I have been deluged with queries about International Yoga Day from concerned citizens. Here are my answers:
Q: Oh hell, I’ll miss United Nations Yoga Day because it’s a Sunday and I’m drunk on Sundays. What to do?
A: Don’t worry, you can celebrate other UN days. June 23rd is International Widows’ Day. You could take part in that. Or you could mark the UN Day of the Seafarer on June 25th by taking a boat ride.
Q: I would like to know the intellectual history of yoga.
A: It’s actually yog, an ancient Sanskrit word. The word travelled to Bengal, where it became ‘jog’, whence it went to England, where people started to jog, under the impression they were doing yog. In Spain, however, the letter ‘j’ becomes ‘h’ — witness Juan, pronounced Huan. Therefore, Spaniards started to hog, believing they were doing yog. Others quickly followed suit. As an epidemic of epic hogging clogged arteries and stretched bottoms, the West realised the bitter truth that hogging is not yogging.
Q: Does yoga really help?
A: Of course — the history of India proves it. It has helped us remain calm and serene despite invasions, massacres, famines, poverty, oppression, politicians and it keeps us blissful despite pollution, dirt, disease and indigestion.
Q: When is it absolutely necessary for me to go in for yoga?
A: It is best to start yoga when a) surgeons smile and say hullo when you pass them on the street, b) you can’t text messages without sweating, c) you think your best friends are called Glenfiddich and Johnnie Walker.
Q: Sushma Swaraj says the goal is to attain world peace and bring down violence through yoga. My worry is that since our troops have been asked to do yoga, will that affect their fighting spirit?
A: Yoga is all about attaining inner peace. It’s not about outer peace. There’s no contradiction between inner peace and outer violence. Also, as you know, anything that Ms Swaraj says should be taken with large doses of salt these days.
Q: Will I become more attractive after doing yoga?
A: Certainly. Just look at Baba Ramdev. The only other thing you have to keep in mind is whether you look good in yoga pants.
Q: I am becoming bald. Will yoga help me grow back my hair?
A: Consider the best yoga gurus. Why do you think they all have long hair?
Q: Is it compulsory to do yoga on International Yoga Day?
A: No. You can, like our prime minister, opt to watch other people doing it.
Q: They say yoga helps develop a feeling of oneness with the world and with nature. Is there any way I can exclude cockroaches, toads, lizards, lice and rats from the list of things I want to be one with?
Q: After yoga, is it permissible to kill and eat the goat I felt at one with?
Q: Can I go back to bed after attending the early morning yoga at Rajpath?
A: Of course.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal)