I am diabetic.

Type II, my doctor told me, a couple of years ago. Went through a whole soul-searching gut-wrenching scramble to understand diabetics. Surfed the internet, googled it, amazonned it too. Bought books, printed out webpages, subscribed to newsletters, and got free magnets about it (one says "10% weight loss, 20% less food intake, 30 mts exercise").

Visited the local hospital. I was poked, and probed and bled and scanned and pinched and what not almost every hour of the day that I was there. Felt like I was in vampire heaven.

On the whole, I have come to understand diabetics better. Its there. It will always be there, whatever the cause, for the rest of my life. Everything I do, and don't do, will be influenced by it. I have to be careful, constantly monitoring my blood sugar levels. I read many horror stories of the consequences of not doing so. Sounds tough.

But ha! Look what it makes me do: It puts me through a gruelling daily exercise routine, including a 14-kms-a-day bicycle communte. I take walks around the place I work and my residence - and get to see places I would not have seen otherwise! I bicycle a lot - kilometers on end at times (I do 40 kms on Sundays, 20-25 kms on other 'regular' days - not a lot, but fun nontheless). I go to the gym for an hour every other day. I live on the 16th floor of a 40-storied apartment block - and I climb all 16 floors of it at least twice a day.

I am 100% vegetarian. I eat well - well cooked, well balanced, and tasty to boot. I try to keep it 'colourful' trying different vegetables. I keep the cooking to a simple level, not too much frying or cooking. I eat slowly, enjoying my food. No snacks, no smoking, no sweet stuff etc. Good for my teeth too.

It actually feels good. I feel alive. It is wonderful to know that I am looking after my body and my health. Its not easy to live on the fine line that diabetics draws in your life. Just a little this way or that, and you will fall down. And you just want to let go, and screw the consequences. But life on the fine line is great. Its invegorating to break into a sweat after a jog, or a brisk walk. And I know it is working wonders all over my body.

I am lucky to have understanding and supporting people around me. At home, and at work. And the doctors who look after me. Thats a relief - not that something will happen to me, but that I need to do things that needs to be done - go for a bike ride when everyone else is having a nice lunch together, for example.

Diabetics is a bad thing. But it makes you do good things. Exactly what we should all be doing, diabetics or not. It had me worried a lot recently. But I have come to terms with it. And made friends with it.

I just wanted to share that with you.

Hari Srinivas
hsrinivas@gdrc.org


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