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  • 21 February 2015 11:27
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10 4
I was still a child when I faced a very difficult question for the first time in my life. May be not difficult for the majority, but it was for me, definitely then, unfortunately probably even now. I am not boasting, but I was a kind of a prodigy in a small town and here was a question that I couldn’t just answer:


Who is your favorite hero?


Its not that I didn’t have the knowledge of the then heroes. I could tell about their movies, moves, dialogues and could even mimic some, though I was not greatly into watching movies. But the problem was that I didn’t have any favorite, because I didn’t strongly feel about any actor. Each actor acts well in certain scenes of certain movies and you like them in that scene or movie, but how can you like them as a whole? To complicate matters further, I didn’t have any understanding of my caste, religion or region, to pick an actor on those lines.


So, I didn’t have a favorite actor or a cricketer. Not a big deal right? Except, it was. The big deal was that everyone in my class had one. And I was looked at as if I was weird, as if I was hiding my favorites just be unique, as if I had a tail (I already had horns, being the small town prodigy, remember?). I was called a nerd, a manipulative person, a fence sitter, and a cunning mastermind, just because I didn’t have a bloody favorite actor!!!


To complicate things even further, as if it was even possible, I didn’t have a favorite color. My argument was that why would I have to like a red face, if I like a red car? Different things are good in different colors and our perception of colors change with peer group, time and with our mood. How can then I have a favorite color? And why was it so difficult for the rest of my classmates to understand when it was so obvious to me? To top it off, I sneaked into my dad’s lap one day and asked him "dad! the color I see as red, is it the same as what everyone else is calling red?” It sounded stupid then, but only later I realized that it was indeed a fundamentally un-answerable question1.


So my school life was a bit complicated because every elder, every classmate and every autograph book (yes, we used to have them) would ask me the same questions again and again: who is your favorite cricketer? Who is your favorite actor? And what is your favorite color? It was as if my life depended on it.


People love people who have strong opinions. They feel that friends with strong opinions are leaders, straightforward, faithful and cannot be easily swayed. One may feel that the lack of a strong opinion may reflect a higher intellect, but intelligence is despised anyway. If you really want to be popular in school or in life – I learned the hard way – you should voice strong opinions and sound stupid at least at times. So I started acting as if I had strong opinions and as if I was stupid, until I learned that I was really dumb and never had to act anyway. From then on, life has become easier.


But coming back to feeling strong, the American guidelines for food intake were issued in 1977 and recommended that the dietary fats should be limited to 30% of total daily energy intake and the saturated fats to less than 10% (now it is 5 to 6%). And this month a study was published which told us clearly that there is no evidence to support this claim2. It seems now that we have been advocating a cut down of saturated fats without actual evidence to do so.


So, while you and me can feel strongly about anything, the policy makers need to wait for proper and enough evidence to tell things strongly or they may end up with feet in their mouths rather than saturated fats.






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