Vantage point

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Clinching Proof of ISI's Trouble Formenting

Growing up, I would always read in the papers about how ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence Agency was formenting trouble in India. Bomb blasts, kidnappings, terror attacks, fake currency, you name it. In fact they were blamed for everything that went wrong.... except for maybe illicit liquor tragedies.... because in that case they would be accused of "fermenting" trouble. Ok, bad one, but now that we've gotten it out of the way, let's come to the point.

I was always skeptical about these allegations. Why would the ISI spend time making our life hell, I wondered. Then one rainy day, I got the clinching evidence that ISI was indeed messing with out lives.

It was a rainy day sometime in the 90s.... or was it the 80s? Anyway, it was a rainy day in the last 20% of the 20th century. As was my propensity then, and still is, I immediately caught cold. Copious amounts of phlegm had dedicated itself to the task of making it tough for oxygen to reach my lungs. There was also a lot of sneezing and sniffing. Western medicine had given up any hopes of curing my cold, and life used to be hell.

Then one day, my mother told me that eastern medicine had something that would make me feel better, maybe even cure the cold. I leapt at the prospect with the enthusiasm of a BJP leader at the prospect of conducting a press conference. Gimme, I yelled, and my mom went to concoct the concoction.

A few minutes later she handed me a glass with this supposed wonder-drug. I peered inside the glass and was confronted with something that did not look pretty. I know drinks aren't supposed to look pretty, but this particular drink looked downright sinister. It was yellow, and not just any yellow, but sinister yellow.

"What is it?" I suspiciously asked.

"It's called doodh haLad" said my Mom. "It is warm milk(doodh) with turmeric(haLad) powder in it. Turmeric has great medicinal properties. Combined with hot milk it will soothe your throat and kill the viruses(viri....virii?) frolicking within."

It did not look that powerful to me, but then I reasoned that if I am so scared of drinking it, maybe the viruses(it's NOT viri or virii, I checked) would be scared to death too.

Now even if we assume that the miraculous liquid does amazing things on reaching the throat, the main problem is getting to to the throat, because to do so, it has to come in touch with the tongue. And my tongue did not take kindly to it.


My mother tried to cajole me into drinking it, using the "it's good for you" argument. I responded with the effective "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" argument. In all its years of existence, my tongue had not tasted anything as horrible as doodh haLad, and it hasn't tasted anything more horrible since (to understand how horrible it tasted, keep in mind, my tongue has also come in contact with Domino's pizzas).

That night, sniffing and sneezing, I agonised over why my own mother would put me through such an experience. Why would the Indian medicinal world consider that liquid as something everyone with common colds should drink? That is when it hit me.


Only the handiwork of the evil ISI could be behind this. I could visualise the accurate execution of their elaborate evil plans. A sustained propaganda, combined with bribing leading ayurveda experts made it possible. They spread false stories about how people were cured of colds (or at least experienced mild relief) after drinking doodh haLad. And the Indian public fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Every year, millions of children.. and adults.. are forced to go through the ordeal of drinking the vile yellow liquid. I don't know what sadistic pleasure the ISI derives from it, but I must admit that it is their most successful project till date.

Join me in foiling the ISI designs.

Say NO to doodh haLad!