Isn’t everything about perception?

  • Close to 1.5 million people die every year in car accidents. That translates to more than 3000 car-related deaths in a day. It’s remarkable if you consider the fact that wheels can be ruthless; they kill people in Saudi Arabia (where women aren’t allowed to drive) as well as in Greece (which used to register the most number of car accidents in Europe before its economy started tanking).
  • Close to 3 million people die every year thanks to alcohol abuse. That translates to more than 6000 deaths per day. In India alone, one person dies every 96 minutes because of booze. The stench of alcohol envelops almost all societies in the world. The name for the ‘beverage’ might differ but the damage is pretty much the same.
  • Close to 6 million people die every year thanks to tobacco, either via chewing or smoking cigarettes. More than a million die in India clocking one death every six seconds. That’s an inexcusable number if the person dying happens to be someone you know. Or else, it’s just another statistic worth ignoring.
  • Close to 4000 people die annually in railway-related death in Mumbai alone. Some get bumped off over-congested train compartments while others fail in testing their luck at crossing the tracks and such incidents. All in all, about 11 people die daily in that island city, making you wonder whether the train you’re commuting by is a mass murderer or not. On scrolling out of Mumbai, you’ll notice that long-distance trains are the greatest vector of diseases in India. They spread joy, sorrow and maladies in equal proportion.
  • Close to 110 million people die thanks to stress disorder. That is about 7 people dropping dead every 2 seconds every single day. Isn’t that like the scariest thing you read today? No? OK.
  • Close to 800,000 people perish due to successful attempts at suicide. More than 100 billion people have walked this planet and there are 7.3 billion alive today with 300,000+ babies taking birth everyday and about 175,000 dying everyday but never before was there an urge so strong to kill oneself among our species. Suicide is the 10th largest cause of death in humans.
  • Junk food is a slow poison and we don’t need data — perhaps it’s early for a consolidated one — to make us believe how healthy processed food could be for us.
  • As of today, there is a greater chance of you dying thanks to a selfie than of a shark attack.

Despite all these mind-boggling figures, it’s crazy how OK we are with these killers. We don’t give up on our dreams to buy a fancy car. It’d be churlish to be afraid of accidents and thus give up on our god-gifted right to pollute the environment with fossil fuel. Similarly, we aren’t saying no to alcohol or a cig just because it’s going to make our liver weaker and lungs darker. YOLO. There is no denying that a city like Mumbai is bound to burst at its seams but we’ve got to get home/office on time. People die everyday. What’s the big deal? Some of our days begin with WhatsApp forwards goading us to be motivated. None of them address our stress or anxiety in this dog-eat-cat world of ours. For the first time in history, stress is not something that only happens to parents with kids. For a change, kids are reporting extreme behaviour as they don’t know how to cope with misplaced ambitions and unchecked bullying. Let’s not even get into corporate politics and what stress does to individuals who don’t fit in. There is no band-aid for mental scars—yet. Survival of the fittest used to be the norm. Not anymore. Fitness is more of a fad and less of a lifestyle. Time nahi hai, boss. Pass me that mouth-opening burger and keep those eye-opening books to yourself. And while we are at it, why not a selfie?

It’s all about perception and temporary reasoning. Whatever rocks our boat is alright as long as it’s moving. We accept certain things as normal and discard others as weird. If we dig in deeper and a bit longer, almost everything around us is quite fucked up.

[Data credit: WHO]

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