I woke up in the morning and decided to go to the Park for a walk. It was 5 30 am. As I stepped out, I saw an online display board flashing at the entrance of the Park that showed the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI indicated that the air quality to breathe was at alarming levels and that I should be either staying home or walk with a mask. (see http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/04/08/how-indias-new-air-quality-index-works/)
I decided to go back home.
Newspapers had arrived. I read the headlines. Pretty depressing I thought. Can there be a newspaper that just gives the good news and not the (heart) breaking news?. I thought of talking about it to my journalist friends.
I turned to the Kitchen to make a bowl of Eggie noodles. I like Eggie as it just takes little more than 2 minutes to prepare. In the busy life on Mumbai, every minute costs and counts.
When I opened the shelf, I did not see any packs of Eggie Noodles. My wife said “Eggie is in the soup as the company violated the limits set on the lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) content (see http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/maggi-noodles-in-soup-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-controversy/article1-1354268.aspx ) No more Eggie noodles in the shop. There will probably be a nationwide ban.
I got ready for the office, picked up a couple of apples for lunch (I believe in healthy food) and walked to my car. Driving to the office in the messy traffic was always a pain of the day. I put on the AC and drove my way through to the parking lot near my office with sun scorching around. I always carry a bottle of water and keep it in the car. I took a few large gulps of water to wet my throat, took the elevators and reached my desk.
My colleague was reading aloud a page from a Cancer magazine
*AMONG A LONG LIST OF OTHER PROBLEMS*, drinking water from plastic bottles left to bake in your car WILL INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING CANCER, although the risk factor is a function of your current level of health, the relative quality of the plastic containing the water (THERE ARE NO SAFE PLASTICS, but some are worse than others), the temperature achieved, the length of time it was in the sun, & whether or not a person consumes water from hot plastic on an ongoing basis, not to mention the quality of the water pumped into the bottle to begin with.
ASIDE from the pthalate exposure, drinking water from hot plastics increases your exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA), a potent hormone disruptor which is known to attack the body IN MYRIAD WAYS, including elevating one’s risk of breast & prostate cancer”
I was shocked. First of all, I dislike magazines on subjects like Cancer and don’t know why our company does not subscribe to Film fare or stock old issues of Debonair. This piece of information on Cancer due to plastic bottle water was particularly disturbing to me.
During lunch, I asked my peon to cut the apples for me and bring as a “fruit platter”. Just last month, we purchased Zent Ozone Purifier that promised removal of pesticides and chemicals retained on the vegetables and fruits. This Zent Purifier brought a sense of safety to our family.
But one of my friends who had joined lunch had a story to tell – Apparently the ozone based purification technology was not fool proof. The claims made by Zent were rather tall. Research carried out at the University of Maine in the United States reported that there was no guarantee (see http://www.plentymag.com/magazine/claim_check_ozone_infused_wate.php )
As my mouth was gaping with this new information, my friend said in a hush hush tone, Neha, the Actor who is the brand ambassador of this product is withdrawing her contract with Zent. She is worried that she may be sued for false claims!).
I felt cheated and angry and then scared.
I decided to go the Gym on my way back home. Some exercises, especially on the tread mill will be good for my health – I muttered.
Last week, I had purchased a nice Tee shirt, at cheap price and with psychedelic colors on the streets of Bandra. When I changed into this Tee shirt, it caught the eyes of everybody in the Gym.
I was on the tread mill for 30 minutes on a speed of 5.5 kmh and 15 degree incline. When I got to the changing room, one of my buddies said “Boss, you are sweating so much as if standing under the shower.. Hope your Tee shirt is of good quality. These street Tee shirts often contain high levels of formaldehyde (for anti-shrink) and when you sweat formaldehyde gets leached on the skin and can cause skin cancer.” (see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/your-money/11wrinkle.html )
I gave up and decided to junk my jazzy Tee shirt
When I reached home, I felt defeated, frustrated and scared. I wished I was born on some other planet. Every moment of living here on this Earth and particularly in Mumbai was a risk proposition. The increasing strings of knowledge about these risks were looming around me like a spider web. I felt trapped.
The next day was the weekend and I called upon my Professor friend to vent out my fears and frustrations. Professor was very busy as usual. “ I am going to the Hospital” he said. “My day is blocked with patients – Want to come?”
I had no clue on what Professor was up to.
Well, you probably do not know my latest invention. I have come up with a medical procedure called Selective Knowledge Destruction (SKD). In this procedure, we simply “wash out” or “destroy” person’s knowledge about the chosen subject – in this case “environment”. Once the SKD is performed, the person treated knows NOTHING about that subject. More interestingly, the effect lasts over a year – that means no new knowledge gets transferred to the person in this period. After a year you will need another SKD like putting on another stent. Procedure is very simple and straightforward but requires some training. Its like putting on a saline to the brain with my secret electrolyte.
But why should one go for SKD? I asked (as usual a stupid question)
Oh, easy. It’s the most sought for procedure now. I just launched it one week before and I am booked for the year already and there are requests all over the country to open up franchise units. I may have to give up my teaching job at IIT
The SKD treated person is blissfully unaware of the environmental risks he or she is subjected to. So one can live life normally without any tensions, fears or anxieties. If someone falls sick or dies, you don’t know why – as there is simply no point to know .. And these risks are never fully understood nor actioned upon. Knowing the probable cause is therefore irrelevant or inconsequential. So you can live the life you normally would – like go for the morning walks, eat Eggie noodles to your content, use Zent Ozone Purifier for making your fruits and vegetables healthy. Plus you can keep a plastic bottle water in the car to drink when thirsty and wear cheap Tee shirts because you like them…. Professor went on and on with more examples.
I said – My friend, can you give me an out of the turn appointment for the SKD. I badly need one…. I am looking forward to live a normal life.