Saturday, February 17, 2018
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dr shanti chowdhary

I am grateful to Dr Shanti Chowdhury, for sending me a copy of the quarterly magazine of Diabetes Education Foundation, ‘Madhumehika’ which contains articles from eminent experts in the field. But I couldn’t help going through the editorial written by Shantiji herself.

I am sure if the piece is read with all the attention it deserves, readers are bound to benefit from the advice tendered by this learned medico. She says that for a happy life one should consume good food.
But I have some reservations. I don’t dispute her claim that a good and balanced  diet will enable us to lead a happy, healthy life. But what you eat, how you eat is very important to reach the goal of a healthy life. She has given  tips of what comprises a healthy diet but has at the same time asked those interested to consult a dietician for accurate advice. Dr Sarita Bajaj, in her article, has mentioned what diet  should be given to children. She has detailed healthy tiffin options for children. These include vegetable pullao  with boiled eggs and scrambled  paneer; vegetable paneer, Dal Paratha; Egg/paneer’cheese/vegetable sandwiches, Veggie stuffed Idlis/coines Utappams with chana dal chutney, Tricolour sandwich or Ribbon sandwich/ Channa chaat with veggies/ Vegetable Atta/Oats noodles/ Sprouts Bhel/ Vegetable kabobs/falafel.

I would request Madam Chowdhury to tell us: Can even an upper middle class family afford such a diet these days for children and then also prepare full , healthy meals for adults in the family? The Madams should come down from their dreamworld into the reality of   escalating prices which seem to be flying upwards at a pace faster than that of the Mars spacecraft! Doctors may get the benefit of pay commissions and also the extra incomes earned through private practice. But what about a commoner? Can he afford to even think of the diet suggested let alone affording one? He first thinks of the child’s education. Pays high ‘donation’ to get into a prestigious school where fees and other expenses are phenomenal.  Now even ‘Hum do, hamare do’ is not an affordable slogan , more so if a nagging mother-in-law is around. In such circumstances, a person will have no option except to apply for a bank loan to purchase even potatoes and onions to say nothing of the ‘cheese’ and ‘paneer’.
If Dr Shanti Chowdhury as editor wants her magazine to be a really practical and much-hunted document by diabetics then she should have a special chapter in which Dr Sarita Bajaj may take up the diabetes-prone groups of special income levels and then recommend a diet that is affordable for a family of say four. Let her mention their income and also bear in mind the house rent, electricity and water charges including extra money spent on diesel-run generators or pumps to pull out water from the municipal lines, and use of petrol for cars or two wheelers and conveyance expenses of school-going children. She may also keep a column for emergency expenses including medical consultancy comprising Rs500 as preliminary fees and the rest of it.
Madam, the real world is different from the utopian wonders that medicos keep on spinning before the people through their dreamy suggestions. And if the Madams could put in a word with the banking authorities to grant loans for healthy diets as well, it would indeed be a big boon for the needy. But they must ensure that the bankers they recommend will not first ask loan seekers to pay a sizeable chunk of the money as commission as that could disturb the equilibrium between diet and loan.

MORNING WALK:But let me  praise Shantiji for recommending the people to go out for morning walks. Undoubtedly it is one of the finest physical exercises that can keep you fit. I started morning walk not on any doctor’s advice but because I wanted to be the first to grab the newspaper from the hands of the hawker as missing it then meant getting it after a long, long time—after it had passed through the hands of the elders. Ever since then my craze for morning walk and the newspapers has been evenly balanced. Both are a passion with me; and I brook no interference. That is why I do not move in herds, as they do in Alfred Park, but tread the path alone, That cheers you, invigorates you, saves you from listening to back-biting and allows  fresh ideas to enter the mind along with the much needed oxygen that keeps on entering the body. Try morning walk as a pleasure; you will love it.

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