Who wants to get bloody old?

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Last twenty years have changed this world so much that some of my contemporaries get overwhelmed. There are new technologies, new processes; different thinking is rapidly barging into our lives. On top of that, new buzzwords and new methods of communication are giving run for money to the older generation. Millennial is one word I often read these days. It means a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. Such individuals have grown up with all new things. They are as comfortable with new ideas as we were with bullock carts, dial-up phones, using a notebook and pen for writing and yes, reading books too!

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But to me, we the people in the 7th decade of life are also millennials of the new world. Don’t worry! I know what I am talking, and my grey cells are active. The golden period of our lives is the time in our lives when we have time on hand; we have enough money (everybody’s definition of enough is different!). The situation is the result of one’s children settling down, and you are now a free bird! The real millennials are comfortable with new things in life but we millennials are comfortable with life itself. We don’t understand some new things; we don’t care. We have no worry about anything in this world. Who is bothered about death when there are so many things to do?

The traditional writings are treaties that say that Vanaprastha means “one who gives up worldly life”. It is also a concept in Hindu traditions, representing the third of four ashramas of human life, the other three being Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Sannyasa. Vanaprastha is part of the Vedic ashram system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world.

Till handling of responsibilities to the next generation is fine by me. But what is the need for Vanaprastha? In olden times, I am not sure how long people lived, on average. Plus, until as recently as late as fifty years back, there was nothing to do in the evening of one’s life; the real-life evening ended with the Sunset. Now our evening begins with the Sunset! Though the indication to take advisory role and withdrawal from life is suggested, to me it’s a crappy piece of advice. But now we the new millennials are too busy doing and planning different things. Who has time to get old?

Higher life expectancy, better health adds to the change in the thought process. We want to go and see Raigad and Pratap gad. We want to go and see Machu Picchu and go and watch Wimbledon finals. We want to take a tour to see the whales and then go and see the midnight Sun. The list is unending; the bucket list keeps on getting longer. It was no surprise to see Charulata Patel on TV, all of 87 years old, enjoying the India-Pakistan world-cup cricket match. A ninety-nine-year-old lady, who was a wheelchair user, was enjoying all alone when we took Alaska cruise. There are examples galore, and the new millennials get more and more encouraged to try and do new things. See new places, get into new hobbies. Some are learning to play the organ and others are enjoying painting. I have joined a creative writing online course conducted by Oxford University.

During student life, humans are busy getting educated and later they are busy working and raising a family. Everybody had hidden from us what joy is waiting for us in our golden period. Some of us are unfortunate and remain unwell; sometimes, they are bedridden. But this can happen at a young age too! There are no writings; there are no treaties written on how to enjoy the golden period, which in conventional language is called old age. Why has this happened? It is simple. The golden age concept hardly existed until recently.

All the fun from college days and professional times are relived by the oldies. Now we do it without feeling any guilt. I am sure that we will soon have books and article deluge on this subject. At 9 am, take your breakfast and suddenly decide that you want to go and see a movie starring Dev Anand, Nargis, Waheeda or whoever. Sit in your car or Riksha, call an Uber and go the multiplex and see the 9.30 am movie. In the meanwhile, send a WhatsApp message to a few more friends and check if they can join you for an Idli-Dosa or a thali. Why not brunch at the Marriot? You have not had that famous missal-pav for some time, have it. Oh, don’t forget to end with the latest craze of Yevale Chai!

Do I want to become old? Do I feel old? Do I have to grow old? The answer to all the questions is no! The simple reason is I don’t have time to become old in the sense of older thinking. That biologically we are growing older is a fact of life, but that does not mean that we must advertise it, we don’t have to show it. One important aspect we forget about the ladies. They are years past their menopause, and their life must be very comfortable. Handling “monthly issues” during work and travel was never a joke for the ladies. It is real freedom for them.

What stupid things you will have to bear with other than some chronic diseases? Maybe you may have to wear some thick glasses, but with current developments in eye surgeries, you may get back the 20/20 eyesight. The world again looks brighter, and you can look at the lovely ladies without staring at them! You can let the time pass by, the way you want! You can wear some stupid clothes or hats and get away with it. People will just murmur, he has become old! I forgot one thing, buy yourself a fancy walking stick!

Would you want to go to a bar where there is loud music? You usually would avoid but now who cares? Don’t take your hearing aid with you! Live the life you want to live! Don’t bother about wasting your time; you have enough time on hand!

All the literature, all the wisdom always did not talk about the benefits of old age! It is because such things never were known to people, and many things did not even exist. The best sign of ageing, though, is that you are still you and people will accept you as you are! If they don’t, who cares?

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Musings COEP days! Friendship special!

I published my blog about Kleptomaniacs yesterday morning. 

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/are-we-a-nation-of-petty-people/ 

A dear friend called me to discuss the same. He remembered our COEP days, and it took me to good old days in COEP. He had called me to share a story about another friend who was a Kleptomaniac in those days. But I said, “Dost, he may be still be continuing with the same trait.” Kleptomania is a mental sickness, but the story I got from him gave me firsthand information about how people’s mind works. Our friend used to pinch anything from the shops. Two of them used to argue, but the justification given by our pinching friend was, “The shopkeepers make so much money, so how does it matter if some items are brought from these shops without payment.” Wow! Great argument. My friend argued that the shopkeeper was working for the betterment of his family and not for others. But this friend continued to steal.  Some photos from those days. First one is a few years after college!

The story took me back to remind me of how we lived and enjoyed in those days. There were many characters around, some teachers, some staff members, and other students. There was one girl in Jaya’s class. She lived in hostels, so Jaya did not know all about her. But whenever they went to a restaurant for a cup of Coffee or Tea, this lady would pinch spoons, forks and sometimes glasses! I am not sure what her level of competence was, but she would also splash ink on shirts of classmates, sitting in her front of her. She would do it with poker face while the class was going on!  

The other day, while doing spring cleaning, I found a copy of the thesis I had submitted for my Master’s Degree. My guide, Dr Satyanaryan, had threatened me in the good sense that he would throw me out of the Metallurgy department if I did not complete my Master’s Degree in stipulated two years. Three to five years was the norm to complete the degree. I was required to interact with the outside world during the projectIt started with collecting a princely sum of Rs.3000/ to buy Aluminium Bronze rods from a company called Indoswe. Lengthy government procedure would have delayed my project. As per the guidance of Satyanarayan Sir, I raised the massive sum of Rs 3000/ and bought the material. The money was reimbursed later. The interaction got me to meet Mr Nande, the company director. He offered to employ me at a very high salary of Rs 700/ after the project. I worked with them for four years.  

The project took me the Sanghavi Metals, near Nava Pul and ARDE at Pashan. At Sanghavi, I got the rods rolled, thanks to their works manager Mr Dharia. I would work there in the second shift for about ten days. At ARDE, Mr Murthy helped to forge the bronze rodsIt was a tough call to get permission from the Government Defense organisation; all credit was to Mr Murthy. The bronze was heat-treated after rolling and forging, I was to take photographs of the changes in Microstructure. I used to go to college for this work at 7.15 am, but Dr Satyanaryan and the technician Mr Vernekar would reach there before I arrived. Such was their enthusiasm.  

During my Master’s degree, I was close to Prof Chopade, who was a very knowledgeable and sharp person. Later, in his career, he joined an industrial group as a director. He had an amusing way of expressing and was master of Pun. One day, he said, “Panya let us do some Metallurgy!” I was wondering what he was saying. I started walking with him. He took me to the canteen for a cup of tea! He further said, “I have Tas or Tras after half an hour!” My question mark was solved by him with an explanation, “In Marathi Tas is period, but Tras (trouble) is for me as well as to the students! He, unfortunately, died very early.  

We had Hemya Nerurkar in our class. During our “educational” tour, he and other friends like Narya Vohra would always look for the watering holes, looking for dry martini! Hemya is still fun to be with and was a smart guy since college daysI am sure he has continued his love affair with the dry martiniwhile he was busy in his career as Managing Director of Tata Steel! 

The tour brought out the real character of friends. Balya Palande, Anya Bhide and Jadu Yeravadekar would always look for their favourite PAN (betel leaf) in every city we visited. Another friend was jokingly threatened by others that they would dump him in Sundarbun in Bengal as he was and continues to be a bore! He cancelled his participation in the tour, out of fear!  

Those were the days! We had a friend Balu Kale. Unfortunately, he died in the late 70s of the last century. In hostels, smoking was fashionable! Lighters were not in vogue in those days! People would go looking around for matches or “Current” was the word more commonly used. Not Balu! He would go around with a matchbox and ask if anybody had cigarettes!  

I remember one funny incident. All the hostelites would look for some interaction with girls. Near the hostel, there was one stall selling grapes. A couple of nice girls ran the shop. Many guys would take a stroll near the shop and tell cooked up stories about their interaction with the girls. Two docile friends also attempted to show off about their dialogue with the ladies. But a hilarious story started making rounds of their valiant efforts. Our friends made their firstround independently but did not dare to ask the girls their names. So they went together, in support of each other. They reached the shop, waited for a customer to end his transaction, and then in unison asked the ladies, “Could you please tell us our names?”  After saying this, they ran away.  

Some of us were naïve in those days; not much has changed even today for some of us. Jaya and I had decided to get married when I was in the third year, and Jaya was in the second year. In the fourth year, when we were on tour, I had written a letter to Jaya. I put it in an envelope, put Jaya’s name and address, showed it to a very close friend of Jaya and me! Later, this friend told a story to others, “Look at Panya, as usual, he is showing off!” Most got a shock when we got engaged a couple of years later!  

I have not mentioned my friends name above, to hide the identity of our Kleptomaniac friend! ये दोस्ती हम नही तोडेंगे! Buddy, thank you so much! You took me down the memory lane or expressway, I am not really sure!  

Why not listen to the real song? 

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ye+dosti+hum+nahi+todenge&view=detail&mid=CECA5E5F426D850360BFCECA5E5F426D850360BF&FORM=VIRE 

 

 

Journey back home!

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It is dependent on how you look at things! Death need not be taken too seriously!

I read an article about ageing and merging back with nature. The article was in Marathi, and the title was आकाश झाकोळत जाणार (Skies will darken now!) …….Humans have always been curious about, death; in fact, we are scared about dying. When we talk of death, thinking is quite negative. Death is the final goodbye; it is THE truth. It is the only event other than birth, which has no two sides. But does it mean that we should fear the event? Should we fear the journey to the final destination? Starting with the title, the tone and the thought process in the article was sad; but this article shared some interesting aspects.

With the fear in mind, we think about future life in a depressed mindset. We say that we have to accept whatever is written in our destiny. We could be lonely, and there could be none to look after us and so on. I would instead prepare myself and help others prepare differently. Some of the things I mention have already been said and discussed, but I am hoping to set the right tone; the positive tone is the way forward.

Journey back home is not a new concept; it is inevitable, but we do not need to await it. When we are young and taking education, we don’t plan for retirement. We try to visualise what shape our career will take and what could we do it to make it better. Similarly, we should try and imagine what our path should be, post-retirement. Many new things are doable. Then there is the bucket list. We should look at the concept of a bucket list with a variation. What after all is a bucket list? A bucket list is a collection number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during a lifetime. I would call it a wish list. But this should be done with happiness. Even if you do not achieve it, you should not be sad about it.

I only had one item in the bucket list. To go and see the world cup one-day final match, sitting in a stadium. I managed it in 2015 when we watched the final at MCG, Melbourne in Australia! Is bucket list about money? Yes and no. Many a time it may so happen that we may have the money but may not have time or health to do it. One need not be sad if the full bucket list is not tick-marked. It is how we plan and accept the way dice falls is more critical. In the post-retirement phase, honestly, there is nothing to achieve. At the same time, there should be no fear in our mind.

In the last 2/3 months, one of my close friends, and my rakhi sister suddenly expired. Besides these two, 3 to 4 others died; some were batch mates, and one was a neighbour. Should such events affect us? Do they affect us? Yes, they do affect us but why should we be afraid of the inevitable. For records purpose, my sister was the youngest of the lot; she was 67. At my age the deaths of contemporaries are natural, and it is not a shock.

In some cases, people are unwell for a period, and we are not aware of their condition. We do not need to be “prepared” for that. We should take it in stride! During our education, we learn that humans live up to the age of 100! This is the age up to which people may live, but this % is tiny! In India, at my age, we are in bonus period, as life expectancy for males in India is 65, currently. When you are on an extended lease what is there to be afraid?

The article also mentioned that when we are born, we always have a mother’s love! How many people my age can even hope of having a mother’s love today! Such an emotional statement brings a melancholy feeling in life. The article further said that you should be prepared to be alone because there is a chance that your spouse may go before you! Oh, come on! It is known and there no point getting emotional about possibilities.

The article also talks about our ego coming in between, and we start feeling that we are know-alls! I have discussed with doctors and psychiatrists; our fundamental nature does not change much, as we grow old. There is a possibility that you may talk a little more because you meet fewer people as you grow and many of your contemporaries are either less mobile or maybe they have passed. I know someone who is around 85 years of age. When I met him recently, he kept on talking about whatever he wanted to say! But this has been his nature all the time. I asked his daughter, who is a doctor if this is due to old age; she said, “Kaka, he has been the same all these years. Previously we used to tell to allow others to speak; now we don’t tell him.” Personally, Jaya and I meet people from different age groups quite often. We can discuss appropriate subjects with them as we have ensured that we also broaden our horizon as we grow. Broadening our horizons is another key to prepare the path to the final journey.

The most critical aspect of this phase is that we do not know the endpoint. So what is the idea of thinking about it, all the time? What is a point in thinking that we will be forced to live alone, we may be bed-ridden and so on! It is like trying to live a bad dream all the time; do you remember the story of Shaikh Mohamad? Such a thought process is living your bad dream all the time, the reverse of Shaikh Mohamad’d dream. What do we achieve by such thinking?

But we need to be pragmatic. Make sure (as far as possible) that you are financially independent. Do not expect that your children will come and do chores for you. You need to create your own ecosystem to run your home. Technology is changing fast, remain up to date as far as possible at least for basic stuff.

With age, your responses like eyesight, hearing and balance can deteriorate. Accept it and find a solution for yourself. Each person has individual needs, and there is no universal solution. Your children will be busy in their own lives (as you were when you were young) so don’t bother them.

I read the story of a Marathi film, “Bucket List”. A lady gets a new heart by a heart transplant surgery. She meets the family of the 20-year-old donor after six months, whose heart she received. The donee finds that the donor had a bucket list of things she wanted to complete by the age of 21! The donee takes efforts to achieve the list in six months. The donee is double the age of the donor, but still, she manages it. See how beautiful this thought is. The donee keeps all her priorities aside to reach the goal of the donor! Sacrifice for others; nothing can be better than this thought process.

Ye, try to look at the funny side of things. Don’t be serious all the time!

 

Create a bucket list for the long term, but you can create a wish-list daily and try to achieve it. When you do this, you have something to look forward! Your wishlist maybe, I will go alone, to the bank ATM and withdraw money! What these lists will do is to keep you with something to look forward to, take you away from negative thinking; life will look better and better as you manage to achieve this. Please remember that bucket list a good, but it is not a serious thing. Keep your humorous side alive!

Journey back home is a fact of life. Plan it, discuss it, share it by all means!  We share life details with others all the time as we did in the younger phase. But don’t be sad about the whole process. Were we sad when we discussed education plans? Did we feel uneasy when we discussed migration in younger days? I will share a secret with you. When you finally take off, you don’t even feel and know about the event! This is of course here say but ..emrgency1

Society Living!

First things first! My sincere apologies to my friends who read this blog yesterday! I was trying the WordPress site on my cell phone; after finishing a couple of paragraphs, I inadvertently pressed the “Publish” button.  The incomplete blog got published. I am now completing my blog; I am sure that those who read it were surprised, but can reread it if they want to!

The modern life has created a new way of living together, cooperative societies, condos or colonies. The concept started taking off in ’70 s of the last century. The idea is kicking and alive. In Mumbai before this was “Chawls” where people lived and in Pune there were “Wadas”. The main thing common in those structures was common toilets. Some homes had bathing places within the homes, and others used a small washing area in kitchens as a place to take a bath. I am now old enough to talk of “Olden Days” or “When I was young”. But I have realised over a period that each era had its fun and difficulties, joys and sorrows. I will meander through these times and share some incidents, anecdotes or narratives.

Now with several people migrating all over India, all the new societies have become mini India’s. These homes have become “homes away from homes”. The neighbours replace relatives, and people celebrate festivals from all religions and areas of India. We see cosmopolitanism at its best!  Later another wave of migration starts and parents of the young ones move in with their children. You have kity parties, Daru parties, senior citizen parties, kids having fun together.  The evenings are full of gala times, and many children are seen playing physical games and remain away from screens of all types. All in all, these are modern mini villages!

The first home I remember was in Mumbai, at Dhobi Talao behind Metro. It was a six-story building. All were two-bedroom flats, and each had its bath and washroom areas like in flats. My father worked for the police force, and the flats were rented by the Government from the owner. The name of the building was Gopal Mansion! We kids had a real time in those days. A fascinating thing happened in the life of Gopal Mansion.

http://gopalmansion.com/

A few years back, S.M.D Charitable trust purchased this building and converted it into a very neat and clean low-cost living facility for people who travel from outside Mumbai for the medical treatment of their near and dear ones. There are many hospitals around this area, and the people get to stay in Gopal Mansion for supporting people under medication and treatment.

Later when I bought my properties, those were in the Societies or Condos. The experience of living and interacting with people is fascinating. I have lived my life after education, in Pune. Shortage of water is common in most areas. In one of the societies, we had severe water shortage. The committee decided to call a plumber and get every water connection in all houses checked. The society consisted of 120-row houses/ townhouses with interconnected terraces for a group of home. One of the persons simply refused to allow checking of his taps on the terraces. One enterprising person suggested that we could go to his terrace from the next house. The tap in his water tank was leaking and water flowing all the time. Leakage must have happened for quite some time, as a lot of Moss had grown up in that area! So much for responsible, educated citizens! He was fined heavily!

In the city of Aurangabad, one fancy condo complex came up, and the homes were quite expensive. It was expected that people would have two cars and a couple of scooters. The facility was provided for these numbers. One guy had 16 cars, either BMW’s or Mercedes! He would park all of them on the premises. There used to be minor disputes on the subject, but recently a dispute blew into something huge. People got embroiled and had fist fights followed by police complaints. Next part is interesting. People had doubts about 16 cars and all and were not sure what business he used to run. Complaints were made to the Election Officer that person is handling cash for distribution in the ongoing elections. There were counter complaints. At the end, when the police came, they found out that the person was already in jail for some other reason! Let me tell you from my experience that the committee is going to find it very difficult to handle this person.

In another society where I have a condo, there lives a known bad element. I don’t live there. I am told that the person uses the house for nefarious activities; he probably runs a high end escorting service. On top of this, initially, whenever he entered the society, he would come brandishing a gun! (In India, Gun laws are extremely stringent!) The committee team went and met him, and they requested him not to display his gun, at least! Luckily he agreed to it! He does not pay his monthly subscription on time! Recently, a committee member saw his car in the society. (the person does not live there) By the time a few people came together (for obvious reasons they meet him in a group!) he was gone! Who will bell the cat?

In another society where I used to live, the nasty person used to live. He was hands in glove with the builder! In the initial phase when the builder used to handle day to day work, this person used to take his cut on money collected from members. During cooperative society formation, he used to help the builder by sharing details of internal meetings with the builder. When he sold his home, he made sure that the society would be required to go into litigation for the money that was due during the transfer! He used to steal diesel purchased to run the generators!

In another society, there was a funny incident. The usual water shortage was tackled by some people coming together to go to each home for checking the leaking taps! While they were doing the checking, they found out that one of the taps in a home was leaking heavily. The lady of the house was suitably embarrassed and immediately got it repaired. The funny part was that the lady was part of the group who were volunteering to do the checking. How can one miss such leakages is a mystery to me!

I know of a person, living in an independent bungalow. He was the maintenance in charge of a large engineering plant! Whenever we went to his house, we would always find taps having serious leakage. He used an ancient 50-year pump (maybe installed by his father) to pump water into the main tank!

My observation is that people have been learning to live in modern homes but have to share responsibilities. One important aspect is that you cannot choose your neighbour! Secondly in modern careers, people travel outside India for work and look for better and better facilities. But they forget that costs are involved and many times pay reluctantly, though they have high double incomes, sometimes. Most are becoming mature but now main issue that comes to the fore is their egos! There are unnecessary disputes and fights just to satisfy egos! But all in all, it is fun to live in these modern villages or towns tucked away in major cities! Merging of languages and citizens for various places in India happens very smoothly.

Salute to common, modern “Society Living!”

Diabetes or DIETese!

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This blog is going to be an attempt to make us look at diets in a lighter vein. Take your diet seriously but don’t take your self seriously. I get worried when people my age take diets too seriously! But this applies to all age groups. Please do not take this blog seriously, I want people to enjoy their diet!

I am a normal human being who is handling diabetes for the last seven years. I know what diabetes is but here is my disclaimer. My knowledge about Medicine is zero so what I write is based on the internet and social media (which I take with a pinch oh sorry, a fistful of salt) and interaction with others including medical experts. After this brief background of what I think I know, I am going to write about the confusion that is created in my mind with diverse and conflicting information about diabetes.

Ok, let me clarify that the word DIETese is not a spelling error. I feel that DIET is a “sickness” that has recently cropped up and it is spreading as much as diabetes; hence the word DIETese.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a life-long disease that affects how our body handles glucose, a kind of sugar, in our bodies.

Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent than type 1. Hence I will write about type 2.

The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. It’s what lets your cells turn glucose from the food you eat, into energy. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but their cells don’t use it as well as they should. Doctors call this insulin resistance.

At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to try to get glucose into the cells. But eventually it can’t keep up, and the sugar builds up in your blood instead.

Some of the reasons for diabetes are

  • Genes
  • Extra Weight
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Too much glucose from the liver
  • Bad Communication between cells
  • Broken Beta Cells

Is diabetes reversible?

All the literature available says that diabetes is manageable but not reversible. I know someone who has managed diabetes for more than forty years. Through diet changes, excercise, weight loss and by taking medicines under doctors advise, people are managing diabetes. The drugs that are given are not able to reverse the body condition that causes diabetes. The literature says that very early detection and enough weight reduction can partially repair some of the damaged cells. In that sense, diabetes is partially reversible. But in most cases, since the symptoms are not severe in the initial phase, detection is delayed. Hence chances of cell damage reversal are less.

Following are different methods of controlling diabetes

  • Taking medicine
  • Exercise
  • Diet control and reducing carbohydrates from food
  • Snacking- eating at short intervals of two to four hours
  • Calorie control
  • And many more

I am now going to discuss mainly about diets. I have heard of Tripathi diet, Divekar diet, Bose diet and the latest is Dixit diet. Each one of them has different thinking and ways of managing things. At least I have not heard of Divekar and Bose diets talking about diabetes control; they speak mainly of weight reduction and control. These diets talk about snacking and suggest eating the food that we usually do. Eating more carbs is harmful anyway, both these diets recommend a reduction of carbs from our food. Tripathi diet suggests a diet which is different than what we typically eat. Dixit diet talks of having only two meals a day, but eating regular food.

When I read about these diets, a few questions cropped in my mind. How long should we follow the dieting regime? Should we eat foods during this phase which we usually don’t eat? In Tripathi diet, I understand that eating Jowar, and Bajra Bread (Bhakri) has been suggested. In India, people from different states and areas eat different types of food. In northern India, people eat Wheat and Cornbread. They eat rice only on special occasions. In southern India, people eat foods based on rice. They rarely eat roti or any bread. Jowar and Bajra Bread (Bhakri) is consumed in certain parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat. How can people from North and South adjust to this diet? How long can they eat Bhakri? How long should such diets be continued?

That brings me to the method of testing for diabetes. The first method is fasting sugar and Post Prandial sugar. This combination gives some indication of blood sugar at that particular instant. The second method is HbA1c value; HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin (A1c), which identifies average plasma glucose concentration. This value is the average of the previous three months. To a layman like me, the first method is a photograph taken at that instant and the second method is like a video made for the previous three months. To give you an example fasting & pp values were 105/160 on that day but HbA1c value was 7.0! These values don’t confuse me anymore.

I have read Dr Dixit’s speeches where he starts with a comment that his diet is for people with obesity issues. I will share with you his quote from the Times of India. “Giving information about a diet plan that is helpful in an effective weight loss program and prevention of diabetes, Dixit said that his regime is not for the individuals below 18 years of age, and the people who are already suffering from diabetes.”

My confusion starts here. A lot of people who are already diabetic sing paeans of the Dixit diet whereas Dr Dixit is saying that it is not meant for people who are already diabetic. For weight reduction eating two meals a day is an obvious solution. (I am talking of non-diabetic people) If you have only two meals, how much can you eat at a time? By accepting this, diet does not let you eat food at will. If this is Dixit diet for weight reduction, then you don’t need a diet. The simple rule is that if you feast on food all the time and don’t exercise your weight is going to increase.

A lady weighing 90 kgs, went to her doctor and said, “Please help me reduce weight.” On asking what she ate on that day, she said, “I had sweet tea in the morning with a few cream biscuits, had breakfast of potato hash brown and eggs. My husband comes late, so I had a fistful of salted peanuts. He got delayed, so I had two pieces of Mithai before a late lunch.” The doctor said, “Madam you had two full meals before lunch.”

My second confusion. My understanding of sugar values is that when we eat food, the sugar goes up and then starts reducing. In Dixit diet (which is not for diabetic people as per Dr Dixit) after every meal you do not eat anything for eight hours. The gap reduces sugar level in the body, and your body is going towards hypoglycemia. You remain in hypoglycemic condition for the majority of the time. What is the result?  As you are hypoglycemic most of the times, your HbA1c value is going to reduce. Can anyone continue such diet life long?  I don’t think so. To me, HbA1c value reduction due to “Dixit Diet” is a false indication. Once you start your food at regular intervals, your correct values will get reflected.

I have a suggestion for people on Dixit diet. They should wear saffron and live in the Himalayas. You call them, “Hey, let’s have coffee at ten at Vaishali.” “Oh, I am on Dixit diet!” Next week you call again and say, “Buddy Dilip is the town we are meeting at five for some Chat and Bhel.” “Oh, I am on Dixit diet.” How many times are you going utter this sentence? Are you stopping socialising because of your diet? How long do you want to continue? Don’t forget that you can get out of circulation fast. Your friends will have fun discussing your diet. My question is what happens if you take a couple of tablets a day, maintain discipline? Don’t forget that beyond a certain point your tongue becomes very active and demands food which you have been eating for 40/50/70 years. Wear stylish clothes and eat your bhajiya occasionally; don’t take me seriously about saffron. A minor binge is not a crime, don’t keep on thinking only about your diet!

Some of the effects I have observed on people who are on diets (this is my definition of DIETese)

  • People having diabetes (and on diet) keep checking sugar values very frequently
    • I knew someone who would check values three to four times a day and change his medicine dose on his own
  • Keep checking their weight every day
  • Decline to attend programs where some eatables may be served
  • On one on one level, they say that they are always anxious
  • They get hunger pangs if they keep long gaps between two meals
  • Some suffer from acidity
  • Others get migraine

A friend started Dixit diet and declared that his HbA1c value reduced from 8.5 to 7.5 in three months. He was in the US with his daughter and used to eat three ice creams every day. He stopped eating that and ….

Diabetes is manageable DIETese is not!

The tipsy drink!

I am on a WhatsApp group in which all the members are engineers that too with more than 45 years of experience. Most of them have retired. But the fun part is a couple of them who are active in business have the maximum time available with them to contribute to the group. Their favourite subject being liquor! Why would professional, educated and almost retired persons be interested in talking about alcohol all the time? I call this irrational thinking.  

What is the origin of alcoholic drinks?  As mentioned in Wikipedia, “discovery of late Stone Age jugs suggests that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (Cir. 10,000 BC). Many animals also consume alcohol when they get a chance and are affected in much the same way as humans, But humans are the only species known to produce alcoholic drinks intentionally.” Humans are the species who make alcoholic drinks for their own consumption. There are three broad classes of drinks beers, wines and spirits!  

Alcohol is consumed socially in many cultures. An alcoholic drink contains ethanol. Alcohol is manufactured by fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar. Alcohol consumption has an essential social role in many cultures. In many cultures, alcohol is consumed by both women and men. Nations have laws controlling the production, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption is legal beyond a certain age in most nations. Many countries have tried to ban alcohol consumption but have miserably failed.  

Alcoholic drink is an addictive drink. Taken in small quantities, it makes a person euphoric, but in larger quantities they are depressants. In many countries, wines are consumed with food, but spirits are consumed before the meal. After meal brandies and cigars are also part of the of the culture. 

Just for fun, I will share with you my alcohol experiments. When I was studying engineering, I used to live in hostels. At the end of any term, there would be a “Wet Party”; we friends used to meet and take alcohol. (It was an open secret but an illegal act) In those days, I never drank alcohol and had only one more friend to give me company. After drinks, there would be a procession to go out for dinner; friends used to be in the state of, a bit drunk to thoroughly drunk. One of us would be in the front and the other at the back to control the band. The surprising part was that the friends used to listen to us. This continued for a few years, and later we could get a friend’s house for the parties and were not required to go out for dinner. Two of our friends would always get drunk, vomit, and the story continued.  

After I started working, I tasted my first drink, a whiskey; I never liked alcohol. Later I switched to Vodka for a different reason. I rarely drank it, poured it away and would get a Sprite. Nobody noticed. I used to take a couple of government inspectors for lunch; as long as they got their quota of beer, they did not bother what I drank. One of my colleagues was a chain smoker and used to drink a lot during office parties. His wife and Jaya were colleagues. His wife would tell Jaya that her husband was the most humble man in the world. She would tell Jaya, “He never drinks and smokes!” I knew that love was blind, but I never knew that love killed your sense of smell. 

Once I was in Germany in the dead of winter. We went to our hosts’ home; they owned a winery too! The lady was charming, and she gave us so many small shots to test, I almost got drunk with wine. Luckily, as soon as I stepped out of their home, the biting cold hit me, and I was normal in a minute. Now, I take wine, once in a while, especially if I am in foreign countries. But alcohol never brought irrational behaviour in me. I had a close friend who loved his drink, but never have I seen him getting even close to being drunk!

I will share with you some amusing anecdotes and information about alcoholic beverages. How did the word Cocktail come in use? People have been mixing any ingredient in hard liquor for a long time. But the name cocktail has come up in the last two hundred years. 

Cocktail 

During the early 17th century, a horse, with a docked (cut tail) tail, was said to have a “cocktail.” Thoroughbreds did not have docked tails.  When a regular horse was entered into a race, its cocktail was observed – and became a term synonymous with an adulterated horse. There is a tradition to drink alcohol during horse races; the word “cocktail” was soon used to mean an adulterated spirit, alcohol mixed with something. Well, I thought a cocktail was something fancy. Nowadays we get mocktails also. These are the drinks like cocktails but do not contain hard liquor. Looks like businessmen are exploiting the fancy names for the purpose of business.  Mocktails are also expensive!  

Booze 

The word booze has its origin with the meaning “alcoholic drink”. Initially, it was spelt as “bouse”. The word booze is said to have a Germanic origin, but there is still a doubt about its real origin! Three words from which the word booze has come are “bausen” in German, Dutch word is “busen”, and the old Dutch word was “buise”. The last word means drinking vessel.  The majority think that the word from booze originated is “busen”. 

Toast 

Toasting has some believable and some questionable origins. Two people clinked their glasses in such a way that their drinks got mixed. This ensured that you were not being poisoned. Another story that comes out is that the wines in olden days were not of good quality, they were acidic. A toast was physically put inside the wine. This toast would absorb the acid from the wine and improve the quality of the wine. Toasting many people at a party is also used for drinking excessive alcohol without seeming to do it purposely. Toasting is just an excuse!  

Let me share with you a sad story. I had a friend who was a company secretary. We used to attend meetings and would share rooms. Once after a cocktail party, we came back to the guest house. He had consumed about five whiskeys. At the guest house, he asked me, “Pramod my doctor has told me to take a shot of brandy before sleeping. Take with me if you have crossed 35.” I was 36 then. He consumed the whole quarter bottle of brandy and ….. He slept through our meeting the next full day! Poor fellow ultimately died of alcoholism.

Coming back to the original discussion of how people nearing seventy remain so much interested in alcohol that they keep on discussing the subject on and on. Once some of my friends went out for dinner. Out of ten, eight drank alcohol, and all drank them in large quantities. Liking a drink is one thing but drinking alcohol in excess at the age of seventy is something different. At this age something can suddenly go wrong with the body and results can be devastating.

So let us give a toast to wise people who will switch to drink booze in moderate quantities! Remember, when you say, “I need that one shot of xxx every night,” (and take it) you are an Alcoholic!

Cheers! Bottoms up!

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

Every dog has his day!

Literally! Dogs have become important species, especially in India. Keeping dogs as pets has a long history right from maybe stone age! In Mahabharata a dog follows the Pandavas during their LAST journey. People have their own thought processes about pet dogs and I am writing on this subject only to get an overall feel of the subject. 

Importance of dogs in India started with the keen interest taken by Maneka Gandhi about dogs. There is a Supreme Court ruling about stray dogs which is given below. 

Under the Indian laws, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Section and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine. Likewise, criminal intimidation, and criminally intimidating animal welfare volunteers is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (specifically, Section 503 of Indian Penal Code read with Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code 1860). 

But what happens if there arises a cache 22 situation where a decision needs to be taken about supporting humans and dogs at the same time, in the same situation, at same location. Who should get the priority? There are many different rulings which declare the rights of the stray dogs; breaking such laws is liable to jail terms! But not giving the same support to homeless people (maybe stray people) is not punishable! But the alertness and alacrity with which the Animal support groups act and react in case of dogs, is rarely seen in case of humans in difficulty.  

With latest trends, now some families are deciding that they will not have kids but will adopt dogs. This trend, which was observed in western countries is now also seen in Indian couples. I know of a family, there could be many more, who while traveling, “talk” to their pets on video calls; kennels have set up cameras etc to provide such facility.  

I am aware that there are pet training schools where charges maybe as high as the best of human schools. I know that in 1980 someone used to pay US $100/ hour for pet training. (Be careful what you call someone’s dog, it may be good idea to call it by its name; owners are sensitive sometimes.) Now we have pet training schools, but do we have human training schools to teach humans how to handle pet dogs?  

Years back, I was walking on a footpath in the US, a lady was talking on her cell phone with somebody. She had a dog on the leash while it was doing its natural thing. I was wondering how this situation is going to be handled. As I reached near the lady, she probably told the other party to hold on for a second. She said to me, “Sir, I have my poop picking gear, don’t worry I am going to pick it up”! I am quite sure the lady had gone to best training school where they teach about handling the doggies.  

I will share with you couple of examples where the owners did not take the training course. We went to someone for a cup of coffee. We never knew that they had a dog. It’s not that Jaya and I are afraid of dogs, in fact we love them, mildly. The breed they had was five feet long when it was lying down. Its bark was as loud as the fighter aircrafts breaking sound barrier. As soon as we entered their home, it was an apartment, the doggy ran in as fast as Usain Bolt and braked in front of us; it had an awesome braking system. We were stunned, most probably, because of this unexpected, almost an attack on us! Our friend came and said, “Hey, guys! Don’t worry he is a very mild pet!” Of course, we knew that. I just wondered if it were ferocious, officially. After it was leashed, hypothetically, not physically, we started to move towards the three-seat sofa! The moment my bottom touched the sofa, windows in the home shuddered, I had almost become deaf with initial boom, I jumped up. Our friend, the doggy, had started howling. Our friend, the human, told us that it was doggy’s seat! The doggy jumped on the sofa and lied down, all its five feet! The coffee arrived, we gulped it. Luckily the cell phone came to the rescue! It rang. A friend had called to inform me that our evening dinner was postponed due to some emergency. I kept on blabbering on the phone, “Don’t you worry, we will reach in 30 minutes. I will try to get a doctor with me on the way.”  

Immediately, we left our friend’s place with apologies and told him that some emergency had come up at a friend’s place, bal bla bla. For a change, I got a certificate of appreciation from my better half, for an excellent and prompt action and acting skills. 

A friend’s dog died recently after a long life of 13 years. He was a mild, lovely dog. But he (the dog) missed out on two things; after he died there were a hundred RIP messages (95 were actually saying only RIP) on our society’s WA group. Very few people in the society used to interact with him (the dog); he would have known how many really “loved” him had he read those messages. But he, the doggy, was dead and was not on WA group! Probably we humans also know how many people “really” feel about us after we die! Why not tell it before we die, just a food for thought?  

Now I am going ask awkward questions. What do we do with our neighbor’s doggy who keeps on howling, at night? Our neighbor, the owner of the doggy, I am told, cannot go to sleep if the doggy is not howling! What do we do with neighbor who does not pick the poo poo? What do you do if the doggy cleanses your car rim and tyre with his, you know what? Should we send a thank you note? To whom, the doggy or the owner? Doggy is after all their kid!  What do we do with them when the doggy wets, the mat in the elevator/lift in your condo? Of course, you take the mat home and wash it, spray lovely perfume to mask the after effects.  Or maybe walk the staircase to your 11 th floor home!

Looking at more positive sides of dog the pet! It provides employment. Our friends, the owners are so busy, that they have no time to take the doggy out for a walk. Don’t ask why do you have pets, if you can’t walk them? Do you ask some someone why you are having kids?  Now there are some special shops catering only in dog stuff. 

Humans have a much developed brain. With new methods, equipment, tools, humans have been controlling other species for different purpose including food. Horses were used for travel, camels are used even today in desert for travel, we eat chicken, fish, goats and pigs. Yes, in Korea dog food is considered a delicacy! I am all for stopping the cruelty against animals but are we not going to other extreme about dogs in India? Honestly, I do not know!