Aasha Mehreen Amin
If you are one of those weirdoes with the contradictory combination of extreme hypochondria and a pathological aversion to hospitals or doctor's chambers then self-healing techniques are the only way to go. I mean what better way to deal with the constant pains and aches and sheer paranoia that you have the worst kind of diseases imaginable than to find a way of healing oneself all on one's own? Recently some of my colleagues and I have started a three week course on acupressure which, our teacher, assures us, can heal just about any disease in the world, including cancer.
Of course many of my sceptical colleagues, those who have not joined of course, rarely miss the chance to have a laugh or two at what they call mumbo jumbo that they say is just another gimmick to dupe naive, gullible people like yours truly.
But we will not be dissuaded and try our best to stick to the rules of this method that will surely bring us salvation from our chronic suffering. The only problem is that for people who have abused their bodies for so many years by eating all the trash they can get their hands on, working late hours, sleeping late and leading ultra-sedentary lives, this kind of healing that involves a complete change in lifestyle, is well, a little daunting.
Some of the rules include having a ripe tomato before each meal, a piece of raw papaya after each meal, a glass of juice made of five veggies and one (or is it two?) kinds of spinach but not those that are too fibrous. Come on, I thought in my first class, who do they think we are, royalty who have a hundred attendants to rush around making bizarre juices and peeling papayas everyday? The method of healing involves applying pressure on certain points (especially the one that hurt like hell) on the palms and soles to 'activate' our inner batteries so to speak and get things going in all our problematic organs. Simple enough, I thought, as I bought my spiky foot roller (remember Adam’s Family), wooden pointer that looked like some charm to ward off evil and jar of amloki and ginger powder. At home, however, I realised just how difficult the concept of self-discipline is.
I did manage to chew my food to a pulp and do it without uttering a single word - my family members attributed it to 'after work grumpiness'. But the actual self-help technique of pressing on my meridian points proved to be a lot more challenging. Every time I started, something would happen. The cell phone would ring, the child would ask where her favourite T shirt was and what an earth I was doing, the lights kept going off or some disgusting insect would come flying in to sabotage my healing process. In the end I managed to apply the treatment to one hand and half a foot, which I thought was ok for the first day.
Next class I was in for a shock. I expected to find most of my colleagues complaining that this was the most unrealistic method of healing and that they hadn't done even a fraction of what our teacher had instructed us to do. Instead, I was amazed to see most of them spewing out the list of meridian points we were supposed to have memorised and telling the teacher that they had been 80 percent successful in implementing the rules. Unbelievable! They had even managed to make and drink that multi-veggie drink although one of these teachers' pets admitted to me later that the taste was quite foul.
So far I'm still a back-bencher (literally too) and it will be close to a miracle if I can follow all the instructions, including the one that says one has to eat with gusto, no matter what you're eating even if it’s bitter gourd soup and always having good thoughts and do good deeds. But I have managed to eat the occasional raw papaya (thanks to a generous colleague) and have pressed on some of those darn meridian points. I have to say, as I tend to my aching hands, I think it is helping; at least I am overcome with guilt every time I eat some 'poison' like those oil-dripping puris and Mughlai parathas that one of those skeptics keep trying to lure me with. As for my diligent colleagues who press their palms and soles three times a day, drink the Green Juice and eat the raw papaya after each meal, I congratulate them and hope that I may join their ranks some day. For now, however, the road to hermitry is a little out of reach.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009