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My tummy has weathered many an assault and shock treatment. Primarily because of an unfortunate mathematical correlation between the girth of my tummy and my age. When I was in my twenties, the circumference of my tummy was also in its twenties – inches, that is. When I grew into my thirties, my tummy obediently followed. This annoying habit continued, and when I aged (none too gracefully) into my forties, my tummy did its best to achieve a similar result. Tried its best, I say, since I did everything in my powers to scuttle Tummy’s diabolical plan (since the only advantage I perceived in such a vast and expansive tummy was that I could rest a glass of scotch on it while reclining in my seat).
To contain Tummy’s rampant ambition, I enrolled in VLCC twice. But each time Tummy sprang back viciously, like the long suppressed proletariat. I exercised like a maniac and dieted- in multiple discrete cycles. Tummy sprang back even more viciously each time. Even the chemotherapy I underwent made only a negligible dent on Tummy.
But, unknown to Tummy, dark tidings were brewing. And about two months back, catastrophe descended on poor Tummy. With the greatest of glee, I said, ‘Tummy, from today, thou shalt not eat rice or roti’. Tummy shuddered. Nastily, I ground my heels in further ‘Thou shalt no eat any form of wheat, nor potato, nor tomato’. I could feel the bugger quailing. Relentlessly, I continued ‘Thou shalt not eat red or green pepper, nor milk, nor cheese, nor butter, curd or ghee’. Poor Tummy recoiled in horror. I twisted the knife vigorously ‘Thou salt not eat dal nor legumes nor nuts nor oats nor any other grain.’ By now, Tummy was resigned to its fate and to the total madness of its lord and master. I drove in the last nail firmly “Ah, Tummy, by the way, thou shalt not drink alcohol, tea, coffee or have anything which has sugar, jaggery, or honey’, I said with the same supercilious air God must have had when he told Moses ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his camel, nor his ass’.
You must be wondering, like my tummy, why on earth was I implementing such drastic austerity measures. No, I had not gone bonkers. The aforementioned diet is part of my plan to rid myself of the autoimmune disorder I have called CIDP. The diet called the Myers Way has been found to be very effective in reducing or even curing autoimmune conditions- provided, of course, the person retains his/her sanity.
The restrictions ensured that my daily food intake was rather exotic. Every day, with monotonous regularity, I eat baked sweet potato, vegetable smoothie and fruits for breakfast. For lunch, I have vegetable smoothie and sautéed vegetables; and for dinner, I have fruits, chicken/fish/prawn and vegetable soups.
After the first few days of absolute revolt, Tummy slowly adjusted to this torture. It would convulse and send signals to my mouth to start the waterworks every time my kids unwrapped a chocolate (which they seem to be doing incessantly since my diet started), but by and far, things were on track. The fact that I felt my condition improve and saw my weight plummet downwards also added to my resolve to continue on this path. Till disaster struck, that is…
That is when intolerance raised its ugly head. The first offender was my son- Advay, the bhelpuri-muncher. Out of the goodness and generosity of my heart, I had taken on the task of teaching him concepts of electricity. All was going well, till he suddenly upped and brought himself a humongous bowl of bhelpuri. With every new sentence I taught, he would deposit one spoon of bhel into his mouth and chomp away. The rampant irrigation that ensued in my mouth made the going tough. My tongue had to wade through Chennai-like floods to deliver V=I*R. Finally I got up, gathering any semblance of dignity I could, excused myself to go to the bathroom and chomped on a wet towel for the next ten minutes- till the bhelpuri-muncher finished his work. Little did he know how close the physics textbook was to transferring momentum on to his head in a southwardly direction.
Soon afterwards, my daughter, Ananya the multi-food-muncher, never one to be left behind, joined the fun with gay abandon. While sitting next to me on the sofa, watching Quantico, she proceeded to chomp away on two sandwiches, two scrambles eggs and a doughnut, all within a span of half, heartbreaking, hours. The reason I swallowed multiple times during Quantico that day had nothing to do with the suspense of the show.
Having survived these onslaughts, Tummy and I limped along, grumbling, till disaster struck again- and like all movie sequels, the second attack was far worse than the first. It came from completely unexpected quarters- from the 54 kilo weight, diminutive Krishnan, lovingly called Rbuddi(pronounced Arbuddi), my classmate, friend, colleague and boss. The disaster unfolded as below…
That eventful day, Rbuddi and I had to catch an early morning flight to Mumbai. I swallowed 4 sweet potato patties and a glass of smoothie a 4.30AM before embarking on the jouney. I met up with Rbuddi at the airport and we checked in. So far so good. Wait! This is where the ordeal started. No sooner had we cleared security, than Rbuddi embarked on a series of contiguous pigging acts that blended seamlessly into one another- starting with one breakfast, moving on to yet another breakfast, a sumptuous lunch, a heavy snack at the airport, finally culminating in parippu payasam (!!!) on the flight back. All that while poor Tummy was feeding on the sweet potato patties that I had carried and cut fruits.
I tell you, my poor tummy cannot take any more of this intolerance. If the bhelpuri-munchers, the multifood-munchers or the parippu payasam-drinkers continue their assault on poor Tummy, we will have no option but to migrate to Ethiopia, where we can live like kings.
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