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    Volume 9 Issue 3 | January 15, 2010|

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Of Health and Happiness


In these days of severe traffic congestion, due partly to vehicles driven by cheap CNG crowding the road, partly simply disrespect towards law and partly less road surface area, it is not easy to stay young because you actually grow older from the time you started from say Mirpur to by the time you reach Motijheel. In fact you can grow 'point zero zero one' year in that travel time.

The long delay can not only give you a genuine excuse for being late (so corny) when knowing Dhaka roads you should have started the night before from Banani to meet a 9AM meeting at Azimpur. And I mean that for active bodies and not those that have departed to the hereafter, although that may be the feeling you acquire as you crawl at the rate of zero miles per hour. But basically the long wait in the car makes you unhappy, although that may not be the case for those who owe others money or those who are trying to evade the law. For them hour after hour in a car with dark glass is freedom.

According to one email forwarded by my brother there are serious efforts undertaken to stay young and happy, always, even in countries that do not enjoy, oops suffer, traffic jams.

The number one advice is to throw out nonessential numbers. They say that includes age, weight, and height, and that your doctors should worry about them, because that is why you pay them.

That reminds me that some doctors who know you such as your brother's friend, your cousin, and so on, do not usually take any payment. So the worrying part remains with you, and you must watch your weight, if not anything else. Therefore, that is not such a good advice on the whole, although I do agree that you should not worry about growing older than your younger brother because that is how the Almighty has ordained.

Second on their list is the suggestion to keep only cheerful friends. They say the grouches pull you down, and that you keep this in mind if you are one of grouches! The problem is with the traffic so heavy it is not easy to find non-grouchy friends.

The third one is a good counsel; that one should keep on learning, which includes learning more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain get idle, they say. An idle mind is the devil's workshop, they add, and that the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

Fourth along the line is that one should enjoy the simple things in life. Now that is not so easy in the Winter season, because we have to wear a lot of clothes, and the wedding invitations are sort of never ending, and the food there is not so simple. But it is true that one should avoid the rich and oily food, even if one is poor and dry.

It is difficult to say 'no, I cannot have this meal prepared by deadly cholesterol' bang on the face of your courteous host, but you could try what I sometimes pull off without lying. Having decided not to eat at a wedding or wife-rice or a paan-chini or a ferani or a mendi night or a seeing-is-believing evening when they come to see the would-be bride, I just say with a big smile, the cooking is excellent. That way the host is happy to know that you have eaten. You are also happy because you have not eaten. Precisely that is the reason why food nowadays is never short at such gatherings.

The other recommendations include:
Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him or her!

Endure pain, grieve, and move on, because tears do happen. The next bit from them is good: The only person with us our entire life is our self. So, live while you are alive.

Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge. That is half a good advice because the crooks might take that literally and surround them with you know what.

Cherish your health. They say if it is good, preserve it; if it is unstable, improve it, and if it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

The last one should not be tried freely on people you love, but who called the darwan the last time you did say so. For peace and happiness avoid them. There are millions of flowers blooming in the garden and even in the forest. With luck smiling on you, you could get one of the same kind.


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