Because we’ll always have Paris

A still from Casablanca

A still from Casablanca  


As I type this column, my last for this newspaper, I remember telling my friend that the song ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ from the musical Evita had almost become an anthem of sorts. In the movie version, Madonna (PS: She credits Ashtanga yoga and a macrobiotic diet for that brilliant physique. Just saying) starring as Eva Peron, sings it as she leaves the home of yet another lover. Of course, when I say that it is my anthem, I don’t mean it from the errant lover perspective. The suitcase in the hall is more a metaphor for that sense of nostalgia, sadness and upheaval the song invokes — the way you feel when you say goodbye.

A still from Evita

A still from Evita  


For someone who is inherently change-averse, it is surprising how much time I have spent in the last decade or so, existing between goodbyes. Loves that were not meant to be, of course. But also jobs and friends and cities, with each goodbye collecting more moments, brined with nostalgia, pickled and stowed away as treasured memory.

Anchoring this supplement and writing about health — a subject I feel very strongly about — is something I am going to miss very much, as I go on to lug (literally), ‘Another suitcase in another hall’. Over the last year or so, I have learnt so much, both about health and about myself. I have flirted with diets and have launched headfirst into varied fitness routines; dipped my feet into mental health and viral diseases; autopsied health products and managed my first 5k. It has been a good run (pun intended, of course) and I am grateful.

I wish I could tell you that over the course of the last year, I have myself become the epitome of fitness, à la many of the film stars whose fitness routines I have written about. I’m afraid I still have the love handles, the tummy rolls, the untoned arms, the 10 vanity pounds that refuse to go away despite my best attempts (punctuated by the more-than-occasional helping of ice cream).

But what this column, and you my dear reader, have done is induce a sense of accountability. It didn’t want to feel hypocritical when I penned this every other week, so I tried my best to live the life I wrote about. And the successes, though small, have gone towards building a better version of me, health-wise.

What are these successes? Well, for starters I don’t go for two days without some form of movement — even if it is just a walk — but I have also managed to mentally divorce weight loss from exercise. I have learnt to listen to my body: I push it when I can and don’t when I feel the aches and niggles. I am still grappling with the art of moderation — am a bit of an all-or-nothing person — but I’ve at least begun to recognise that good enough is more sustainable than perfect. I have learnt how to eat right, wherever I go and whatever the cuisine: moderate starch, a little protein and many vegetables can be be put together whether it's Thai, Tandoori, Mediterranean, Chinese or Mexican. Most importantly, I have learnt how to like inhabiting my body. For all its faults, I have begun to also recognise what a fantastic well-functioning, complex system it is, capable of moving and functioning and loving and living.

As the page turns and I embark on yet another journey, these are the lessons I have learnt and will take away. I hope that my fortnightly bouts of “wisdom” have given you a little too, dear reader; a smile if nothing else. As Rick Blaine tells Ilsa, in the 1942 classic, Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.” And, with every farewell (including this one), I realise that yes, we always will.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:48:59 PM |

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