BY THE LOCAL TEA PARTY

My future is doomed. Or whatever is left of it. Before you begin to shed many kilos of sympathy on me (which, I gratefully accept), do hear me out and who knows, we may even be in the same boat.

I have come to the conclusion that all ancient and modern diseases were simply waiting to spread their ugly fangs on this generation. And this right after the invention of computers; what else can explain the thousands of articles that make their presence felt every day to my conscience (and my inbox), warning me of “lifestyle diseases”? I have discovered, much like the venerable Jerome K. Jerome, that the more I am aware of these diseases, the more I am convinced I have them.

Adding to the noise are the so-called “new” diseases. I understand that some disorders arise from changes in the way we live. For example, schizophrenia from watching a certain news channel. But a new disease altogether? Wikipedia tells me that we Homo sapiens “began to exhibit behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago”. So, pray tell, where the hell were these diseases hiding for the last 49,968 years? Why now? Why me?

But what is annoying or, as most often is the case, baffling is that I am told (not just recommended) to do different things to get rid of my ailment. One friend tells me that an acute case of nasopharyngitis (also goes by the names rhinopharyngitis and acute coryza), if left unattended, could be dangerous because according to Facebook, this disease has been found to occur more frequently after the invention of ice cream and as this is a lifestyle disease, there is no permanent cure. The only way out of this disease is to avoid ice-creams at all cost.

Another friend tells me that he read in a gossip magazine that this disease leaves people depressed and even suicidal, as it reduces the appeal towards the said individual by a member of the opposite gender, making them feel lonely and rejected. Since a cure is nowhere in sight, the only sensible thing to do is to consult a psychiatrist and consume anti-depressants to counter the ill-effects of the said disease.

A more inexpensive solution, as suggested by a close friend of a not-so-close acquaintance, is to visit a certain deity up a hill about 100 kilometres away and pray to wash off my sins of my past, as nothing else could have been the reason for my sufferings from such an incurable disease.

Maybe I should just listen to my mother and apply Vicks Vaporub and get a good night’s sleep. There has to be a reason why it is called the common cold.

(The Local Tea Party is a blogger and comic writer from Chennai who also dabbles in writing short plays. He blogs at thelocalteaparty.com.)

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