LET FILMS BE YOUR WINDOW TO THE REAL WORLD: join the Cinephile Film Club of the Entertainment Society of Goa to see a film every Thursday evening at the Macquinez Palace auditorium in Panaji. Last week’s treat was imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s film `TAXI.’

WHAT a dismal world we are living in increasingly, my dears! At least I’m beginning to think so despite all the celebrations in the air with ordinary and extraordinary men (mostly politicians) sporting a bunch of colorful rakhi at their right hand wrist…and the country’s 75th birthday is being drowned in a cacophony of what patriotism should mean – Har Ghar Tiranga! We are a country of fabulously mindless paisa feko tamasha dekho nowadays. We are undoubtedly living in a dismal shallow world nowadays with a few rare exceptions!
The country is celebrating its 75th anniversary and I’m told “amrit” (nectar) is pouring from the coffers of a government which is a debt-ridden government on a roll…riding on the back of its long-suffering people. Rakhi bhandan is here, soon Ganesh Chaturthi or Chovoth will be here and it will be one round of celebrations. As in many other countries we too have built up a society up there of not so obvious establishments rolling in clover and cracking the whip on the minions who look up to the classes sarkari and non-sarkari who seem to have little respect for truth, freedom and health.
Actually, this dichotomy between mean utopia and lean dystopia is happening all around us in the rest of the world too. Take Iran for example. Books and films are my window to the world and I became a member of the Cinephile Film Club of the Entertainment Society of Goa, just so that once a week at least I may go see some of our crème de la crème films, which offer more quality than quantity and not fantabulous paisa feko tamasha dekho stuff which the younger generation like to lap up as so much amrit for the mind and body, heart and soul! Is it getting harder and harder to make out and weed out real from fake and reality and propaganda nowadays?
Of course it is. The film I succeeded in catching on Thursday evening, August 11, was the Iranian film “Taxi” directed by the much applauded Jafar Panahi, a filmmaker who is cooling his heels in prison, presumably accused of making films critical of the government in power. So we have a modern-day Iran too suffering from the sins of omission and commission of a wealthy pious, hypocritical government, hell bent on making muzzling all opposition.
As Sachin Chatte who hosts the Cinephile screenings observed pertinently at least in Goa we are able to screen films of Iranian filmmakers whose films are confiscated in Iran (and copies have to be smuggled out presumably). Panahi is no propaganda filmmaker and clearly he loves his country and doesn’t like all the autocracy and despotism targeting the artistic world of films. “Taxi” is so ingeniously made with minimal funding and it won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and other prestigious awards.
It seems Jafar Panahi was prohibited from making films on the life and times of Iran past and present from 2010 onwards and he is currently cooling his heels in prison. Attempts are on to get him freedom…in the meantime, catch “Taxi” and all his films if you can if you want to get an idea of how power, profit and control corrupts and corrupts absolutely around the world. “Taxi” makes a host of sad comments with a taxi driver (the producer-director-story teller himself posing as taxi driver) picks up varied passengers from different backgrounds and how their conversation inspires him to live or so to speak…the film has reportedly been inspired by Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry (1997) and “Ten (2002) and the entire film has been filmed from a camera on the dashboard. Darren Aronofsky, the jury president at the Berlin festival called the film “a love letter to cinema, filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience.”
This is to say we are not alone in India when it comes to suffering and oppression! Truth, freedom and health will come for all three are related and have a bearing on one another!
IN THIS respect I was wondering how come most of us prefer to go to hospitals and pop pills for all that ails us instead of taking the trouble to invest in some of our traditional “Dadi Maa Ke Nuskhe” where we have to put in some time and energy in preparation – instead we prefer to visit one doctor after another in search of the right prescriptions – seniors nowadays pop up to half-a-dozen single molecule chemical drugs euphemistically called medicines to cure. There are no cures in mainstream Allopathy, okay.
All drugs take a toll on the organs and especially the kidneys and liver. The more I see of life in and out hospitals public and private the more I’m convinced as a people we must return to the alternative schools of medicine like Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy, Unani …and invest in preventive healthcare. For this we must first perceive food, all food as natural medicine and so re-learn ways of eating and drinking. I know, easy to say, hard to do, given our lifestyles and infrastructures.
But if we can swing it on the food front and get back on our haunches or so to speak it would be a giant step towards better health parameters even in our later years of life. Every time I am at the GMC looking into its wards I think half the senior patients have no business to be there, either in the ward beds or the private room beds – the GMC also has a Geriatric Ward now and it’s all the hard work of Dr Edwin Gomes I’m told.
Geriatric care is a very specialized field and nowadays doctors do specialize in geriatric medicine. Much of it is to do with seniors who as they get on in years suffer from one of the dementia diseases of which Alzheimer’s takes maximum toll in families. Most patients in a geriatric ward I imagine are Alzheimer’s patients because families find it very difficult to manage such patients.
Hey, it’s been proved now in medical research that Alzheimer’s may be treated not so much with drugs which do more damage but with a change in dietary intake – in the US believe it or not pure coconut oil is given to patients with amazing results. I was reading about some research which threw up evidence that supports one Dr Newport’s theory that that ketones, byproducts of the breakdown of fats in the body, play an important role in brain health. The idea is that by boosting ketones, found in coconut oil, we can improve cognitive function! Go check it out. Our brains are mostly fats you know. Correct or corroborate this please!
ON that note it’s avjo, selamat datang, poiteverem, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yeta here for now!

—Mme Butterfly

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