Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vikram, Betaal and The Immunity Problem

As a routine exercise, Vikram got Betaal, the Dracula dude, hanging upside down from a tree doing his abs and said, "Okay bro, let's go."

Few days back, when it all started, Betaal was rather annoyed. Out of green this Vikram bloke had appeared, and tried to arrest him without any warrant. Betaal, the old potato, had never seen this kind nonsense since the end of emergency, but he had seen The Ghost Rider. He struck a deal with Vikram.
Deal was that when Vikram would come to capture him, Betaal would not make a fuss and oblige him, but in return Vikram had to keep mum, and not bore him during the journey. Should vikram break his promise, Betaal was free to hang upside down from his favourite tree for the rest of the day. But there was a catch! During the passage Betaal would tell a random story, and ask him silly questions. These questions were compulsory to answer since they came with a death threat that, should he keep the answers to himself even after knowing, his head would explode. Since Vikram was intelligent and questions were rather simple, everytime Vikram had to answer, and that would make Betaal free to go. (Remember the deal!)
Vikram was tired of this. "Catch -22", he told his girl friend the other day, " He is never coming here, and I am going to die with all these moral riddles." 
His girlfriend couldn't care less, " You and your Betaal, Huh."
On that particular day, Betaal initiated the story of two school kids, who were good friends, Charit and Aadarsh. 
 " I tell you of the times, when Charit and Aadarsh, two good friends, were in class eight. The two guys, though were studying in same school, had different living conditions at homes. Where Charit's home was orthodox, with his parents keeping him away from all that they considered "western"; Aadarsh lived in a neo-modern atmosphere, with a Tab to tap, and eminem to rap, and very distasteful to anything that seemed old Indian. 
Long story short, tell me something Vikram, what way is better to grow up a kid! Who shall be healthier? "

Vikram, who had become used to long narratives of Betaal, was bit surprised by the way Betaal had cut the story short. He knew he had to speak up, given the conditions, but he sensed something different happening that day. He sensed a haste to answer than the usual timepass. Vikram knew he had a leverage. He asked Betaal why he jumped to question so fast.

"Okay, I will be honest. This is not my question. It's from a contest, from good old Dabur, and they want to know how to make children of India immune, and I here, stand a good chance to win some prizes, should your answer be smart.So will you now answer!"

Vikram pondered over the situation, and said, "Dude, I will not take your prize money, but if you win you will have to come with me without any further drama. I don't care if my head explode or anything. I am the verge of a breakup and, at my age this is fatal. So tell me, do we have a deal here?"

"Deal", said the grumpy Betaal after a little thought.

"Betaal immunity can be interpreted as a physical phenomenon, as an ability to resist a disease, or we can see even a larger concept, which is an ability to avoid any harmful influence, physical or mental ", said Vikram with a face full of thoughts, " I think we should think of the other immunity here, as that covers your body and soul."

"Right on dude, something like healthy mind lives in a healthy body or something ", Betaal added.

"Yes. Betaal, though you may not agree but change is part of the journey, and nothing stays good if it stays still. Keeping a blind eye to latest development in world, or finding everything that comes from west as a bad influence may leave you deprived of many great advances that we have achieved in this new era. This is what is happening wrong at the home of this Charit boy. By being orthodox, his family may deny him the great advantages of all the latest developments, and may fill him with an inferiority complex too. The situation gets worse, when some families deny freedom to their girls in name of culture. Not only they misinterpret our great culture, but leave their girls weak and vulnerable.
What happens at the home of Aadarsh is equally harmful. After being ruled and ridiculed by English empire for a long period of time, many Indians have developed a feeling that their own culture and ancient knowledge is crude, or long past it's utility. What surprises me more is that even when people form rest of the world try to learn from our culture, we still stay ignorant. For no good reason, few people found complicated gymnasiums more effective than our own indigenous yoga. These teachings are not philosophies alone, they are our sciences.By keeping an egnorant eye to our own culture, family of Aadarsh is denying him his very basic inheritance, his great advantage of being part of such great civilisation.
Both the kids that you mentioned, may fail to stay immune to the ever evolving threats, physical or spiritual, if we fail to provide them with the best of wisdom and knowledge. The knowledge that has been transferred to us by our ancestors, and that has evolved over the time with great efforts of entire human race.
Neither they should avoid beautiful offerings from west such as Internet, nor they should avoid our own indigenous meditation. They should be allowed to watch great American movies but also be told the great stories such as Panch Tantra.
Only someone with questionable intelligence can avoid vaccinations that our modern science has given us; at the same time, only an ignorant can forget inventions and traditional ways of living, which were aimed to make life healthy and body immune. We had a great history of scientists such as Charak, Shushurt and Chayavan, who helped in developing Aayurveda, the scientific method to empower body, mind and soul. How foolhardy it would be, if we fail to preserve, develop and avail such great inheritance!"

"We have to teach our children to respect past as well as present, then only we can expect a safe future for them, as well as for ourselves.Our schools have to teach them not only curriculum, but an ever evolving culture as well, and optimize physical, mental growth. Most importantly, schools must be a positive, happy place where kids can learn to think and act, in a loving care of nature, and not turn into a stress driven machine lost in a concrete jungle,"concluded Vikram.

Betaal thought for a while and said, "Vikram, you are a person of means and power. You must attempt to materialise your ideas in robust actions.First, you must support campaigns in schools which create an awareness about the importance of holistic healthcare. You have to protect Kids from harmful influences physical, or behavioural that includes drug abuse or harmful video contents, bad eating habits and stress disorders."
"second, but very important aspect must be welfare of teacher. We have to invest, if we want a group of dedicated good teacher, taking pride in their job. Good incentives, training, seminars, and brainstorming sessions  can be among few steps that you can promote."
 "Lastly, as you seemed  worried about the fainting shine of our heritage, why don't you attempt to restore that? Make such information easily available, and in fun-to-read language or good visuals.Keep it trendy Bro, you know. All that enigma that surrounds our ancient wisdom, is making it all the more difficult. Remove the dust, and clear the stains. Nothing stays good if stays still, you said so,"said Betaal before fleeing for his tree.

With Betaal gone, Vikram headed to his city. He knew challenges were hanging in his beloved city on every nook and corner, and Betaal, in this jungle, was one friendly hanging problem that he could see later. There was a long road left to go, and a long way ahead after that. But he knew, however difficult this may seem, this was not impossible.


This post was written for the same reason Vikram and Betaal had this conversation, i.e. for the indiblogger contest sponsored by Dabur: An Immune India.


  1. Well told story of Vikram and Betal. Sure to haunt the people for its originality. Goodluck.

    Would appreciate your candid views on my post at

    1. thanks for noticing ;) ..hope you enjoyed ..

  2. Well written story! The past has so many wisdom for living a healthy life but sadly most of them are lost or altered...hope we preserve what little we have !

    1. thank you for coming by :) ..yes not only preserve but develop upon too..i actually believe that dabur has done probably best job in this..You have seen that new different tastes of chyawanprash? that exactly is what I want to highlight, its about preserving and developing (with help of modern knowledge too) and making it of thses times..

  3. Interesting twist in the tale. Loved the nuggets you dug from the past. All the best!

    Read my entry at

    1. thanks, coming from "Dr." its very different :) ....


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