You can’t take it out on those in the ‘Thin Brigade’ like me.
For a man who may sometimes – only sometimes – be regarded as a bit thin, and is desperately trying to pile on calories to gain weight, fat tax is adding insult to injury.
It has been introduced in Kerala. The newly-elected Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state has imposed a “fat tax” of 14.5 per cent on branded restaurants that sell junk food like burgers, pizzas and pastas.
News reports say the tax has been initiated to fight obesity. This is the first such tax in India, and is expected to help the government raise Rs 10 crore annually.
I’m trying to come to terms with it. I have been to Kerala many times and have greatly enjoyed the local cuisine. It’s delicious, and a highly balanced and a nutritious diet.
But for generously augmenting my waistline, I need the burgers, pizzas and pastas, now loaded with extra tax in Kerala. Not done. I am going to strike off Kerala from my vacation calendar.
My mind tells me to hold on. Hungary is supposed to be the fattest country in the world. I may get rich tips there on one of my ultimate dreams – how to make the sofa sag under my weight. I really should go to Hungary to learn how they deal with hunger.They tell me Denmark and Hungary impose the same tax, again to fight obesity. I have never been to those nations. But for extra measure, and as a mark of protest – no holidaying in Denmark and Hungary either.
But for now, to feel good about it, I’ve decided not to go to a nation that will tax all my fat food.
I’m frantically hoping fat tax doesn’t come to Kashmir, which is my address for the summer months this year. I need to be rational about this. Hopefully, Kanyakumari to Kashmir may take time to travel. With the added bonus that Kanyakumari isn’t in Kerala, but in Tamil Nadu. Okay. For now I am reassured. Kashmir will not have a fat tax anytime soon.
I love visiting Delhi, but suddenly a nagging fear is giving me the jeepers. The last I heard, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is diabetic. He may be more kindly disposed towards the fat tax. Will all restaurants in Delhi go prohibitively expensive now? Will guys who are seen desperate to lay on the lard be charged four times more? Will we need a licence from the Delhi Municipal Corporation, which has helped all its men fatten their wallets?
Heck, I feel as frantic as an 18-year-old who wants to take his girl for a drive, but his dad doesn’t give him the car.
Youth Ki Awaz is the flavour of the times. So I decree that fat tax will be imposed only on those people who are above a certain weight limit. All restaurants will have a weighing machine at the door. Before you enter the restaurant, step on to the machine. If the needle falls frighteningly to the far right, fat tax will make your bill fatter.
Then take those like me, silently shouting “Tilt! Tilt!” to the needle, mentally bulldozing it to swing to the right. For the light-footed ones, no fat tax. We must be promptly exempted.
With Arnab Goswami debating the issue on The Newshour on Times Now, I was petrified. What if, with his I-Can-Shout-Down-Anyone attitude and voice, he convinces “The Nation” to impose the fat tax?
Fortunately, “The Nation” escaped by a whisker. Phew! The pizzas, burgers and pastas in Delhi are safe.
My mother, a doctor, is telling me not to be prejudiced where fat tax is concerned. She tells me Kerala is among the top states in India to have high obesity levels, sharing the honours with Punjab, Goa and Tamil Nadu.
If it is so, you can’t take it out on those in the “Thin Brigade”, like me. We cannot be asked to pay more for our fatty food, if others are fatty.
We need the fat, you see. In fact, since I also happen to be among those who are not big eaters anyway, our fat food should be subsidised.
Hey, the newly-elected LDF government in Kerala! How about a change in policy?