Thursday, June 16, 2016

Siblings- a blessing!

When my family moved to Chennai in 1974, my elder daughter was 15 months old and my wife was expecting our second baby in another six months. In spite of precautions, when my wife conceived a second time, we thought of going in for abortion. But a chance meeting with a good friend and his wife at a party  and the  advice they gave us prevented  us  from taking any drastic  action. I recall the friend`s wife telling us; ` We were clear that we will not have another baby for at least 5 or 6 years after the birth of our son. Because we wanted to give our boy  full attention until he started going to  school. When we were ready to have a second child, it would not come. Our boy grew up as a single child without a sibling. Though we tried our best to make up the vacuum by spending a lot of quality time with him, showering him with affection and gifts- it was not the same. He grew up to be an aggressive, self centred person  who did not understand the concept of sharing anything with anybody. He became a lonely child with the inherent problems faced by such single children. My advice to you would be to go ahead with the pregnancy and gift a sibling to your daughter soon. God Bless`
In retrospect I am glad that we did not take any action to prevent my second daughter from  coming into this world.  She became a good company for my eldest child .Seeing the two kids playing, fighting and generally keeping themselves engaged at the independent home we moved into in Sastri Nagar was very reassuring and fun.  Especially because the independent home we were staying had no neighbours. There were no other children in the area for my children to play with.  

I remember an incident involving the visit of a friend`s family with their only child- a son, the same age as my daughters. While playing with my daughters, with a longing  in his eyes,  he innocuously asked` How does it feel to have a brother or sister?` It was obvious that he badly missed the company of a sibling.
When one is faced with stress in life there is no one like a brother or sister for sharing. To have one is a real blessing.

Though there may be exceptions, especially if the single children have the company of their cousins to play with; most of  single children  in my opinion  grow up to be either over aggressive or introverted unable to blend well with the society at large.

My advice to young couples is to have not  one but two kids in quick succession, when they still have the energy required to cope with the rigors of bringing up two kids together. Unfortunately  modern day, working couples, have no time even for a single child, leave alone thinking of providing a sibling.  

Singapore and China tried to implement the `Single child` policy, to solve their countries` population problem only to reverse it later when it created a huge social and demographic crisis. But India had a more realistic slogan `Hum Do,  Hamare Do` as a family planning policy. Hope modern day youngsters continue to follow this policy so that we have a healthier  and compassionate society!

This article appeared in the June 12-18  issue of Adyar Times under my column `Rajan`s Random Reflections`

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Simple solutions to chronic problems!

Very often we suffer from problems without realizing that their solutions are within our easy reach. For several months now I would get up from my bed every morning with aches and pains in different parts of the body , especially the back and hip joints. Visits to the doctor followed by medication   did not help  improve the situation. Then I remembered that a few years ago I had added a soft mattress to my Kurlon bedding. I wondered if the aches & pains could be because of the unevenness  of the bed. I removed the soft mattress and started sleeping on the original Kurlon bed. Lo & Behold the aches and pains that used to greet me every morning are gone.

A friend of mine was suffering from acute arthritis problems. None of the `Pathys` (Allopathy/Homeopathy/Naturopathy)  including Ayurveda  helped him get rid of the painful condition  until he met a doctor friend.  This doctor advised him to go to a swimming pool not to  swim but walk the length of the pool in the water, up & down a couple of times every day. My friend is  now a happy man having  got rid of his chronic problem using an unusual treatment.
Most of us would have experienced `shoe bites` caused by ill fitting footwear  or the infection and itching caused by soxes  or undergarments   made of material you are allergic to.

Problems caused by inappropriate postures  at work have  been the reason for the acute back problems faced by a growing number of `techies` who sit glued to their laptops  for hours at a stretch. Right postures and taking regular breaks from work can help ease the problem

Wrong postures while reading a book can also  lead to many eye problems.  I discovered this when  I was diagnosed with Glaucoma- a dreaded eye problem which can lead to blindness-  when I was still in my mid-thirties. I found that  one of the causes was that I had the habit of reading books lying flat on my back in bed, holding the book above my eyes.  A change of this habit in addition to Magneto-theraphy and  avoiding   books printed in small types helped me overcome the problem.

For  several years I suffered  from `dry cough` often accompanied by wheezing  which sounded  like multi- organ orchestra . I used to feel miserable. Tests diagnosed  no specific problem.  The doctors would attribute it to general pollution in the atmosphere and allergy to something or the other. In  the search for identifying the source of  my allergy , my son discovered that every morning  and evening I was  in the habit of lighting up  Agarbathis  in the Puja  room as  I liked the divine feeling, caused by the fragrance  of the agarbathis. On his  suggestion I stopped lighting the agarbathis.  Sure enough, my dry coughs & wheezing slowly vanished and for the last several months I am free from the chronic problem I suffered for years.

Whenever you find that you are suffering from a  chronic problem which is not getting  cured by medicines, talk about it to friends.  Some one might help you find  a simple solution which has been evading you .

This appeared in Adyar Times issue dt. 5-1th June,2016  under my column `Rajan`s Random Reflections`