Ramdev Baba wellnessThe pursuit of wellness leads to an increase in human happiness, especially for those who provide it. Deepak Chopra is worth over $80 million. Baba Ramdev will soon be bigger than Procter & Gamble. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s attempts to promote yogic flying never rose beyond six to nine inches above the mattresses on which his yogis bounced, optimistically, in the lotus position, but the value of his real estate holdings has skyrocketed. This is commendable. The first thing purveyors of wellness have to do is achieve wellness themselves, because otherwise, how will they help other people? Currently, those at the top of this profession feel a deep and abiding sense of well-being.

What about the rest of us? Our search for wellness begins at birth, when we realise that amniotic fluid is no longer available, and we will have to find things to eat. In India, many of us are still doing this. On the other hand, many others have achieved this goal, which is why close to 5% of our population can be classified as morbidly obese. According to the National Family Health Survey, Delhi has taken the lead in this matter, with 49% of the women and 45% of the men falling in this category. This has placed a lot of pressure on the transport system, leading to breakdowns of buses and overcrowding in the metro. Flights leaving from Indira Gandhi International Airport may soon be unable to take off. The runner-up is Punjab, where 37.5% of the men and 30% of the women are obese. This once-proud state is being brought to its knees by a combination of drugs and butter chicken. Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu round out the top five.

I was a little surprised by this. I was brought up to believe that South Indian eating habits are healthier than ours, but this appears to be a canard spread by the Udupi mafia. What this data tells us is that, in India, our preliminary pursuit of wellness involves large amounts of ghee. In Amritsar and Ludhiana, which have always been more open to Western influences, butter is preferred. However, there is no escaping evolution, and over time, our needs have begun to evolve. We order Diet Cokes with our Maharaja Macs. We have an extra spoon of dahi with our aloo parathas . These urges go beyond the physical. We have come to realise that carbohydrates cannot fill the yawning emptiness in our souls. It is at this point that our true pursuit of wellness begins, and we at The Hindu are here to support you. In the coming months, we will explore ways and means of achieving this, including inner engineering, quantum health and bananas.

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