Business Standard

Subir Roy: Back to the wall and down

Read more on:    Offbeat | Yoga | Asana | Kolkata | The Telegraph | Manatosh Roy
Related News

I was ultimately done in by , although I have been swearing by it for the last three decades. Being part of the team that launched was unforgettable, not the least because sitting long hours at the desk, holding down three functions (we seniors did such things), gave me a bad back.

The feisty new paper, with all the brashness of youth, made us get to know many who were young in mind if not body. Among them was , bodybuilder-turned-multidisciplinary teacher who made good use of yoga. He had a strikingly positive way of looking at life. From him I learnt the basics of yoga which, with additions from the occasional good book, have helped me keep my troublesome lower back in working order ever since.

So when I returned to yoga with additional vigour after a small gap and gave a powerful twist to my upper body to do an that keeps the sciatica nerve in good shape, something gave way. In a couple of hours, I could barely walk to the loo — such was the pain.

Then followed being laid up in bed for 10 days, popping pain-killers and performing the ridiculously simple exercises prescribed by the orthopedicist, with more than enough time to think things out. I soon realised this was a great preview of life in real old age, when being in bed for long periods would be par for the course.

I understood that lying down and getting up could be a daunting task, walking a few steps an excruciating exercise; but no one had told me to keep away from good jokes and TV sitcoms. God help you if you forget your condition and have a hearty laugh. And the ultimate torture: being seized by a bout of coughing, or letting go of a sneeze or two.

The best way to lighten your mood after such a misadventure is to tell yourself that you have made a discovery — that is, a new way of inflicting torture. After the Indian policeman or the communist commissar has suitably softened up a criminal suspect or an ideological deviant who is lying supine, all that the torturers need to do is tell the victim a good joke or dangle near his nostrils something that brings on a bout of sneezing. If the beating has not worked, this last trick will.

Seven days of rest – lying down – was the doctor’s specific prescription. But try doing that in ’s humid weather, particularly when turning on your side to air you kurta wet with perspiration is almost as difficult as getting up. How do people live long enough to actually get bed sores, I wondered, with all the impatience of someone who has never been laid up in bed for more than a few days. OK, I got mumps when I was a kid but I can’t remember that.

It is when you are so laid up and the slightest walk is hugely challenging – despite the daily painkiller dose – that you realise the utter folly of being overweight. So that was the second insight I had, after discovering an innovative way of torture. To get somebody to drastically reduce weight, get him a back problem. He will then consider eating a curse, and losing every kilo – making locomotion a wee bit easier – his prime goal. Amazing how those engaged with the challenge of finding motivational aids for the cure of the global obesity epidemic have not thought of this. Engineer an honest-to-goodness backache, and gluttony will go out of the window!

The ultimate disappointment came when I was able to get up and walk a little. Always move around with a belt to support the lower back, the doctor had prescribed. How many times can you put on and take off the cumbersome belt, having to work all its buckles, so as to get up or lie down a bit? And the belt gives you such a comic stance that you feel like a wooden toy soldier wound up and released on the floor to amuse a child.

But there is a bright side to every bad back. Days of eating little and moving less had had their impact on me. This, plus the belt, made our daughter observe after a few days: Baba, your paunch is down and your posture is better; you should use your corset regularly! A bad back and a flatter tummy make strange bedfellows; but what choice do you have when you have your back to the wall — or on the bed?


subirkroy@gmail.com  

Read more on:   
|
|
|
|
|

Read More

New lenses on the world's energy

The world's transition away from coal and oil depends crucially on national political structures


Most Popular Columnists

Suman Bery

Suman Bery: The next big thing in finance
Suman Bery

India has a big stake in Chinese financial reform

A K Bhattacharya

A K Bhattacharya: The PMO and the PM
A K Bhattacharya

The success or failure of the PM largely depends on the effectiveness and efficiency with which the PMO manages to get his or her ideas and policies ...

Rahul Jacob

Rahul Jacob: In defence of Manmohan Singh
Rahul Jacob

He built the foundation for our expectations of faster GDP growth today - the reforms of the 1990s started the process of making India modern

Columnists

Jaimini Bhagwati

Jaimini Bhagwati: Are stock prices inflated?
Jaimini Bhagwati

Despite what partisan fund managers are projecting, the rise in the Indian equity market has to be evaluated carefully

R Gopalakrishnan

R Gopalakrishnan: 'Neat and clean' innovation
R Gopalakrishnan

The idea of sanitation has raised many challenges down the years

Joe Athialy

Joe Athialy: The weakest link in development lending
Joe Athialy

The World Bank and ADB's internal accountability mechanisms sometimes violate their own guidelines and policies on project lending

Back to Top