A case for ‘pure poison’ coconuts


In your opinion, what is the most vilified food item or ingredient that ever is, and does not deserve the hate?

Let’s see. There’s dietary fat, where two whole generations reduced it’s consumption because FDA said so. There is an ongoing phobia of gluten, where an entire section of society avoids consuming it because it’s bad for a tiny fraction of humanity. Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate) might deserve to be notorious, but Jury is still divided on this one.

There are also sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which were adequately proven to be the reason behind the current obesity pandemic. But these do not attract sufficient regulation to control consumption.

Anyways, I was referring to the Coconut. This has a tragic story. Coconut is called all the names and condemned for a few decades now.

In 90s urban south Indians, with their infinite wisdom, stopped eating coconut products and oils and switched to sunflower. Thanks to a few “scientific” articles of modern food gurus, Indians chose to abandon the natural food ingredients they had been using for centuries if not the millennium. A few south-east Asian countries made a fortune exporting palm oil to India catering newfound coconut phobia of Indians. India is the largest importer of Vegetable oils. India still does meet more than 70% of her cooking oil demand through imports.

Over a couple of decades, there were sporadic epiphanies in the food-science world that Coconut might actually maybe good. Additionally, it’s actually not just ‘good’ it’s a superfood. There was a flood of articles comparing it’s smoking temperature, fat composition etc. with the celebrated Olive Oil. It apparently stands at the same level as olive oil and other Indian products such as ghee and butter.

Even then, a small section of food experts still carried on with their campaign against Coconut. One of the recent examples I can give is a Harvard professor called Coconut is pure poison. I am not paraphrasing; I am actually using her own words “pure poison.”. So, Coconut fearmongering continues for another generation.

I am going to leave you with a rebuttal by Eric Berg. Enjoy.

Saree, Kachra and Rathore


This is a more of research paper for a blog post. I literally had to reside below a bodhi tree for a month to gain this knowledge. You better read it and like it. 🙂

If you recall a post I had Previously written, I had adequately addressed a few of my north Indian friends’ quintessential questions. It was “Why does Karnataka has a flag of its own, while other states don’t“. This is the second one in that series “Why do South-Indians add a letter h to ‘t‘ sound, such as Jayalalitha as against a proper Jayalalita“. Okay, let us get to it.

South-Indians consider four ‘t’ sounds a set of mutually exclusive and distinctive representations in their native languages. For this very reason, when written in a foreign script, such as English, they will get four different spellings.

  1. t for voiceless retroflex,
  2. tt for voiced retroflex,
  3. th for voiceless dental,
  4. and finally, tth or tthh for voiced dental.

North Indians, however, chose to manage it with two even though Devanagari still has the same combinations.

  1. t for both voiceless retroflex and dental
  2. th for both voiced retroflex and dental.

For example, the English spelling of an Atal and Atul for a north Indian will change to Atal and Athul for a south Indian.

Now, who is correct? The answer is neither, nor maybe both.

Please be aware that this cannot be a spelling bee. Indian native languages are exceptionally and perfectly capable of representing all their native sounds in their preferred scripts. The trouble comes only when one needs to write them in a foreign language such as English. In English, however, we simply do not have a one-to-one mapping for all the sounds of Indian origin. Why should they? Understandably this is by design.

If it is of any consolation, the vice versa is true as well. For instance, we can never write the word ‘acid’ in any Indian languages, convincingly. It can be either ‘A-sid’ or ‘aasid’, and that is the best you can get. Hence the verdict is, the argument itself is wrong. Unless we are talking about Unicode or international phonetic symbols as foreign languages of consideration, both representations should and are correct. Stop arguing now.

Now that we have settled that debate let me pose a counter-question on a related topic. Why do all North Indians write few words such as Saree, Rathore and Kachra with two different representations or even pronounce differently? You must be familiar with Saadi, Rathod and Kachda.

Most of the time, it is pronounced as a Sadi and written Saree? This is very annoying for a non-native.

Disclosure. I am not a native Hindi speaker; I did not even have proper formal education on Hindi. I studied Hindi as my fourth language, but my Hindi teacher was in a great hurry and skipped a topic or few, such as alphabet! Obviously, she could not answer may of such questions we had. Why such a level of imperfections

  1. Why does Hindi omit (or swallow) the final vowel, e.g., Kannad for Kannada?
  2. Why does turtle have strange spelling ending with a vowel KachuAA instead of Kachuva?
  3. Why does translation for Yesterday and Tomorrow has the same word leaving it to its verb to decide the fate?
  4. And the most crucial question is, why on earth Hindi does not end a word with a consonant and must be a vowel? I mean, Hindi’s mother Sanskrit does the proper ending of each word. E.g., In Hindi Jal and Jala written the same. At the same time, Sanskrit differentiates even with the same script of Devanagari.

What surprised me the most is my friends with proper education on Hindi could not explain this deviation of Hindi from her mother, (Samskrutam) Sanskrit.

In my quest for knowledge, I had asked many many of my friends on these discrepancies. I quizzed them precisely on the r spelling for d sound. Most of them dint have a clue but a few attempted explaining it to me. Apparently, the language Hindi has a sound/letter that falls somewhere between an ‘r‘ and a ‘d‘. Unfortunately, this consonant does not sit in a scientifically classified and tabulated alphabet of Indian languages. So, it has to be foreign.

It’s called Nuqta. Let me quote Manisha Kulshreshtha, and Ramkumar Mathur on what they wrote in Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity. A few sounds, borrowed from the other languages like Persian and Arabic, are written with a dot (Bindu or nuktā). Many people who speak Hindi as a second language, especially those who come from rural backgrounds and do not speak conventional Hindi (also called Khariboli), or speak in one of its dialects, pronounce these sounds as their nearest equivalents.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of a dot (period). You can bring this confusing sound by merely putting a period, below or on the side, wherever you find some space. It should be done for one and the only purpose – to represent a foreign sound, especially with loan words. By definition, anything and everything can be covered here, including click sound of African languages. Nuqta was introduced in Devanagari to accommodate pronunciation India’s invaders bought in.

This is brilliant stuff; I have full clarity now. Absolutely useless! But still brilliant!

This raises more questions than answers. Why on earth would you consider sadi/saree is a foreign loaned word? Have you seen anyone in central Asia or the middle east wearing it? The Saree, its style, its etymology – they all have origins in India. It existed even before Hindi was even born, let’s not even talk about loans.

Photo by Nivedita Singh on Pexels.com

The answer is very straightforward. This is the side effect of a hangover by Turkik and Persian speaking empires ruling us. We could not even decide if a piece of clothing we wore for a millennium, was foreign or Indian. Finally, we settled, and we decided its foreign. Well done there.

Let me know your thoughts, do write your opinion on the comments section.

Ayurveda, Clinical Trials & Capitalism


Have you ever wondered why Ayurveda, one of the primary branches of Indian medicinal systems does not find many buyers outside India? Any argument related to its potency is generally neglected in the medical community, mostly ignored, frowned upon, and sometimes, even ridiculed. Some categorize it along with chiropractic and homoeopathy for the sole reason that the claims are neither reasoned out or backed-up with adequate testing. Unfortunately, a system that is practiced for thousands of years in the subcontinent has failed to become India’s soft power.

There is meditation, religion, spirituality, yoga, curry Holi, Deepavali and even bloody Bollywood have become soft powers but not revered Ayurveda.

Photo by Patru00edcia Paixao on Pexels.com

Considering a fair amount of modern medicine find its roots and ingredients in the plant-based extract, it is not hard to believe answers to most of our questions may lie Ayurveda. Agreed, we dint prove it conclusively, but what is the problem trying?

I have one answer for this, capitalism, and the patent system. I do not believe myself writing this, but apparently, it’s true. The system created to promote innovation and creativity and to provide credit to the right owners is destroying the chance of survival of Ayurveda. You would not expect this from torchbearers of growth, but unfortunately, it is true. Let me explain.

Capitalism, of which I am genuinely a huge fan, has a notable tendency on betting on the winning horse. Winner takes all is the mantra here, only winners can raise capital. Ayurveda needs a win, a single win to get her the start she is looking for. But the system which is stopping this is patent.

Patents, a sword wilding protector of intellectual property, are designed to provide a head start to reap the benefit of their innovation, which later becomes available to all with a royalty. Let me explain this through an example. We all know Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, a genius inventor of Soviet Union was credited to have invented few of the most famous assault rifle known to humans. Most of his inventions are even named after him, abbreviated. AK versions such as 47, and 56 are the most favorite choice of weapons of militants and terrorists even to this day. However, Kalashnikov was born and invested it being a servant of a socialistic country. By definition‌, these designs automatically become government property. He remained a government employee throughout.

Imagine this scenario in a capitalist country. He would have immediately become an entrepreneur, manufacture it in Taiwan or Bangladesh, and then contract it to the world’s most powerful governments. The billboards and football half-time would run advertisements starring scantily clad women flaunting these products with buy-one get one free offer. Kalashnikov would have slept on a pile of dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck did. This is the difference what a patent brings to the battle.

Let us come back to Ayurveda. Any medical invention needs mandatory and favorable results from large clinical trials. Venture capitalists and angel investors will not even look at your proposal unless you show them the trial’s size and potency results. A simple clinical trial requires millions and millions of dollars, dozens of years of investment from doctors and scientists, and all should come from your pockets. Even after spending these, they are absolutely no particular way you will get a patent. You cannot patent potency of turmeric or a clove of garlic. The question here is, why to spend all that money to test something, the right result of which, immediately becomes public domain. That is the end of it.

In other words, the garlic’s and turmeric may have healing properties no other modern medicine may have. But no one will spend a penny to test it. Only possibilities out for Ayurveda from this situation have a nationalistic government generously create a program to run trials, which itself will be socialistic. Is that an oxymoron?

I will leave you with a couple of research papers to read if you are interested.

  1. STATUS OF CLINICAL TRIALS OF AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
  2. What are the challenges faced during Clinical trials of Ayurvedic and traditional medicines?

[Book vs Movie]Calling Sehmat vs Raazi


Generally, I do not get involved in the business of comparing the movies against the Book based on. The primary reason for that is that I will have to read fiction for the comparison. And I hate reading fiction! Nevertheless, here is an attempt. This is more of a fictionalized biography rather than a novel, hence the exception 🙂

The movie in the discussion is Raazi starring Alia Bhat. She is a nepo-kid with reasonably good acting skills amongst a truckload among quintessentially bad actors and movie makers. For a change, the movie is loaded with decent actors; songs are brilliant with excellent lyrics. Its quite old movie by now and you would have seen it already. The book is based on “Calling Sehmat”, authored by Harinder Sikka penned on fictionalized biographical narration based on what he gathered from actual Sehmat.

On an overall and surface level, the movie captures the essence and sequence of events described in the Book. However, there are a few fundamental differences, which could be deliberate or creative. I will leave you to decide:

  1. The movie does not capture the first chapter of the Book. The chapter is an essential part of the storyline, but the film chooses to leave behind. The book takes its own time, deservedly, to define Sehmat, her love interest, passion, etc. The movie does not care about any of that.
  2. The movie Sehmat is a weak girl who flinches with the pistol backfire, the book’ Sehmat is a cold-blooded determined soldier who is willing to kill, lie, kidnap, and blackmail for her nation which was at war. The Book’s Sehmat does things as her conscious directs her, while the movie’s Sehmat does it as obligations to her Indian handlers.
  3. The movie ultimately leaves put last few chapters, which most probably is to avoid hurting sentiments of a rowdy family lived terrorizing a village in rural Punjab. Also, they probably do not want to show Sehmat owes her newfound sanity to a hermit.

Also read: Letting Meghna Gulzar direct Raazi was the biggest blunder, rues Calling Sehmat author Harinder Sikka

Bahut Hua Samman (2020) – Movie review


A couple of the movies dropped over OTT this weekend. Probably all of you chose to watch Master by Vijay. But, unfortunately, I can not stand that guy. I know what exactly to expect there – he will be shown in every frame of my TV scratching and rubbing his stubble as if its a kind of skin conditions. I wouldn’t say I liked his antics during the 90s and 00s, and now, I most certainly do not. 

The other option was Bahut Hua Samman (2020) with Sanjay Mishra leading the show. I was promised a slapstick comedy with the nostalgia of a mechanical department of engineering college with the synopsis and reviews. It was indeed a comedy movie if you can tolerate lots and lots of swearing referring to female relatives of each other. 

Good actors and direction make it okay for you to sit for two hours and engaged. That’s it. That’s all the good stuff in it and let me dedicate the rest of the post what I observed beyond the silly comedy.

Baba goes for morning dump with a Bluetooth headset

The movie’s prime protagonist goes after a name ‘Baba‘, whose primary pastime is to take digs at capitalism 24×7. His political ideologies fall somewhere between an anarchist and a Marxist. For example, even though he is recognised in academic circles, he is so rebellious that he openly defecates outside his house. Toilets are for the subjugated and the weak. However, he has customised an Amazon Echo which answers to ‘Apeksha’, who apparently is his imaginary daughter in law. He has ready-made plans for rob banks and even to pull down governments. 

Let me summarise a cliched and predictable plot quickly so that you don’t bother watching it. Two useful for nothing college students (Cliché) gets recruited to baba’s idea of robbing the bank. They eventually manage to reach the locker room with the help of a Union leader like figure (cliché) only to find his sand-mafia acquaintances have robbed it already through the front door. They have an ordinary concubine who shows her skin for living and as her hobby (cliché). Then police, politicians, religious leaders, businessmen and academicians hand in glove with this nexus. Arson hoarding Marxist baba saves the day being Rambo and by donating sperm to IPS officer with her kinky husband. !

Let me list what’s wrong with the movie.

  1. The movie’s flow is inspired by 2008 film “The Bank Job” starring Jason Statham. It is easily predictable when a particular locker was tasked to be picked first to gather scandalous document. 
  2. You remember the recent OTT Tamil movie Mookuthi Amman had a protagonist who calls himself as Engels Ramasamy? He was named after Friedrich Engels for his father’s ideological attachment. That was the first clue that the movie is taking a left and will take a swipe at anything stands against ideology. This movie has something similar. Ever since Sanjay Mishra’s character introduced, there is a constant swipe at liberal economy and capitalism. 
  3. Short selling of Shares !! It’s definitely not a joke in India. Even then, the protagonists bring down a publicly-traded company just with the knowledge they gained from a Brad Pitt movie? 
  4. Akhand Bharat Sansthan is the name of antagonists’ company. It is something similar to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali. They apparently invent a super narcotic and inject into all they FMGC products! They do it being a publicly owned and traded company – nice! 
  5. Can you show name a single Bollywood movie where an industrialist is the right person! Go ahead. You can even start from the year India was economically liberalized. Let’s begin with Shah Rukh’s Baazigar or Anil Kapoor Laadla. Apparently, they are evil by default and no exceptions.
  6. Potty Jokes in 2021! My God!
  7. A comedy movie ends with a Moral to the Youth on how to save democracy! Are you kidding me?