I saw her frantically reciting a mantra. Her hands were intensely locking each other in prayer. Tears were there; which she was trying to hide from the curious eyes of onlookers. I still do not know her name. I never asked her.
She was hardly 18 or 19 years old. All that I could gather from around was that her only brother; a 24 year old boy was being given critical care inside an ICU of a Chandigarh hospital. She was sitting outside in the corridor explaining her ‘middle class to look at’ father that they can call up some uncle of theirs and he might just help them with some money.
I heard a nurse telling her father to deposit INR 1, 00,000 more for further treatment; as his son had been diagnosed with Kidney failure and needed critical dialysis & some more.
I saw no one else from their family around. I very carefully dared to ask the father about ‘What happened’? His fearful voice told me that his son Siddharth is an MBA and is working in the sales team of a telecom company. He was slightly obese but otherwise completely healthy till about last week when he vomited and was brought to this nearby hospital (unfortunately a very costly hospital).
I was in the hospital because my mother had to go through a minor orthopaedic surgery after she fractured her left leg. I could not control my curiosity to know more about Siddharth. I picked up my visiting card from my car in the parking and just walked into the room of the Siddharth’s doctor.
I introduced myself and asked for his 5 mins. He consented to my request. What he told me was very shocking:-
– Siddharth’s kidney failure happened because of ‘hypertension’. Even Siddharth did not know that he had hypertension till he vomited.
– Doctor told me that these days 2/3rd of the total patients who develop hypertension and diabetes fall between the ages 18 & 35.
– ‘Heart Attack’- a term which was usually associated with middle aged UNCLES only is attacking the ages 27 — 40 maximum.
I could not believe my doctor. My anxiety took me to the wards and I even peeped into the private rooms. The doctor was right. The wards had as many or more young patients as old ones. The Heart unit, the cancer unit, the kidney unit, the pulmonary unit — unfortunately all looked very young.
I called up my school time friend who is a famous doctor now and he laughed at my observation. ‘Akash , which world are you living in ?’ he asked me. He told me to go to any hospital in India and check for myself that 20 to 40 is the new age ‘happening age’ for most malaise around.
Next morning I decided to go for my complete body check up. The reports came in the evening and told me that although I am disease free but a few blood report readings are nearing borderline. I am a teetotaler. I take ‘Stress management’ sessions for corporate organizations. I regularly exercise too. WTF! My false confidence that I am over healthy and nothing can happen to me had slightly been dented.
My mother needed 5 days of post operative admission in the hospital. I was by her side for all time. I decided to use these 5 days as an opportunity to learn more about the How’s and Why’s of ‘What is happening around’. I spent time with young patients in wards, their attendants, the doctors and even observing the queues in OPDs. This is ALL I learned:-
1) Whatever your age, income, stage of life be; GET THAT very important ‘Medical Insurance’ for yourself and if possible for your family too. Majority junta lives in that foolish and false confidence that ‘Jab hoga dekh lenge’ or ‘I am too young for all this’. Damn it! Get that very best policy. Do not SAVE here. Even if you are not earning; save from your pocket money and GET THAT policy.
And I strongly recommend a cashless policy. You’ll end up screwing many a thing and people because of your ignorance or stupidity about THIS very important aspect of life. A simple dengue treatment e.g. at a private hospital can put down you or your family by as high as 80-90,000 INR. Almost every hospital today has a sales and billing target to achieve and you become the “bakra”.
Persistently ask your parents to go for a family policy if they haven’t. If your family already has one -Check their policy yourself. Normally we think ‘Papa ke paas kuch na kuch hoga’. Jo hai ussey aaj hee check karo! Because, it might be very poor and might need a supplement policy. We save money at smallest of places but we err here. Dimaag Lagao !
2) If you can’t beat your friends in competitive exams, marks, salary, car, relationships: BEAT THEM IN ‘HEALTH’. Most of them are becoming JUNK while trying to win the ‘Rat Race’…Everyone is running in life. You can make a statement by running in a park every morning or evening. I feel like a king when I am running because the breeze is falling on my face and the whole earth is below my feet. Get that superiority complex by keeping ‘Fitness’ ahead of everything else in your life.
Don’t think you’ll begin to do it ‘when this / that happens’. Do it today. Trust me if fitness becomes a habit with you- it will be one KILLER feeling of a lifetime. Majority people think: ‘Money= Money only’. Money for me is ‘Opportunities which get created because of FIT attitude, energy, health & state of mind’…Be a Millionaire!
You can have excuses ….or you can have a fantastic fitness level. Choose!
3) I was a chain smoker 8 years back. I used to drink a lot, eat almost all crap & further had lousy lifestyle habits. I used to remain very busy telling the world that ‘I am a very cool guy’. Today I do not do ANY of this & just wonder ‘Why the hell did I get into doing it initially’. Between the two lives — THIS life is notoriously beautiful. Last Dec 31st at the New Year party I did not drink, did not smoke but trust me- ‘I had fantastic times’. Next morning when I woke up for my ‘running’; I felt kickass.
The more we move away from nature or natural stuff- the more we become vulnerable to become Junk.
Bunk the Junk. One Life! Do not let laziness and temporary excitements ‘Take your breath away’.
Rise & Shine!