What’s the funda?

This year my New year message was simple ‘Have a Healthy and Safe new year!!’ With the events of 2015, it seems safety is not a granted, whether we take a flight or simply go downtown to have a drink. We have also reached a stage when we hope to have a few days, weeks, months and hopefully a year without any illnesses. Our safety to a large extent maybe beyond our control but our health is very much in our own hands.

Noooooooo…..not another health blog!!! Relax guys, I won’t be proposing any amazing new diet that will put all of you on the casting couch of a Baywatch remake!! There will be no ‘do this not that’ sermons (can’t promise….but that’s the idea), nor a trailer to ‘buy my upcoming book if you want to know more’ (this I can promise). Recipes ?? Don’t think so, there are zillions of them on the internet. This blog will be about me ….. and my ‘Funda’ ( I’ll explain this word in a bit), which is essentially my take on a lifestyle choice amidst the chaotic and confusing bombardment of information.

This is my first ever blog and as I type out the words I can feel the adrenaline, the increased thumping of the heart muscles one experiences when taking guard to face the first ball of the match (- cricket speak, guys-) or standing on the first tee at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Been there, done that (heh,heh…had to find a way to get that in my first post 🙂 ).

Never thought writing my first post would give me that same feeling.

And disbelief (Me?! And write?) ! I actually did write a lot. A whole lot. The last time I had to write ‘non-exam’ stuff was 30 years back to a special person in the days of long distance relationships….and write I did! She can testify to that cause she is still a special person in my life….sniff, sniff. Anyway, back to the topic.

So how come this sudden renewed interest?

During my recent visit to India, almost everyone I met would comment on how I had lost weight and how thin I was looking. In India the benchmark of health is, let’s put it this way, to have a slightly ‘well-fed look’ (if you know what I mean). Ma’s (my mother) reaction was – is everything all right? You have become a bit too thin, it’s not good.

I honestly didn’t realize that it was so obvious. I was elated, having successfully come to my desired waist size ( I repeat….waist, not weight, please give up your BMI fixations NOW) in a fairly short time without any diets or denials or struggles. It really was a lifestyle tweak and it worked like a breeze. Now everyone wanted to know the secret – was it ‘no-carbs, low-fat, high fat, high proteins, Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Rice-diet, Juice- diet’ – what was it? I tried telling them that I was actually eating everything, everything which was real food, yummy food (kebabs, biryani, rib-eye steaks, fatty tuna…) and sleeping more and exercising less.  I could see that they thought I was being cheeky and secretive, not divulging the one magic formula we are so eager to believe….something exotic like sleeping on my head or drinking my p*”° or some sort of novelty.

On my way back from India, we stopped over at Dubai to meet my cousin. While we were sitting around this amazing bonfire enjoying the spirits he casually mentioned that I should think about writing my views on food and nutrition. Thanks brother……at least we know who to blame ;).

You may have guessed that I love cricket and golf. I am also an internet trawler, dabbler in food and human physiology, a foodie, a self professed health enthusiast, a passionate amateur advisor to those unfortunate enough to start a ‘good food…. bad edible food-like substances’ discussion on the dinner table.

That brings me to the word ‘Funda’.

‘FundasForLife’ ? What does it mean? It is quite simple for someone from India, but how do I explain ‘Funda’ to my non-Indian friends? Basically,…. that’s what it is! Basics or Fundamentals !

Funda from ‘Fundamental’……so, Fundamental rules for life.

This original Indian-English(Ind-lish) word is an absolute gem.

In India you need to have a ‘funda’ in everything you do, otherwise you don’t get heard. And if you have a ‘solid funda’ then you are up there…the maestro!! If you need help or are clueless you look for someone who has a ‘funda’. It is a word which automatically takes care of the context. Say you go for a drive with your mates and you get a flat tyre. Now you don’t have a clue how to change tyres, so you sheepishly, turn to your mate and ask ‘guru, do you have any funda?’ He will know the context. He will know that it’s about changing tyres.

‘Guru’ is another gem and it just gels with funda. Guru, as wiki will tell you, is essentially the teacher, the expert, and funda is the expertise. Among friends, we are all mutual gurus.

Before I digress again, back to my blog…

In the last 10 years or so, I have been fascinated by nutrition and how it affects our bodies. If you look at it this way, when we first step into this world, from the very first microsecond of our existence, and as long as we live, the 2 basic things which enter our body are the air we breathe and the food we eat. For all of us lucky enough to be born healthy, it is the air and food which we have consumed over the years which determine to a large extent the state we are in today (I’ll leave the stress and mind aspect out for now). From the first time we tasted our mother’s milk (or baby formula) until this day, everything we have consumed has conveyed some information or other to our genes, our cells, our hormones and has largely shaped what we are today.

I grew up in a household where I was lucky enough to see my grandparents on a daily basis. The small things they did in the name of rituals actually had a far deeper meaning. I realize that today. I think, in general, they were a healthier generation, considering they never had access to the massive advances in treatment and managing diseases as we have today. For them, food was the only way to prevent diseases. That has been the way throughout evolution and man had learned to eat certain foods and avoid many others by learning the hard way (whoops….my friend Tarzan just ate this mushroom and he is not moving, let’s not ever eat that again). And so it evolved for millions of years.

We should thank our ancestors for having conducted all the human trials on our behalf. Just because they could not identify ‘alpha-Amanitin’ in mushrooms as the toxin involved does not mean that they were less smart.

As you can guess by now, I am a firm believer in the basic concept of ancestral living and how we can keep that relevance in the modern world. I intend to bring that relevance in the present day perspective and make you aware of the dangers that you face from the food, marketing and pharma industry. I hope to make you aware so that you are not taken in by the unscrupulous practices of many in these industries. It is not about a being a leftist, anti-industry or anti-rich blogger, it is about sharing with you the facts, the science, the physiology, the bio-chemistry. That’s all there is…..the ‘funda’ will keep coming.

This is long enough for a first! A first…of many to come



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