My dad’s journey from cardiac arrest to cloud kitchen and the importance of healthy lifestyle

This is about my dad’s journey from an active to sedentary lifestyle which almost took his life, 8 years of wobbling health and how he is transforming himself now. He is 6 feet tall and had developed a hefty physique with heavy eating and an extremely active lifestyle from his younger years. He always believed that eating heavy is the key to staying healthy and did not reduce his food intake with advancing age. To add to this, we moved from our ancestral house where he was very active to a sedentary lifestyle in our new house. He developed Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) induced heartburns which culminated in a cardiac arrest in 2013. Though he recovered, his health didn’t go back to how it was before. To top it off, he developed additional ailments.

He was advised to follow a salt restricted diet but he misconstrued it as a ban on salt and I started observing radical changes in his behavior. Turned out his sodium level was fast decreasing and in another couple of days, he may have ended up in coma. He had also developed swelling on the back side of his palms and feet. Cardiac conditions could result in decreased flow of blood to the kidneys and the brain would signal the kidneys to start retaining water. Because of the false alarm, water starts getting accumulated first on the hands and feet resulting in the medical condition called edema. It was then that I checked dad’s medicines thoroughly and found out that the medicine for edema, called diuretics which forces the excess water out of the body through urine was never prescribed to him. If left untreated, water will start getting accumulated in the lungs leading to the condition known as pulmonary edema which would have forced dad to undergo bypass surgery. The cardiologist never even referred dad to a nephrologist to get his kidneys checked. To top this off, dad had to visit him once every fortnight and he kept asking me when we are doing dad’s bypass surgery. I understood that his sole objective was to make money by forcing the surgery on dad. I immediately consulted another cardiologist, he referred dad to a nephrologist, was immediately put on a course of diuretics and the swelling went off. Now this cardiologist, whose father is well known in the city as the poor man’s doctor removed some of the tablets prescribed by the previous cardiologist and told dad only to visit him if he develops any further issues. Patients are one source of income for every doctor so how many doctors would tell his patients not to visit him unless it is necessary? Though we didn’t know at that time, dad’s younger brother had similar gastric issues and he underwent angioplasty after he developed cardiac issues but it did not solve his gastric issues. He lost trust in the doctors, stopped taking medicines, eventually water entered his lungs, he refused to do bypass surgery, suffered a stroke and passed away at the relatively young age of 66 years.

Dad’s dream of setting up a restaurant never materialized but the emergence of online food delivery partners helped him set up a home based cloud kitchen in late 2019. Another cardiac arrest, though at a much smaller scale hit him again in 2020. Doctors kept advising him to walk on flat surfaces but where would he find flat surfaces other than at home? He couldn’t go out of the house anymore. I finally realized that medication and care alone was not going to help him. He had to become physically stronger again to handle the heartburns which in turn will make him mentally stronger. So I told him that if he wanted to be ambitious at this stage of life and run a business, he will have to put priority on his health first and persuaded him to join a gym for cardiovascular exercises. But making him invest himself in it was important so I made him buy walking shoes. He couldn’t even walk for a minute when he started on the treadmill but he slowly started picking up and started working out on the air glider.

When I dragged him and embarked on this journey 7 months back, little did I know it was going to become probably the most important project of my life. Dad didn’t have any hope of regaining his health so I gave him a milestone, kicking out the tablets he has been on for the past 8 years. He was taking 4 tablets, 2 for blood pressure, a blood thinner & one for cholesterol. I didn’t know how much time it could take, but I woke up at 4 in the morning 5 days a week, pushed him out of bed and into the gym. I also had to figure out the most effective workout schedule for him. Last week he started complaining of headache after taking tablets for blood pressure. I immediately got him checked without taking tablet and it was 110/80, the same as mine. Checked again the next day morning without tablet and it was 130/80. Then I took him to his cardiologist and it was 135/80. Blood pressure rises as the day goes on and falls as dusk approaches. One glance at his ECG report and a cursory check of his heart using the stethoscope was enough for the cardiologist to stop one tablet for blood pressure. The headache has vanished. One tablet down and it is a momentous achievement in such a short span of time. Another 6 months and all other tablets could be gone too. Doctor also said he need not worry about his kidneys as he is active now. He used to feel a bit shaky when walking and that has reduced after he stopped the tablet. He used to get heartburns while cooking when we open our cloud kitchen but not anymore. He was always fearful that reducing food will make him weak. I have put him on a diet of banana and papaya in the evening which has improved his digestion and decreased heartburns considerably. Now he knows that he has to eat healthy and keep working out to get rid of the tablets to become fit.

He is navigating through the treadmill and air glider easily now and I have put him on the machine fly to make his chest and back muscles stronger.

Now I am contemplating upgrading him to weight training exercises slowly. So how about a new milestone? Participating in a body building competition for 70+ guys? He is aghast at the thought. I asked him how many people can do what he is doing so why not be ambitious about it? Looks like my project may have just started after all.

I am writing this to let the world know about the importance of staying fit throughout our lives. My mom started going for morning walks after dad started going to the gym. She has lost weight, started feeling better and her thyroid condition has improved. It is also important to understand that the medical system we follow only treats us when we are sick. Hospitals are not wellness centers and very few doctors advise us to live healthy lives and prevent diseases. Ironically, cardiologists check the condition of the heart by making patients undergo treadmill test (TMT) but they do not advise patients to work out on treadmill every day. We have been living our lives as we used to, none of us have got infected with COVID or any other disease and we are yet to take our vaccine shots. Goes to show how important daily routine, exercises, healthy food and mental health are to maintaining a robust immune system which in turn will protect us from diseases.

We have all been conditioned to believe that our value is in the money we have, our jobs, size of our house, size and number of cars, quantity of gold we possess, etc. and our social status is measured by these parameters which forces us to chase them our entire lives. What we conveniently forget or ignore is, we are social animals and what is truly important for us are health and relationships. Only when we have these will all our accomplishments truly make sense in our lives. We don’t really have to take any extra effort to improve our lives, we just need to understand this one simple fact.

Does our jobs match our personality?

This is the analysis about the jobs we do and our personality I have searched for many years. The classifications Jordan Peterson has made are quite simple but the underlying factors are extremely complex. From the business/corporate perspective, entrepreneurial/creative types have a synonym. Innovators. The problem with innovation though is, it can only be a continual and not a continuous process. So there will be time periods between innovation when management becomes crucial. The best example is Apple and its products. Every time Apple releases a new version of its products into the market, the focus shifts towards maximizing sales. What he says about innovative people starting a company and then the company getting swamped with manager type people is absolutely correct and there is a reason for it. Any innovation ultimately leads to revenue generation (or cost saving) which happens through projects for which managers are required for project and people management. Then there will be finance management, facility management, etc. Problem arises when the company’s focus shifts entirely towards revenue and profits. This is why Apple has a pipeline for new versions of its products and Bose apparently spends 60% of its profits on R & D. These are conscious attempts to maintain innovation at the heart of these companies.

The difference between entrepreneurial/creative and managerial types have blurred in recent times because of the advent of startup culture and venture capital funding. Entrepreneurial/creative people have always been risk takers but investments were hard to find in the past. Now, with investments readily available, it has become possible for even managerial type people to become entrepreneurs. Moreover people with managerial background get hired or elevated into top executive posts because companies focus largely on revenue and profit generation. The corporate mindset of not changing what is working fine led to the demise of companies like Kodak. Companies getting filled with managerial type people is the reason why there is always a gap between any form of innovation (that includes corporate restructuring and changes in business strategy) & management which needs to be addressed through change management processes.

What he doesn’t talk about though is at the individual level, whether individuals are doing jobs that match their personality. In the past, every profession was important in a community so a blacksmith’s son was raised to become a blacksmith. Now, education, job, social status, even marriage is associated with money. So very few people get the opportunity to evaluate themselves and choose their professions. The academic ecosystem smothers our creative side and prepares us to become good employees in the corporate world but not good leaders. Working for a few years in a particular role in a company is not a yardstick to become eligible for promotions but that is the culture companies follow. So corporate employees are majorly neither entrepreneurial/creative nor managerial types and this is why their careers stagnate and another important reason why companies stop being innovative.

Corporate employees are largely under the illusion that spending time equally in the office and at home is what leads to work-life balance. Our lives are so intricately interconnected that it is impossible to separate our professional and personal lives and here also the common denominator is money. We have to go to office to work to earn money with which we meet the needs and commitments of our personal lives. Doing what truly interests us and we are passionate about is the key to finding the balance between our professional and personal lives. The other important aspect is to have an engagement, activity or hobby that provides us gratification in our personal lives and the confidence we gain from it will spill over and improve our professional lives.

The dowry demon continues to prey on Indian women

Vismaya’s brutal death must have become national news by now. One of the most notorious evils in society has claimed her life. Dowry. In order to start their own family, men and women have to go through the rituals and abide by the rules of the social institution called marriage. Exchanging gifts between families is customary in marriages then what is role of dowry? Indian women did not have access to education till recent times. They were and are still expected to leave their homes and live the rest of their lives with their husbands after marriage. So when a parent is giving away their girl child, why are they giving money, gold, property, etc to the boy? Dowry is a tradition used to be followed by affluent families in the past with a specific intent. Dowry is an indicator of how the family of the bride has brought her up and is given to the bridegroom and his family so that they can provide the same lifestyle she is used to at her home. With time, dowry started to have varied interpretations. For example, when educated men were far and few, it became a norm to give hefty dowry to them for marrying daughters of rich and influential people. As the system of giving dowry spread to all sections of society, it became a status symbol. When a girl/boy is getting married, it is customary to ask their parents how much dowry are they giving/getting. In some communities families of boys clearly state their expectations of dowry to the families of girls and in some communities families of girls are expected to give what they can. Another way of looking at dowry is giving the girl her inheritance from her family during the marriage as she would no longer be living in her house. There was a time when girls were not allowed to go out of their houses. Families of boys and girls decide when they should get married. They would speak to one another and take all the decisions. Boy and girl would see each other’s faces only during the night after marriage. Those were not marriages, they were alliance between families because all that mattered was compatibility between families, in terms of wealth, influence and social status. One of the reasons why parents oppose love marriages even now stems from this. They are looking for alliances that will bolster their social status and when a boy and girl chooses each other families, wealth and social status becomes irrelevant. But marriages in India are far too complicated. Hindus have a caste based society and there are sub castes within each caste. Alliances are first looked for within the sub caste and then within the caste. Then astrological compatibility kicks in. Then compatibility between families, their social status, all of these act as filters that help to zero in on that one perfect profile. There is another layer of complication also. When a girl turns 21, conversations start about her marriage. Then society takes over. Information about the girl and her family travels far and wide within her community and proposals start coming. In a year or two, her marriage gets over. So essentially most girls get married through alliances found in this way or through love marriage. When my parents started looking for girls for me, they put up my profile on all matrimony sites and even in newspapers. What they came across were profiles of girls who were not compatible with me astrologically and the ones that were did not have physical compatibility with me. A few proposals that came through contacts fell through because of astrological incompatibility. My parents also got calls from parents of girls asking what were our demands. They didn’t know how to respond. Most of these calls were from the southern side of Kerala and there it is customary to give dowry and literally buy men. In one of the calls, the parent of a girl even said that their daughter would continue staying with them after marriage so I will have to shift to their house. Now to Vismaya’s case. She was studying a professional course to become an Ayurvedic doctor and was 23 years old when she was married off. 23 is borderline late for girls for marriage according to society. It is generally believed that till 23 girls will be flexible and will adapt easily to a new life at their husband’s home. From 24 and onwards they start forming their own opinions which decreases their adaptability. So it didn’t matter to her parents that she was studying. She was 23 and getting her married off was more important. She was from South Kerala so everything her parents gave as dowry isn’t surprising. What is amazing is how traditions endure in India with time. There was a time when boys used to get dowry for marrying uneducated girls. Now girls are as educated or more educated than boys but still the tradition of dowry remains intact. Why? Social status. Society expected her family to conduct her marriage in all the grandeur. What was given as dowry should be acceptable to the society. According to reports, she went to her parents after she was beaten and abused by her husband and when he came to pick her up, she went with him because that is what society expected her to do. Her life after marriage is at her husband’s house so her parents will be looked down by the society if she has issues with her husband and comes to stay with them. Society would always blame the girls for not having patience and tolerance and not “winning over their husbands” with love and by doing whatever they are asked to. So where does the blame lie for what happened to her? The astrologers who matched Vismaya’s and her husband’s horoscopes and found perfect compatibility? Astrology is all about mathematics and calculation errors can happen to anyone. I have heard about one astrologer for whom 32+2 was 36 and he was adamantly standing his ground that the horoscopes did not match. Why couldn’t her family wait till she completed her education and started working? Why the hurry? Was it the fear that a job would empower her to make her own choices and they would not be able to impose their will on her? As a doctor she could have had earned far more in her lifetime than what they gave as dowry. Then why? All because for her parents, social status was way too important than their daughter and her life. In umpteen Indian movies fathers are shown to talk about the fire that ignites in their bellies when their daughter becomes mature and the fire increases with each passing day as he worries about his daughter’s marriage. Parents see daughters as social burden that needs to be unloaded from their shoulders and sent away from home as soon as possible. I am writing this to call out for the arrest of her parents because more than anyone else, they are responsible for her fate. Moreover giving dowry is equally culpable as taking/asking for it. This constant craving for social status and endorsement from society can be handled only with social shaming. More importantly their arrest will act as deterrent and prevent parents of girls from choosing society over their daughters. To all future bridegrooms and their families sthreedhan (dowry in Indian languages) where sthree means woman and dhan means wealth does not mean the amount of wealth your brides are bringing to your homes. It means woman is the wealth. She is the one who is going to take care of all of you and nurture and raise the next generation. Understand and remember this before you abuse a woman again.

Unraveling the conspiracy theories around COVID-19 pandemic & the depopulation agenda

When established norms and widely accepted views are questioned and challenged, it has become normal to call them conspiracy theories. The term conspiracy theory has a predecessor. Heresy. Anyone opposing the views of the Church were branded as heretics and burned on stakes. Apparently more than 50,000 women who opposed the patriarchal rules of the Church were branded as witches and burned on stakes during the Dark Ages. One of the most famous ones is Nicolaus Copernicus who was admonished by the Church for his heliocentric theory which displaced Earth and put Sun at the center of the Universe. The most famous conspiracy theories that have been going around for the past several decades are about aliens and UFOs.

Two conspiracy theories have taken hold of the world from the time the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

1) The COVID-19 virus was released from the virology lab at Wuhan in China and it did not jump from the bats to us as we have been repeatedly told
2) The objective of the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines for it is part of the depopulation agenda, to wipe out most of our population

I have been getting bombarded with messages on social media about these for quite some time now so I finally decided to take an objective look at them. We know Copernicus was ridiculed and his work was banned for a few centuries before sensibility dawned on the scientific community as knowledge about science progressed. So it doesn’t matter if what are called as conspiracy theories are true or not. Throughout our history, majoritarian views have always been opposed and we have fought relentlessly for dissenting voices to be heard. An opposing view to an established norm allows us to look at the other side and maybe change or improve the existing situation.

So,
Was the COVID-19 virus released from a lab? I would rephrase the question and ask “has our medical and technological knowledge become sophisticated enough to create and release a new virus from a lab?” We do have enough knowledge now to splice up our genes in the lab, not all genes but we are on the way. We are working on repairing defective genes which means we can get rid of genetic diseases. This means we must have developed the capability to manipulate and alter the genetic structure of at least some of the organisms. Medical community would endorse the need to play around with microorganisms so that new medicines and vaccines can be developed to fight potentially new diseases. But there is a catch here. Medicine is a profit making industry. Creating new medicines and vaccines is innovation for pharmaceutical companies. There are two problems with it.

1) The medical system we follow now is treatment based and not wellness based. Prevention is better than cure no longer holds water now. We have become too busy to worry about our health. Health is wealth has become wealth is health. There are hospitals and we have insurance policies. So we live with the belief that when we fall sick we will be adequately protected. The reality is nowhere near to it. Our immune system is and has always been our first line of defense. The caveat with the immune system though is, it needs to be constantly engaged with the natural elements. That is the only way it can learn about new diseases and variants of existing ones and develop immunity against them. Medicines and vaccines are boosters for the immune system, a tiny external intervention for the immune system to learn about new diseases and protect us faster.

2) When we fiddle with microorganisms and alter their genes in labs, no amount of safeguards are enough. If the virus manages to escape in any way, it will mutate immediately when exposed to nature. A disaster in the form of an epidemic can start off any time. Because of our global proximity now, it can become a pandemic in no time like we have seen in the case of COVID-19.

So can we mutate and create a new virus in a lab? Yes. Will we release such a virus into nature? We could. After atomic and chemical warfare, biological and cyber space are the new means of waging wars. Was this done with COVID-19 virus? We may never know. If yes, would there be a possible intent? Read on.

Now, is there something called a depopulation agenda? Well, apparently there was. Noah’s story of the Ark is not just a Biblical story. We need to understand a bit of history here. The authors of the Bible have borrowed heavily from ancient Babylonian texts which in turn were written under the influence of even more ancient Sumerian tablets. This is recorded history. Our history goes back even further than this. It is called pre-history. How do we know this? Ancient texts all over the world are written in verses. Pre-history was information handed down to the next generations orally because writing wasn’t invented at that time. What is created as a verse can be recited and sung. Its far more easier to remember and reproduce a story as a song than a remember it as a story.

I guess most people know of Noah’s story. Noah is the Biblical name the name is different in different ancient texts.

So the story goes that the creator Gods of humans left Earth and sent angels (watchers) to watch over our activities and report back to them. Our lifestyle became wayward with time, we procreated randomly creating genetic diseases among us, our population increased manifold and we caused huge destruction to nature. To add to the woes, the angels became enamored with the beautiful women, procreated with them and the children born to them became giants. When the Gods finally got wind of what was happening on Earth, they were enraged. They banished the angels from heaven forever and decided to cleanse the planet of us. So Noah was chosen and tasked with building a boat to house a pair of every animal. Then the world was swept over by floods and everything was destroyed. The plan was to eventually kill Noah and his family , but one God took pity and gave us another chance.

The situation we are in now is eerily similar to Noah’s story. Massive population, random lifestyle, genetic diseases and wanton destruction of nature. We are 7 billion now and the way we are growing we will likely add 2 billion more in another 20-30 years. The planet cannot handle anymore of us. More depletion and destruction of nature will trigger a full scale mass extinction event. Natural disasters will wipe out every living being as nature seeks to restore her balance. It is imperative that our population on the planet decreases significantly. A war will be nuclear this time and will destroy the planet completely. The only way out is large scale mortality through diseases. Here’s a small story to illustrate how larger population is detrimental to our survival.

This is a cat that comes home for food but doesn’t stay and is not domesticated. He came home sick last week. He isolated himself from all other cats, refused to have food and slept for two days. He banked on his immune system to fight off what had afflicted him and used all the blood in his body to power his immune system. He started having food only when he felt better. If we were doing this we wouldn’t be needing lockdowns. But we can’t because we cannot isolate ourselves completely from others because of our huge population thereby making everyone vulnerable to contagious diseases. This, along with the fast depleting natural resources has made our ever burgeoning population the biggest risk for our own existence and is a significant reason for our increasing mortality rate.

Most people above 60 years have comorbidities and life threatening health issues. A large population of people between 18-45 years are leading sedentary lifestyles. Their lives revolve around A/c houses to A/c cars to A/c office buildings in cities every day. Add poor eating and sleeping habits to this with little to no physical activities. These two groups of people have very poor immunity and are vulnerable to any new disease.

So is there an overwhelming case to depopulate ourselves? Yes. Nature controls population of organisms primarily in two ways: 1) Predator-prey relationship 2) Diseases. Our population increase began when we exited nature’s predator-prey food chain which was accentuated after we found ways to treat diseases. Through population control nature imposes the “survival of the fittest” rule on all living beings. Only the healthiest animals procreate and take their species forward. The whole exercise of yearly migration of animals is not just a journey in search of food. Only the ones that survive all the odds during the journey will return home and reproduce. The survival of the species is always important than the survival of an individual and it applies to all organisms. If our massive population has become a threat to the survival of our own species and of the planet then the only option left is to downsize it. Was the COVID-19 virus released intentionally to depopulate us? We may never know.

But the increasing oddities on the ground are hard to ignore. Manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines are demanding indemnity from any adverse short term and long term outcomes of administering the vaccines. That in itself is a huge question on the credibility of the vaccines. Masking, sanitizing and social distancing have to continue even after taking the vaccines, the reason given being current vaccines may not protect us from new variants of COVID-19 virus. If this assumption is true, we are all vulnerable to new variants of small pox, TB, etc. All the vaccines we have taken from our childhood are useless. I asked this to a doctor and all he could do was to smile.

Moreover, this is a video of a new mask that is being developed to protect us from COVID-19 virus. Sneezing is our biological response to foreign substances in our respiratory system just like vomiting is for our digestive system. When we sneeze we instinctively cover our faces. So the first line of defense for contagious respiratory diseases is masks. Governments have imposed using of masks on all of us without specifying what type of masks will protect us from the virus. Use of random masks will not protect us from any diseases. The logic behind making a mask for protection from viruses like COVID-19 is very simple. Either destroy the viruses on the inside or outside of the masks. Why did no government take the initiative to build such masks? Why did they start vaccination drives with vaccines the efficacies of which are not yet clear? Finally, are we saying it took us two years to come up with a mask and less than a year to make vaccines?

Ironically, if some among us were to indeed execute a depopulation program, it wouldn’t be the healthiest and strongest among us. Rather, it would be the ones with money and power, the ones who have the means and the wherewithal. It is money and power that decides how strong we are in society now and not our immune system. If the healthiest among us become casualties of the depopulation program and only the wealthiest among us with lesser immunity survive, where will this lead the future of our species to? Looks like a high octane topic of debate.

I am hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic and the two conspiracy theories will start entrenching in all of us the need to improve and strengthen our immune system and the realization that only a strong immune system will make us healthy and protect us from diseases. About the rest, let the debates and flow of social media messages continue.

Drishyam 2 review : Education and social status should not hinder assessment of people

Making sequels for any movie is tough and especially more for crime thrillers. Unless the script was prepared for 2 parts like the Uma Thurman blockbuster Kill Bill, getting the flow of the story from the first movie to its sequel is extremely difficult. Even in the case of The Matrix trilogy, the struggle to take the story forward from The Matrix through its sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions was very apparent. But Mollywood movie director Jeethu Joseph has done a memorable job with Drishyam 2, the sequel of his highly successful and acclaimed movie Drishyam.

The plot of Drishyam 2 is built on the fact that no crime is perfect and there could be a witness to every crime. To recap, Drishyam narrated the travails of Georgekutty who runs local cable TV service in a small town in Kerala and lives with his wife and two girl children. He is an orphan, school dropout and had found his feet on his own in a tough world. He is obsessed with movies and unknowingly picks up plentiful of cues from crime movies which becomes his mighty weapons when he has to hide a murder and protect his family from the world and keep them out of reach of the long arms of the police system breathing down their necks.

Jeethu had left the door open for a sequel with the climax of Drishyam and what is impressive is, after 6 years of making Drishyam, he has seamlessly picked up from its climax to get the sequel rolling. Drishyam had meandered a bit in the beginning as the stage had to be set before getting into the crux of the story but with Drishyam 2 Jeethu seems to have put in every effort to make the audience feel that even though 6 years have passed the continuity to the story is perfect to the inch from the beginning. Jeethu has a unique knack of making successful police stories and crime thrillers and he has ensured that new characters and new situations blend in perfectly with the original story background of Drishyam.

There will be plenty of reviews about the movie so what I want to write here is about Georgekutty’s character and I believe it is a masterpiece. Orphan, school dropout, married, running a small business. Many people who have watched Drishyam and Drishyam 2 may have found it hard to believe and digest that an uneducated insignificant man could be smart enough to take on the police on his own and outwit them twice.

Christians in Kerala, especially from the southern parts are extremely smart in doing business and figuring out their lives irrespective of their educational qualifications. Georgekutty’s addiction to crime movies and picking up so many cues from them underlines the fact that if he had a different upbringing, he could have become a successful detective, crime investigator and even be part of the police or an investigation agency. This is where our education system is failing our society. Education when done right helps in creating critical thinking ability in us which helps us in asking questions and not becoming gullible to accepting anything blindly. But the same education system does nothing to create real world problem solving skills in us. This yawning gap exists in every job sector where problem solving skills are of primary importance and so much in demand but most educated and qualified people do not have them.

Georgekutty’s character reminds me of Frank Abagnale on whose life the highly successful movie Catch Me If You Can was made. Frank became a well known conman even before his 19th birthday and never got caught by the law. Finally, the system bowed down to him and FBI enlisted his help for nabbing check forgers. In Drishyam 2 the police is seen making several good assumptions and simultaneous moves to make Georgekutty reveal the location where he has hidden a dead body, completely oblivious of the fact that he has always known that the police will constantly be on his heels and will never stop till they find the dead body. More than the police observing him he has been observing the police all the time. Staying so much ahead of the police helps him make some ingenious plans because he knows fully well that he cannot hide a crime or a dead body forever. The education system fails even the police here. They keep following standard investigation procedures and even though Georgekutty outwitted them soundly in Drishyam, they keep assuming that he was lucky and he won’t be lucky every time. Their higher education and social status comes in the way of seeing through and accepting the fact that Georgekutty, though uneducated is wily, smart and far more intelligent than them.

The police does not seem to have the ability to think out-of-the box either. Recreating the crime scene or crime situation is the key to solving a crime. Although they know Georgekutty may not have hidden the body far from his house, they fail to look back in time to find out what was the situation on the ground 6 years back. From the way Georgekutty is living confidently and the fact that construction of the new police station was underway when he hid the body, the police could have connected the dots and arrived at the suspicion that he could have hidden the body right under their feet. Georgekutty knew he was taking a grave risk by hiding the body in the police station and he knew there could be a witness or someone in the police could connect the dots at some point in time which is why he started making plans to save his family right away.

So could someone of Georgekutty’s stature have done all this? He understands crime like the back of his hand from watching movies, he knows how to make friends with people and influence them completely oblivious to them and he knows to exploit a porous and corrupt system. Sizing up the opponent or failing to do it is the sure shot recipe to success or failure as both Georgekutty and the police finds out. Do such people exist in real life? There are all kinds of people in the world and we have no clue what each one’s skills and abilities are. Only when life forces us into corners and we start fighting back does the world get to see who we really are. There is a Georgekutty in all of us, in one way or the other.

Renowned Mollywood actor Mohanlal reprises the role of Georgekutty and completely owns it. Drishyam had an ensemble cast and all the important characters have been retained along with the addition of new ones in the sequel. Both Drishyam and Drishyam 2 are intense movies like most crime thrillers and it is easy to get distracted among so many characters. Georgekutty is the pivot to both movies so understanding his character and watching from his perspective is the key to appreciating them.

Humanity’s fantasy world has been shattered by a virus

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend (who is going to read this) about whether COVID-19 virus is a zoonotic virus or a man made virus. There are many articles and videos that have been circulating on social media proposing to provide evidence that the virus was created in the virology lab at Wuhan, China. What my friend is worried about is, if these allegations turn out to be true, it means we have interfered in nature and tampered with the natural evolution of a microorganism. He wants strict regulations on biological testing similar to the ones imposed on nuclear and chemicals testing so that we do not end up engaging in a biological war with one another like the atom bombs in Japan and chemical warfare in Vietnam. My answer to him was in 2 parts. 1) Human interference in nature We started interfering in nature when we started cutting down trees to build our houses. We did not pause to wonder why animals are not doing the same. Rather, in our arrogance of having superior intelligence we looked down upon the supposed lower intelligence of animals. We never wondered from where did we get this ability which no other living being on the planet has. Nature will never give the intelligence and ability to any living being to destroy nature’s ecosystem. Nature is a closed ecosystem which means everything that is born or created within it will or has to return to it. Animals build nests using items available in nature which gets recycled by nature after use. When we die our bodies are recycled by nature. Fully knowing this, we created tar, concrete, plastic and a zillion other things nature cannot recycle and knowing that nature cannot recycle our waste, we keep forcing it on nature which nature has duly started returning to us during natural calamities. So we have come a long way to worry about human interference in nature now. 2) Tampering with the natural evolution of a microorganism My friend believes biological testing in labs is essential to understand about microorganisms so that we can build medicines and vaccines to protect us from them. First of all, every organism in nature is in continuous evolution. So there is no end to biological testing. Why are animals not doing the same? This is not about higher or lower levels of intelligence. Nature has a sophisticated and effective way of handling this situation. Immune system. Diseases are simply conflicts between organisms of higher and lower orders. All living beings when exposed to nature will constantly be under the attack of microorganisms. Immune system keeps learning about more microorganisms and becomes more robust in protecting us. So we do not need to test microorganisms in labs for our protection from them. The bigger problem with this is, not everyone will have good intentions. These genetically modified microorganisms could be stolen and released into nature. We will have no control over them once they are in nature and consequences could be catastrophic. We have found ways to splice genes in lab and now we are working towards repairing genes in human genetic structure that cause diseases. I am all for it because it can cure genetic diseases like diabetes permanently. But any lab experiments that can potentially involve nature has to be strictly forbidden. Even if COVID-19 is a man made virus and we let it out into nature, did it affect nature? No animal died because of it. 3 million humans and counting have died. Every time we go against nature, the consequences will come back to bite only us. Most importantly, it is inconsequential whether the virus is natural or man made because in either case it has broken the glass houses we have been living in for so long. This goes back to the conversation I had with another friend (who is also going to read this). Every aspect of human life has become untenable in nature. Our food habits have become extremely inorganic and unhealthy, our sleep cycle has vanished and our entire lifestyle is in disarray. We are no longer in communication with nature because of which our immune system gets to learn nothing and has literally become idle. One virus of moderate virulence has raised a question mark over the survival of our species itself. Diseases are one of the ways in which nature controls population of every living being. So death is inevitable. Greater the size of population higher the mortality rate and more number of reasons to die. If diseases don’t kills us, accidents, murders and so many other reasons are lurking. We do not even know if we will wake up from our sleep the next day. Common reasons for death during sleep – silent cardiac arrest, brain hemorrhage. But we are “existing” in a blissful fantasy world. We take housing loans and agree to pay EMIs every month for the next 20-30 years. In interviews, candidates are asked ” where do you find yourself in the next 5 years or what are your professional goals for the next 5 years”. Education is linked to profession which is linked to money which is linked to social status. Health has become irrelevant. We take insurance policies and swagger around in arrogance that when we fall sick, the policies will take care of us. Health is wealth has become wealth is health. We rush to hospitals where we get treated when we fall sick. Note : Hospitals are not places that ensure we do not fall sick. Doctors do not take us off tablets and tell us how to become healthy naturally. We no longer seem to remember that prevention is better than cure. Moreover what diseases are doctors and hospitals curing us from anyways? We are given medication that suppress diseases. There is still no cure available for even common cold. Google and see the classifications of headache. There is a type of headache called stress headache the cause of which medical community has no clue about. This is how little the medical community and doctors who treat us know about human anatomy. Medication for pain simply interrupt the signal to the brain that indicates pain so we stop feeling pain. This is called workaround in other professional jobs and cannot even be considered as treatment. Suppressing a disease and keeping it inside the body long enough can result in the genetic information of the disease getting encoded into our genetic structure. This is how genetic diseases are created and passed on to future generations, thereby making the entire species unhealthy. This is what has happened to us which animals with their lower intelligence avoids by identifying and abandoning/killing unhealthy offspring. Even more ironical are the facts about medication and vaccination. Diabetes is a genetic disease and medicines only help to keep it under control. Can pharmaceutical companies manufacture medicines and vaccines to repair our genetic structure? Human body is tuned to absorb vitamins from nature and food on its own. I have read about people in western countries who live on diet of vitamin tablets completely ignorant of the fact that human body is incapable of absorbing vitamins from tablets properly. I have heard of people suffering from Vitamin D deficiency in India which is literally unbelievable. I can understand this in the colder western countries where there is less sunlight but in a tropical country all it takes is soaking our body in sunlight for a while. We are all made to believe that medication will cure us and vaccines will protect us from diseases. In reality, medication and vaccines are top ups for our immune system, a miniscule external intervention which provides more information for the immune system to fight diseases and protect us. If our immune system is already weak, medicines and vaccines can never protect us on their own. These are the reasons why keeping ourselves healthy is so important for the survival of our species. We have no control over diseases and death. The healthcare system we have does nothing to protect us from diseases. All we can do is to stay healthy, maintain a good immune system and hope that it will protect us from diseases. We cannot run away from nature, live inside concrete buildings and hope to have a good immune system. People are being kept under lockdown now and are being told that staying at home will keep them safe from COVID-19 virus when the reality is governments are completely unprepared to handle a health crisis. Staying at home without enough physical activity and away from nature can drastically affect our immune system and make us vulnerable to other diseases. It is mind boggling that almost the entire human race has become so ignorant about themselves, about nature and have become so gullible to live in such an artificial world. There is a business evaluation model called PESTEL which evaluates uncertainties in the business environment such as political situations, economic conditions, etc to find the associated risks that can impact business prospects. The 2nd E in the model is for evaluating environmental factors which includes natural disasters and diseases. Very less importance is given to this as I came to understand from the experience of a local businessman. Even though some corporate companies do give importance to natural disasters, diseases are largely ignored. We saw how much companies have struggled after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and it has taken a year for employees to get used to working from home. Just like fever is our immune system’s indicator that a foreign organism has entered our body, nature sends out signals when there are changes in its environment. Animals understand signs of natural disasters in advance and are able to protect themselves. We have lost that ability somewhere along our evolution. I do not know how useful is our higher intelligence if it does not even help us to survive in nature. I do not know if we are too late to break out of the glass houses we are living in and return to nature, but it is never too late to try.

A novel way to treat COVID-19 and India’s new treatment guidelines

Dr. Shankara Chetty, a doctor of Indian origin living in South Africa has done what should have been done at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. He has conducted clinical diagnosis to understand the different stages a COVID-19 patient goes through & has treated more than 4000 patients without hospitalization & oxygen requirement.

What has helped him conduct the study are two reasons.  

1. He lives in a community which has no access to hospitals nearby & had to place their trust in him.

2. He has limited access to medicines so he had to find out the best treatment method based on the medicines he has      access to.  

He instructed everyone to approach him as soon as they got symptoms of cold & fever. When he started treatment, he observed that health of patients improved by the 3rd/4th day & for some, fever reappeared on the 6th/7th day. They started experiencing dyspnea (breathlessness) in the next 1/2 days. As soon as patients started reporting reappearance of fever, he put them on steroids to prevent dyspnea. He is attributing dyspnea to allergy in the lungs (caused by the creation of large amounts of cytokines). Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has adopted a similar strategy & has revised its guidelines for COVID treatment. Patients no longer need to panic, they just have to observe themselves & report any changes in their condition to doctors immediately. Starting to lose smell which was identified by the Delhi government last year as the marker to test for COVID infection could be the indicator leading to dyspnea.

A contagious virus having high virulence and also having a high rate of recovery is an anomaly. High rate of infection of a virus like small pox always leads to high rate of mortality. All the panic and fear was created because no proper clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 virus was conducted because of which people could not be educated and made aware of the symptoms and the need to observe themselves. People need to be quickly made aware of this so that they do not delay in consulting doctors as soon as they have symptoms of cold and fever and starting medication.

The takeaway from the doctor’s diagnosis is not about the medicines he used. Medicines and their dosage could vary depending on demography, people’s immunity, etc. That is for the doctors everywhere else to figure out. What he wants everyone to look at is his treatment timeline. Steroids have been in use for COVID treatment but when it should be administered for best effect is what he has addressed. Reporting recurrence of fever in the first 7 days is crucial for further treatment. His diagnosis is a blueprint for doctors all over the world to use to treat COVID in the best possible ways.

The COVID pandemic is unraveling India’s freefall in every possible ways

People in India who have known me well for some time may have noted that I gradually stopped writing about politics after 2019 elections. I have never voted in my life that is how interested I have been in politics and my trust in India’s electoral system. In 2013, a photo started circulating of a supposed bus station in Ahmedabad glorifying the Gujarat Model of development which got called out as fake in a day or two. It sent alarm bells ringing through my head because only a few days back my dad was telling me that India now needs a strong leader like Modi. There was no need to use the photo of a bus station in China and try to pass it off as a bus station in Gujarat if the Gujarat Model of development was true by any measure. That is when I started taking interest in politics and started writing about it. I wrote for 5 years trying to expose all the misinformation and propaganda and hoping that it would help people make a better choices during 2019 elections. I stuck to writing in spite of being ridiculed by my school and college classmates and ex-colleagues and facing a good amount of abuses on social media. But we chose to continue to stay blinded and fooled.

All I have cared about is governance and administration largely because I have worked on projects in my jobs and I know how critical management and governance are for the success of every project. Those who are in positions of responsibility and who can influence people can do all the theatrics they want and flirt with propaganda after governance and administration. But ironically, if they focus on governance and administration they would have no time for theatrics and propaganda and all they want to do is to keep distracting and misleading people.

Everything that happened in the last 7 years has converged to the situation created by the pandemic now. India’s economy never really recovered from the devastation caused by the demonetization fiasco in 2016. The pandemic is merely an infected mole on a tumor. What the pandemic has unraveled is the depth of ignorance that exists in our society. There was a report of a political leader claiming that pouring lemon juice into our nostrils will help to protect us from COVID infection and a school teacher who had no other health issues died after trying it. People are getting infected with black fungus after they believed in the misinformation that lying in cow dung and cow urine can protect them from COVID virus. The below comments are just the icing on the “cake”.

India is in dire need of education before vaccination. The virus of ignorance is far more deadly than all the viruses in nature. But education is also complicated in India. Many of the Indians I know who vouched for the Gujarat Model are educated and are living abroad in the some of most developed countries of the world. Almost all of them are maintaining stoic silence now. Education is supposed to create the ability of critical thinking in us. Education helps us to use our rationale and logic and ask questions. But education in India is linked to jobs which in turn is linked to money and social status. An education system that does nothing for the growth of critical thinking is useless and waste of time. The country is learning many hard lessons now and I hope all the miseries people are suffering now will lead to the rise of a stronger and wiser version of India.

Concerns about COVID testing and vaccines

Its been a year and a half since the pandemic began and ironically, information about the COVID-19 virus, the tests done to identify infected people and the vaccines is becoming more hazy and confusing with time. First, about the virus. There is a whole lot of noise and fear being driven into people through the media about the virus mutating and taking more deadlier forms. As a contagious virus spreads it does mutate and this is not new to the COVID-19 virus. The fear is being amplified with the information that the vaccine currently rolled out will not be effective against the new mutated forms of the virus and more doses of vaccine will be required. A virus, no matter how many times it mutates will have a specific genetic marker. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that includes the COVID-19 virus. They all have the same genetic marker which is why they are grouped under the coronavirus family. All of them cause respiratory diseases starting from common cold. If the genetic marker also changes during mutation then it will become an entirely new virus. Vaccines are developed specifically using these markers so logically it makes no sense in the claim that currently vaccinated people are vulnerable to mutated versions of the virus. Before getting into the testing part, it is important to understand some basics of nature and human anatomy. Our body is not built in a way to prevent microorganisms from entering it. Rather, it allows entry so that the immune system can keep getting more information, evolve and become more robust in protecting us. This is evolutionary and is the same in all animals. The analogy to this can be seen in the antivirus systems we have created to protect our computers. Even computer viruses have specific markers like the genetic markers viruses in nature have. The first antivirus software was created by collecting all the prevalent computer viruses and finding out their markers. Antivirus software have to be updated daily with the information of existing viruses and markers of new viruses. What we do not have in nature is the concept of firewall which prevents all information from entering and exiting a computer and can be fine tuned to allow only certain information to pass through. So when a microorganism enters our body, the immune system immediately goes into alert mode. Depending on how adversely the organism can affect us which we call virulence in the case of viruses, the body signals in the form of fever to indicate that the immune system is at work. There is no need to take tablets for fever. We take paracetamol tablets so that we can move around. When the same happens to animals, they immediately isolate themselves because it is considered by default in nature that any disease could potentially become contagious. The immune system works entirely using blood and the body directs a major part of blood in fighting the organism. So it is important to not burden our body with digestion of food which also requires a large quantity of blood. This is why animals stop eating when they are sick. It is also important to keep ourselves protected but at the same time we get enough sunlight and air. We are being told to do all these now if we are infected with the COVID-19 virus when we should have been doing these every time we fall sick. Most of the time, we fall sick because of seasonal changes. As our body adapts to changes in our environment we become more prone to be attacked by microorganisms. This is why there is autumn between the transition from summer to winter and spring between the transition from winter to summer. But in tropical regions, there is no winter season instead those regions have rainy season.  There is no autumn and spring seasons either. Rains continue for 6 months and as rain decreases, summer slowly starts. These climatic differences in different parts of the world has tremendous impact on people’s health. Most of north India has entered into summer season which will peak in June whereas summer peaks in April-May in south India and starts moving towards monsoon by June. Entire country is transitioning with climate changes now and there will obviously be spike in diseases. I have been wondering what the COVID-19 lab tests are all about and what exactly are they checking for to identify if someone is COVID +ve. Turns out the symptoms are fever, headache and sore throat. These are the symptoms of common cold and flu which affects large number of people during periods of above mentioned climate changes. There are no COVID specific symptoms and hence no COVID specific tests.  I was initially under the impression that the differentiator for COVID-19 virus would be respiratory issues when hospitals in Delhi got inundated with people for testing last year and Delhi government had to ask people to isolate themselves for flu like symptoms and only get themselves tested if they lose their sense of smell. But it seems that all viruses in the coronavirus family can potentially cause respiratory issues. The virus passes through our nostrils and gets lodged in the wind pipe. If a weak immune system is not able to eliminate the virus it will eventually travel into the lungs. Any microorganism that enters an internal organ can cause serious and life threatening situations. In my neighborhood a family had common flu and cold. They isolated themselves and informed the government health center. People came from hospital, tested them and marked them as COVID +ve. They recovered within a week’s time. Everyone who has cold and flu symptoms are probably getting marked as COVID +ve which is why we are seeing huge spike in the number of infected people and high recovery rate. The numbers will reduce considerably if only people with cold and flu symptoms and respiratory issues are tagged as COVID +ve. Even more bizarre is the case with asymptomatic cases. Just because one person came into contact with another who was identified as COVID +ve, that person need not be asked to isolate without showing any COVID specific symptoms. Even if the virus has entered that person’s body, there is no way to check if the person’s immune system has developed antibodies for the virus. Antibody testing cannot be completely relied upon. Showing symptoms of fever and cold after a few days could also be because of a common cold infection or another health issue and not necessarily because of COVID infection. Because people have different immunity levels, the effect of a virus could be vastly different between people. Now to the COVID vaccines. First question is, if pharma companies could take so much effort and come up with vaccines in a year’s time, why not use technology to create masks which will prevent the virus from passing from one person to another? Simply because there is way too much money to be made with vaccines. None of the vaccines for any diseases does anything spectacular. Vaccines are now made by stripping out the genetic markers of the viruses from their DNA. Injecting the genetic marker into the body will apparently help the immune system in understanding the genetic code of the virus and build immunity for it without having to dissect the entire virus to understand its genetic code. What is weird though is the instruction to continue staying at home, using hand sanitizers and maintaining social distancing even after COVID vaccination. We have taken vaccinations in the past and used to have body pain and fever for a day or two after which we used to resume our normal lives. Scientists don’t yet know if we can still transmit the virus to others after we have been vaccinated. Scientists cannot simply ask people to do things when they themselves are not sure about what they are asking for. Yes, this is a contagious virus but with more than 99% recovery rate. What they are asking for would have been understandable if it was similar to small pox virus. So if vaccination is just a training program for our immune system to understand and fight a new microorganism why are we being given two vaccination shots and possibly more in the future? From the recovery rate it is obvious that COVID-19 is a very mild virus when compared to the small pox virus, yet we have all had only one vaccination dose for small pox. It is a well known fact that the current vaccines are not adequately tested. Phase-3 trials have not been satisfactorily completed. We are a population of over 7 billion and sampling size for testing the vaccines was in 100s or a few 1000s. Strength of immune system and their response to diseases varies widely from person to person. A 2nd and 3rd dose will reinforce immune response is what they are claiming based on testing the vaccine on a very minor part of the population. This is very abstract and there is no way to confirm their observation after rolling out the vaccines for large scale vaccination. There is no clarity on the time duration between 2 doses of the vaccines and it is being changed randomly now. Moreover, increasing cases of mortality after the first and both shots of the COVID vaccines are getting reported which included a well known south Indian film actor. There are more such deaths reported by individuals on Twitter which won’t appear on mainstream media. There are also several reports of serious side effects of vaccines getting reported from European countries. Did those people die purely because of COVID virus or did they have comorbidities? Did they get infected by the virus externally after vaccination? This means the vaccine is playing a part in reducing our immune prowess. Or did the genetic marker introduced into their body through the vaccine grow into a full virus and overwhelm their immune system? Both scenarios are equally terrifying. Even more scary is the fact that vaccine manufacturers are not able to say if there will be long term adverse effects of the vaccines on us. In the light of so much information, it is my responsibility to ask questions about the virus and the efficacy of the vaccines. My purpose of writing this is to stop all the panic that is going on now and make people understand to go to hospitals only when the viral infection persists for some days and they start developing respiratory issues. We are being told to vaccinate in a way that our immune system is incapable of eliminating the COVID virus on its own. As the recovery rate shows, that is clearly not the case.  I believe current COVID vaccines are less effective and more detrimental to our health now. I am not against vaccination but my question is why vaccine for a viral infection with more than 99% recovery rate? Isn’t a medicine enough? We treat common cold mostly naturally and with tablets then why vaccine for COVID-19 when both viruses are from the same family of virus with very similar virulence? If vaccines are required for every disease then why haven’t vaccines been developed for common cold and flu yet? It is important for us to avoid forming large crowds, maintain hygiene and social distancing at all times. During yearly migration of birds, they flock together in large numbers and that is when their mortality rate increases due to contagious diseases. We celebrate festivals with massive congregations like Kumbh Mela in India every year in complete ignorance that an epidemic can break out any time in nature without any warnings. The most important issue is with our population size which continues to grow unabated. As population size of any species increases its mortality rate also increases. Humans are the only species that pass on diseases genetically which adds to the possibility of more diseases arising among us. Staying healthy is the key to having a strong immune system. It is the only way to survive in nature that is extremely hostile to all living beings, something we are blissfully ignorant about.

Reasons for India’s COVID part deux – Failed governance, irrational people & complete ignorance about nature

The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is upon India with greater ferocity. The pandemic started in late 2019, had spread from China to Europe and had just touched the shores of the USA. The Government of India was warned and was well aware of the impending crisis but it dithered in closing down international borders. The result was an epidemic like situation which resulted in harsh lockdown of people and millions suffered in the aftermath with unemployment and hunger.

This time around, the reason for the lockdown is even more ridiculous. Restrictions were eased, life seemed to be getting back to normal and the government even boasted that India had beaten back the virus without any supporting evidence. Festivals were allowed to be organized and state assembly elections were announced by the Election Commission. There was massive congregation for Kumbh Mela festival and huge election rallies in 5 states. It is peak summer across most of India at this time and people are vulnerable to falling sick. People tend to eat less food and sleep less when weather becomes hot which results in reduced immunity. So it is no surprise that COVID-19 has reared up its ugly head again.

Lockdowns are essentially government’s way of saying it is incapable of handling an escalating situation, abdicating responsibility and passing the buck on to the people. In simple terms, diseases are conflicts between higher order and lower order organisms in nature and along with the food chain is how nature keeps the population of every living being under control. Microorganisms are constantly mutating and evolving in nature. A disease of any magnitude could break out any time in nature. We have always been living on this ticking time bomb. Even if the government does not understand this, it is its responsibility to constantly improve and ramp up the health infrastructure of the country. In India, in most of the states, education and health are on the lowest side of the government’s priority list. So will the government be ever prepared for a pandemic? This governance failure is passed on to people and people are made to suffer. Locking people up inside their homes has the detrimental effect of lowering their immunity level and making them vulnerable to more diseases but the government is shortsighted enough to focus on winning a battle now and not being able to see a war coming in the future.

Kerala government is coming up with weird rules as it began a state wide lockdown yesterday. Unlike during the last year’s lockdown, when supermarkets were allowed to function, this time supermarkets have been closed down. Supermarkets are the best places to manage crowds and enforce social distancing. Now, people are rushing to the local stores where crowd control and social distancing is impossible. Opening supermarket stores will distribute the people among the supermarkets and local shops and reduce the possibility of transmission. In a nearby local store, two customers were apparently squabbling over one remaining packet of bread. I wrote to the district collector to consider opening supermarkets and received no response. Now, the government has come up with a website portal for generating e-pass for emergency travel within respective cities and towns. The instructions state that even for medical emergencies, people have to apply for the e-pass, wait for approval, then print it and carry with them. The irony here is, the government seems to be expecting everyone who has internet access at home to also own printers. Printing is usually done at local internet browsing centers which are all shut down now. Upon enquiry, I was told two things. 1) To call the local councilor and he/she will make all arrangements 2) A self written affidavit is enough for medical emergencies. They are expecting someone to sit and write an affidavit or call the councilor and wait when their father/mother/sibling needs emergency medical care. This is the level of incompetence and complete lack of rationale that plagues India’s civil administration.

The virulence of COVID-19 virus is of very small magnitude when compared to the virus that caused small pox. Millions have died because of small pox and my granny used to say that wailing could be heard from every other house because death was everywhere. When a foreign substance of any form enters our body, our immune system immediately mobilizes itself to fight and destroy it. Our body is a sophisticated system and our immune system is designed in such a way as to aggressively restore the balance of the body when something causes an imbalance. The first step is to isolate the foreign substance and prevent it from multiplying and spreading through the blood. Once this is done, the immune system will eliminate the foreign substance. In the case of COVID-19, the first step is failing so the immune system tries more aggressively to attack the virus. This is resulting in the immune system losing focus from other diseases people are suffering from and the subsequent complications led to most number of deaths in the first wave.

After the second wave has started, I am hearing about younger people and people without comorbidities getting
affected. There seems to be only one reason for this. Rapid urbanization has revamped people’s food habits and lifestyle completely which has alienated people even further from nature. Our immune system stays efficient only when it comes into contact with different types of microorganisms constantly, fights them and adapts itself to new diseases. This is all about information, so the greater information our immune system has about microorganisms the better it will be able to protect us. When a boxer quits fighting he invariably gains weight and becomes sluggish. The same happens with the immune system when we spend our entire time holed up in A/c rooms and travel in A/c vehicles. Then, when our junk food and “eating-at-whatever-time” lifestyle leads to diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, high BP and cardiac issues, the immune system is in no state to fight them. On top of all this, when a new virus attacks us for which the immune system needs time to fight, we can only expect the worse to happen to us.

The entire Indian system is at fault for this second wave. The Election Commission should not have gone ahead with the state assembly elections without a clear green signal from the medical fraternity. Even when the elections were declared, no political party showed any inclination to oppose the decision knowing fully well that election rallies are inevitable in the electoral process in India which always leads to massive uncontrolled crowds. Every political party is hungry to win elections and grab people’s power no matter what the situation is. Even the Supreme Court did not choose to step in, cancel the elections and order incumbent state governments to continue as caretaker governments. We, the people did not bother either. We knew what happened last year yet we chose to go for election rallies and on election day to vote in large numbers. Add to this, Indians are addicted to festivals and festivities. Even pandemics don’t matter because Gods will protect us.

The disaster the world is witnessing now has been in the making from the time of India’s independence from colonial rule. India is a democracy only by it’s Constitution. “Rule” is still the word used instead of “govern”, especially by the media. India is “ruled” by central & respective state governments. People’s representatives become people’s rulers & become inaccessible & unaccountable after they win elections. Corruption has become an incurable disease. Religions driven by blind belief take precedence over law & order. Orders passed by courts are imposed by civil administration which is controlled by the government so courts do not have the power to punish lapses in governance. So warnings of a second wave of the pandemic were conveniently ignored for conducting elections & festivals and the entire country is suffering again. Calls for Modi to resign are insensible because replacing leaders without reforming the system is not going to change anything.

Finally, what is incomprehensible is the fear of death among people which the media is amplifying and driving into everybody’s minds. Death is a natural conclusion to life in the entire universe. Our Sun will burn out and die in a few billion years. The Universe itself is supposed to come to an end. Millions of animals and human beings are dying every day because of a variety of reasons. Diseases are one way of population control in nature. This may not be to everybody’s taste but this is how nature works. I say this knowing fully well that my parents and I could also get infected with COVID-19. Nature follows the golden rule of “Survival of the fittest”. Only the strongest will survive in nature. We moved away from nature and forgot the golden rule and to keep ourselves healthy at all times. I hope this pandemic will be a reminder for everyone to return to nature, understand nature better and improve our lifestyle drastically. Our lives hinge on abiding and living by nature’s rules and flouting them will only lead to our own destruction.