A problem named first world problem


I have recently started this diet, of eating extremely healthy, which was necessary considering my weight was increasing with a speed of a released kraken. By extremely healthy meaning, every time I look at a piece of bread, in my head I put two thick slices of processed cheese on it, microwave it for 10 seconds and gobble it up. In reality however, I have not eaten bread for a week now. Yesterday as I was eating my egg white omelette for lunch, I wanted to throw up. Guess what gives egg their taste, the yolk. Guess where that egg white came from? a box! However, I was so hungry that I did not care how much I wanted to throw up, I still ate it all. When I finished my lunch and I was wondering to myself, sitting at a mandatory seminar I had to attend, that, three years back, I would not even buy a box that said egg whites, because the only way I knew how to obtain egg whites was this extremely artistic and complicated procedure of breaking an egg in such a way that the yolk stayed in and only the whites came out, a process only experts could manage to do. Three years back, I did not have egg whites available to me in a box at a price that was affordable. Three years back I was not living in a so called first world country. Back in my not so first world country, I could grab some bread and eggs fried in some mustard oil and wrapped in a dark brown looking paper from a man selling that outside my college for about 20 cents. Oh, the satisfaction that brought me. I could regularly eat that and not gain an inch on my waist. Of course most of that got cleansed out of my system by the diarrhea that followed. I never needed a cleansing diet before. Now this could also be that I was younger and hence my body’s metabolism was different or I would walk and take public transport to most places instead of getting into a car and getting out of the car that i do now. In any case, earlier, all I knew for a clean diet was eat some boiled rice and potatoes at home. Even while writing that down I am salivating thinking of good old carbs.

I digressed, so coming back to what I was saying, sitting at that seminar I realized , even I have first world problems now. I had a problem with my egg white omelette. I am on a diet in which i do not eat carbs to shed the weight I gained from eating carbs in the first place, and going to work in a car every day, having no time to go to the gym that is available to me for free. I have a water fountain right outside my door in my work place and a couple weeks back I complained that they should install an automatic sensor water bottle filling station, something I did not know even existed three years back. I remember a couple years back , I was sitting with my sister making fun of first world problems. Just so you know, she has been living in one of the first world countries for almost a decade now, so she would tell me about all these things people complain about like not enough phone charging stations around, not enough different kind of coffee creamers available, how can someone only have 2 % milk, 3 % milk is what they are used to, they might be allergic to 2%. Oh wait, you forgot about the soy milk?! what if the person is lactose intolerant. And i almost forgot gluten, poor innocent gluten, sitting at a corner being stared at by everyone. People these days want everything gluten free, even when they are not even close to being allergic to it. Gluten is what makes your break spongy, it is not harmful. Few people may have allergies to it but that’s about it! Everyone does not stop eating shrimps if there is a person who is allergic to shrimp!

Is it okay though? To complain about such things when there is so much available to you, so much at your dispense, so many options and yet we complain. I understand its human nature to do so, to not be satisfied with what you have, does not matter how much you do. What is not okay is to do it stupidly. There must be some kind of reality check from time to time. My reality check is where I am from, my roots, it makes me feel stupid for complaining about something like egg whites.when you think of it in a  bigger perspective, does it really matter? I think first world countries need more reality checks, more than the options of kinds of milk they have available. May be sugar coating everything (literally ) is not doing so good. The sense of being grateful is so hard to instill these days, everyone feels they are entitled to things, specially when I see kids on hover boards. That thing makes me so angry. Anyway, what is the solution to all this? how do we make kids or adults feel grateful for having the options and not complain about silly things, the so called first world problems?













Whenever I go out of my house, may be for a cup of tea or to meet a friend or for some work to some place, I either walk or take the auto rickshaw or bus or the underground railways, I have a favourite pastime, to look at (hopefully not end up staring) and observe people. The fact that I do not have any personal means of transport and not enough money to afford a cab all the time makes sure that I am surrounded by people even when my commute is not too long. Now it is quite a cliché that my favourite out of all the people to observe are the little human beings. Yes, they are adorable, most of the times that is and if they are not, at least it’s fun to watch them irritate the crap out of whomever they are with. Now, my second favourite people to observe are the middle aged and old ones say from about 35 to 80 or above. It’s actually quite easy to distinguish the 35 from 25, lack of excitement in general is the first sign, lack of too much hand or body movement while talking is another. It is pretty intriguing how 10 years of being in the same bad world can change people’s perceptions. They learn to accept, they don’t fight for change in the auto rickshaw, they silently take an empty seat in the train without much ado and immediately almost close their eyes to avoid glares from older or more tired commuters and they are the ones waiting patiently in a queue even if it is as long as 50 metres long. Funny thing is how this attitude towards the world changes with another 25 years of living experience added to the file. How do you know someone is close to their 60’s? Well apart from the greying hair and wrinkles which people easily cover up these days ( the repertoire of hair colours, anti wrinkle creams, and oh I have heard yoga works too!) you would recognise them by their frowns! They frown almost at everyone and everything, refusal of the auto driver to give him change, or the young chap sitting on the senior citizen seat on the bus or the fact that he has to bear with a group of college girls screaming their lungs out when they see their crush in the train or the worst of it all, if they have to be a witness to young love.

Well it is not like I despise any of it, on the other hand I actually understand. It is okay to be grumpy I guess. The world is quite a shitty place to live in most of the days unless you are deliberate enough to not let anything affect you. To gracefully age is not something that everyone can master however I am pretty sure everyone tries. In a city like Calcutta where the traffic is absolutely bonkers and the population (oh let me not even get there) can drive you insane, especially if you are not really having a good day. May be once you reach home, see your children or grand children you smile and feel the load of the whole day getting lifted off your shoulders. Also how would you know you are being so closely observed by a neurotic woman! May be you would have behaved otherwise and hold the frowns!

The thing is I am not being judgemental, I am simply observing. I have also noticed that when age starts affecting body metabolism, people start developing quirky habits. People who are around their high 40’s or 50’s say they would not eat meat at night as they cannot digest it properly.  Your body cannot handle alcohol the same way anymore and you definitely have to go quite easy if you do not want to wake up with a hangover. My mom and dad have this weird thing, if they don’t wake up at 7 am and have a whole cup of hot milk tea they can’t take a dump and it follows by a grumpy day! Many people actually start reducing their milk intake with age because their bodies can’t digest it anymore. Reducing sugar intake is what I see in almost every middle aged person these days.

So, the reason why I started thinking about all of this and started writing this post is because I realised something about myself recently. By recently I mean in the last two months, I found out that I cannot take a dump the next day if I don’t have a cup of hot milk the previous night. I never realised my body would be so much dependant on it till the time I went travelling and hence out of schedule of my night ritual of drinking milk, and could not poop for 5 straight days! And trust me, if anyone has ever had the problem of not being able to shit would know what I mean when I say it was freaking painful. Finally in the fifth day I thought my tummy could not handle anything other than milk and hence got myself a glass full of hot milk and finally in that night I found my release! I have always had this drinking milk at night ritual, my whole family does it since forever, since the time I can remember. I have also gone travelling before with the ritual breaking and I spent my days looking at new places and people and eating new food without a worry about my body’s metabolism! So what changed now? Well the answer is simple and glaring at my face! I have aged. Age has affected my body’s metabolism and got me dependant on milk for me to be able to have a frown free day. It scares me really, this is just the beginning, I know. So many other things will happen to me and changes I would have to accept but at least I shall be warned. This was like my warning bell. I can’t believe that it started so early, but it is okay, if not anything else I will try to achieve mastery in the art of ageing gracefully. And, this blog post is my first effort to do so. Hope my choice of words were not too disgraceful.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to hurt anybody of any age by this post; I have people in my life who I love between the age of 5 to 85. Whatever is written should be taken lightly and only in the purpose of humour. Also, this post is based on observations with no fixed parameters or controls, hence I am just speaking my heart out and categorising or generalising in any way is not my intention.