Saturday, May 6, 2000
M A I L  B O X

Helping children bear bereavement

APROPOS of Ravina Gandhi’s article "Helping children bear bereavement" (April 22), when some loved one dies it is perfectly natural to weep. Grief is nature’s way of releasing tension. An abnormal reaction towards bereavement is often a sign that all is not well. This behaviour should be discussed with someone who understands a child’s mind, so

that a more normal response can be evoked. This may help avert a mental breakdown in the future. While most children pass through a few days or weeks of sadness and then try to carry on in a normal way, but a child with reactive depression is unable to accept reality easily. His grief lasts a long time. He may be so disturbed that he may not be able to do his normal work. Psychotherapy is advisable in all such cases. But above all, it is a happy home and congenial environment, that can help the children bear bereavement, and carry on through the trials of life.



Laughter as a therapy

I read with interest the write-up "Laughter as a therapy" by Khuswant Singh. Of late, humour has become a rare commodity. What are the benefits of a hearty laugh and a smile? Plenty! Laughter clinics are attached to hospitals in the USA, the UK and other western countries. If you feel it is crazy to laugh without reason, it is time to rethink. For those merry souls whose laughter rings out loud and clear are on the way to becoming de-stressed indi

viduals, at peace with themselves and the world. Shedding their ailments along with their inhibitions, they are on way to a better life. Laughing can improve your

health and your entire life, says actress Carmen Labella, whose laughing workshop has a long waiting list. Laughter is said to be even healthier than jogging.

Scientist have shown that an optimist attitude to life helps to regulate hormones which strengthen the immune system. Happy people are also physically more active and less prone to bad habits such as smoking and drinking. Happiness protects people from diseases ranging from flu to diabetes and heart disease.



Nature has provided us with the gift of laughter, so that we can absorb shocks of life. These are nature’s ways of releasing our inner tensions. Goethe, the great German poet and thinker, said: " Use laughter as a safety valve to keep yourself sane and relaxed.

Inject laughter into tense situations to save the day; laughter calms tempers and soothes jangled nerves.

Look at the funny side of your difficulties; impersonal contemplation is the secret of laughter and perspective.

Most of all learn to laugh at your self; meet each day with a sense of humour".


Gluttonous poet

Hindi novelist, Vrindavan Lal Verma’s habit of eating enormous quantities of food, as mentioned in the write-up "Big eater" in Fun Point (April 22), has reminded me of the gluttony of a famous Urdu poet of Lucknow.

Shaikh Imam Bakhsh "Naasikh" was a voracious eater. He ate only once a day, in early afternoon. That weighed about five seers and consisted of breads, qormah (seasoned stew), kabaab (grilled mince), pulao (rice cooked in meat soup), khushkah (boiled rice), turnips, pulses of arhar and maash, chuqandar (sugar beet), murabah (jam), achaar (pickles), chutney (a relish made of spices and herbs), etc.

Once he stayed with a friend as his guest. One day, there was some delay in the preparation of food for him. He saw some servants carrying platters full of food for themselves, coming out of the portico. Unable to bear the pangs of hunger, he devoured the food of about five servants, telling them to eat his, when it came.

The poet avoided food on the days when he wanted to eat fruit. If jamun (black berries) were available, he downed about five seers of that fruit. Likewise, he gulped basketsful of mangoes and a heap of parched maize-cobs.

Like Varma, Naasikh also spent long hours in exercise. He performed 1297 dand (a kind of gymnastic exercise), equivalent to the number of Ya Ghafoor (O God), reckoned according to the numerical value attached to each letter.

The poet incurred the displeasure of Lucknow’s ruler, Ghazi-ud-Din Haidar and had to leave the place, saying Veeraan misl-e-vaadi-e-vaihshat hai Lucknow/Suntey hain Naasikh aaj watan sey nikal gaya.