Bonsai of Relationship ..

Create a beautiful Bonsai of friendship in life!

Advertisements

Bonsai

How is the relationship between humans formed? What does it depend on? There are legal relations which are by birth or by marriage. There are other relationships which just happen. Closest relationship is between mother and child. Then comes husband and wife and so on! I am not talking of relatives but I am talking of relations. One may be a close relative but we may not have much relation with that person. I am taking a look at relation between two persons as friends, whether  they are  relatives or not, even if there is  age difference between them and maybe they are of different sex.   

Years back we visited Canada. It was our first visit outside India and our knowledge about personal inter actions was limited. We had gone on a holiday for a couple of days with our Canadian friend Ed and his wife Dorothy! We were in early thirties and they were in fifties. On the way back to Ottawa, Ed asked me whether it was ok if he took a small detour. I said, “Ed, we have absolutely no issues.” Ed said, ” My mother lives in an old people’s home, I would like to meet her for half an hour!” While we were reaching the old people’s home, Jaya and I were trying to judge if we should also offer to meet his mother! Our problem was solved by Dorothy when we reached  the parking lot. Dorothy said, “Ed, you go and see your mother, we will sit in the car!” After, so many years of marriage, for Dorothy “It was Ed’s mother”! We were surprised that she did not feel like meeting the old lady! We were surprised with the relationship between the two ladies!  

We have been lucky that most of our close relatives are more of friends, than relatives. It is said that father and son must become friends once their shoe size matches. Similar thing can happen with grandfathers, uncles and other similar relationships, but for this to happen, the onus is on the senior partner. The age difference can come in the way. The relationships is a thing that cannot be explained. They simply happen. Two people simply hit it off on day one. In Bollywood lingo, it is called chemistry between two people. Chemistry just occurs. Sometimes two persons are poles opposite in their backgrounds, their thought process. Still they can be close friends.

During my engineering college days Sharad, Nayan and I were room partners. Only common thing between us was our mother tongue. But even today after more than 50 years we are very close to each other. The main reason I feel is that there never were any expectations from each other. We were very much aware of milestones reached, progress made or difficulties faced. In fact, we shared with each other everything, all the time. But discreetly, we had made efforts to nurture the relationship. In case of Nayan, we were lucky that out relationship went even one step further. Nayan’s parents continued to live India after Nayan moved to the US. After that, we suddenly realized that we had third set of parents, Opa and Omi! We had such lovely times with them whenever we could meet. This simply happened as Nayan moved abroad, and we could spend time with Opa and Omi! Now whenever Nayan and I meet, we share memories of Opa and Omi!  

Deepti and Raju have become family for us. Again, as destiny would have it, Deepti joined my business at the tender age of 26 and we have been together through the thick and thin of the business since last 25 years. When they became family, is not very easy to say. There is an age difference between us but it just happened. When Deepti’s mother became our Aai, we do not know. The funny part is Aai calls me, “Sir” and Jaya “Madam” but she is Aai for us.

I will share how these relations get matured and cultivated. A few years back, I was to go for my check up with Dr. Sant, for my sore throat. My granddaughter was one months old at that time. Priya had high fever and hence Jaya was managing Rhea. She called and told me the situation; I told her not to bother as I could easily go alone. This conversation happened while I was in the office. Five minutes later, Deepti simply told me, ” Sir, don’t worry. I have called Raju. He will go with you to the doctor, you don’t go alone.” Again, the destiny was such that I was detected with cancer during that visit and Raju was there to support me. Raju had simply come out of whatever he was doing, to go with me!  

On the other side,I have a friend, who is a very pleasant person, always smiling, always enthusiastic, always keen. But he has a tendency to keep relationships on/off. In initial phase, he lived outside Pune. He would pass through Pune very often but would communicate very rarely. Like all of us do, he also went through ups and downs in life. Some of these were very serious up and downs. But as expected he came out of these tough times, with flying colours and became a great professional. We were always on the periphery except when he needed close support. As friends, we kept on giving it. But later we realized that we were his friends only when he needed support! To me friends are simply there when needed, especially if you live in the same city. They are like shadows and they simply take up what is needed to be done. But alas in this case it is not to be so!  

Another case is of a college mate, whom I met recently, after 45 years of gap. He was a pleasant person in college days but soon after college he moved to foreign shores. He used to come to Pune, like all migratory birds always do but he never met me during this period. He has an added qualification of “NRI” which he displays proudly.  Our friend has need for small help these days as he has acquired some property in Pune. His experience with his “friends” was not so good. I was a little upset when he informed me about his experience but in the same note his rant about change in Pune culture, change in friends not keen to support etc made me think a little more. When I came to know the other side, looks like our “NRI” friend has different set of friends for fun and getting work done! Looks like our friend is riding a big white horse! With shining armour! So, his “friends’ simply ignored his requests. Apparently, he forgot that any relationship needs nurturing. Nothing is constant in this world including relationships, unless cultivated. Our NRI friend forgot that relationship is like a balloon, you need to pump the gas very slowly and check, pump and check. One must get the feel of knowing when the balloon will burst.  

Give and take in a relationship is not like an accounting ledger. You don’t need to create a credit entry, immediately after a debit entry is created. But at some stage ledger needs to be balanced. At the same time, you cannot simply create a major debit entry too! Nurture, coax, help each other to become closer and closer. There is nothing in life like a lovely relationship.

I could go on and on! While writing this, I have become nostalgic but friends don’t forget that the beauty of this world is enhanced by great relationships. But you need to nurture them, cultivate them like a Bonsai. The purposes of bonsai is primarily contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. We can compare relationship with Bonsai.

Bonsai is a Japanese  art form using cultivation technique to produce small trees. Bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container. Similarly, relationship between two individuals is cultivated for pure relationship, friendship. There are no expectations. Create a Bonsai of friendship, between two individuals, these are grown with care in a container made up of love! Like Bonsai plants relationship can go on and on, living in their own meandering path.  

 

 

Full Positivity!

Come out of tough situation with full positivity!

Human body and mind are most complex things in this world to understand. In our body the design, the reactions, the capability to absorb physical as well as mental shocks is un believable! We sail through the life following different trajectories as per our destiny. But we do not know where it is going to take us. The destiny may lead us through our life with routine ups and downs but in some cases life can be full of major ups and downs. These ups and downs can be by way of illnesses, accidents, business upheavals. Each person will handle it in a different way.

A friend of mine went through a major upheaval almost 25 years back. His wife had paralysis attack and her activities have been severely restricted since then. He was working full time, his children were young and needed parental support. Luckily, his mother has been staying with them. First few years were tough for the family but they adjusted to the realities of life. It is easy for outsiders to say a few encouraging statements once in a while but it is the family that has to handle the situation. My friend managed everything beautifully. His daughters got married, he has grandchildren but the most fascinating part is the smile on his wife’s face. Whenever we meet, the smile on her face puts one at ease. We know how tough the life has been for her. She and her husband obviously decided to face the problem head on instead of shying away from it. I am sure when they came out of the immediate shock, they must have said, “It is not only the health issue but it is the issue related to the whole life. Unless we try and get the completely derailed life back on track, life is not going to be what it was. I am sure they both have worked very hard for the same. Both their faces are always with a smile. Adding to difficulties, now his mother is around 90 years of age so he needs to support both the lovely ladies, he of course has support staff but I am sure the smiles will be there forever! That is because they tried and successfully found a solution for the whole life! Hats off to the family!

I have another friend who also had a paralysis attack a couple of years back. His one side is paralyzed. Naturally he took some time to come to terms with the condition. Last time we met about six months back, initially he was not really comfortable even meeting us. But we met him again recently. As soon as we entered his house, we could see the change in his demeanor. He was smiling, he looked fresh and he chatted with us with enthusiasm. When I asked him how his new treatment was helping him; he explained that the lady who is giving treatment to him has told him that his whole body is being treated for improvement rather than only the paralyzed area. She has told him that to come out his problems, his whole body needs to synchronize and improve rather than only his damaged areas. After understanding what he said, a thought came to my mind. Will improvement only in body condition, improve his life quality? He should also try to improve his social life to the extent possible. Then I asked him, ” Why don’t you come to my home after a couple of weeks?” Initially both he and his wife were a little hesitant. But then I discussed with them the logistics. We ultimately found a solution. Then I explained to him why I am discussing this. I said, ” The lady has told you that it is not only the damaged parts of your body, but the whole body should synchronize. Taking this logic further some trials in socializing will take your recovery further as a whole. So it is the combination of our body and our mind is what makes the whole life!” He liked my thought and said, ” Pramod , I will definitely come to your house.

I also want to touch upon another important aspect of life in such situations! It is the person who is unwell, who takes the major brunt. But lest we forget, the person supporting the unwell person also shows great character. Handling the unwell human being for months and years is not easy. At the same time, this  person cannot discuss openly his or her feeling. They are not “allowed” fall sick. They have to keep on doing things with ever smiling face. They also show toughness in such situations. They are like infantry in the army taking the full-frontal brunt of the situation, day in and day out! In such situations, the person who is unwell and the person who attending have both to be equally positive, if not more in case of support person. In case of ladies, who tend to share some tears in tough situations, cannot even do that, to look positive!

Friends, I hope none of us have to go through such phases in life. I can say this from personal experience. When I went through cancer treatment in 2013/14, I have seen how Jaya struggled to support me. For one full month, I was required to be fed through rice tube. My first feed would be at 5.30 and my last feet ended at 11.00 pm. The feed was every three hours. I have seen Jaya juggling to handle the situation. At some stage, we took a decision to avoid even receiving phone calls. Though we knew that people were concerned about me, taking phones and responding was a task by itself, adding further to Jaya’s burden! But let me tell that Jaya handled the situation “womanly” yes pun intended; it could not be “manly”, men cannot do this with such an aplomb!

One thing all of us can do is to help others in best possible manner without intruding their private space. But don’t feel shy, do it! There have been others who supported Jaya! In tough situations, as the saying goes, only tough can get going! Rest assured, we have it in us, just do it! Only full blown positivity can encourage you to do it!

 

200! My Double Century and Cricket!

These Australian Cricketers have just broken a law! They are not murderers! At least now treat me softly!

ChampagneGlass

Champagne time! Let’s click the glasses and share the bubbly on the occasion of my 200th blog! Let me bow to you my friends. It is your continuous support and encouragement that has allowed me to share the bubbly with you folks. Thank you very much for  reading my blogs. Some of you have even suggested the subjects. Some have commented but I am happy that I was never been ignored. Since this blog is about cricket I will share with you some mundane statistics to follow cricket tradition. BTW I am an avid cricket lover and saw my first test match, against West Indies,  at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1958! My last live match was in 2015 at MCG in Melbourne!

Initially when I started blogging, I had a captive audience of three. Jaya, Sachin and Priya! With your love and encouragement this number has reached 10703 clicks in 2017. There were 3786 clicks in the first three months 2018- extrapolated to 15144 for the whole year of 2018. Those who want to ensure that they get my blog link, may kindly share with me their e mail id; I will put you on the mailing list!

Now to cricket! Reaching double century is a big deal in cricket, in test match it feels even better; reaching that hall mark in one day cricket is THE real big deal! Who reached that landmark first ? Of course, Sachin Tendulkar, that too against South Africa when Dale Steyn was at his best!

I am writing about the ball tampering affair that is currently going on. Australians were literally found with their pants down. In every sport, there are some people who cheat. There will be some who will do it at the borderline cheating level. But idea is not to get caught. There have been some great athletes who have been found cheating, in the game or with the family. Tiger Wood, Lance Armstrong, Ben Johnson are some of the names that come to mind. Wood cheated his family in a big way, Armstrong for a long time was a hero who overcame cancer! But in the end was caught for doping. Same was the case with Ben Johnson. But the cricket fiasco comes to the fore because they were caught red handed on camera! Cheating is a reasonably normal trait in humans. The child starts cheating or lying maybe at the age of 4 to 4 ½. So, continuing the same behaviour is not abnormal. Again the idea is not to get caught.

It appears that the main person behind the episode of ball tampering is David Warner, the vice-captain. He had a bright idea to remove the shine of the ball from one side, so that the ball may start swinging. This could help Australia take some wickets, quickly! This was approved by his captain, Steve Smith and they put a 21-year-old kid Bancroft to act. Bancroft was caught on the camera during the act and his picture was displayed on large screen in the stadium. He too saw it, got scared, and tried to do something even crazier. Rest as they say is history! They were caught, they are officially punished by the ICC, world cricket body with some fine and suspension. But there was such a large hue and cry in the Australian media, that Australian prime minister too intervened. Australian board sent them from South Africa back home and further punished them by captaincy stripping, 9 months to one-year suspension. Matter over! Field day for TRP guys to give stories about these three guys!

Later I saw the interview of Steve Smith after he reached Australia. His father was standing behind him. I felt pity for him. The guy made a very big blunder, accepted it, is punished for the same. What more do we want? I hope nobody says, that he was not really remorseful, he just made it dramatic by crying. Which 30-year person would publicly cry? He has made wrong judgment, he has done something because he is naïve. Who would do such a blunder when you know that there are 30 video cameras capturing every possible thing that is happening on the ground. I am sure at least one camera will be always focused on the ball; because in cricket everything happens with reference to the ball! How can an Australian be so naïve? They are supposed to be rough and tough and have always been pushing the rules to the limits. Once in a while they get a Kohli, who gives it back to them.

This guy has a family, wife, children, parents, siblings. All three are normal human beings like you and me.  Bancroft is a 21-year-old kid; he has not even had a glimpse of the bad bad world. Should he be pushed further? He suddenly found himself at the pinnacle of things for all wrong reasons. What everybody should do is to give these blokes some time. Let them overcome their demons, let them overcome their sorrows. Let them spend some time with their family and friends. One more thing we seem to have forgotten. Besides the punishment, humiliation, and bad name they  lost commercially, in a big way. All have also lost their IPL contracts. Australian Cricket board has lost their main sponsor. The shame that this episode has brought to their country, is too much for the shoulders of 21-year old guy! With all that is known today, I think they have done it without realizing the consequences, if caught. At least for the commercial part, they would have been a bit careful; but at that moment something went seriously wrong with the brains of Smith & Warner! Please remember these are not murderers or robbers. They were trying to change the condition of the ball with the hope of defeating South Africa! Ended up making a major blunder of their life; I am sure they will never be able to forget it and history will remember them as “Those cheats who tried to roughen up the ball”. This is the biggest punishment that is like life term in jail! Just be a little soft with them now. Don’t forget that there is that 21-year-old kid involved!

Now the million-dollar question, why do I write? Honestly, I don’t know. But writing bug has caught up with me during last few years. Another thing is that the thoughts have been always coming to mind and writing needed some impetus to do it! Availability of good blogging sites was the major impetus. Like great R K Laxman had once said when he was asked why doesn’t he create his own cartoon character? Keeping poker face, he said, ” When there are so many politicians giving me infinite subjects what is the need to have a separate Cartoon character?”  Similarly, with progresses in technology so many new subjects available on the net, for me, I keep on writing the thoughts that ooze out from my mind. I am also using my life’s experiences, my interactions with friends, family, business associates and many people I meet in life. On top of that you folks read what I write! You send your likes, you send your comments; you folks always interact! That keeps me going!

Cheers folks! Wave, criticize, shout, laugh, cry but react. It is the reactions that I like the best! A big Namaste to all!

th

Moving Ranges Of Diabetes!

Don’t be blinded by comments about changing values for diseases, keep an open eye and ear!

“Now the US doctors admit that HbA1C value in between 7 to 8 is normal, this mean that if the sugar level is 250 then it is normal. If mean of PP and Fasting is 250 then you are no more diabetic.”

This is a news item which has taken many by surprise. Whenever such news items are published there is a hue and cry that Pharma Companies are joining hands with Doctors, to fleece the general population. This was a reaction sometime back when it was declared by researchers blood pressure values are 120/80 are sacrosanct. Anything above 80 as well as 120 is to be treated as a person with elevated Blood Pressure.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Wrylt0xuK3A

There was a lot of noise, a lot of articles and a lot of resistance to these findings. How are these findings to be treated? How do scientists reach these conclusions? These findings are based on study of very large number of patients with different backgrounds, ethnicity, income levels, age, gender and so on. Similar methods have been followed over the years. The research also studies the effects of such values on the populace in general. In pre-computer days collecting and compiling such data was a nightmare because all this was done manually. After data collection there was statistical analysis, graphs and charts. This really took a long time. Hence changing patterns of such values were difficult to find and declare; probably time it took to find the changes, one more change may have already happened. But with advent of computerization and special software, all such important analysis can be done really fast and trend of what is happening in real life can be seen much earlier than manual methods. So, we might see such changes declared regularly.

As these limits of the Upper and Lower BP are shrunk, people want to blame it on business side of medical and pharmaceutical industry. Some say, it is done so that more people will need more medicines. Doctors are just awaiting the opportunity. But I have a different say in this. In every field in the world, there are unscrupulous people but to say that everybody in the system is unscrupulous, will be incorrect. Doctors will not just prescribe a drug, just because it is available. The R&D fraternity is doing their analysis based on data collected from thousands of patients. If that data indicates reducing the range for high BP tag, so be it! This is based on analysis, found in real patients in real life. Hence the medical associations have declared new set of values.

In case of diabetes, apparently the new research has established that HbA1C value of an individual can be between 7.5 and 8 instead of previously declared values of 6 to 6.5! Now people will not make noise or shout why this has been changed. With this change in values, the number of people requiring diabetic medicines will be drastically reduced and hence there is NO nexus between pharma companies and doctors! If people have to challenge any findings, then they should do so in either case. This is good because this challenge and questioning will enhance the quality of research further.

There is another case of cholesterol value. Till recently it was said that to be in danger zone, the cholesterol value was to be above 200! But new research says that cholesterol is no more a bad boy, so Statin sell will go down; research says simply don’t bother about cholesterol. This is the greatest benefit of computers in medical field; the research, data collection and analysis are done very fast, thereby doctors will know quickly about the moving targets of the so-called danger zone. No noise was made in this case too!

On the subject of research, I am always surprised that people are not comfortable about analysis and values, treatment and their side effects when Allopathy treatment is discussed. But in other pathy’s, I have not heard of any research carried out over a period of long time. Still nobody raises any voice, nor does anyone challenge the treatment. Nobody discusses anything about no research being carried out. Why this apathy against challenging other pathys? Why not raise any doubts? Allopathy uses most modern techniques of research, they spend huge amounts of funds on research. But we raise voice! For other pathy’s, we accept them as they are and many a time sing paeans of the glory of those pathy’s. Though we know that there is hardly any research done, if at all!

What should we call this reaction from humans? Is it hypocrisy? Is it abnormal thinking? Is it a typical behaviour like a mother who ignores many faults in her favourite child?  I feel that this not a rational behaviour but it can be treated like going to a psychiatrist. They find solace in other pathy’s when Allopathy does not work. There are bound to be many cases where Allopathy may not work at all! But in some of these cases, other pathy’s may work! For example for Jaundice there is no drug in Allopathy but an Ayurvedic drug Liv 52 works. We should choose the pathy, that really cures and not go by here say!

I will sign off with a story of a highly educated professional, working at director level in industry, for many years. His wife is not keeping well for sometime. She just manages her own personal day  to day chores. They have a big staff at home round the clock as our friend is required to travel a lot. Every 5/6 months the lady is taken for he “cleansing” treatment, whatever it means, of alternate medicine for a week. She rejuvenates and is back, needing support round the clock from the day she is back! What that treatment does only our friend knows, he claims she is good now; honestly, friends and family don’t see any change

So don’t be blinded by any pathy but at least believe in Allopathy which does lot of research and helps the humanity to improve our general health. The results are well known in the last 50 to 70 years! Doubting Thomases don’t value add!

Happy Ageing!

Ageing Happily is an option and regretting what missed is not an option!

“Happiness is a choice you make” is a title of the book written by John Leland who interviewed six of the oldest of the old residents, 85 plus, in Newyork with diverse backgrounds, culture and life experience. His insights are superb to understand on how to age happily! Ageing is a natural process that is part of our lifecycle. We all grow from childhood to youth, become an adult and finally enter senior citizen phase. For some, this is a normal journey but for others it may be a tough call through the life cycle. To say “Happy Ageing” and actually “Ageing Happily” are two different things. For the group of people who have led reasonably normal life “Happy Ageing” is easy to manage but for the other group it may be tougher. For both groups some efforts will be needed to achieve this status.   

What is it that can come in the way of happy ageing? What can be the hindrances? Main thing that comes to mind is ourselves. Nowhere it is written that we should behave in a certain way, nor we should make certain utterances after we cross a certain age. People start saying, “Now that I have become old…”! You grow old every day, from child hood. Your age is one day more than the previous day. So, what is the big deal that you become 60 or 70 or 80? Your physically activity, for that matter, any activity is hampered even when you are 15 or 25 or 35 if you are physically unwell or unfit. In the older age this state of being not fit enough, is longer or maybe permanent. But do you ever say at younger age “Now that I am unwell…!”. You will just say, ” Let me get well and then I will do it”! We should keep the same approach at any age. Our mantra should be, “let me see how I can do it or deal with it!” An ageing person is good enough to do things that a younger person can do. There can be some physical limitations but there is no mental limitation. In fact, mental abilities are more mature at old age if not sharper. Regarding mental abilities and agility, the problems will be the same whether you are young or old; your efficiency on that day depends on your body and mental condition. It is the same with creativity; it is not hampered by age but by physical or mental challenges.  

There can be curtailed physical activity which does not stop meaningful discussions. In fact, in younger age there can be limitations of availability of time. But one should take care, while ageing, of not becoming a chatter box just because you have more than enough time. Those who have reasonably decent physical abilities should continue to travel. They should also perform whatever activities physical conditions can allow. A painter, if he cannot paint due to old age, can teach painting, explain nuances to others. Sharing knowledge with others is a great way to remain in your field though you may not be physically able to do it.  

I will share examples from a cruise we had taken a couple of years back. There was one lady on a wheel chair, whose 99th birthday was celebrated on the cruise. She looked reasonably fit though wheelchair bound. Luckily, her mental abilities were quite sharp. I am sure these things do not happen automatically; she must have been taking efforts to maintain the same, and her body has supported her! Was she happy! There was a person who was just 50 plus. He was required to have 100% oxygen support. He was on the cruise with his family, he took local excursions at the ports. His physical condition, due to need of oxygen all the time, was quite tricky. But he was determined to overcome these limitations. So, your own determination is what helps, and mind you, age has nothing to with it. Recipe for unhappy status of your mind and hence your life, is the same at any age. Unhappy thinking, continuously thinking about age and physical and mental issues lead to vicious circle in your life and you feel as if you are in tailspin all the time!   

The other day we walked to the shopping area near our home. I was standing on footpath as Jaya and Rhea went in the shop. I was as usual, observing all species moving around! The shop was located in a condominium. I saw an old man walking out from the complex. He trundled out and sat on a wall which was about more than half a meter tall; then he swung his feet and moved them to change the direction he was facing. I went and said hello to him. He was 97 years of age! We exchanged various things in life for 15 minutes, he was mentally quite sharp. He said that because of physical limitation he cannot move far from home so he sits in the same place watching the world, every day. He looked cheerful. While we were almost done, a friend of his who was my age, came and sat with him and they continued chatting. I felt that he was doing all the things that were possible within his limitations and was cheerful. Friends remaining cheerful or sad is our option. “Retiring” from the Tera Firma is not in our hands but ageing happily is in our hands.  

Our happiness index is in our hands. There are bound to be medical issues, physical as well as mental but being happy within the limitation is in our hands. A sportsman is said to be great instead of good when he knows limitations of his game and performs to the best of his abilities within those limitations. In your life there can be regrets. You may feel that you should have got the Nobel Prize for your work. You may feel that you could have been the best sportsman.  But regretting this all your life is not going to make you happy! Your achievements in life may be 70 % of your expectations but there is no point in regretting them while you are trying to age beautifully. Forgetting about your regrets and under achievements is another important obstacle that we must overcome to age happily.  

Friends, I will share one example of how I handled a situation. I was 65. In Feb 2014, I had completed cancer treatment, radiations and all. Physically, I was tired with reasonable soreness in my throat area. I faced some difficulties in swallowing the food. One day, I was just surfing on the net. I asked Jaya, ” Shall I buy tickets for a Cricket match?” She said, “Come on your treatment is just over; we will think about it after you recover!” I told her that the match I am talking is a year later. She said ok go ahead. I bought the tickets for Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne, Australia. I was physically down, but had a thinking that bygones are bygones. Let us think of future. I did not allow life to stop though I had undergone a major treatment. In fact, I kick started the normalization processes. This my friends is, what we should try to do and then “Happy Ageing” just does not remain only the title of a book, it is what live!  

  

  

 

How much downtime is enough?

Give enough time recover from illness!

We all go through health issues during our journey of life and recovery depends on seriousness, duration of the issue, and many other factors, the downtime needed by humans to recoup is decided. Doctors of course advise about the same but such advice is given based on needs of the average population. In some cases, it may vary to extreme ends of pendulum swing. But the fact of life is that, we and our body need time to recuperate!

I remember a case of two ladies, who were required to go through Angiography, both were  from similar age group on either side of 50. This is a comparatively minor procedure and 2/3 days is said to be enough for individuals to come back to normal. But in this case, there was a vast difference in the time required to come out of the situation. One of the ladies, a professional, had a meeting outstation. On third day she traveled and attended the meeting. I am sure she must have borne the discomfort and a bit of pain too! But the other lady also a professional but with less hectic schedule took one month to come out of it! Why does this happen? Is it about pain barrier levels? Is it about general fear? In the first case, doctors had said that there is no problem to travel. I am sure the lady would not have traveled against doctor’s advice. Other lady was also advised that 3 to 4 days is more than enough but she did not feel comfortable going back to routine!

Over a period, our body develops its tone, but there is a limit how much we can flog the body, and its energy stores. In normal routine, the body probably functions at 65 to 70% of energy level. Our body has its storage system to store the balance energy available. We have certain situations in life where additional energy is drawn from this storage system. This happens in “abnormal” situations which are quite normal in our life. These can be work or family related stress situations, these can be physical situations where fight or flight decisions are required to be taken. There can be illnesses. These also sap our energy. During sports events we always try our best as everybody wants to win. This is achieved on adrenaline drive. Adrenaline drive is nothing but accessing the reserve energy! Various events or adrenaline drives sap our energy! Downtime needed is decided by how basic energy plus excess energy is used by our body.

Years back I was down with sciatica. It was quite painful initially. After ¾ weeks of treatment plus bedrest, I was permitted to move out of the home. I walked to a vegetable vendor with Jaya, he was about 50 meters from home. I was so sapped of my energy, I could not stand there even for five minutes. After that I called my doctor and he said, “Pramod, the rest helped you to come out of sciatica issue but since you could not perform normal body activity like walking, your muscle tone is totally gone. You will have to walk slowly and build it up step by step.” Which of course I did. This took me about ten days. Mind you I was in thirties in those days! Later on, about twenty years later, I had a minor surgery, I could climb staircases just after 3 to 4 days. This shows that surgery had not sapped my energy, as much as sciatica did!

But about five years back when I went through radiations for cancer treatment , things were quite different again. First one month of treatment was quite ok. But then from second month onwards, the body started having side effects, my throat started swelling due to radiations. I had to switch over from normal diet and had to be fed using Rice Tube. The side effects started different bodily reactions, by the time the treatment was over in about two months, I was totally zapped. But surprisingly even all through the treatment, I could concentrate and read, e mail, I could drive to go to hospital, most of the time. Once the treatment was over, I really felt low. Probably, I was holding my flag high on adrenaline! It took me almost three months to come back to normal!

So, every event which zaps our energy should be treated with due respect! First and foremost is of course the doctors advise. Based on the advice, we should slowly try and come back to normal. This process is not as straight forward as I write. Other factors like age also play an important role! Especially, the regime that we normally follow helps to recoup faster. If we keep on doing exercise suitable to us, regularly, recovery is bound to be faster!

What should all concerned do in case of such events? The person who had that event should follow whatever we have already discussed; but relatives and friends are also equally important in the recovery!  First and foremost, if the illness is serious, let the patient be! We have tendency to try and meet the patients, even in ICU’s. Please don’t do it. These days there is another issue. Many surgeries are done using probes! What this does is to get a false feeling that some minor procedure was done. This is because there are no outside cuts and stitches and bandages, post-surgery. But let us not forget that the “probing” surgeon does same work as before, on the organ, without visible damage! Basic surgery remains equally serious and tough. Due to use of probe, we do not visualize the seriousness. When a heart patient undergoes angiography and angioplasty, it is a very serious ailment that is treated by a simpler looking method; hence everybody including patient may feel that the event was not major, especially if this is done after an attack!

So, friends, face life as it comes, but do not forget seriousness of events. Give these events due respect. Start with yourself and help others understand it!  There is no shortcut to recovery! In life there no shortcut for anything! It has to be done the hard way! Stay well, and recover fast, sensibly.

Cancer Survivors!

Corruption is not Cancer but Cancer is corruption of body!

Eminent cancer specialist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, Dr V Shanta has admonished the managing director of Punjab National Bank for misusing the word “cancer” in the context of the recent banking scam. In a letter to PNB managing director and chief executive officer Sunil Mehta, Dr Shanta shared her “outrage” at the scam being equated with cancer. “Corruption is a crime and something to be ashamed of; cancer is not,” wrote the Magsaysay award-winner, a pioneer in the field of cancer care.

Someone will say that is it not a matter of semantics? How does it matter if corruption is called cancer?  The meaning of cancer is “a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body”. With advent of technology and improvements in treatments for cancer,  humanity is fighting its war against cancer; now people discuss cancer openly. Others need to be very sensitive to what they say and how they say it.  

Probably in olden days, only cure for cancer was to remove the cancerous growth by surgery and hope for the best. Now, cancer gets detected much earlier than what it used to be. With better medicines and improved treatments available, prognosis can be much better than what it used to be. Cancer was a dreaded “C” word and was treated as a dangerous disease. Hence those who overcame cancer have been called “Cancer Survivor”. Anyone who overcomes a tough situation is a survivor, so why not heart attack survivor, why not stroke survivor? Maybe because in case of cancer, the cure rate 25/30 years back was very low. Hence someone who did not die of cancer was called “Cancer survivor”.  Friends cancer is still a difficult disease to manage but the society is slowly changing its mind set and facing it upfront!

This has changed for better during last 10/15 years, cancer detection has improved than before because of the awareness and imaging technology progress. I strongly feel that term “Cancer Survivor” needs to change. The term feels like a stigma; it is as if that person did something wrong and survived. I went through cancer treatment in 2013 end, 2014 beginning. When asked about the same, I don’t call myself “Cancer Survivor”. I tell people that I was treated for vocal cord cancer! This is a positive way of explaining things. People undergo bypass surgeries, people undergo brain surgeries. People have gone through bone marrow replacements. You don’t call them survivors! Whenever such “operations/procedures” are done, you start on a positive note by saying that the patient has undergone so and so operation; you don’t call the patient a survivor. The term “Survivor” smells of a defeatist thinking. 

Dr. Shanta has rightly communicated to PNB Managing director that what happened in the bank was corruption and/or a criminal act. Having cancer and going through its treatment is abnormal body process which some of us have to unfortunately undergo. There is a vast difference in these two events. The use of the word cancer is not right with reference to the fraud, because what happened in bank is crime and having cancer is not a crime, it is nothing to be shameful about. For that matter having any disease is not a shameful matter. Consider the case of AIDS! In initial phase of Aids occurrence, there was stigma attached to the person having Aids because of lack of knowledge. One can get aids because sexual relations with people who have this disease or maybe due to complex sexual behavior. One can also get it during blood transfusion, a mother can give this disease to her child during birth. Arthur Ashe, the tennis legend caught it during blood transfusion. All these acts are not criminal acts, there is nothing to be ashamed of having Aids!  

Human race should be proud of people who go through cancer treatment, tackle it in a very positive manner. I have friends who are being treated for cancer for ten to 20 years. They are setting an example that tough things in life can be handled, one can fight back. Yes, there will be some of these valiant people who may not make it. But these people’s cancer can never be compared with bank scams, corruption and all such ills in the society. It is insulting to compare disease fighters, maybe unknowingly, with corrupt practices prevalent in the society.  

This type of thought process will bring people out of closets, they will discuss things openly. Some of them can become torch bearers of a movement to guide people to handle so called “hidden” diseases in open. Their experience can create positivity and maybe people will start taking things in stride. We handle many aspects of life in a similar way; someone has financial set back, take it in stride fight it back. Some persons can have issues in love life, they overcome it and move on! Life is always full of pluses and minuses, supporting people to handle tough calls better will help them to take things on the chin and will help them to move on!  

So, friends, call your cancer, heart disease, stroke “corruption” within your body, about which we need not be ashamed of, it is not amoral, it is not illegal. This “corruption” in the body needs to be weeded out. In our gardens we do weed out the plants which affect the growth of plants and shrubs that we want to keep. Is it not a similar thought process? Change thinking, help each other. Remove corruption from your body and society; we don’t need to remove cancer!  Dr, Shanta ji, thank you very much for showing us the right direction.