Archive for March, 2012

Allopathic vs. Other Treatments – The Choices Today

In the hurried and harried times that we live in, allopathic treatment rules the roost. Popping a pill appears to be a panacea for all ills. My experience has taught me that the diagnostic tools available in the allopathic realm are invaluable; so is its support in case a surgery becomes necessary. However, in most other cases, alternative systems of medicine offer not only a better cure, but also a better probability of prevention of a disease. As a layman, I feel that an ideal treatment is one which uses allopathic diagnosis, but follows an alternative route for treatment!

Amongst the alternative streams, I find that each one has its own unique advantages. Ayurvedic stream offers a treatment based on herbs and minerals, linked to a diagnosis of the patient’s vaata-pitta-kapha mix. Homeopathic system is primarily based on the type of personality a patient has, and the basic premise that like kills like. Homeopathic treatment could either be constitution based or symptom based.

A unique feature of both these systems is that they tend to treat the patient holistically. This is in sharp contrast to the allopathic system which has by now become so super-specialized and fragmented that a hapless patient has to run from one expert to the next to get a health issue addressed.

I have no knowledge of other systems like Siddha or Unani, but I am sure they have their own unique way of looking at a patient or disease.

Of all the alternate systems, Naturopathy stands apart. The human body is made up of five elements, and this stream offers a treatment which is based on the same. Controlled exposure to all the elements by rotation, as prescribed by an experienced naturopath, put the physical body on a path of regeneration and restoration. Coupled with yoga, which relaxes the mind and also the muscles, one gets a truly refreshing experience.


Health Challenges Faced by Me

As a senior manager in the Indian private sector, till the age of 55 years, keeping fit and healthy had never been the uppermost concern in my mind. Career concerns were centre stage, and so were the needs to see children getting settled in their respective lives. The body was taken for granted, as a lowly instrument of fulfilling one’s materialistic ambitions. Mind was supreme – controlling all the body’s actions and coaxing it into living a life which was mentally challenging but sedentary.

However, Mother Nature has a way of tapping one on the shoulders and reminding that one’s physical body was not designed to last forever! Some reminders are gentle, and some are abrupt. The abrupt signals come up because more often than not, one is not in the habit of reading the body’s early signals when it starts creaking up in protest. This is more so in cases where one leads a sedentary life style, spending at least 12 working hours on one’s desk, followed by being a couch potato in front of the idiot box at home.

Possibly around five thousand years back, Yudhishtira told the Yaksha that the most surprising thing in life was people seeing death all around them but still chugging along with their lives as if they were immortal! True to form, I was under a delusion that my body will continue to take commands from my mind!! Until one day, when I was advised complete rest by my doctor. Some tests later, a cardiac bye pass surgery was declared to be the only route to survival. Within a few weeks, my life was in disarray and I was facing the surgeon’s scalpel!

I picked up the threads of my life, moved onto a less stressful working environment and got back to an office routine, enjoying the comfort of the familiar hassles which come to one as perks of being a senior manager.

Four years later, my body came up with another surprise. Within three months, I lost my appetite – even the sight of food became revolting. My weight was down from 70 kgs to 57 kgs, and hemoglobin from 12 to 7.7. I had no strength left in me and even simple tasks like shaving became arduous.

Several doctors and tests later, it was found that there was a patch of cysts in my pancreas. It could have been responsible for my health problem, though nothing could be said conclusively. Doctors advised me to go for a surgery, so the growth could be examined to check if it was malignant. I was told that pancreatic surgery is pretty complicated, as the organ to be operated upon is not easily accessible. The result could be loss of some vital tissues in the abdominal region, reduction in the size of the stomach, and possibly a worsening of my diabetes.


The Miracle of Alternative Streams of Treatment

This was the time when I had to take recourse to the alternative streams of medicine. Much against the advice of prominent surgeons, my family decided to take the  homeopathic route. We were lucky to come in touch with an experienced Homeopath, who literally reversed the decline in my vital parameters and put me back on the path of recovery. Prodded by my wife, I also went in for naturopathic treatment.

When I started looking out for hospitals which offer a naturopathic treatment, I discovered Arogyadham. It is located at Sewagram, near Wardha in Maharshtra. It is managed by the Kasturaba Gandhi Trust, with a professionally qualified doctor heading the outfit. Along with family, I enjoyed two sessions of (ten days each) residential treatment at Arogyadham, and found it to be a useful experience. The campus is designed well, with independent cottages which are functionally furnished. Staff is well behaved, courteous and efficient, taking personal care of residents.

Arogyadham is located in the vicinity of Mahatma Gandhi’s abode during the penultimate phase of India’s independence struggle. Vinoba Bhave’s ashram at Pavanar is also nearby, and so is an imposing Bouddha Vihar at Wardha. Overall, the vibrations are pretty positive and invigorating.

Over a period of nine months, my health was restored to normality. Thanks to a combination of homeopathy and naturopathy, I am back to enjoying life, living it to the hilt.

Sir William Osler once said: “One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicines.” Surely, if one has time and some patience, alternative therapies can do wonders!

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The Bollywood awards season in 2012 is finally over! Every year, it is a good time to analyse and wonder at the direction Hindi cinema is taking. At a time when there are raging debates about gagging obscene content on social networking sites, cinema – a powerful medium in the society – appears to be getting away with a great deal of sleaze. With each passing year, it has pushed the frontiers of obscenity further and wider. Hemlines are only getting pushed northwards, and so are the box office collections!

Cinematic content these days has made a self-professed movie buff like me rather immune to all the dare-to-bare acts. One only gets a feeling of contempt and disgust. Show of skin has become a necessary evil, the language has become expletive-laden and the lyrics somewhat soul-less, provided of course one is able to hear them over the cacophony of sounds touted as music these days!

It is perhaps a sign of our times that the most obscenely crafted and inane movies end up collecting major awards. It is surprising to see movies like “Ishqia”, “Rockstar” and “The Dirty Picture” winning all kinds of accolades and awards (even National!) without any consideration to the sense and sensibility of the contents for the masses. Titillation leading to commercial success is surely the name of the game today; art can always take a back seat!

This is not to belittle the artistes who do a commendable job and bring complex characters to life on the screen. It is the content and Movie Mughal-e-Azamthe overt manner of presentation that leaves one yearning for some cultural decency. My mind goes back to that eternal classic “Mughal-e-Azam”. We have Dilip Kumar and Madhubala romancing in the royal gardens late at night, with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb singing in the background. Just a gentle swish of the feather across Madhubala’s beautiful face, and my heart still races up. There is no touch of vulgarity or obscenity of any kind; just an artistic expression of the romance, leaving much to the viewers’ imagination.

Think of another classic: “Guide”. It is still a pleasure to see Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman enacting their roles with much aplomb on the screen. The songs are as mellifluous as ever, the dialogues as evergreen as Dev sahib himself was, the music soothing to the ears and the lyrics pregnant with meaning. Towards the end of a romantic song, “Gata rahe mera dil….”, the camera pans out, leaving the hero and the heroine alone in their moment of solitude and privacy. A subtle depiction of romance, to say the least.

In “Sholay”, the delicate relationship between Amitabh and Jaya is captured with sensitivity, without the need for even a single dialogue, let alone any physical contact. Smita Patil’s portrayal of a hapless and exploited actress in “Bhumika” came as a whiff of fresh air then.

However, in 1970s and 80s, with the success of movies like “Bobby” and “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, display of flesh perhaps became an essential ingredient of success in Hindi cinema.

During the 1990s, we became even more liberal. “Dil” legitimized the threat of rape, whereas “Hum” eulogized the desirability of kissing in public. We saw an Urmila Matondkar swaying to orgasmic beats in “Rangeela” and lesbianism being brought out in the open in “Fire”.

Cut to the next decade. We saw “Kal Ho Na Ho” coming up with a homosexuality based comic sequence between the two Khans – Shahrukh and Saif. The envelope was pushed further in “Dostana” a couple of years later, with Abhishek and John Abraham being made to smooch in public with gay abandon.

If a Rani Mukherjee astounded us with expletive laden dialogues in “No One Killed Jessica”, Vidya Balan went a step further while Movie The_Dirty_Picture2mouthing obscenities in “Ishqia” and “The Dirty Picture”.

Meaningful lyrics in mainstream cinema also got drowned in metallic orchestras quite some time back. While watching “Rockstar”, I was wondering as to when lyrics would also be shown as sub-titles on the screen! Contrast this with “Masoom” and “Prem Pujari”, where we were treated with soulful poetry on celluloid.

These days, we seldom appear to have the luxury of either soothing music or good lyrics.  Market dynamics demands that the hero and the heroine should necessarily be shown in bed, in close embrace, with suggestive gestures and movements. May be, twenty years down the road, XXX rated films would be shown under a U/A certificate!

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/women-through-the-bollywood-lens-part-1-of-2)

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