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When the doctor told me that I was a diabetic my world suddenly turned upside down. Not the this-is-the-end-of-my-life kind of upside down. Suddenly there were a lot of constraints on what I could eat, how much and when, and I wasn’t too pleased. Restrictions are not my cup of tea, but fortunately I am fairly good at following the strictures imposed by a doctor.

I have always been a frugal in my eating habits, so the limitation on quantity of food did not affect me in any way. Fruits of all kinds are a passion. The thought that I should stop eating them at a certain prescribed limit and could no longer gorge on them, especially mangoes in summer, brought a twinge of regret and a momentary feeling of self-pity which I prudently shook off. Steamed and fresh vegetables were in the have-as-much-as-you-like list. Small mercies, since I love salads.

Sweets were a no-no as per the dietician. I didn’t mind that, I can take them or leave them, so I left them with ease. But the many kinds of ice-creams danced in front of my eyes and asked me if I could really let them go so easily. But I must, I told them steeling myself to the pain of having to disappoint them, I have no choice in the matter you see. So they silently withdrew, trying no more to tempt me. The same could not be said of the savories and chips/fries. They knew I missed them the most and taunted me, and continue doing so..

Things were standing thus when I remembered the many diabetics I knew among friends, family and others. Hmm… But, I mused, I couldn’t recall any of them following any strict regimen of the sort I was putting myself through. They enjoyed all the normal (and special) dishes with relish, and what’s more, during festive seasons and otherwise they indulged freely in stuffing themselves to the gills on all sorts of sweet stuff. Not that I wanted to follow their example, but I wondered all the same which is why I put the question to a friend who is a diabetic.

“Let me ask you something,” I said, “As a diabetic, do you follow all the rules when it comes to your diet?”

“Well, in the beginning is the stage when everything is followed to the letter. Those around you are strict too on what you can eat, also insisting that you go for walks. In the next stage the tight reins slowly slacken and things start sliding down till one day there is a wake-up call (third stage). Then we go back to the first stage, and this cycle keeps repeating…”

“Hmm… ” I replied, lost in thought.

“So which stage are you in right now?” he asked me.

That’s just it. I do not have any such stages in my diabetic journey. I am steadfast when it comes to following the narrow path laid out for me by the doctor-dietician duo. Even if I wander off, it is momentary, and I pull myself back not waiting for anyone to make me do it. It is another matter that I would probably throw a fit if anyone tried. Nothing annoys me more than people treating me like an infant.

A lot of people though prefer for others to admonish them (lovingly) to not stray. They have outsourced the responsibility of keeping them on track to their near and dear ones. Not me. No siree, no. I prefer to be my own keeper and am a very strict one at that. πŸ˜‰

Β© Shail Mohan 2021