Monday, April 4, 2016

Lesson 5: Health is wealth

Series: Lessons from my father ( A tribute to my late father, Dr. K. KunhiKannan)

Lesson 5: Health is wealth

My father with my son

Every evening, my father would do Yoga after he came from the clinic. It would include exercises and meditation. It was his routine from the time I remember. On Sundays, he worked half day and hence would sometimes join us for a game of badminton or go for a walk.

His theory was that we should take good care of the body which is home to our soul. We don’t know whether there is an afterlife. But this life, which is a gift, we should live to the fullest. We should feed ourselves healthy food and do exercise so that our body functions properly.

My favorite time to study was always after everyone slept; when the world grew quiet. I could never make myself get up early in the morning to study. Sometimes I would study through the night during exams. He would come to check on me at intervals and would urge me to go and sleep. My eating habits were often very erratic. He would scold me whenever I skipped breakfast or any meal.

He once told us the story of how he never came to like alcohol.
When he was small, maybe ten or eleven, he was fascinated by what his father drank at night before going to bed. His father would retire to the store room and take a sip of liquor from a bottle well hidden. He was not addicted to it but this was a nightly routine. My father one day found the bottle in the darkness and took a sip. Immediately, he spat it out. Instead of the bottle of liquor, he had drunk from a bottle of kerosene. That ended his foray into the world of alcoholic beverages.

“Later on in life, whenever someone offered me a drink, the bitter taste of kerosene would creep into my mind and I would promptly refuse. It was a blessing. There is no bigger killer of humanity and health like alcohol. I have seen many lives reduced to ashes prematurely because of this monster,” he would often say.

Luckily, none of my family are addicted to alcohol or smoking. He walked the talk and led by example. Nor are there many in the extended family. Many feared my father’s wrath and never ventured towards such addictions.

He taught me Surya Namaskara and some basic yoga exercises which I still do. Whenever I sleep late, I remember him. I feel as though he is about to come and urge me to go back to sleep. Whenever I skip a meal, I feel I can hear his scolding.

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