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ZUBIN D’SOUZA

As a child, I was constantly in trouble at school. The teachers saw potential but used to be upset that I never capitalised on it. I was happy that I got through with minimal effort.

Much later when I was well into my adult years, I got diagnosed by a panel of experts and the verdict was that I was hyperactive and had Asperger’s syndrome which lies on the autism spectrum.

I apparently would have struggled with it all my life without knowing because back then psychotherapy was still in its infancy in India.

Anyway, that story may require copious prodding and a suitably interesting setting for me to try and evoke past memories.

The only part I am willing to share is how the experience changed my reading habits. Being unable to concentrate on the regular-sized novels and novellas, I preferred shorter bursts of trivia.

The random facts thrown into the right conversation changed me from being scorned at as autistic and awkward to being celebrated as eccentric!

Will wonders never cease?!

I really come across as intelligent if I know that ripe cranberries can bounce like rubber balls.

Or that the oldest soup recipe is from 6,000 BC and was made from hippopotamus and sparrow.

Sometimes it just amazes me that people whilst snacking never realise that Pringles, the potato chips company once had a lawsuit claiming that they are not potato chips!

Carrots have zero fat content but overconsumption can change the colour of your skin to an orange tint. That’s far better than the reddish tint that an overconsumption of beetroot can give to your urine.

The Japanese created square watermelons to enable easier stacking. They sell for around a hundred dollars each. Unsurprisingly 92 per cent of a watermelon is composed of water.

Mushrooms aren’t far away and boast 90 per cent water content while celery is 90 per cent water and astonishingly potatoes don’t lag far behind at 80 per cent.

The expiry date on water bottles has nothing to do with the water itself but a caution because the chemicals in the plastic would start leaching out into the water.

Peanuts can be used to produce dynamite and scientists can turn peanut butter into diamonds.

Arachibutyrophobia is a genuine documented fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Whilst people suffering from orthorexia nervosa are obsessed with eating healthy food; lachanophobia is the fear of

vegetables and alliumphobia is the fear of garlic. 

They use car wax to add a shine to fruit-flavoured candies and cheese crackers have multiple holes in them to ensure that they remain crisp after baking. And because crackers stick to your teeth, they cause far greater damage to them than sugar!

Despite the variety of colours, all the options in the Fruit Loops breakfast cereal taste the same.

Cola contains chemicals similar to the coolants used in refrigeration equipment.

The Egyptians paid their slaves in radishes, onions, and garlic whilst the Roman army paid a portion of the salary of their troops in salt.

The Aztec and Mayan cultures used chocolate as a currency and technically white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all.

The M&Ms that you pop so often are named such after the inventors, Mars and Murrie! Incidentally, the red colour used for this candy as well as other food is called cochineal and is made by crushing red cochineal beetles.

Their competitors Skittles has a shiny exterior due to shellac which is a shiny wax produced by the kerria lacca insect.

The Dutch drink the most coffee per person in the world and the Turks hold a similar record for tea.

Indians fit into perceptions well by producing, exporting, and consuming the most chillies in the world!

Tomato is a fruit and ketchup used to be sold as a medicine.

Consuming bananas help to combat depression; the same is said about chocolate as well.

The Colombians serve dried ants as an alternative to popcorn while the South Africans prefer a mix of roasted termites and ants.

Coconut water can be used as an alternative to plasma.

And if you’ve managed to read till here then you may want try out nutmeg because it is known to relieve headaches.

It is also a hallucinogen which is exactly how I managed to write this article!