destination india

Friday, September 24, 2004

affairs of the heart

Let us have a heart to heart talk about how to have a hearty laugh after eating to your heart’s content knowing fully well that there are some adhesives in the market that can mend everything except broken hearts!!

Hearts relate to the non-human kingdom with only two species – the lion and the chicken. The lion hearted person is one who is generous and the chicken hearted is one who suffers from the fear psychosis.

Once upon a time, children were encouraged to learn their lessons by heart especially poems and multiplication tables. The charm of multiplication tables has vanished with the arrival of pocket calculators. There is hardly any child today who has heard of poems like ‘leisure’ and ‘the rhyme of the ancient mariner’, let alone recites them! Don’t the lines ‘we have no time to stand and stare’ and ‘the skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe and a scornful laugh laughed he’ rekindle old memories? Frankly speaking, I think that no one has any time today to see ‘where squirrels hide their nuts in grass’.

The heart is a commodity that has extremely good business potentials – a whole breed of experts of the medical profession thrives on their ability to exploit innumerable aspects of the heart. Since the heart is an organ without any standby system, and since we all know so little about it (including the doctors!) we gape and gulp when faced with an illness remotely connected to the heart. This encourages those who have mastered the art of pressing the panic button at the slightest pretext. The minute a patient complains of symptoms that could have links to affairs of the heart, the doctor asks for the family history – to ascertain if it can be attributed to heredity. In case the history is positive, the medico recommends all conceivable examinations to eliminate that option. The examination starts from the simple ECG to angiography, with a thallium test thrown in for good measure, if considered necessary. By the time these are completed, the members of the noblest of professions have succeeded in instilling a fear into the mind of the patient and, in the bargain, have lined their pockets!! The patient and his family, on the other hand, are in tatters. The niggling uneasiness one feels in the chest near the vicinity of the heart could very well be attributable to other causes and could make a swift exit with a couple of Hajmola tablets!!

The heart has always been a marketable product.

Movies on heart related subjects like ‘dil’, ‘dil tera dewana’, ‘dil diya dard liya’ etc. have always been block busters from the times of Kundan Lal Saigal and Guru Dutt. Remember Raj Kapoor’s ‘har dil jo pyar karega, wo gana gayega’, or Johnny Walker searching under the table for the broken pieces of his ‘jigar’? Well, Valentine’s Day is a day when all associated products take on the shape of the ‘dil’ – be it a card or a balloon or a sweet. The exact point of time when V-day started gaining popularity in the sub-continent is not on the agenda tonight. The point to note is that it gives an opportunity for fanatics to come to the fore and for decorators to jump into the business of replacing broken glass panes and furniture of outlets which have been vandalized by the ruffians. All for the sake of the heart!!

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