Thursday, 3 June 2010

Death? Fat chance!

I now have a choice: To die of lung cancer or of a heart attack. No, I haven’t had a visit from Yama Raj – “Ha! Ha!! Ha!!! Your time is up. Get ready to leave”. “Sure,” I reply, “But since I am concerned about the world finding an alternative to fossil fuels, do you mind if I ask you a question?” Intrigued, the god of Big D agrees. “This vehicle of yours, this buffalo, what kind of average does he give per bale of grass?” Made bold by his silence, I continue, “And how fast does he go from 0 to 100kph?” “Ha! Ha!! Ha!!! I am pleased by your concern child. As a reward you can choose your method of death…”

Neither have I found a passage pertaining to me in Nostradamus – ‘In the nth year of the twenty first century a man who earns his living by banging his fingers will be struck down by a breakdown in his circulation, of air or of blood’.

As I type his name a red squiggle appears under ‘Nostradamus’ indicating that the word doesn’t figure in the Microsoft Word dictionary. Strange - the man who has predicted every major disaster (and no good news at all), did not predict the invention of dictionaries and the inclusion of his name in them.

The choice struck me in an amusement park, no pun intended. As I took the kids for a ride in the bumper boats I was singled out by the attendant. No, he didn’t offer me the choice. He asked me to step on a weighing scale because the maximum permissible weight for a bumper boat ride was 75 kg. I knew I was over that but some unknown force, like a death wish, made me step on it. I reeled back. For the last 15 years or so my weight has hovered between 75 and 78 kg. Not any more, not any less. The weighing scale said 85; in the last 7 months I had gained at least 7 kg.

But to say I was taken by surprise would be to lie: I have had enough signs in the months gone by. At least one trouser had stopped fitting me. I had been finding it increasingly difficult to see my toes without leaning ahead a bit. I had acquired the habit of sucking in my tummy every time a hot chick walked into the room.

After I was done with reeling and waving with forced enthusiasm at the kids in the bumper boats, I sat down. Because my legs couldn’t carry my new weight. And because I had to think. If I continued at this rate, that is 1 kg per month, I would be over 100 kg in the next 15 months and continue to bloat. If that were the case, how far would I be from a deadly heart attack? I thought some more: ‘Why had I begun to put on weight?’ The answer was simple: After 26 years of smoking, I had quit.

That, my friends, is the story of my death: I can re-start smoking and choose death by lung cancer. Or, do nothing and wait for the attack.