Monday, January 17, 2011

Alternate Therapy

My friend Kishore had a serious back problem more than two years ago and had to undergo a major surgery at a five star corporate hospital. A biopsy after the surgery revealed that he was suffering from Multiple Myloma. Doctors obviously wanted to start him on chemotherapy and other related treatment. Having heard that the treatment is worse than the disease, he took a bold decision that he would look at alternative therapies. He was already a believer in naturopathy and his Bangalore based doctor agreed to treat him and promised him that while he may not be able to cure the disease at such an advanced stage he could at least contain the disease from spreading faster and that he could continue to lead a comparatively normal life. Of course, he had to submit himself to strict dietary and herbal medicinal regulations.

I called on Kishore last week. He was as cheerful as he can be under the circumstances. A born optimist he started telling me the virtues of naturopathy and how it is far less expensive and how much less side effects it has as compared to allopathic treatment. He has persuaded a no. of friends and acquaintances who have been suffering from incurable diseases to try naturopathy with good results. More than anything else it is his immense belief in what he is doing is what, I believe, is keeping him going - instead of wallowing in self-pity and making not only his life miserable but also the life of other near and dear ones.

I would like to share my own experiences with alternative therapy. When I was only thirty eight, I was diagnosed of having glaucoma -a dreadful eye disease which can lead to blindness if not treated in time. The eye specialist told me that I will have to live with specific eye drops for the rest of my life and that if the problem aggravates, he will perform a surgery. The drops had exactly the opposite effect as compared to the drops used for dilating your eyes when you go for any eye checkup. The result was that I found it difficult to read or drive my car. I was shattered!

Instead of bottling up, I always talk about my health problems openly, so that someone would refer me to some possible solution.

It was my friend Ananth who mentioned to me about Magneto Therapy which had cured his uncle who had double vision for a number of years. I found out a person in Kilpauk who was a specialist in Magneto Therapy. I underwent the treatment for nine months after which when I went for a check up, to the same eye specialist. He was surprised to find that I was cured of the problem. Ofcourse I had to strictly follow some instructions to prevent the recurrence of the problem- like not to read books- lying down on bed or books with small types etc.

About ten years ago when I was diagnosed of stones in my kidneys and recommended a surgery, I found a solution through a grandma`s remedy. For six months every morning I took banana stem juice. Lo and behold ! When I went for a follow up checkup I found that the stones had vanished. Since then banana stem has become a part of my weekly diet. It is another matter that the mixer-grinder used to make the juice broke down under the stress of churning out the juice every day!

During the peak of my career, in my late twenties and early thirties, I used to suffer from frequent attack of mouth ulcers – sores on the tip of my tongue making it very difficult to talk or eat anything. Every time the allopathic doctor would give me B12 injection and put me on a course of Riboflavin. That used to give me only temporary relief. I got cured of this problem also using another grandma’s remedy. As soon as I get the first signs of a possible attack, I would buy a bundle of ‘Manathakali keerai’ -a variety of spinach and make juice from the leaves in a mixer and take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The very second day I would get relief. I have recommended this treatment to several friends with positive results!

Every time a doctor has recommended an urgent surgery for my other problems like fissures, enlarged prostate etc. I have refused to go under the scalpel and found remedy in alternative therapies. Recently , a long standing stomach condition I was suffering from has been controlled through Ayurveda.

According to a knowledgeable friend of mine , even the bypass surgeries that are performed on patients with two or three blocks are avoidable , especially if they are old and are leading a retired life. Alternative treatment coupled with change in life style can easily contain the problem without expensive operations and treatment..

I don’t know how long I can put off going under the scalpel but I will not give up trying alternative therapies. I believe in the theory –use allopathy for diagnosis but try alternative therapies for treatment. It has always worked for me. So far!

Even if Allopathy, Homeopathy and Naturopathy fail I can always count on Venkatachalapathy- my favourite Lord of the seven hills who has always come to my rescue, everytime I have been in any kind of trouble!

R V Rajan

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Secret of Your Energy

My friend Deskian is known as the Ralph Nader of South India. An activist he has been fighting for the cause of consumerism for the last two and half decades. Couple of years ago he was very seriously ill when even the doctors gave up hope. Almost for over a year he was bedridden. But after a miraculous recovery, he has got back to active consumerism with a vengence. Taking advantage of the chance that the God has given him, in spite of continuing indifferent health, he is working very hard to realise a lot of his unfulfilled dreams as a consumerist. He is 79.

The other day Desikan and I were having a meeting with a Publisher friend, Though enthusiastic,he was visibly ill and the friend remarked, ‘why are you working so hard at this age?’ Desikan replied, ‘it gives me great joy when I am able to help somebody with his/her problems and I am able to make a difference in somebody’s life’.

* * * * * * * * *

Mr. S Muthiah is a veteran journalist and a heritage specialist with a SriLankan background. After working in a printing unit of a wellknown industrial group, he retired and took to writing in a big way, A popular writer, who not only finds time to contribute columns to a few publications regularly but has also over 25 books to his credit. He is also involved in taking up cudgels with the government for his pet project- a Heritage Act for Tamilnadu. He is very active in social circles too-- can be seen with the glass that cheers in many social get-togethers. He is 81.

Right now Mr.Muthiah is busy working on six book projects for different organizations.

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Dr. M S Swaminathan needs no introduction to any Indian. This well-known Agricultural Scientist who was deeply associated with the first green revolution that India witnessed in the sixties, has won every possible award or recognition that anyone can get in this world. I am sure he must be having a couple of rooms in the house, only displaying the hundreds of mementos he has got. He started the world renowned MSSwaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) with the First World Food Prize presented to him in Washington in 1987 after his retirement from Govt. service. He is still actively involved in the running of the Foundation and busy globetrotting making presentations at international gatherings! He is 85.

Recently I went to attend a meeting addressed by Dr. M S Swaminathan. At the appointed time, he walked briskly towards the stage and ran up the steps to occupy his allotted seat. I was amazed at his energy level!

* * * * * * * * *

What is common among the three gentlemen? They all got involved in their pet projects post retirement and are continuing to make news and contributing their mite to the society. They are all very passionate about what they are doing and refusing to retire from active life.

There are a lot of not so famous people who plan their retirement well. Post retirement, they get actively involved in what was their hobby during their working life- could be gardening, cooking, traveling, acting, writing, social service etc. which keeps their mind and body occupied leading to happiness and high energy levels . It is clear that if you are able to identify some activity which gives you tremendous joy, you will automatically get the energy to pursue the cause – irrespective of the status of your physical health.

Among those who are still busy with their careers/business, the one who amazes me with his enormous energy level is my partner Sam Balsara, a frail looking Parsi gentleman, who heads the Rs 3000 crore media communications agency- Madison. He packs his 14 hours a day with so many activities not only covering his business but also those connected with other industry bodies that when a reporter asked him, `Does he ever relax?`- he replied ` My work is my relaxation`.

The moral of the story is that you can always find the secret of your energy in doing whatever you enjoy doing, be it a job or a hobby!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Put Your Hands Together

I remember a real life incident which I witnessed involving the legendary ad man David Ogilvy, the founder of the hot shot creative agency Ogilvy Associates who had become a legend in his own lifetime.

Ogilvy was the chief guest at the Asian Advertising Conference held in Delhi in 1984. The entire advertising fraternity in India had gathered to listen to the living God of advertising and hoping to catch some gems coming out of his mouth. But unfortunately they were sorely disappointed with David’s performance. He had come totally unprepared for such an international gathering, grossly underestimated the intelligence of the Indian advertising professionals and was very condescending while responding to the questions from the audience. With the result, at the end of his talk, there was only a feeble response – half hearted clapping by a few in the audience. To save the embarrassing situation Allyque Padamsee (God of Indian advertising),who was the master of ceremonies came to the mike and requested the audience to give a standing ovation to the illustrious speaker who was after all a special guest who had taken the trouble to travel all the way from USA.

As a contrast to this was the response to an Asian speaker from the Hong Kong office of Grant Kenyon & Eckhardt, an ad agency where I was working then. This gentleman knew that he was following David Ogilvy in the programme and had taken extra effort to make a brilliant presentation which literally swept the audience off its feet. He got a spontaneous standing ovation – going on for several minutes that the Indian God had to come once again to the mike to say ‘enough – the speaker has got the message!’

Standing ovation is the ultimate form of appreciation given to an outstanding performer on stage given spontaneously by an appreciative audience. Every performer hopes he will get this genuine appreciation at the end of every performance.

There are also other forms of expressing one`s appreciation. ‘Applause’ – putting hands together is the most common form of appreciation for somebody who has given a good performance or done a good deed. But how and when it is expressed determines the sincerity of the act.

Claps or applause can be classified into three categories. Most common is the routine applause by the audience after every act in a play or at the end of every song by a singer. It is just perfunctory which could mean ‘chalta hai… carry on`. In the case of a talk it will be half hearted clapping by a few in the audience. This kind of appreciation can be witnessed in many Rotary meetings when the speaker, though an expert on the subject, is not able to connect with the audience.

The second type is when the audience claps fiercely often accompanied by sound bytes like
`wah! Wah!`or `encore` or ‘once more’. In this case the clapping is often sustained and lasts a little longer. The performer knows that the audience is thoroughly enjoying the fare being dished out! This type of response can be seen at musical evenings or other shows where an individual is displaying his/her special talent. I have seen Mrs Revathy Shanker, a multitalented singer /actor, eliciting such response from her audience ,every time she gives a performance. Closer home, I have seen my good friend and a fellow Rotarian V.Sriram getting spontaneous appreciation from his audience!

The third type is reserved for a bad speaker or a bad performance! The audience starts clapping midway though a talk or a performance without any rhyme or reason. Sometimes the clapping becomes rhythmic like `clap`..`clap..`clapclapclap`. In variably followed by catcalls and sound bytes like ‘Boo…’ or `no more` or `go home`. It is most humiliating to the performer. If he / she does not respond by stopping his act midway then the booing is quickly followed by missiles made of paper or other harmless materials aimed at the performer. This kind of appreciation can be witnessed even today at college day functions.

If it is an open air show and happens to be a political meeting , the missiles could be tomatoes, eggs and even small stones.

In some seminars or conferences, when the speaker repeatedly ignores the Presiding officer`s request to wind up his speech because of time constraints, the organizers take the extreme step of switching off the mike. Sometimes,even that does not deter the adamant speaker from going on and on, like the proverbial mother-in-law!

Moral of the story is never to take your audience for granted, however great you are! Go well prepared to deliver a good performance if you want genuine appreciation! And don’t forget to stick to your time limits.