Families are battling not only with COVID but also with life-style diseases-heart, strokes, hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure and the list goes on and on. But the cures for these diseases are not solely in the hands of the Ministry of Health or Dr. Keith Rowley but largely in the hands of the patients, their family members and friends. The reality is that friends and families are the biggest contributors to ill-health.
We castigate the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of alcohol beverages, but fail to accept that it is the family members and friends that provide the social environment for the excessive drinking and eating. It is time that families and friends come to accept that they are equally responsible for the ill-health of their folks. Had they refrain from indulging, the possibility of hypertension and strokes would have been far fetch. Now that it has happened to one, the other are now on the alert. The fetes have all come to a standstill and all are asking- who’s next?
Do Hindu families come together to practice yoga? What about to share recipes for healthy meals? Do family use the opportunity provided by You Tube to develop a healthy life-style?
It is time that families and friends come together for physical, cultural and spiritual activities that would enhance their health and general wellbeing. This is where the mandir comes into play. The mandir should be a center for healing-to develop holistic practices. Cookery classes should be sponsored so that families can learn to prepare meals from a trained and experienced chef.
Engaging the services of a medical practitioner and a nutritionist is a sure way forward. A doctor’s advice can go a long way to emphasize healthy life-style practices. Also, the presence of a nutritionist can also go a long way in helping individuals to make healthy food choices.
It is unfortunate that our mandirs have not made health care a major trust of its work. The teachings of the Ramayana would be better understood by individuals with a healthy body. Swami Vivekananda, seeing the need for physical fitness, urged the youth to kick football to have a better understanding of Bhagavad Gita.
Our poor health has made our community a liability. Too many of our sick sons and daughters have become dependent on the limited resources of the family when they should have been contributors to the welfare of the family. These leakages must be plugged- not tomorrow but right now. Health must be brought from the periphery to center stage to address this social scourge!
Alcohol has invaded our lives. Our professionals find time to frequent the bar, not the mandir. It is not uncommon to see a bar in the house but not an altar for worship. Lavish parties are sponsored with dozens of friends that go late into the night. The music and the general atmosphere are loud and raucous (rakshas). However, a pooja or havan is done secretly like something that has to be gotten out of the way.
The reality is that alcohol is a sedative that helps many to cope with blatant discrimination. Indians know that they are being cheated of promotions and scholarships in favor of less qualified and deserving individuals. We also know that we are over worked but paid lower remunerations!
Camouflaging our hurt and pain has become the norm. The unaffordable luxury vehicles and the mansions become essential to mask this rank and abusive discrimination, growing frustration and hopelessness. Life has become a daily hustle and grind for most of us with the exception of the few that kowtow before political authority. Pretension and appearances have become habitual thus explaining our readiness to mask our pains.
This hardship is impacting negatively on the community. Instead of cooperating to overcome this social ill, we have embarked on a blame game- blame Kamla, blame a big brother or take a sister to court. Without a doubt we have become cannibalistic in our attitude toward each other.
A client is no longer someone to serve but to extract from his pocket the maximum return. The client has no alternative but to give way. Exploitation of labor is the major strategy to earn high returns. At all cost money must be accumulated to put up the façade – reliving Naipaul’s ‘Mimic Men’.
Alienation is the order of the day. The game is money, not building and strengthening relationship. Family, friendship, guru chela relationship- all have been sacrificed in the interest of money not for some higher goals but to eat, drink and merry and in its train ill-health and its accompanying loss of earning and spending of the last penny to get better. Is our poor health the dividend for our copycat life-style? Would we ever be able to arrest this slide! As is done in Alcoholic Anonymous, we need to admit that things are bad and we need help!