Have you ever wondered why we are called a human “race”? Well, I often do. And, I find the answer by just summarizing the way (a majority of us) live our day to day lives. We keep racing against the time and competitors to achieve our personal and professional goals daily. Possibly that is why are a “race”!
Well, Diwali 2019 is just passed and with that, the Bharatiya new year is started. Many of us has resolved or vowed for some goals to achieve in this coming year of Vikram. And, if not, a new year as per Gregorian calendar is on the way. And, we as a civilization never discriminate between occasions when we get a chance to have joy and fun, right? In addition to cricket, I think :). So, those, who have missed the golden opportunity to observe a new year resolution can go ahead and have a few(!) or at least 1, to be taken on 1st Jan 2020. And the year number “20-20” reminds us of a popular format of cricket, which is a fever a large number of Indians love to be caught by; it is even a better chance. Ha Ha Ha!
Well, if you analyze the new year resolutions people commit for, you will find that most of them will consider “health” to be given a priority. But, then, the promises are made to be broken, like rules (just fun, don’t take it seriously). Anyway, we all know that the body is the best asset we can have, it is the possession we live our lives with. So, keeping it fit is the requirement for survival.
Well, well, well,… everyone knows the importance of health (and wealth too 🙂 ), so why are we talking about it now? Well, we know its important to remain healthy. But, we see a large number of people need to spend a lot of their earnings to the medical industry. The “health insurances” are as important as life insurances these days. Or even more important, possibly! We see new diseases introduce themselves at regular intervals and when we think that we have conquered one fatal disease with medical inventions, a few more are already appeared to fill the gap. Who said “Rakta-Bija” is a fictional demon?!
Among all these life-threating conditions we tend to ignore obesity and mental health so much that only we talk less about it, we often don’t consider them as a threat, at all.
Recently, I came across a book named Fight With Fat with a tagline Battling India’s Obesity Crisis by Dr. Kamal Mahawar. The book is published by Fingerprint! Publishing and we are thankful to them for providing us a review copy of the same. The views presented below are uninfluenced and unbiased by all means, as always.
|Fight With Fat
Battling India’s Obesity Crisis
|Dr. Kamal Mahawar
|Fingerprint! Publishing (1 April 2019)
|# of Pages
|# of Chapters
Let us talk a little about the book cover.
This Is Here In For You
It is very important to understand that a book cannot be judged by its cover. But, who can deny the importance of the first impression? And for a book, or for that matter – for any media, the cover page is nothing less than a gateway to the world explored within. And, an interesting and attractive book cover can result in many positive book purchase and/or reading decisions.
“Fighting with Fat”, the phrase itself shows a battle one needs to fight, mainly against him/herself. And, the writer is a doctor, and his profession is represented by the color of peace – white. The book cover thus has a plain white background. The word “Fight” is illustrated as the middle half of a human body and the measuring tape is seen trying to keep the bulging belly in the shape of a “thin waist”. This illustration is quite thoughtful and impressive. The word “Fat” is printed in red, as you can already see; because it is the most eye-cacher word in the title.
Overall, a cover page with a minimalist approach, trying to justify the book title convincingly. If you love simplicity, the book cover will attract you.
Usually, when talking about a book, we keep our thoughts about the book and the bird’s eye view of the story in two distinguished segments. The nature of this book, however, is different and so I am merging both these segments here.
It is said that “Well begun is half done”!
Often, the first few pages into the book will give you an idea about what to expect from the book. The “Dedication” segment of the book itself is very impressive. The author mentions here:
To m grandfather
who taught me to write more
To my father
who taught me to talk less
These lines are enough to give you an idea about the wisdom you can expect from the book.
Same way, the initial lines in the Acknowledgements section re-inforces the impression:
The times of individual accomplishments are long gone. We live in the age of collective efforts where we recognise that one can achieve little working in isolation and even though working with others is not always easy, it is the only way forward.
The body reflects and responds to the mind. So, the very first thing one needs to do is to accept that obesity is indeed a disease. Because, unless we consider it a problem, we can never make ourselves put-in any efforts to solve it. It is plain and simple as that. The author mentions the same thing in the book:
Unless obesity is recognised as a disease, no action will be taken to treat it.
From the tagline of the book, you can imagine that the book must have mentioned statistical information at places. Now, if a book talks about a serious topic in a serious manner by infusing just numbers and quotes, it will be a boring read. The author, however, has taken care of this issue quite well. His writing style reminded me of Dr. Navin Kakkar (the author of: Dissected). Of course, there are no similarities in the content of both the books, but Dr. Kakkar is also a humourous person. And, that is what makes him and Dr. Kamal (and many other such doctors) more lovable.
Here is an interesting satirical piece of writing from the book:
I know it is kind of our fundamental human right to be able to blame our parents for everything, but obesity was not at all a problem in India 40-50 years ago.
You can quite clearly that by using simple words, he made his point in the “matter-of-fact” tone. Here is another example where he talks about the population.
It has to be a remarkable feature of our society that a lack of even the most basic necessities of life does not prove a deterrent to having more and more children. Whether or not we can feed or clothe them, we have always assumed it our birth right to bring as many of them as possible into this world.
On a serious note, parenting is a responsibility. And, unless one find him/herself capable enough to sculpt a newborn into an intelligent, humble and civilized human being, one should not become a parent.
The author talks about himself, his Marwari community, his profession and many other such segments in a satirical tone. It is a rare feat to achieve. Yes, we love to laugh on others but making fun of ourselves is not everyone can do. The way the author talks about why he had chosen to write a book, that too in English, how much economical aspect was associated with it, how many readers actually read books, that too in English compared to vernacular languages; is something you will enjoy reading. And, while talking all these, the author says that he is not a “Narrow Nationalist”. I like the phrase :).
He comes to the main topic quite on time. And, he remains very clear about it.
Obesity is her latest weapon. How else would you explain the fact that she has turned the food, of all the things, against us? Isn’t it the lack of it rather than the excess that we would normally associate with failure to survive? Yet the reality for many of us, probably the majority in this century, is very different indeed.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Taking responsibility for problem might suggest that we then have to do something about them whereas delegating them to god requires no effort.
Being a doctor, he can talk about the stuff in a logical and rational manner. And he busts many myths. Like cholesterol is not a bad thing, nor the fat. If such elements are actually harmful to our bodies, then during all these years, we must have got rid of them all. He clearly says that:
The laws of the modern health economics mean that people can no longer die without first transferring a substantial proportion of their wealth to the healthcare industry.
Dr. Kamal makes it clear that in books at regular intervals he will talk off the topic also. We can find many wise lessons from him. It is not necessary to agree with all his arguments, but, they all have a point that cannot be ignored.
Intelligence needs education to develop it; an opportunity we are denying our people by following an education system that was designed keep most Indians out.
The way he describes our way of living in current times is something I found interesting and bitter yet true.
… we are busy and bored at the same time, and eating and drinking often to fill up that vacuum.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
… On the other hand, the pressure to have a perfect body is increasing – both for women and now even men. Recent news reported that hundreds of thousands of British men are using muscle-building anabolic steroids to shape up their body, obviously completely unaware of the disastrous effect of these drugs on their health.
The author rightly links obesity with the social aspects also. From being body shamed to opting out for obesity pills and bariatric surgery; the author talked about the entire spectrum.
The author also talks about the tragic situation when a disease eats up almost all the savings a person has made throughout his life.
… Not only that, a bit of fat can prove advantageous in times of crisis, like a major illness, or in old age.
To avoid that, the doctor talks about healthy cooking and many other such stuff. Rather than starving (obsession to have a zero-size figure is a different issue, which needs equal attention) one should focus on healthy eating. He says:
When it comes to healthy eating, it is far more important to have a balanced diet that has everything in the right amount rather than a selective focus on a particular type of food.
The doctor also focuses on the importance of sports in addition to academics. And, he gives some simple yet effective advice like:
The best drink is plain water.
The author could have included a couple of more related topics, but, it is the author’s domain to decide what to include and what not to.
As you can see, the book doesn’t talk about fat and obesity in a boring manner. The author rather talks about the issue from almost every possible socio-political and geographical angles. His advice is simple and worth implement. The “takeaways” segment at the end of each chapter is something you should not miss.
Overall, an “important to read” book which some readers may find costly. It talks about a serious topic in an interesting manner. I liked reading it. Though anyone can read it, I strongly believe that only a specific set of readers like to go for such books.
At least 7.5 to 8 out of 10.
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