Lifestyle – Then and Now

#globalite Chandini reflects on how lifestyle has changed over the last 6-7 decades.

When I look back the 69 years of my life I am able to see how life style has changed over a period of time. I can classify this as health,food, life style and spiritual life.

Talking about health, my mother used to say that I almost died thrice in my childhood and miraculously survived thanks to the prayers of my mother and maternal grand parents. But from my teens till date, I do not remember having fallen ill except for some minor issues. I attribute this to the systematic life I have and regular exercise, yoga and meditation, and a good night’s sleep to keep my body and soul healthy all the time.

Till I got married my parents pampered me so much and we used to eat a lot of home made sweets, nuts, snacks, fruits and what not. Drinking milk was a regular habit. I thought it was good for health.  No I was wrong . After marriage I almost stopped drinking milk at bed time to slim down.  Since I had never been fond of coffee or tea, not drinking milk was not a big issue but I was fond of yogurt and any Indian meal is considered incomplete without yogurt even today in many houses.  As of August last year,  I was motivated to stop taking yogurt, cottage cheese and all dairy products, after my daughter, who is a vegan for more than ten years explained the ethical reasons and I was convinced that it was ethical thing to do.  After that I feel amazing health wise too. The extra body fat is gone and I feel brisk and energetic. This is a major change in my lifestyle as far as my food is concerned and has led to good health and a peaceful mind.J

Talking about life style, as a child we lived a very happy homely life with many guests visiting us around the year. We are four siblings, and there were always additional members either from my father’s side or from my mother’s side of the family. The ladies used to cook and all of us used to sit in a row on the floor with our plates in front and my mom or the other ladies served the food.  After praying all of us used to eat together. Slowly things changed. We switched over to a dining table and chair and each person had their breakfast at different timing as per their college, school or business hours.  Yet having dinner together continued.

Grinding Stone

Washing Stone

While in the earlier days, ladies used stone mills to grind flour by hand, hand rotated coffee roasters, firewood and coal, hand washed clothes all of which were a natural form of exercise, all of them were gradually substituted by automatic electric grinders, blenders, coffee makers, washing machines, Gas ranges, microwave ovens.  All these new entrants in the kitchen have made a drastic change in the lifestyle of most women. True it has simplified the work but most of us who tasted our mom and grand mom’s dishes feel that these modern equipment and refrigerators have taken away the quality and taste of the those olden days when things were made more naturally. Even today I use earthenware mud pots to cook greens and sauces with sun dried vegetables (called vathakkuzhambu in Tamil). The aroma is fabulous.  I do agree though that science and technology have simplified cooking, and probably that is why I have time to sit and type this article here.  Our moms and grand moms never had this much leisure.

A lifestyle choice that has contributed to my health is that I have always believed in doing my household work on my own and have never had a maid/house help.  Cleaning one’s home takes love, care and attention and is another natural way to get some exercise in!

Talking about spirituality, right from childhood I grew up in an environment of bhajans (devotional songs) in the air.  My mother and grandfather sowed the seeds for a spiritual quest to know who I am.  Where have I come from, where will I go, am I this body or something more,  these were questions in my mind from when I was young. Science has brought the world closer, media makes things available easily and knowledge is available in abundance to know anything we want to learn thanks to the internet. Hence I spend a lot of time in meditation, listening to spiritual lectures and every day I note that I am growing internally.

In short systematic habits, healthy food (vegan) ,exercise, adapting to changes wherever they are good and make life easy, being open to embrace new concepts and accepting every one as your own family member makes life wonderful and enjoyable. Last but not the least spending abundant time to admire nature and to enjoy the fresh air is a way to make you feel fresh always .

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