Some like it hot

In­tol­er­ance to air- con­di­tion­ers and fans, even in In­dia’s hot sum­mers, is not just about be­havioural ec­cen­tric­i­ties. It could be a pointer to an un­der­ly­ing health prob­lem, ex­perts tell

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MDistressed dé­cors add a rus­tic French charm to the space, giv­ing the din­ing area char­ac­ter and body.”

The an­swer also lies in people try­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves like never be­fore. Ex­plains Sing­hal, “Con­ven­tion­ally, jeans meant stan­dard in­digo blue with some min­i­mal dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion in fit. For the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion, dis­tressed jeans have be­come a sign of not want­ing to con­form mak­ing it more ac­cept­able as a fash­ion state­ment. For this gen­er­a­tion, dis­tressed fash­ion is all about mak­ing a state­ment and mir­ror­ing the wearer’s per­son­al­ity. This led me to won­der, is there a ‘ type’ of in­di­vid­ual that the dis­tressed trend ap­peals to over oth­ers? Or is it an over­ar­ch­ing trend that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual can re­late to on some level? Says Khanna, “I don't feel there is a spe­cific kind of per­son that ap­pre­ci­ates dis­tressed fur­ni­ture but a spe­cific type of per­son who hates dis­tressed fur­ni­ture and I feel nou­veau riche people tend to like flashier things and would not like this kind of a fin­ish.”

“Those who love things vin­tage and have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for art, old- world charm, antiques and ar­ti­facts are gen­er­ally those that veer to­wards dis­tressed fur­ni­ture,” adds Alagh Nair. While dis­tressed is very fash­ion­able right now, will its pop­u­lar­ity con­tinue? Or is it a fad des­tined to fade? Says Me­hta, “Well, as in any trend, you can't re­ally say how long it will con­tinue for. It all de­pends on per­sonal taste and if people en­joy it then yes, it might just be around for a while.”

Sing­hal be­lieves that the dis­tressed look will around for a while. “Dis­tressed jeans have been around for decades and is a long term trend. Most brands will have a few such pieces in their collection. At times, pop­u­lar cul­ture does make the trend very prom­i­nent with more styles oc­cu­py­ing space in the collection.

Agrees Alagh Nair, “The dis­tressed look never goes out of style, and only im­proves nat­u­rally as years go by.” alad res­i­dents Neville D’Sa and his wife Jeanne have been mar­ried for two years and were see­ing each other for three years be­fore that. Long enough, one would think, to get to know each other’s quirks. “We have an ar­gu­ment al­most ev­ery sin­gle day,” com­plains Jeanne. The cause? “The air- con­di­tioner and the fan all the time.”

Neville, who works as mid­dle- level ex­ec­u­tive with a pharma ma­jor, hates the fan be­ing on and sleeps with a du­vet even in May. “You know it’s like a sauna. His clothes, the bed- cover, pil­low and even the du­vet get all wet with sweat and stink. I don’t know how he sleeps like this?” Jeanne asks.

Neville, who also prefers warm beers and hates ice- cream, doesn’t see the rea­son for the fuss. “It’s just a re­flec­tion of the kind of warm per­son I am,” he tries to joke and adds, “By the way I al­ways do the wash­ing at home, so I don’t know what the is­sue is.” On Jeanne’s in­sis­tence, the lanky Neville has even been to both a psy­chi­a­trist and an en­docri­nol­o­gist. Both said he’s fine. “That re­ally got Jeanne’s goat. She was hop­ing the prob­lem would be iden­ti­fi­able and treat­able,” he laughs. “She’s even cut­ting down on my favourite non- veg­e­tar­ian stuff, say­ing that’s con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem.”

*** Reema Das, 27, and Rinku Mathur, 28, are roomies liv­ing out of a 1BHK flat in Kor­man­gala in Ban­ga­lore. Both Delhi girls, who know each other since school, work for the same BPO and thought it made sense to be share a flat. “The A/ C is barely on for a minute and Rinku will start sneez­ing. She hates cold drinks even iced- tea and cool fresh lime which she ab­hors,” com­plains Reema.

The cold- hat­ing Rinku has cho­sen the couch in the hall as her bed. “We’ve had fights be­cause I want to put on the ples of ‘ re­ally hot’ people?

“No,” laughs en­docri­nol­o­gist Dr Jatin Shah, “Be­tween 3.5- 4.5% of people can show such be­hav­iour. The per­cent­age for those with tol­er­ance and pref­er­ence for ex­treme cold of course is much higher. But we need to med­i­cally rule out thy­roid prob­lems which could also be caus­ing this prob­lem.” Ac­cord­ing to him, hy­pothy­roidism pa­tients of­ten com­plain of feel­ing cold all the time. This is very im­por­tant, he says, par­tic­u­larly in hy­pothy-

The tra­di­tional medicine sys­tem of Ayurveda makes a marked distinc­tion be­tween those pre­fer the heat nor­mally and those who do so be­cause of a health con­di­tion. Body types are clas­si­fied into and

A/ C in the hall while watch­ing TV, but she gets an­gry that I’m en­croach­ing on her space,” says Reema.

Rinku doesn’t see what the prob­lem is. “Once we de­cided that the bed­room is hers and the hall mine, I don’t see the point of mak­ing me suf­fer the cold. If she wants to watch TV, she should watch it with­out the AC.”

It’s reached a stage where Reema has de­cided to move out. “I think she needs help,” she says wearily.

*** So are Rinku and Neville rare exam- roidism since pa­tients have very mild or neg­li­gi­ble symp­toms.

Psy­chi­a­trist San­deep Jad­hav feels that this could some­times be linked to mild de­pres­sion or its on­set. “A de­tailed di­ag­no­sis needs to be done to find out if this is push­ing the pa­tient to pre­fer heat.” Ac­cord­ing to him, most pa­tients of de­pres­sion pre­fer the sum­mer. “The long bright hours and pres­ence of the sun lifts them out of de­pres­sive thoughts and the pref­er­ence for all things hot may be an at­tempt to pro­long that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The In­dian tra­di­tional medicine sys­tem of Ayurveda too makes a marked distinc­tion be­tween those pre­fer the heat nor­mally and those who do so be­cause of a health con­di­tion. “We de­cide body types on vaat, kapha and pitta. The vaat- types are gen­er­ally dark, lean and quite tall. These people hate any kind of cold and are known to use thick bed­sheets even in sum­mer and avoid fans and A/ Cs,” says Dr Amit Mishra, a renowned Ayurvedic prac­ti­tioner.

He sounds a note of cau­tion about those who maybe avoid­ing fans and air- con­di­tion­ers be­cause of a la­tent prob­lem. “A pa­tient of mine was get­ting low- grade fever and did not want even the win­dows open. She would need a blan­ket to sleep. When I be­gan di­ag­no­sis I found that her arthri­tis was caus­ing a low fever. Once we treated that she went back to en­joy­ing the open air, fans and even A/ Cs.”

Home­opath Dr AN Shroff is in agree­ment. “There will al­ways be a small ex­cep­tional part of any pop­u­la­tion who will show such be­hav­iour. In­stead of terming it ab­nor­mal, un­der­stand­ing whether it is be­ing driven by any other fac­tors and treat­ing them can be very im­por­tant. As for the oth­ers it could even be a learned be­hav­iour pat­tern.”

Does this get Neville and Rinku off the hook? We sure hope it does.

Bhelpuri with­out finely chopped onions, kanda vada mi­nus the kanda that gives it its name, mut­ton do pyaza sans the pyaz... where would life be with­out the sweet­ness and crunch of the bulb that adds flavour and tex­ture to your dishes? We might soon find out if onion traders go ahead with their planned strike from July 10.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, In­dia is a store­house of recipes that can be made with­out onions. The onion came to In­dian cui­sine later as it is con­sid­ered to be heat in­duc­ing. Kash­miri Brah­mins, Mar­waris and Jains cook their meals with­out us­ing onion and gar­lic. South In­dian dishes can also be made with­out onions,” says Rushina Ghildiyal, food writer and con­sul­tant. “Ac­cord­ing to the scrip­tures, onions have aphro­disiac like qual­i­ties and thus wid­ows are given food pre­pared with­out onions or gar­lic,” adds Purva Dav­jekar, an en­gi­neer and keen cook.

Non vege­tar­i­ans need not de­spair if onions dis­ap­pear. “Mut­ton rogan josh is pre­pared in the juice of the mut­ton and onions are not used. Bhuna masala can be made by fry­ing makhane ( lo­tus seed) in­stead of onions in the gravy,” adds Ghildiyal.

Onions pro­vide tex­ture, bulk and taste to the gravy. But in­no­va­tion is the key to deal­ing with scarcity. “When pre­par­ing a typ­i­cal mut­ton dish, we need onions. If we usu­ally use four onions. we try to make do with just one- and- a- half.

se­same seeds or chana is used to thicken the gravy, says Jes­sica T Shah, a home­maker.

( co­rian­der) pow­der is an­other op­tion. Onions add a tinge of sweet­ness to the dish and so one can also re­place it with a lit­tle su­gar, says Ghildiyal.

can also be pre­pared in var­i­ous forms with­out us­ing onions. “Ben­galis make pa­turi maach in which you wrap fish with mus­tard and steam it. Sim­i­larly bhapa Ilish, chor­chori, labra, shoshe Ilish are some of the many dishes that do not re­quire onions,” says Dav­jekar.

melon seeds, cashews and poppy seeds, ac­cord­ing to Dav­jekar, can all be used in­stead of onions but the flavour changes. We also use kalonji ( onion seeds) by roast­ing them. They pro­vide the flavour of onion but as they are black the dish does not look too ap­peal­ing.

( asafoetida) is a good al­ter­na­tive to onions as it gives the same smell, says Hi­man­shu Saini, a chef at Mum­bai’s Masala Li­brary. “Leeks can also be used to get the onion- like tex­ture,” he adds.

Onions also pro­vide a host of ben­e­fits, from con­trol­ling di­a­betes to help­ing with a sore throat. But there’s no need to de­spair if it goes miss­ing. There was a time when it was not such a cru­cial fac­tor — his­tor­i­cally, the onion came to In­dian cui­sine later and op­tions to us­ing the bulb are present in al­most ev­ery cul­ture.

Dna­sun­day@ dnain­dia. net anam. rizvi@ dnain­dia. net, @ anam_ rizvi

A cab­i­net set which is a part of dis­tressed fur­ni­ture avail­able at home decor des­ti­na­tion The White Win­dow

Sud­hir Shetty

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