Shouting, Jumping and Peacock Feathers

The daughter has been ill for nearly the last two weeks, struck by one bacterium after one virus, with a short gap in between. Through her first illness (a stomach bug), she had remained cheerful and happy. And when I had taken her to hospital, she had responded by trying to climb up an abacus they had placed there in the children’s urgent care room.

So when the virus passed and she recovered, the transition was a rather smooth one. The day after she recovered I took her to the park where she jumped and ran around and rode the swing and the slide. Within a day or two after that she was eating normally, and we thought she had recovered.

Only for a bacterium to hit her and lay her low with a throat infection and fever. Perhaps being a stronger creature than the earlier virus, or maybe because it was the second illness in the space of a week, this one really laid her low. She quickly became weak, and rather than responding to “how are you?” with her usual cheerful “I’m good!!”, she started responding with a weak “I’m tired”. As the infection grew worse, she stopped eating, which made her weaker and her fever worse. Ultimately, a trip to the doctor and a course of antibiotics was necessary.

It was only yesterday that she started eating without a fuss (evidently, the antibiotic had started to do its work), and when she made a real fuss about eating her curd rice last night, I was deeply sceptical about how she would get on at her nursery today.

As it happened, she was completely fine, and had eaten all her meals at the nursery in full. And when I got her home in the evening, it seemed like she was fully alright.

She is normally a mildly naughty and loud kid, but today she seemed to make an extra effort in monkeying around. She discovered a new game of jumping off the edge of the sofa on to a pillow placed alongside – a sort of dangerous one that kept us on the edge of our seats. And periodically she would run around quickly and scream at the top of her voice.

To me, this was like a peacock’s feathers – by wasting her energy in unnecessary activities such as jumping and screaming, the daughter was (I think) trying to signal that she had completely recovered from her illness, and that she now had excess energy that she could expend in useless activities.

The upside of all this monkeying around was that soon after I had helped her get through 2-3 books post her dinner, she declared that it was “taachi (sleep) time”, and soon enough was fast asleep. This is significant in that the last few days when she spent all the time at home, her sleep schedule had gotten ruined.

The Prime Minister has lunch

Much has been made of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lunch at the parliamentary canteen a few days back. The “event” has been covered by newspapers in excruciating detail, and the opposition Congress has taken a jibe at the PM for “eating subsidised food”.

That something like the PM having lunch at the parliamentary canteen being news suggests that something is seriously wrong. I mean, I know that the PM is a busy man and may not have time to socialise during lunch and all that, but considering that he’s also an MP and that parliament is in session, the parliamentary canteen is possibly the most logical place for him to have lunch if he didn’t have any other plans!

Some of the reports also talk about the fact that no prime minister in the last <numbers vary> years had done this, and reports also go on to make a big deal that Modi paid for his own lunch. The amount he paid and the amount he got back as change is also well noted. It is possible that there may not be much news happening, but the footage this event has received is definitely overblown.

Anyway, apart from the fact that this shouldn’t have been news, I have one other quibble with the whole episode. The Indian Express writes:

“As is standard operating procedure, the security personnel accompanying the PM tasted the food before it was served to him. They also took samples of all that was served to him — which is also the standard drill,” a senior catering official said, adding that these samples would be preserved for 72 hours during which they would be sent for testing.

Now, I know that we need to take utmost care for our Prime Minister’s health and safety and all that, but I found this bit a little weird. I mean, while it might be standard operating procedure, this event discloses a level of distrust in the food prepared by the government (IRCTC to be precise) run parliamentary canteen, and that cannot be good signalling!