Baby and Me

The family secret to healthy generations

Family Secrets To Stay Healthy

Sitting in the park one Saturday evening, when I was waiting for Rishi to finish his Karate class, a family nestled in the lawn nearby caught my attention. What fascinated me the most was the strong resemblance between the three generations. There was a lady in her mid-thirties, a child of around six or seven years and an elderly lady, who would be in her late sixties or early seventies. 

What left me astounded was that the elderly lady, who was evidently the child’s grandmother was pushing the swing that the child was seated upon, and the mother was actually stepping onto a cycle.

I watched in complete awe as the child insisted to be pushed for a full twenty minutes. I expected the grandmother to politely refuse. But not only did she oblige without a bit of hesitation, but also did it without being worn out. For a seventy odd year lady to be able to retain her even breathing after such an exhasutive form of exercise was simply admirable! 

While on the other hand, the mother had completed nearly five rounds of the ground and she seemed as fresh as a daisy! Not to forget mentioning that after playing on the swing for twenty minutes, the child ran off towards her morther and insisted on being taken on the slide! Such an over whelmingly enthusiastic bunch of fine specimen! And I could gauge all of this in merely one glance!

Being a mother to a five year old myself, who has the appetite of a bird but the energy of a horse, I was definitely curious to know how the two ladies managed to be so fit. Seeing that I still had fifteen minutes until Rishi would be done, I couldn’t resist walking over and chatting up!

In the two minutes that I took to walk up to them, I conjured in my mind all the possible sorts of fitness programmes that they would be undertaking to maintain this level of fitness. All the exercises, all the nutritional diet plans - what could be their secret to such a healthy lifestyle? With a glowing skin and such undeterred stamina, healthy they surely were! So I ended up chatting with the grandmother first while the mother supervised her child on the swing.

Sahana ji was more than glad to talk. She told me all about her life in the olden days. She is the youngest of three sisters in her family and hence was the most papmered child. Her grandmother back then particularly insisted upon personal hygiene. The daadi ke nuske that we deem stereotypical, actually works! Consuming neem, bathing with haldi-chandan, multaani mitti face pack, it was all there!

But apart from physical beauty, there was also self tried and tested diets. Semi cooked vegetables - be it brocolli, carrot or beetroot; grean leafy vegetable sabzi with whole wheat meals, plenty of drinking water, loads of fresh air and exercise via outdoor games – that was the secret.

Sahana ji became a little nostalgic thinking of her good old days about her journey – her story of a girl child becoming a woman began at an early age. That was a time when she was schooled on how to conduct herself, how to eat healthy because it would affect her digestive system, her body and in return the health of her to-be-born children.

Just then Maya ji dropped in and introduced herself, while Aashima her child, ran off to chase butterflies. And in that fraction of a second, the entire conversation casually took on a new perspective.

Maya ji vocalized her worry for today’s generation. Gone are the days when children used to play cricket in the gullys and come home drenched in sweat and mud. Today, junk food has started overpowering home made meals and the children’s idea of playing, has become the craving to achieve victory in the the virtual world – the X Box and the PSP. This results in them being physically couped up in the house at most times.  No exposure to mother nature, no sense of  kinesthetics, art and craft. And being a mother, I too share the same concerns.

Maya ji recollected about how strict Sahani ji used to be during her childhood - eating on time, sleeping on time. So disciplined was her life that extra curriculum activities were given equal weightage as academics. Sahana ji gave her 100 percent in shaping her child’s personality as an all rounder.

The family’s secret to being so jovial, energetic, enthusiastic, bubbly, healthy, and the list of adjectives can simply go on, is giving their children a sense of starting young and starting strong. Following the philosophy – what you sow today, you shall reap tomorrow.

I too envision a similar life for my Rishi, where no illness can cause my baby any harm or become an obstacle in his path of achieving success.