pocket telescope to spy on the motel rooms down the street. It could go on for hours, or minutes, depending on the viewing angles. Other days are hell, why when Joe gets stoned, for example. I get a bit tipsy, but I'm used to it now.

Nature gave me superb protection, placing me in a bony cavern with protruding cheekbones and forehead to act as shock absorbers for direct blows from, well, almost everyone Joe knows. She also gave me hypersensitive nerves to activate the alarm if there should be a potentially damaging intruder such as the smoke from his hashish and...wait a second, strike all that, hypersensitive when high? Who am I kidding! Period.

Both my cornea and my lens-normally totally transparent tissue--can cloud and lead to blindness. If it is the cornea, Joe can regain sight with a corneal transplant. If it is the lens, he will need a cataract operation, and either thick eyeglasses or contact lenses afterward. Fortunately, Joe has so far escaped all these diseases, but his disorder of winking at girls at bus stops is really gonna get him one day. Just the same, I am growing old--like Joe's other organs. The transparency of my lens is lower, accommodation muscles are weaker, hardened arteries are diminishing his already black blood supply to my retina. These processes will continue, but Joe should not worry unduly. The odds are heavily in favor of my providing him with serviceable vision as long as he lives. And hey, with the levels of impurities in his blood and his sizzling Lungs and liver, I think I'll be having a very early retirement.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Alternative History of India: Gandhi And His Bench Press

If there is a man in the history of mankind to have used his capacity to bench-press 140 kilos of raw salt laden sandbags to the advantage of an entire civilization, it was this man. Unwritten but passed down from generations vocally. Tales of the Mahatma hitting the gym after a quick calorie filled bite and protein shake just after harvesting salt, the climax of the marathon Dandi march, the same morning, are now the stuff of Legend. Much to the surprise of the BBC journalist who telegraphed London, what Gandhi said to him just before he started work on his cardio: “DO U EVEN LIFT BRO?”

Historians, Academic writers and their students have often ignored this vital phase of the Mahatma’s life. When hitting the gym was as important to him as India’s independence. In his own words, Gandhi claimed he only lied once in his life, when his trainer asked him if he knew how to operate the Treadmill. In-fact, Gandhi’s love for the physical exercise at the gym had often spilled into his public life. During the Quit India movement, observing that the crowd gathered to burn Imperial goods as a mark of protest against His Majesty’s Government, hauled in a custom built set of weights that were made for the Maharaja of Mysore, he intervened. Not only did he return the weights, he also autographed them. Today, pictures of the weights with his autograph, adorn the walls of most gyms- right next to that of Megan Fox bending over what appears to be a car’s hood and Arnold Schwarengger (??) Schwaniziger (??!!?) Schwarzenegger (!!) lifting an offshore oil drilling platform with his middle finger, clad in underwear.

Where and how did it begin, tho? How did the man tasked by the gods with leading a people to Freedom and Self-Rule come to love exercise so much? If one delves into the Historical archives and anecdotal accounts of the people who lived and worked with him, it seems that it all began in South Africa. The Mahatma was travelling in First class when an officer of the law, tasked himself to remove Gandhi from the compartment and boot him to Third class, where coloured men like him belonged. When the thin, 30-something man, refused to budge, he was kicked out and onto the platform with what appeared to be his luggage. But in the confusion and chaos of the pushing and shoving, the officer mistook someone else’s luggage for Gandhi’s and left him with it. When Gandhi first opened what outwardly appeared to be his luggage, his eyes fixated on its content. A set of 3 dumb-bells. Although photographic evidence of the same is not available since selfie sticks were still in their development stage and Gandhi’s dual SIM Nokia had no camera, all anecdotal and written records point to this incident as the turning point in his life. It was then, at that moment, that Gandhi decided he would, to paraphrase 21st century lingo, “hit the gym” and also tackle the small but still important matter of relieving a country of 600 million people from their colonial masters. 

That's enough completely accurate and not made up at all history for today. You learned something new.