Friday, January 14, 2011

Let's patiently figure this one out. Presenting a completely made-up chain of seeming coincidences.

80000 years ago. On the brink of extinction and faced with numerous evolutionary challenges and a bad horoscope year, about 150 modern humans successfully crossed the Red Sea in East Africa to enter Asia - Each one of us today are a descendant from such a bunch that is hand-picked by destiny. Soon, these early humans traveled across the south coast of Asia and began settling down at convenient locations. If humans learned to share things they found with others, they would have probably been satisfied and would have settled in one place. But, alas, local politics and awkward romantic entanglements [citation needed] ensured that few of our super-grandfathers and grandmothers had to keep fleeing from the settlements and eventually, explore the entire planet.

Some settlers traveled along the south coast of Asia and finally entered the great land of the Indian Sub-Continent - with its splendid rivers and fertile lands. The first settlers built societies around the rivers having discovered farming. The thriving hydraulic-agricultural based economy led to a broader group consciousness and the emergence of a more sophisticated forms of identity in form of religions beyond the family and tribal ties and soon gave the world, the Vedas, Upanishads, rituals, customs, idol-worship etc.

Somewhere in between, we also discovered that a cow can be quite useful when exploited. It can be used to plough our farms, drag us wherever we wanted to go. Not only that, we quickly figured out that by stealing it's bodily contents, our life is furthermore enriched. We stole the cow's poop a.k.a. manure which can be used as a natural fertilizer as well as a good fuel. We also stole the milk from the cows as a direct source of protein. In return, the ancient Vedic society revered the cow and worshiped it dearly for it's services in sustaining our civilization by even promising not to kill it or eat it.

Around the time, drinking milk was pitched as a major leap in our evolution by the political and economic pundits of the day. But, there was a sad twist. Even if we had the milk, we couldn't have drunk it safely as a cow's milk has a sugar called Lactose which must be metabolized by our body using an enzyme called Lactaze to digest it. But, alas, our bodies were never designed to do that. May be nature didn't exactly want us to steal from a cow. So, we adapted our bodies through generations of natural selection to become Lactose tolerant - all because we can't get rid of drinking milk. We beat the odds against Nature. In fact, humans  becoming lactose-tolerant is often cited as the best example of evolution theory and natural selection at work even today. Thus, started the painful legacy that continues till today as mommies run around the house forcing the kids to drink their morning glass of milk before going to school. It also led to the creation of Facebook pages like, "TO THE GUY WHO DISCOVERED MILK, WHAT WAS HE DOING WITH THE COW IN THE FIRST PLACE".

So, here we are. Backed up by Lactose tolerance, milk and milk products like the ghee, yogurt etc. became an integral part of the local cuisines. We liked the milk so much that we automatically decided that even our Gods had to be lactose tolerant and would love milk. And we began offering milk and savories made out of milk as prasad (offering) to the deities. It did not stop there. Not long after, a few high-priests convinced the other folks that Gods indeed like to take bath in milk itself - not just consume it. The ritual of palabhishekam (palu = milk; abhishekam = puja, prayer) was conceived - the practice of bathing the idol with milk, honey, yogurt, ghee, sugar (panchamritham). It did not stop there. The twentieth century saw the form of worship extend to even demi-gods. Celebrities like movie stars regularly get a milk bath arranged by their enthusiastic fans. Rajnikanth gets it all the time.

Now, my main point here is that even politicians are being given
Milk-Baths today. What's the deal with that? Does a meaning even exist for such a gesture? It is a good idea to remind ourselves that we do not have the actual God in front of us. So, we have to give a bath to his idol. But, if the politician is alive - why don't we just grab him, tie him to pole and pour  milk, yogurt, honey, sugar, ghee etc. on his actual body and leave him in the sun for several hours to dry off. Also, what's the criteria to qualify for a public milk-bath these days? Who's planning this stuff ? - after all, somebody should be involved! Isn't it fascinating that someone out there is uttering the exact words :"let's give politician X a milk-bath next week"You know what, my bucket list has a new entry:

#22. Sit through a local party meeting where a milk-bath for a local politician is being planned and budgeted ...

Imagine all that perilous Africa days ...  Imagine all that discovery of farming, milk and the whole lactose-intolerance episode ... Imagine all that Vedas and invention of complex social structures, rituals and lastly, imagine the conception of Palabhishekam ... After all the hard work ... after everything ... Isn't it amusing to think about the intelligence of our society & contemporaneous culture when this guy becomes eligible for a milk bath ?


This is the best we can do, folks ... History repeatedly showed us that we wrongly overestimate  us  on a regular basis ... Frankly, my only concern is how embarrassed Will Smith would be, to explain stuff like this in an alien warship on behalf of humans ... Mr. Rahul Gandhi - whose only recorded achievements till date include his dad falling in love with his mom & knowing by heart, his innocent 6th grade moral science lesson:  "All religions are "equal", All people are "equal", All animals are "equal" All things are "equal", All Universes  are "equal" and how everything is equal and must be shared by one and all and peace be on us for ever and ever and EVER !!!" ... Doesn't it seem that we are pushing the envelope on milk-baths, a little too far ?

One might say, "You have a problem with everything. What can he do when his fans put up a hoarding with his face and poured milk all over it?"
Exactly. I want him to rush into his helicopter ... make a surprise landing out there ... take out a mic ... and start screaming "NOOOOOOOO .... NOOOOOOOO .... STOP POURING MILK ALL OVER  THAT FACE ... WHY CAN'T WE KEEP THESE THINGS A LITTLE SECULAR FROM NEXT TIME "
... and the same party workers get all excited and pour the milk on his actual face and to be fair, that really drives any human N-U-T-S !!! ... Then he could calm himself down and SUSPEND ALL THOSE GOOFY PARTY WORKERS/FANS FOR LIFE - it would have been a day well spent than going around gossiping some conspiracy theories. He didn't do that. Did he?  Heh?

FUN FACT :
Cleopatra, the unofficial miss-universe of her day, historically acclaimed the beautifying benefits of milk-baths.

8 comments :

g2 said...

hehe... we should have some rules governing eligibility for such things... similar thread with the discovery of fire and burning effigies of MS Dhoni for losing a match?

Purba said...

Cleopatra left the cow alone, she preferred Ass's milk!

Seriously there is a group like that on FB?

But what would be life without milk - no ice creams, kulfi, milkshakes, cheese and fewer beauty treatments. Naa I prefer being lactose tolerant.

And great to have you back from your hiatus.

flawsophy said...

@ g2: Thanks for another idea. Milk-baths, effigy burning, religious book burning, whistling/honking from a moving vehicle to a pretty girl and many more are exclusive male ideas and enterprises that confuse the evolutionary biologists all the time ... :)

@ Purba : oh yeah! facebook has everything that is quite important to restore sanity to the crazy world outside :)

and yeah!!! 3 cheers for milk - we should thank our super-ancestors for the lactose tolerance revolution ...

it is indeed greeat to be back ... missed writing like hell !!! :)

Alok K. said...

T'was funny!

Didn't know that man acquired Lactose tolerance. Things are falling into place as I realize it's only human to hate that glass of milk.:)

Nags said...

good one.

but its puzzling that (in ancient times) while some group went on worshiping cow, other groups considered as food !

Sash! said...

@alok : HAHA ... it is very much human to hate milk - TOTALLY AGREE !!!

@nags : well, it depends where they settled... if the explorers from africa couldn't find the rivers to settle down, they became hunter-gatherers and nomadic tribes ... so ... I think they had to eat what they get ... so can't blame them ... :)

RG said...

Laughed all over my computer screen :)

I think killing cows and offering their meat to gods during Yagnams was a common practice in "veda kalam"

I read somewhere that this was stopped when budhism became a threat to hinduism.

Sash! said...

@ RG : Thanks so much ... yeah ...your cow unkilling hypothesis sounds familiar ... :)

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