Moving Ranges Of Diabetes!

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

Advertisements

“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!

Five Season’s of Beauty!

Are you one of those lucky ones with five seasons in Life?

There are different ways of naming seasons, people, trees. Seasons in India are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. People are described by their heights, their likes and dislikes. Some are coffee folks and others are tea folks. Some are beer guys or wine folks. Some love whiskey and others like their Vodka or Rum! Some are morning types and others are night owls! Trees are classified as coniferous, perennial, shady and so on. My favorite method of differentiation of people is based on the seasons they like.

Seasons based on Calendar are winter, spring, summer and autumn. In tropical areas the seasons are only two, wet and dry seasons. But in India seasons are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Monsoon season is very different in India. When did I really start understanding seasons? I was in school maybe 5th grade and one day I needed an umbrella to go to school as I had exams on that day, hence I needed to go to school. This thing had never happened before so when it rained, I simply used to skip school if it rained heavily.

Names of seasons are also used to describe somethings in our life. Winter of discontent, there is a spring in his stride, are some of the terms come to mind. Summer of discontent is another term, that is used. What do these indicate? Winter of discontent indicates that bad days or times are at an end and they change for better, in the form as spring is coming soon! Summer of discontent is the term used when unhappiness or sadness of life is at the peak! Spring in stride indicates the fresh air or exuberance.  The reappearance of robins. The disappearing snow.  The longer hours of daylight. The emergence of flowers.

I started thinking in terms of Indian seasons, am I a summer guy or a monsoon guy or a winter guy. In India, the weather conditions are different in various parts, simply because of hugeness of the country. In summer, we have temperatures nearing 50 deg C in certain areas to minus 10 deg C in cooler climates in winter. Monsoons can bring rains to the tune of 1200 cm in a season. Weather in the country can be moderate to extreme like the human beings. Pune, where I normally live, is known for moderate weather, all the seasons are comfortable. Has that made people in Pune reasonable people? Does extremism or moderation in people happen because of the weather? I think it does. I am talking of general populace and not the wrong kind of people! Wrong kind of people are omni present where ever they want to be, irrespective of seasons or weather.

Summer, for me is lovely Alphonso Mangoes, Sugarcane Juice, Raw Mango Panna a kind of home-made sherbet! In childhood, it also meant school holidays, round the day playing cricket, table tennis and badminton! I used to live in Mumbai in those days. Once in a while there used to be a trip to relatives’ homes in Bombay or sometimes to Pune. That was the farthest we would travel in those days. There were no summer holiday trips to cool climes. Those were outside means of our family. And did I enjoy my trip to Pune by train? Eating Batata Wada (a potato patty) at Karjat!  That used to be the high point of the journey! End of summer also meant excursion to markets with mom to get new school uniforms especially when I out grew the older uniforms! Then of course there would be a trip to stationery shop to buy new notebooks. Followed by a session of covering the notebooks with brown paper, followed by sticking the labels for the names! Of course, there used to an occasional day of punishment when we overdid things! There used to be pinching of small coins from home to drink ice cold lemon sherbet on cricket ground.  But now in golden phase life things have remained more or less same but with one big difference. Diabetes makes things a little bit tricky for Mangoes and Sugar cane juice!

Monsoon in Mumbai and Pune are totally different. Most of the monsoon, one could manage without an umbrella in Pune! In Mumbai, many times it hardly mattered whether you wore a raincoat or had an umbrella; you would get drenched. Weather in Pune in Monsoon would bring a bit of chill but in Mumbai you were not sure whether you got drenched in rain or sweat! In Mumbai, going to Marine drive to walk on the sea wall, with heavy rains with heavy rains lashing and sea waves crashing on the wall! Oh, what fun we had! Mumbai’s rain fury is seen to be believed! As the British say, it rains Dogs and Cats in Mumbai, sometimes. Though it is a bit difficult to handle, it should be enjoyed at least once. It should be added to your bucket list. One day, I had pinched some coins from home and it was raining heavily. Heavy rains could sometimes create havoc in Mumbai. This was great opportunity to come home, from school,  ( we used to lie about lack of buses) walking in heavy rains and on the way, going to our favourite restaurant to eat a Dosa! That was the biggest heist in our lives!

Winter, of course is a special season for Pune. Cool breeze, some mist, some fog, everybody going around in their woolens with seniors using mufflers and woolen caps! Drinking hot tea with Salty biscuits at the road side kiosk was equivalent of reaching the heavens! In my younger days, Pune would almost shut down around 7 pm, like it happens in cold climates. I remember that my grandfather used go to sleep at 7 pm! Going up the hills in winter was another of past time in Pune. In all my stay in Mumbai, I was required to wear a sweater may be a few times but in Pune, for 2 ½ months sweater was a must!

Which is my favourite season? Cool climates are what I love the most but then monsoon chill in Pune is also great fun and as temperature don’t go down like in winter. Recently in Switzerland, we were caught in Bern, with reasonably cold weather accompanied by a light drizzle. We were geared for both rain and cold but found it very difficult to handle it!  That is when I realized that I love dry cold and not wet cold! I love winters in Delhi too but these days pollution has made things tough to enjoy. So finally, I am a winter guy, in hot countries!

Folks, there is one season that we forgot! Its season of love! Well, romantic love is what I am talking about. This is one season that never goes away, its beauty never feds!  It has its own low tides and high tides! All the things mentioned above, get turbocharged when you are in the love season! Seasons of nature and season of love merge. The season of love never changes into next season, but has its ups and downs! This has its highs and lows! But how many of us are lucky enough to have season of love in the life, throughout life? Season  of love in life, is a great elixir and is supported by small doses of nectar provided by the natural seasons! Lets get a bit philosophical. Do you have five seasons in your life?

I will share with you a lovely Hindi film song. It talks of natural seasons and the season of Love! Enjoy!

पतझड- the Autumn Fallout!

Learn from Nature to make our Golden Phase more enjoyable!

पतझड is a Hindi word, which means falling of leaves from the trees in autumn, is a natural process which brings joy in autumn to our eyes, hibernation in winter and back to more joy in spring. Humans don’t hibernate like trees but reach a new phase in life! This season is aptly called Fall in English. The plants are preparing themselves for winter. The plants do not talk and think like humans, at least that is what I think! I am sure it must be a painful process for them but we are not able to understand their thoughts. But outwardly they don’t crib about it.  Just imagine our hair falling off every season and new crop growing after a few months! Ok we cut them regularly at different frequencies, ladies have their own frequency for managing their hair! To give an extreme example, we have seen people going through cancer treatment losing all their hair. They have a tough time handling the situation. The other day, I read a news item that a young person committed suicide as he had sudden hair fall for which there was no immediate medical cure! Why reactions are extreme, sometimes?

What do we learn from the plants? Autumn Fallout is a natural process and plantations take it in stride. Nature tells us to take things in stride! If we look at our life cycle, there are many changes happening in everybody, from childhood to adulthood, to mid age and finally, the golden age! In the childhood we do not really understand the changes. In the adulthood we start understanding changes but we are too busy to really notice them. In Mid age changes happen the we may not like but still we are too busy to bother about them. It is the golden age, post retirement, we have time to observe the changes. If we compare changes happening in childhood and in golden age, the golden age changes are much less but we have too much time on hand. So, we notice them more. In young age, changes in our height, weight, voice, the way look are quite predominant but we don’t worry about them. We must learn to take changes in the golden period in the same way! Is it because we think of the death in this period? Is that the reason we are more worried about even small change in us, during this phase of life?

We forget that nature shows us the way for everything but we tend to adopt them selectively. Autumn fall, is process which repeats every year in trees; similarly, women’s monthly cycles also happen every month. Don’t they take this in stride? Why do we not take the process of merging with the universe in stride? Why don’t we take ageing in stride? Birth and Death are two sides of the same coin. If the humans manage to handle these smoothly, there will be joy in the golden phase too.

Almost 15 years back, we had a reunion of our school Alumni in Bombay. I met some of the friends, after 40 years. But what fun we had! There were the usual changes in everybody; some had become fat and some had become thin; some did not change at all. There were different “hair styles” on view, thanks to the nature! A few had become bald, some had thin receding hairline, some had thick mop of salt and pepper hair. Some of course had white hair! But almost all the ladies had black hair. I jokingly told one of my friends that it looks like ladies have not become old! My friend Mangal entered, she looked at me for a moment then she was very happy when she recognized me with a mop of white hair; by the way, I describe my hair colour as “Silver Blonde”! She said, “Pramod, how can you move around with all white hair?” I said, ” Mangal, I know that you also have mostly white hair but you prefer to dye them black”! Nothing wrong in that. I told her that I stopped dyeing my hair the year my grandson was born!

Per say nothing wrong in trying look younger by dyeing your hair! But I also feel that there is nothing wrong in accepting that you are reaching the golden period of your life. A friend met me recently and said, ” Pramod, now I have entered a bad phase in my life!” I said, “What happened?” He said, “I am now required to take medicines for diabetes!” We all have some indifferent health conditions at different times. This is a natural process; some are lucky that they reach this stage quite late in life, some have to handle these things from childhood! Acceptance of things beyond control, is the best way of handling life situations; this makes even more sense in the golden phase of life!

Friends be with nature, accept nature’s ways, this will lead us to long, enjoyable life. I thought I will share with you some pictures with which will explain what I have said even better! After all a picture is equivalent of 1000 words!  30 year old, 60 year old and 10 years old Photos are of yours truly before fall, Fall and Spring !! I am trying to follow natures’ advise to accept things as they are!

 

Pramod30Leaves1

Pramod60leaves4

Pramod10leaves5

 

Dil Puakre aa re aa re!

Be a lovely Jodi Life Long!

These are the tag lines of a lovely romantic song from a Devnand movie “Jewel Thief!” He was the Romantic hero of Bollywood. This is a song about two young lovers opening their hearts out to each other. The romantic pairs in films change from movie to movie! But in real life, it does not happen that way. In life, one gets married, produces progeny and life goes on. How many of these pairs continue through their life with same affection and love? It may not be love of the youth but in some couples, it can be compared with a doubles team in badminton or tennis! They are just there for each other as and when needed!  

Life in movies and in real life are totally different; one is scripted by a story writer and other by Him! The cliché goes that “Marriages are made in Heaven” but to maintain relationships is totally left to you. If you look at the life’s journey after marriage, it is Honeymoon to routine to more routine. This many time turns into individual routine where partners are not involved. The life of Jodi, who have vowed ” Till death Parts us” live in the same home but become individuals who have their own ways, their own circles, their own system of living life. In most cases there are no visible differences, at least to the outsiders, everything appears to be hunky dory! But if you just scratch on the surface, you will notice the differences. Why this stage is reached? Why can’t the couples who married, many times in a love marriage or most times into arranged marriage, as called in India, “remain a couple”? They become two individuals living legally together. Why does this happen?  

A couple of years back, Jaya and I were planning to take Alaska cruise. We checked up with friends and acquaintances who had taken the cruise which is 7 to 11 days duration. Most asked us which group of friends are you going with? When we said that we are not going with friends, only two of us plan to take the cruise, they were surprised and some were dumb struck. In fact, one friend said, “What will you do with your wife for such a long duration? I jokingly told him, ” Someone else’s wife is not ready to come with me hence I am going with Jaya”. They were not sure, what we were going to do in the confines of the cruise for such a long period?  For them only two of us going on a tour was a surprise but for us the question was a surprise? 

This made me think why this change happens with such a large percentage of couples; for any relationship to prosper or remain at a good level of interchange, efforts are needed from both sides. These could be sharing of daily tidbits, asking for suggestion in one’s work. Your partner may not be from the same field but then do not ask for technical solution from the other but one can always touch base to find opinion on things. Remain involved with each other; it can so happen that wife has not taken up any profession but has taken decision to remain a house wife. Does it mean that she may not be able to give opinion or suggestion? Of course not. About 20 years back I had bought a bunch of flowers and while going towards my car, I met a friend of mine. He asked me looking at the flowers, “Are you attending some marriage reception?” He expected that flowers were for that purpose, when I told me I had bought the flowers to take home. The expressions on his face told me what he felt! He must have thought that Pramod is stupid guy, buying flowers for his wife!  

When we start getting busier in life, we need to take efforts to find time for each other. We get busier, we have children, our parents get older, some additional family responsibilities are on you, as you grow older. It is very easy for husband and wife to say, “Oh, we just don’t get time, we are so busy!” In some cases one of the spouses or both are required to travel for work. It is very easy to get bogged down, this is where real skills of both individuals need to come out. 

How about a surprise date with the spouse? How about a surprise gift? Why not a surprise hug or a peck? Do you need a reason for that? Why not encourage each other to have independent programs with their groups? Join them once in a while with their group of friends, if it is practical. If you are lucky enough to be in the similar field of work, discuss small anecdotes from work with each other! Why not decide to just go and have coffee at a Barista? Why not buy a special package of teas for the other? All these are so called “small things”. But mind you they are not small! Our life’s journey is a pleasure; and it is sum of “small things”! All of us have friends but make sure that spouse is your closest friend! I have seen couples where a spouse does not discuss or inform the other of major things in life! This too with a person with whom you have shared minutest and innermost things in your life and your family.  

We ensure that we do anything for a friend why not do something more for a friend who happens to be your spouse? We remember friend’s birthdays and anniversaries but forget our own. You may think I am just cooking up something but I have seen this happen with a statement, “So what if I forget?” Respect is another thing we forget. As we become close to each we start taking things for granted, and in some cases, we disrespect the other. That is the last thing expected! Respect your spouse’s opinions, thoughts and persona. They may be different from you. This is accepted once we accept that the spouse is also an individual!  

Gajara

Come on folks buy her a Gajara next time on your way home! By a packet of cookies, he likes, of course Sugar free! Don’t forget he has diabetes! Suggest to him a dinner at a restaurant which is his favourite for chicken, though you eat chicken only to give him company! Suggest to her an outing for window shopping in her favourite market. It’s not eating or window shopping that is important, it’s what other likes is important. After all you are the best Jodi He has made but we tend to forget this in life’s complexities!  Don’t miss on life’s most important gift!

I take this opportunity to wish all of you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year for 2018 with a wish that your Jodi reaches great heights; but you have to make efforts! Don’t forget this! 

Last evening, I was waiting in my window to attempt taking photos of birds who fly back home! They deceived and took a different path! But the Sun God was as true as ever. I have made a small video of the photos I took, watching Him go down in 2017 for the last time. Hope you folks enjoy it!  

 https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aq4ckSwupy2SmZ1YBAwIuK-FmuIVMA 

 

 

 

Longevity bane or boon?

Wish to live as long as possible is natural but achieving the same to enjoy life in Golden Period needs efforts!

Vilas, my friend, wrote an e mail on our college group about human longevity and role of pharmaceutical companies in the same. This brings us to the good old discussion, longevity, is it bane or boon? In recent past, we all have seen products, treatments and methods to delay aging. Hoping to be around for longer time is a natural instinct! Both men and women, are using different products, trying to look young, dying their hair black and so on. There is plethora of creams, lotions, treatments, massages, health routines, health drinks available to us. The commercial organizations make such things available to us but to buy or not to buy is our choice! Such products were not available even 50 years back.

Vilas had made a comment that these pharmaceuticals companies keep people alive to make money. I replied to his mail saying that I don’t agree; in that e mail exchange, Sudhakar and another friend Pramod prodded me that this is a subject on which I should write a blog! Something kicked in from within and thoughts started flowing in my mind. What is longevity, what is old age? These definitions change as the years pass by, and/or we go to different countries. In Japan one of my colleagues’ father is 92 years old, 2 or 3 times a week he travels by Metro to get stuff for home! Old age? What is that? Last year we had taken Alaska cruise and there was one grand old American lady, all of 99 years of age, traveling alone on the cruise! You may say that these are exceptions but I don’t think they are! In a country like Japan population of 80 plus people is quite large and average age at death is between 85 & 90.

 Just a generation before ours, in India, our parents generation, old age started with crossing the age of fifty and at the time of retirement at 58 or 60 the Vanprasthashrama started. The currently available medicines, diagnostics tools and treatments were simply not available then. So if you had a heart attack, you simply died in most cases. Before the responsibilities of people ended, their health and wealth both were on the wane. Today’s Golden period never really dawned on that generation. There were two reasons, deterioration of health and wealth. Post British Raj, we were a poor country hence there never were savings to write home about. Even if ones health remained good, there was no money around to enjoy. But most important plus, for that generation, was there was always something to look forward to! Children, grandchildren were mostly around. Families always had something going. But for our generation with nuclear families, children migrating, we have to create our own things to look forward to! 

 In our generation, in general health has improved both bodily and financially. Slowly, in front of our eyes, we have seen that in today’s age 50 is like 40 of olden days and so on. Today’s 70 is like 60 of last generation. The overall improvement in situation is changing the definition of old age. Discussion on death was taboo in older generation. Now people at least in my group talk openly about health and death. With this change in thinking people are trying to take things in hand and are discussing about “medical will”! For example people are discussing openly, that in case of defined major health issues, they would not like to be put on ventilator or would not like to undergo major surgery. By taking such parameters under control people really want to enjoy their golden period and say quits when it is not worth it!

 There are ways to keep reasonably healthy. The most important is discipline. Whatever we do, only discipline is going to help. Some might feel that your behavior is regimental but to achieve your goal you need to be very rigid about discipline. I will tell you my story; I was detected with severe diabetes, HB1C value of 11.5, five years back! I love sweets and this change had occurred between two yearly tests. What I did and still follow is discipline, discipline and discipline! I stopped eating sweets from the next day, I exercise regularly anyway. Started medication and switched to low carb stuff. In the third year my HB1C was found to be 6.0! In between I went through cancer treatment for about three months! My doctor was very confident that I will bring things under control because he was aware of my discipline. Why I shared my story with you is because we are probably the first generation in India, that may be able to enjoy the golden period of life! Add to discipline, positive thinking; that is one more thing that will keep you healthy.

 Is longevity bane? No I don’t think so! There are many different ways of keeping healthier and fitter at my age (I am 68). Healthiness is equally important for both body and mind. For body, exercise and yoga are the key but for mind there are many different things. You can learn something new, things that you always wanted to learn but never got time. A friend of mine today told me that post retirement he has joined a music school to learn to play Piano! Great going. Maybe you wanted to try your hand at photography, travel, painting or reading. Do it! Doing things you love to do, is my definition of Golden Period! Golden Period definition changes with person to person. Somebody may want to join bhajan singing group, some may like discussion group on modern technology. Thirty years back my mother was in such a group but it was very rare in those days. That group had retired general managers, high court judges, house wives, teachers and what have you. They would invite people to give 15 to 30 minute talks on subject ranging from puarans, health care, or to get to know about latest aero planes. Their only requirement was that the speaker should explain in such a way that they could understand the subject. Groups formed 30 years back were the beginning of many such groups mushrooming now in the form of Alumni groups, Office colleagues groups and so on.  

 Staying connected with family and friends is another great way of remaining healthy. After taking care to remain healthy, things can go wrong but this should not happen for want of trying. Another secret of remaining healthy is to keep updated with new things like gadgets, technologies and happenings all around! So much information is available easily on the net these days, it is crime to not know things. My grandmother died at the age of 85; was she keen on what is happening in the world! Whenever I went to her house she would ask me information on different things in the world. She died in 1985 but she used to read the newspapers really in details. My brother in law is 81 years old (he was professor of commerce) and is having many health issues. A couple of weeks back when we traveled only to meet him, we found that though the flesh was not willing, his intellect was as sharp as ever. Currently he is mentoring one of his students on a project for making solar drier which can be used by plethora of people! He wanted my advice and thoughts on marketing the product! Last week I had a discussion on WhatsApp technicalities with my Grand-nephew! Another way of keeping young!  

 Vilas mentioned in his mail a figure of 75 years of age, beyond which he felt it may not be very pleasant to be around. Yes possible, on current data available. But I am sure this data will change a lot in next 25 years and maybe 80/85 would be that age! Jury is still out on definitions of Golden Period, threshold age. But I am quite sure that this will be a moving target all the time! And finally, YES! The old age is a boon!

So long dear friends, Al Vida!

Al Vida is a Hindi word meaning Goodbye! This year has been a bit rapid in the wrong sense! I lost three dear friends of mine to the almighty till today, 11th April 2017. I am not writing an obituary but I am writing random thoughts that come to mind when such deaths take place. I am now 67 and it’s not a big deal really to face that your friends or family are dying. I know the realities of life and know very well that one has to go at some stage. My first such experience was when I was in final year of school and I had lost a friend to destiny. I have written a blog on this event

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/he-is-gone/. That time it was a big shock!

In my grandparent’s time, he died at the age on 89, reaching that age was a miracle! Medical science and other allied sciences were not yet really developed and reaching the age of 50 was a great feat. Probably this threshold has already gone up to 55, then slowly to 60. My father and father in law both died at the age of 63. Celebrating 60th birthday was a great event then. People were considered to be at their prime around age of 40/45. Things have really changed now; almost 10 % of my batch mates from engineering college continue to work and are in reasonable health. Another maybe 50% are in good health though they have retired. People go for walks, treks, climb hills daily or hit the gym.

Now people are considered to be in prime around the age of 55/60 and I have known a few who have started new ventures after crossing 60. Definitions of old age are changing rapidly in India, the age bar for doing new things, new achievements has gone up! Besides improvement in medical sciences what has helped to raise the bar? New technology has brought people together. The isolation that older people had to suffer is now almost becoming history because we are in touch many people and many of the contemporaries are still around. This has definitely added to improved longevity.

I only feel sad that two of my friends who died, passed away almost instantaneously. Third friend was unwell for a few months. I don’t know the details about their health status for the period before they died. My other friend Suresh who was an Air Force pilot, flying MIG 27, had once told me. “Pramod, planes are as good as the way they are maintained. Except for one system, all hydraulics can be checked on the ground; only one system gets checked during flying. Similarly there is no sudden heart failure; there are signals which are ignored or sometimes due to diabetes the person does not feel the pain.” Had these two friends been a little more proactive in getting themselves checked who knows….

In this world time is the same for everybody. One minute for me is the same one minute to everybody. How we use this one minute is what matters. If we are day dreaming, thinking of future for ten minutes, we lose ten minutes from the current time which we could have spent better. Similarly if we had used those ten minutes to remember what we had done in the past, the net result would have been the same. It is the current time that is THE time!

Out of the three friends that I lost one of them was current time person. He would enjoy life to the fullest, whatever he was doing. He passed early morning. He had just come back from a party a couple of hours before he died. He had the real zest to enjoy the life. His son had shared the following on Facebook, sometime back. It is a perfect fit to my dear friend’s style!

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity:

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he neither lives in present nor the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies never really lived.”

My friend really lived life and it is not easy to be so zestful all through your life. Thank you dear for showing us the path how to live and in the how to go!  Goodbye, Al Vida, My angels!