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Kay was a famous corporate manager. His career started off at a low-profile company but escalated speedily. He hopped from one big corporation to the next, excelling in what he was doing and receiving the rewards he deserved – a good reputation and a decent salary that eventually became exorbitant. He was able to afford the luxuries that he had only seen in the movies until a few years ago.

In a few years however, he was living only for these luxuries. The wealth he had earned became a starting point for more and yet more accumulation. He thought that with his hard work, he could buy anything. Sometimes, stories he had heard in his childhood would flash in Kay’s mind – stories about how people fell into the traps of greed and want, never being able to live a contented life again. But whenever such thoughts came to his mind, he snubbed them out quickly. He was now full-speed ahead in his lifestyle and the mere thought of slowing down made him nervous.

In time, he got a big house and got married. His wife saw him as a really important man at first, but she eventually realized that he was living a life only to provide comforts to his family. In the process, he seemed to have lost the importance of relationships and relaxation. Their two children rarely saw their father who had to leave the house early and return quite late.  He could not be present at any of their school events or to read them bedtime stories. He was too tired and too occupied for all this. He could not go on family vacations as his position in the company was ‘too sensitive for time-off.’

In Kay’s eyes, he was doing his best for his family. He thought that providing them with money and resources was his only job. His family could afford every pleasure because of the wealth Kay earned. His kids had all the latest technology they wanted, his wife shopped for top-brand clothes and accessories, they had luxury cars, maids and servants to help them out, and were able to materialize all of their whims and fancies. Kay felt satisfied thinking, “What more could a man give to his family?”

In his family’s eyes, Kay was the father-who-was-never-there. Initially, his children complained and put up a fight about this, but eventually realized that they did not fit into their father’s packed schedule. They were happy with the cool things that their father let them buy but deep inside their hearts, they were sad that they could not share their joy with him.  Kay, who thought he was doing everything for his children, did not even know that his children actually needed him more than anything else. His wife, whose dream it had always been to live a life of sharing, caring, laughing and enjoying had learnt to be content with
shopping, looking pretty, decorating the house, organizing parties and ensuring everyone knew about their family’s financial status.

There was no doubt that Kay was really good at his professional work. Unfortunately, he was at work for so long and so often, that eventually, it was the only thing that he was good at. Somewhere along the road, Kay had ‘become’ what he did for a living. His identity was his work. Even though he had made a name for himself in the corporate world, he had forgotten to live life as a person, as a human being. His mind was never ready to think about anything except his work.

Never once did Kay pause to think, “Who really am I as a person, as a human being, as a husband, as a father and so on? Is this human life limited to increasing the profits of a corporate company? If I did not have this job, who would I be? Why am I so busy in filling my coffers overlooking the beauties this life and this world have to offer? Have my most meaningful accompaniments – my wife and my children – become reduced to fixtures? Was I born only to earn money?

Such a living style had become his passion, his mission. He took increasing stress for successive steps to his path — the path to glory. But stress is stress and gradually, this stressful life began to take a toll on his health. He did not have time even to see the doctor. Whenever he did go to the doctor, he was advised to re-plan his life, relax and unwind. The advice never worked. He continued to do whatever was required to rise higher and higher in his profession. Eventually, the stress showed up. One day, he had to be rushed to the hospital when he fainted during a heated meeting with a client. His condition was serious. The doctors were not sure if he would survive.

Kay’s life flashed before his eyes. All he saw was meetings with clients, convincing his team members, leading projects, his office and his pending files. Pushing aside everything, he asked to see his wife. She responded quickly and arranged a full-time attendant as she herself was scheduled to attend some meetings.  In the endless race for materialism, Kay had forgotten to show his family what togetherness meant. Everyone had started going by a fixed schedule, with no time for anything or anyone. His children, on hearing about their father’s condition, sent him flowers. They did not show up to look after him or to talk to him as they already had their day chalked out. Kay was responsible for all this. In all his wisdom and sincerity, he had modelled this. In the early years after his marriage, whenever his wife called him in the office to tell him that their child was sick, he would call his secretary to send for a doctor and also arrange for flowers to be delivered. He himself was too occupied to take time off to comfort his family. Now, the ‘standard’ had been set.

A new flash now appeared before Kay’s eyes. All of a sudden, life seemed like such a waste. Accomplishments seemed so superficial. What had once seemed like moments of glory now appeared to have nothing glorious about them. The real glory had been lost. A human life had been lost in meaningless pursuits and now lay helpless on a hospital bed.

~ Nivedita Shori

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Reality shows on television are becoming more and more popular. Some popular health-related and self-help shows in North America are Dr. Phil, Oprah and Dr. Oz, where individuals suffering from some kind of issue come to seek advice. Lately, there have been lots of people who desperately need some advice about their health. In dozens of these episodes, I have noticed couples or parents coming in and saying, “Please help me restore my health. I wish to live longer for my kids”.

It always surprises me when I hear that a person has let his self-created malpractices deteriorate his health to such a great extent that the stage has now come for him to worry even about premature and unnatural death.

To avoid reaching such a situation, we need to be conscious from a very early stage. If parents themselves do not have good health practices, the probability is that they will pass on the same to the next generation as well.

Often it is little things that we don’t care about. Later they go on to become big things that take a toll on us. For instance, mealtimes! Sometimes, small things like ‘how’ we eat our food also become important in ensuring good health. I still remember three marvellous rules pertaining to mealtime implemented at our home when I was a kid.

  • Rule Number 1 was applicable to my mom. My father told her that while at the dinner table, she should not insist any of us for having an extra ‘roti’. His point of view was that this persuasion always tempts the person to over-eat.

  • Rule Number 2 was for us. He told us that if you are not hungry and if you have decided to skip a meal, you should not enter the kitchen that day. Once you enter the kitchen, there are fair chances that the smell, look and discussion about food will attract you to having some, even though it is not required.
  • Rule Number 3 was for the whole family. When the food is laid out, we were to look at the food and to appreciate and thank God for it, instead of jumping into it right away. Now I feel that this rule was miraculous. It not only helped to regulate our breath and become calm before we started, but also helped proper salivation and conditioning of the body to accept what is coming.

It took me many years to understand and to appreciate the purpose of these practices. But now I realize that what we were practising reluctantly has now become an essential part of us. It is because of those rules that we are now enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

While studying engineering, especially in our Quality Control class, our professor repeatedly mentioned that we cannot have superior and high quality output if we have inferior input. The same phenomenon is applicable to our food. We will have to start thinking beyond our taste buds. Our need and bodily requirement should govern our input, not the taste of food. We should be particular about quality, quantity and timings of our diet. We need to remember that man eats not for enjoyment but to live.

It is not easy to change our habits in one day. But we will have to start from somewhere and most importantly, stick with what we have planned. In a previous article ‘Healthwise’, I discussed the effects of my diet consciousness. I shared how changes in eating and snacking habits, cooking methods, serving sizes and routines helped me in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Any of these could be a starting point. We can start from anywhere— even something as small as a family mealtime rule. Each and every small step will ultimately contribute towards our healthy living.

~ Prashant Shori

Reality shows on Television are becoming more and more
popular. Some popular health-related and self-help shows in
North America are Dr. Phil, Oprah and Dr. Oz, where
individuals suffering from some kind of issue come to seek
advice. Lately, there have been lots of people who desperately
need some advice about their health. In dozens of these
episodes, I have noticed couples or parents coming in and
saying, “Please help me restore my health. I wish to live longer
for my kids”.
It always surprises me when I hear that a person has let
his self-created malpractices deteriorate his health to such a
great extent that the stage has now come for him to worry
even about premature and unnatural death.
To avoid reaching such a situation, we need to be
conscious from a very early stage. If parents themselves do
not have good health practices, the probability is that they
Health Consciousness
14
will pass on the same to the next generation as well.
Often it is little things that we don’t care about. Later
they go on to become big things that take a toll on us. For
instance, mealtimes! Sometimes, small things like ‘how’ we
eat our food also become important in ensuring good health.
I still remember three marvellous rules pertaining to mealtime
implemented at our home when I was a kid.
Rule Number 1 was applicable to my mom. My father told
her that while at the dinner table, she should not insist any of
us for having an extra ‘roti’. His point of view was that this
persuasion always tempts the person to over-eat.
Rule Number 2 was for us. He told us that if you are not
hungry and if you have decided to skip a meal, you should
not enter the kitchen that day. Once you enter the kitchen,
there are fair chances that the smell, look and discussion about
food will attract you to having some, even though it is not
required.
Rule Number 3 was for the whole family. When the food is
laid out, we were to look at the food and to appreciate and
thank God for it, instead of jumping into it right away. Now
I feel that this rule was miraculous. It not only helped to
regulate our breath and become calm before we started, but
also helped proper salivation and conditioning of the body to
accept what is coming.
It took me many years to understand and to appreciate
the purpose of these practices. But now I realize that what we
were practising reluctantly has now become an essential part
of us. It is because of those rules that we are now enjoying a
healthy lifestyle.
While studying engineering, especially in our Quality
HEALTH CONSCIOUSNESS 15
Control class, our professor repeatedly mentioned that we
cannot have superior and high quality output if we have
inferior input. The same phenomenon is applicable to our food.
We will have to start thinking beyond our taste buds. Our
need and bodily requirement should govern our input, not the
taste of food. We should be particular about quality, quantity
and timings of our diet. We need to remember that man eats
not for enjoyment but to live.
It is not easy to change our habits in one day. But we
will have to start from somewhere and most importantly, stick
with what we have planned. Last time I discussed the effects
of my diet consciousness in the article ‘Healthwise’. I shared
how changes in eating and snacking habits, cooking methods,
serving sizes and routines helped me in maintaining a healthy
lifestyle. Any of these could be a starting point. We can start
from anywhere— even something as small as a family
mealtime rule. Each and every small step will ultimately
contribute towards our healthy living.
— Prashant Shori

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A healthy family is a happy family. In A Journey With the Child we have often talked about mental and emotional health. But equally important is physical health. Only a healthy body is able to nurture a healthy mind and soul. I have often noticed that when I am feeling fit and active, I am able to keep a pleasant disposition towards others. My family interactions become more enjoyable and refreshing.

While living in India I was very much health-conscious but never noticed the nutrient-count of the food I ate. After coming to Canada I noticed that people are very conscious about the nutritious value of what they eat. Considering it to be a good practice, I visited my family physician. He gave me a calorie chart. I followed. Time passed by and after five years I noticed one day that I had gained 18 pounds of weight. I was astonished to see it. I read in a leading health magazine that by 2030 almost every North American child will be obese. I felt upset.

One day in frustration I called my father and told him about my increasing weight. Quite calmly he told me that  there is a formula which will not only solve this problem but also help me in every stream of life. The formula was to know the purpose first before performing any action. The statement sounded very vague in the beginning but fortunately while reading Mohandas K. Gandhi’s autobiography titled The Story of My Experiments with Truth I encountered the relevant thought – “man eats not for enjoyment but to live”.

When I reflected upon Gandhi’s statement in the context of the formula given by my father I got the solution right away. I realized the purpose of eating! I started monitoring my awareness about the purpose more than my awareness about the nutrition chart. That was the day of resolution and in ninety days I got rid of the unnecessary burden I was carrying . Twenty pounds of weight had shed away and I started feeling as if I am floating while I was walking.

I definitely had to make some changes in my eating habits. As a family, we made some changes in our cooking methods. I closely monitored my snacking habits before and after regular meals. I also fixed the quantity of the total intake during a day. Careful timing of eating, sufficient gaps between meals and time-distance between dinner and going to bed were monitored minutely.

Now I feel that dietary details are more important than the calorie or the nutrition-chart. More than that, it is the purpose that counts! My success in this mission gave me ample amount of confidence to write on this topic and made my life and that of my family healthier and happier.

~ Prashant Shori

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