Friday, June 10, 2011


Staple foods are foods that are 'eaten regularly and in such quantities as to constitute the dominant part of the diet and supply a major proportion of energy and nutrient needs.' But we all know them and have our own set of staple foods based on our geographical location,climate, culture, season, personal preferences and bank balance.

Sudden drastic change in one's staple food can make one suffer from various gastrointestinal issues or at least some level of mental discomfort.

However, there is another kind of staple food which, in-spite of being no less important than its dietary equivalent, is often neglected. These are the staple foods for thought.We're all aware of the famous Rene Descartes axiom : 'I think therefore I exist'. Thus a drastic variation in staple food for thought can jeopardize our entire existence.

What are staple food for thought? Traditionally for my (male) predecessors it used to be the morning news-paper, customary fortnightly visit to the local library and most importantly, 'adda' with the countryfolk on various topics ranging from politics to philanthropy over fuming cups of chai.Post the omnipresence of television, the 7 o clock news took its share in SFFT for middle class bong men. Women, especially the housewives had their own set of SFFT : the afternoon movie on Sunday, the FM, 'sentimental' ( courtesy V. S. Naipaul) novels written by female (and sometimes, male) authors and most importantly, their day to day household chores.  For me, it was mostly movies. By being a 'classic' membership card holder in British Council Library, I had the privilege of borrowing 2 DVDs each day and thus on an average I'd watch 10 movies per week.

But, has globalization and internet changed our SFFT? A quick primary research (ie a quick chat with all my g-talk contacts) shows that the most common SFFT for internet savvy modern urban youth is discussions on social media: Twitter , Facebook. Television has been replaced by youtube. Flow of information all around us should have made it easier for us to access to newer SFFT. However, the most important aspect of a staple food is that it is supposed to be consistent and it should provide proper nourishment not just momentary freedom from intellectual hunger. However, in this era of IPV6, all we get as SFFT are fast food. It's dangerous to survive entirely on fastfood eve for a short period of time. Long exposure to fast food or making it the SFFT can result into the intellectual obesity of an entire generation , culture or nation. Maybe it's time we search for some sustainable and healthy SFFT!

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