February 27, 2003
My entire family is in mourning as I write this article. Mourning because, Sam,
my sister and brother in law's beloved Springer Spaniel was 'put to sleep' a couple
of weeks ago. He was 11-years old and suffering from arthritis, cataracts and various
intestinal problems which made his farts the thing of legend in the whole of North
England. But mustn't joke about him nor that he is no longer with us.
Sam reached a stage where he was in constant pain and the heart wrenching decision
had to be made by Robert, himself a doctor, to put him out of his misery. He was
taken to the vet never to return home again. The news reached us the very same afternoon
and I spent the rest of the evening thinking about the void in my sister and brother-in-law's
You see, Sam
was their baby. He slept (and snored) on their bed, he was taken for a two-hour
walk around a local reservoir every day and Soheila (my sister), would even grab
his face and kiss him full on his wet, salty nose on a regular basis. When
I made fun of Sam, she world run to him and hold her hands over his furry, long ears
so he wouldn't be upset by my comments about his weight, the bald patch on his back
or his general lack of intelligence.
Sam wasn't the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer and, to be honest, his features
did not help him. If you looked at him face on, you would notice that his eyes were
crossed. If you moved your head around to look at his profile, you would notice that
his lower jaw stuck out further than his top jaw. The net result was what appeared
to be a growling, teeth baring expression when, in fact, his lower teeth were simply
pushing his top 'lip' up and making him look like he was growling. A quick look into
his eyes would reveal that there was not one ounce of aggression in him.
Any death, human or animal, makes me ponder my own mortality. The one thing we can
all be absolutely certain of is that one fine day, each and every one of us is going
to expire, or as mummy says: "Gooz-e-aakhar-o-bede..."
I have reached the age where I have started to worry about dropping dead suddenly
and leaving everyone else, including my beloved wife Varinder, to pick up the pieces.
So a week after Sam went to that big park in the sky full of fit looking Springer
Spaniel bitches, I went for a cholesterol and diabetes test.
A few days later I had a call from my GP to go and see her. The good news was that
I was not a diabetic. The not so good news was that my cholesterol was too high.
It was 6.2 when it should have been no higher than 5.2. After breaking the news she
punched my age (37), cholesterol reading and a few other variables into her computer
before telling me that I had a 4% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10
This was not good. A heart attack, after all, can kill. 4% or l in 25 is statistically
too high for a guy like me who wants to see his grandchildren but doesn't even have
any children yet. Something had to be done.
Two days ago, against my better judgement, I found myself sinking into a large and
comfortable leather recliner belonging to a hypnotist.
"Mr Salari, you do realise that only you can make yourself lose weight,"
she said to me
I gave her one of my pregnant pause-like stares. The look which said, Why am I sitting
here and paying you by the minute then?
"Hypnosis is not some sort of mind control technique which can suddenly make
you lose lots of weight, you know" She was beginning to patronize me.
"But my friend went to a hypnotist and gave up smoking overnight. He hasn't
"It's far easier to give something up using hypnosis than to slow something
down. You can't suddenly stop eating food now can you now?"
In the first 5 minutes of my consultation she had succeeded in making me feel very
stupid. I had another hour and 5 minutes to go before having to part with £40.
I have to say that despite the shaky start, the rest of the session proved to be
refreshingly good. I may write about exactly what she told me because I know
other dieters will find it instructive. She even managed to give me a short 20-minute
hypnosis session where she suggested to my subconscious that I drink water in place
of a snack wherever I felt like having a binge. Next week we will have a longer hypnosis
session and the week after (our final session) we will have an even longer hypnosis
session. I will report back.
To conclude, I am beginning to view death as a process which takes place by stealth.
One has to look for the signs. I once read that no part of the human body is ever
more than 7-years old. Cells, apparently, renew themselves. And the aging process
occurs because every time our body renews itself, it doesn't do so perfectly. A little
like a VHS tape that is used again and again.
With this in mind, today, for example, I noticed the third grey hair on my chest
while drying myself after a shower. I immediately looked in the mirror to see if
my eyebrows too had started to succumb to grey hairs.
Just as I was pulling my face away from the magnifying mirror (relieved at not seeing
any), I noticed the longest and thickest white hair I had ever seen sprouting from
my left nostril. It was long enough for me to pinch with my index finger and thumb
to yank out. I gave a sharp pull and it was as if the follicle was anchored to the
inside of my skull. My entire head jerked down and my eyes began to water at the
intense pain. The nasal hair was still attached to my nostril. I decided to gently
push it back in and leave it there until I bought myself a nasal hair trimmer.
My hypnosis sessions will become my VHS tape-head cleaner.
Does this article have spelling or other mistakes? Tell
me to fix it.