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On ageing

Dr. R.N. Kalra's article “Age-old problem needs new solutions” (April 8) on Active Ageing, WHO campaign, was interesting. The elderly are likely to experience emotional insecurity because of two reasons. One is the lack of empathy and understanding among youngsters. The elderly themselves are the second reason — they are unable to bridge the generation ‘valley.'

A man goes through three funny phases in life. He has time and health but no money when he is a student. He has money and health but no time when he is working. He has time and money but no health after he retires. Active Ageing shows the way for all three — time, money and health.

A.V. Ramanathan,


“Age is strictly a case of mind over matter, if you do not mind, it does not matter,” said Jack Benny. Life is an attitude and, in the words of the famous lyricist Javed Akhtar, “your life is designed by three designers — circumstances, you, and coincidence. Anyone can be the chief designer at any particular moment.” Ageing is a smooth journey from passion to compassion, and every day should be treated as a gift.

B.M. Singh,

Amritsar The article is indeed the need of the hour. Changes in cultural and social patterns have robbed the elderly of their status and self-esteem. Dr. Kalra's views show not only the humanitarian approach in treating patients but also the strength of relations and family bonding.

Sethu Krishnamurthy,

New Delhi

The inevitable process of ageing causes the weakening of the flesh and the sinking of the soul, gradually leading to the disharmonious functioning of the brain — requiring constant medical aid and psychological counselling. My experiment with truth: living through old age is awful.

B. Seetharam,



This is in response to Professor B.M. Hegde's article “It's time we took a look at the alternatives.” The Professor is doing a great disservice to people through his increasingly misleading articles, which consistently obfuscate health issues and plant doubts in a thousand minds. He uses broad strokes to colour his palette. He plays to the gallery by peppering his article with a number of quotes which help little in understanding the problem at hand but successfully sway the argument. Here is an example of the impact such irresponsibility breeds.

A colleague of mine, a doctor herself, lost her mother to breast cancer. This, despite her knowledge of the screening facilities. Now she never misses an opportunity to encourage us to get our near and dear screened for cancer.

Ajay Asranna,

New Delhi

Not really

I regularly read Prof. Hegde's articles and appreciate his courage to challenge modern medical practices. No doubt, allopathic medicines ameliorate diseases but it is equally true that these have an adverse effect on the body.

Some 30 years ago, I was prescribed beta blocker drugs for high pulse rate and hypertension. In 2004, I developed breathing problems which, I was told, resulted from the prolonged use of beta blockers. Last May, I suffered a bout of fever for which I was given fourth generation antibiotics. When the fever did not subside even after three weeks, I stopped taking the drugs. The temperature became normal within two days.

Dr. Hegde is a cardiologist and, I am sure, he understands medicine well. He is not a layman trying to poke his nose into the affairs of the medical fraternity.

S.K. Kulshrestha,

Dehra Dun

Spit personality

The articles “Oh! for the Indian trait of spit personality” by Sukumaran C.V. and “Saliva is meant for something else please …” by Padmavathi Srinivasan (April 8) have thrown light on the most unhygienic habit cultivated by people, without any consideration for others. Some fools like me, who try to drive sense into those who spit in public, are told: aye perisu, summa kida (In Tamil, it means, ‘keep quiet, you old man'), supported by laughing onlookers.

Spitting is not confined to the uneducated. I can list the names of scores of bowlers who insert at least three fingers into their mouth to ‘polish' the ball before bowling. If the batsman hits the ball for a six, the bowler has no qualms about spitting on the pitch. No questions asked.

C. Subramaniam,


Cell phone is a wonderful invention. It is convenient as well as a menace. I do professional typewriting and photo-copying. One day, a man came to get a letter typed. He received five calls on his mobile phone before I could complete one page. I could not proceed with the typing. I told him to leave his phone at home and come the next day.

On another occasion, I counted the number of photo copies I had made for a customer using saliva. He refused to accept the papers saying he had to keep them in his puja room.

S. Jemunian,


Spitting in the corners of lifts and staircases is indeed abominable. Some building owners have managed to curb this ugly habit by providing tiles depicting gods inside lifts. Parents and teachers should take care to inculcate good habits in their children.

Bulusu Radhakrishnamurty,


The walls of buildings, especially government offices, are covered with spit and paan stains. Everybody writes and talks about the clean streets of Singapore and how those who litter and spit on the streets are fined mercilessly there. Why can't our government follow suit?

As for mobile phones, I agree it irritates when people use unusual and obnoxious ringtones. One is jerked all of a sudden when one hears a child cry in a bus or train even when there's no child around. While travelling by bus, we once heard a rooster crowing. The conductor thought someone had smuggled a rooster in till it was revealed that it was a ringtone.

Anandhi Jayakumar,


It is common to see even the well-heeled spitting in public. They persist even if they know that people around them feel disgusted. The sight of people spitting in lifts, cinema theatres or the roadside is familiar to most of us.

As for cellphone etiquette, very few follow it. We can use technology but technology shouldn't use us. While I was about to finish reading the article in the Open Page, my mobile phone rang continuously. I was able to complete reading the page only a few hours later. I was amused by the coincidence.

P. Sai Kishore,


We see many people turning the pages of books or papers using saliva. They must have picked up the unhygienic habit in their formative years. Parents should stop their children from picking up the dirty habit. Teachers should educate children on opening their books/notebooks without using saliva. Biting the nails is another habit which many of us are not able to get rid of.

S. Sankaranarayanan,


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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 6:31:06 PM |

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