There are many things Indian are notorious for. The Kama Sutra, getting jobs in Atlantic City, and Bollywood Dance sequences in the rain. However, there is one thing that all Indians just seem to do, and no one seems to understand why. It happens all the time. Its almost like they can't control themselves. I've actually even once seen an Indian try to control himself, but it just didn't work, he couldn't hold it in. To this day I haven't figured it out, however it just seems to be a common thread that ties all freakin Indians together of the world. Maybe it happens because of the deep rooted history of Yoga and Ayurveda that stems from India. However, it just seems to me, that everywhere I go for as long as I can remember every Indian seems to have some "natural remedy" (of course they pronounce it nay-choo-ral). I can't think of a better example than what I witnessed a few weeks ago.
We were having a typical Indian family dinner. There were too many people, and not enough room, and so we decided to sit on the floor of our family room to accommodate the whole clan. Aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, siblings, everyone was there. We were all eating and having a good time, and someone brings up the topic of Swine Flu. Someone said something like "Swine flu is now in India, and people don't know what to do". To which I responded, "How about not eating all that junk off the street vendor's carts, I'm sure that doesn't help". At the time, I thought this was a perfectly logical statement to make.
Then it happens.
For some reason, Indians (especially older Indians) seem to have this weird sense of immortality. My uncle starts talking about how its not a big deal. "You would not believe....in India...they have the Nay-choo-ral cure for the Swine Flu!" He claims. For some freakin inexplicable reason, everyone else in the family jumps right in and goes "yeah, that must be right. In India, we have the nay-choo-ral cure for all these things". I couldn't believe it! I almost spilled my daal when I heard this exchange take place. It just so happens to be, that this same uncle of mine has a daughter who had just finished studying for her MCATs and was trying to get into medical school. So I turn to her and said, "what say you, future MD?" Being the veteran child that she is, she looked up and simply said "yeah, I suppose its possible" (she then nodded her head in disapproval to me later).
There is an unspoken rule about natural cures when it comes to Indians. That rule is simple, if someone claims a natural cure exists, no one is allowed to deny it. Its this same unspoken rule that has turned my mom into a "Natural" MD. She claims that diabetes can be cured by touching certain parts of your hand, and cholesterol can be controlled with a variety of "Nay-chural" cures. The other unspoken rule about natural cures, is that you are never allowed to call out the person who makes the claim. For example, my mom has diabetes, but she also has a bunch of natural cures for diabetes. No matter where we are, no one will ever ask her, "well, if the natural cures work, why haven't you followed them, and why aren't they working for you?" Doing this, is the equivalent of cheating on your spouse.
Do natural cures exist? Maybe. I once went to an Ayurvedic doctor many years ago, when I was probably in the best shape of my life. Of course, I was working out every day and eating right to get in shape for none other than spring break (but that's another story). This man, was missing his wring finger on his right hand, and he proceeded to take my pulse with that same hand. He than looks up at me and says "On the outside you look fine, healthy, and built, but on the inside your body is suffering". I was like "what?!". He than asks, "when you sleep on your arm at night, do you feel a tingling sensation?" "Yes, that's what happens when you cut off blood flow" "No" he claims, "that is not supposed to happen". He then asks "When you sit on the floor with your legs crossed, do you feel numbness in your legs?" Again, I said yes. "You see, that should not happen". Now, I'm no doctor. However, I'm pretty sure that if you sit with your legs crossed, or fall asleep on your arms, there is a good chance they will go numb, you know, because blood doesn't get there. He then prepared a combination of herbs that smelled like a combination of wet-carpet, and breakfast burrito fart. Needless to say, I did not take the concoction. However, I was pretty surprised, when he showed me his "nay-choo-ral" remedy for erectile dysfunction, and he told me that I didn't have to be embarrassed if I wanted to try it. Needless to say, I passed on the offer and headed for the door.
In any case, I guess the point I'm trying to make is, I'm sure there are natural cures/remedies, but can we stop making them so sacred? I don't understand how a culture gives so much high status and encouragement to their children to go to expensive medical schools, but then doesn't believe in the things their children have learned there. Maybe that's another trait of Indians?
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