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What superhero are you? Pixabay

Sep 16, 2017: As humanity teeters on the edge of annihilation, take comfort that some people are staying focused on the really important questions of life, such as: What Superhero Would You Be?

A discussion of that exact question in this column caused a massive flood of emails, which included a link to astonishing recent findings about the naked mole rat, a phrase I am not using as a metaphor for a certain type of politician, although I do understand how suitable it is for that purpose. No, I am referring to an actual rodent of that name with real “awe-inspiring super-powers”, according to reader Janvi Shah.

This columnist was not totally convinced about its suitability to give its attributes to a superhero, but you decide.

First, naked mole rats don’t feel most types of pain and so you cannot hurt them. Tell them they have a stupid haircut or you don’t like their cooking and they go on smiling. Cool.

Second, naked mole rats are creepily age-proof, like Cher or Jennifer Lopez. After a year or so, the average mouse is using a Zimmer frame and dropping its dentures into its soup. But naked mole rats live for decades, equivalent to a human living for 20 or 30 generations. These critters are the immortals of the rodent world and must be mightily annoying at woodland dinner parties: “Seems like yesterday I was chatting with your great great great great great great great great…” (All guests exit.)

Third, naked mole rats have special cells that eat cancer cells, so save a fortune on health insurance. However, getting dread diseases is one of long list of human characteristics that superheroes don’t share. Superfolk also don’t go to toilets, get anxiety-induced bloating, or faint at the sight of a blackhead being popped (readers, don’t pretend I’m the only one), etc.

Fourth, naked mole rats can alter their metabolisms in emergencies, surviving for up to 18 minutes without oxygen by “effectively becoming plants”, researchers say. Not sure that’s all that amazing, as every Friday night at the bar I find myself surrounded by humans who are effectively becoming vegetables, aided by the consumption of certain popular amber-coloured beverages.

So all in all, naked mole rat abilities get a mixed review as the basis for super-powers. The longevity thing is nice but honestly not much use for a person in tights and a cape who fights bad guys: “You evil super-villains may have used your powers to destroy the city, but I have a longer life expectancy, so there.” Lacks drama.

But the one thing that ultimately disqualifies it as part of a superhero origin story is that it looks horrible. Sorry, Janvi. Pictures show creatures with pale, flabby, unhealthy-looking bodies, horrible skin and bad teeth, reminding me of beach days spent with my middle-aged male friends.

A colleague raised another issue: “People might refuse to go to the eventual superhero movie, because you can read the name as (Naked Mole Rat) (Man) or as naked (Mole Rat Man),” she said.

I decided it was time to avoid that unpleasant thought by “effectively becoming a vegetable”. Cheers!

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and suggestions via his Facebook page)



Wikimedia Commons

"Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."

Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s

R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.

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Photo by Flickr

It is believed that when a woman goes through her menstrual cycle, she goes through the different lunar energies.

Well, if you'll notice then the moon takes twenty-nine days to complete its lunar cycle, whereas women's menstrual cycle is generally 28 days! Coincidence? I think, not.

It is believed that when a woman goes through her menstrual cycle, she goes through the different lunar energies. In fact, in ancient times it was said that the natural rhythm of women was to menstruate under a new moon and ovulate under a full moon.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourised in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed Pak TV channels to stop airing what it calls indecency and intimacy in dramas, Samaa TV reported.

A notification issued by the authority states that it has been receiving numerous complaints from viewers who believe that the content being depicted in dramas does not represent the "true picture of Pakistani society".

"PEMRA finally got something right: Intimacy and affection between married couples isn't 'true depiction of Pakistani society and must not be 'glamourized'. Our 'culture' is control, abuse, and violence, which we must jealously guard against the imposition of such alien values," said Reema Omer, Legal Advisor, South Asia, International Commission of Jurists.

"Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated, as per the report.

The authority added that it has directed channels time and again to review content with "indecent dressing, controversial and objectionable plots, bed scenes and unnecessary detailing of events".

Most complaints received by the PEMRA Call Centre during September concern drama serial "Juda Huay Kuch is Tarah", which created quite a storm on social media for showing an unwitting married couple as foster siblings in a teaser for an upcoming episode. However, it only turned out to be a family scheme after the full episode aired, but by that time criticism had mounted on HUM TV for using the themes of incest to drive the plot, the report said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Pakistan, Islam, Serials, Dramas, Culture, Teachings.