- "No. Nothing."
- "Why then these series of blood tests? Ultrasonography?"
- "These are routine check-up. Closing on 44 years. Prevention is better than cure."
- "Since when did you start taking care of yourself? How come you became such a good boy! Tell us what are the discomforts."
- "Nothing. I assure you."
- "This evening while talking to your office colleague, what were you discussing in low voice? Did you faint in office? Today or tomorrow, I shall get to know. Why don't you tell now?"
- "Please try. No such things."
And then the news got spread through her highness. Sister, in-laws started inquiring. Also students on seeing the leucoplast on arm. Suddenly, I find that a lot of answering is to be done. An honest and innocuous attempt to live healthier is raising eyebrows! But getting attention even if for a 'healthy' reason like this :-) where concerns are showered on you, suddenly makes you feel that you are not just playing a character role in the drama of life! And my sister and brother-in-law were most severe on me, I suspect that prompted by her highness, criticizing and telling me what I should do and what I should not.
The same can be said about office work. Returning home at 10 PM from office should not be overshadowed by the more regular 8:00-8:30 PM schedule! As such being in Kharagpur, being at IIT Kharagpur is always being at home for one who spent his childhood, youth in the town or in the campus. And the reasons for which one has to stay till 10 PM needs greater attention than the 10 PM itself! Let us take yesterday evening as an example. One research student's rehearsal of synopsis seminar started at 6 PM and went up to 7:45 PM (discussion on various points raised by group members). Then had discussions with four young IITKGP students (just completed 2nd year) who were invited in the seminar. These young students are braving summer heat, staying away from home in vacation to work with us as intern and one cannot but be overwhelmed by their dedication and salute their spirit. Once I finished discussion with them at 8:30 PM, I decided to use the late evening serenity to my advantage to type down a detailed thesis examination report which was overdue. Then took its print on letter head, signed and scanned the same, finally mailed it to the registrar of the concerned university. I was supposed to send it last Friday and requested few extra days. Thereby, the guilt feeling of being late is gone and I had a good night sleep. Wasn't that a healthier proposition than sticking to a 8:30 PM deadline?
Let me defend the other criticism faced. This is 'stress'. Here is somebody who worry about big big things where nobody takes him seriously; and he doesn't worry at all about things where he can be taken seriously (of course, at mercy of the greats :-)). Isn't it a perfect recipe for remaining stress-free? Also, it is said that the things one does out of love, passion do not stress. Who can say that I am not enjoying what I am doing? I have seen guidance which tells people to be able to say, "No" to remain stress-free. I think that the coordinator of one of the lead funding agency was in 'shock and awe' when I flatly said 'No' to review requests dumped on me (about 5-6 proposals) without my consent. He was asking why I am late for an assignment that I did not accept at all. I politely said that I had several pending thesis examination work which I accepted and they are of higher priority. Came the reply on expected line, "What will happen to your proposal if the reviewer says 'No' or delays the review?" I don't know if I got de-stressed to say that I wouldn't be applying to them for fund to increase their trouble. I don't know if I should have told them if the reviewer deserves to know what happens to the fate of projects reviewed by them, how much weight the review carries, or if it is the final seminar presentation or any other stuff that are the decider. Perhaps that would have increased the stress level somewhere. Didn't I do good to myself and the society to keep the cumulative stress down? Who will appreciate this?
Whether you apply or not, your application is considered favourably or not, it feels good to be one of the two persons in "To:" list of a mail where application is requested for a faculty position in a lead European University. That somebody notices you at some other part of the world is itself a big 'feel-good' factor. However, aging mother (72+ years) who stays with us in campus quarter and other factor do not allow me to go out even for a semester. My thanks to that university and to my students (basking in their glory, reflected on me) - the confidence it gives definitely works to the advantage of one, health included.
Next, don't I act swiftly and decisively when it matters the most (to establish that I am at the peak of health) - to confront termite or ant colony and last but not least the snakes? The ordeal needs taking help of maintenance and security staff or flexing rod and muscles to solve the matter then and there. I belong to that hall of fame who killed a snake in bed room single-handedly (Again "Bhawnako Samjho" - used both the hands but no other help except family members), a rare feat in the campus. Recently drove a big snake away from our garden and kept working on the holes for days (each time it was resurfacing). Finally the combination of bleaching powder and stamping of ground (heard that they are deaf but sensitive to vibration) after each day's work out made that big snake give up. To take the ant colony out of quarter, I am following a policy where I am doing spraying activity on one side and keeping the other side (towards the periphery) free. The ants appear to be intelligent enough to understand in which direction I am asking them to go.We never used 'ant colony optimization' algorithm to score a point anywhere in our research - thus, no pricking of conscience!
What else? How to prove that I am doing my best and doing enough? Kashmir, Vizag, Darjeeling in summer 2011, winter 2011, summer 2012 - isn't that great? It is the quality that matters. One should not worry if 4N, 5D could have been extended or Peling, Gangtok could have been included in the itinerary. One has to keep something available for the next vacation!
I think that I have proven my point. Bad cholesterol at border line high is much better than having urea, creatinine crossing the limit, if we know what makes it sweet and sudden. Maintaining blood pressure at 140/90 for about a decade now without medication is no mean feat! More so if you have history of high B.P. in your family! Today evening there is ultrasonography test. I am sure that I shall prove my critics wrong on this count too and it is no surprise that the critics will be the happiest to hear that. Till then enjoy the pics taken during morning walk outs in our beautiful campus and our new quarter (often accompanied by my daughter who inspires, participates - in fact, I had to invent one work out, 'madness at large' which she finds hilarious - don't ask for demo., please!!!). The place behind garage in the last picture is the arena.