Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Health is Wealth

Last I saw him was after fifteen years, that too in virtual world. There were lots of photographs of him posted in Facebook in various pose and occasions, all taken by others and not a selfie. What struck me was he looked older than most of us. A few hair that was left on the scalp was gray. The smile and frown lines were more accentuated. With this old fellow, we were together as youngsters getting trained together?

He was extremely intelligent, besides being good in physical activities. He used to top all the exams and tests, to the envy of his course mates. He got the his choice of arms without doubt. In the in-service courses that followed he got his names written in all the boards of honour, that was maintained immaculately in the institutes. He was without doubt a very upcoming officer and perhaps a future would be general.

When I went to do the senior command course, I was not surprised to find his name on the board, yet again. The military institutes, normally maintains a board hanging on the wall with the names of the toppers written with gold on it. I proudly mentioned to my friends, saying that this man, pointing at the name on the board, is my course mate and we were in the same company during training. I was about to tell them how good he was in whatever fields that he lays his hands on, when I was interrupted by the officer from his unit.

He told me that he is and LMC (low medical category). In military, one is categorized as LMC, when one is not in tip top physical conditions - SHAPE I. If one is not SHAPE I, the career ladder stops at certain level. The brain box, the brilliance, the sharpness and the intelligence of his, is going to take him to certain level only, besides, getting the names written on numerous toppers honour boards in copious institutes. I dared not ask the details of his conditions. It was understood that LMC is having some medical conditions that cannot be cured promptly and officers try hard not to get into that category, unless it is beyond one's hands.

The old looking photograph of his, that I saw in Facebook, flipped through my mind; as if, making me realize that, he was not supposed to look that old. I will not want to know that exact ailment of my brilliant friend. But I would be saddened by the wastage of his brilliance, just because of not being physically fit - in military standard, and therefore he would not be considered for promotion to next higher ranks. The importance of health is reminded by no better way, than this. I stood there, looking at the board, feeling sorry for him. For some it may be one less competitor, that too a formidable one, in the system as fair as in military.

What is the use of topping all the courses without health? What use of getting the names written in the board of honours in the absence of clean health chit? In normal life too, we are sometimes engrossed in other businesses, amassing wealth, hoarding and saving for future use but we do not realize the importance of health. Would we be healthy enough to savor the savings? Would we be healthy enough to occupy the huge buildings that is being constructed? The urge to do things at certain point of time in life and the matching health conditions comes with in-extendable expiry dates.

Until the time we are bed ridden, we do not appreciate being able to go for a walk, or as short a distance as, being able to go to the toilet. Until the time we are not blinded, we do not appreciate the clarity of vision. Until the time we are struck with nasal problems/blocked nose, we do not appreciate being able to breathe freely and sleep soundly. Actually we tend to take so many things for granted.