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Health Tips - Sona Uncle & The Charm of Real India- Part lV

Updated on July 6, 2014
ARUN KANTI profile image

Hi,welcome to my Hubpages profile. I am Arun Kanti Chatterjee and live in Kolkata. My mission is to share experiences etched on my memory.

Everyone was discussing how soon to return home after a heavy dinner one evening in a posh locality of Kolkata. Driven by chauffeured cars they were keen to be back home and go to bed early. An elderly gentle man was offered a lift since he was found to be walking back home alone. He declined the offer politely saying “No thanks. I shall amble along 4-5 kms easily and this will help in digestion after such a heavy sumptuous meal while compensating for the loss of the walking scheduled during the evening.” His comments left the rich people at a loss for words as they were learning the basic health tips from a person who could be at least double their ages!

The amiable all smiling noble man
The amiable all smiling noble man | Source

Daily walk

You can well imagine such words came from none other than Sona uncle who never hesitated to say firmly NO whenever someone badgered him to help which he could not accept for health reasons or since that did not suit his life style. Whether he was in rural areas or in cosmopolitan cities he never compromised with his daily routine and would walk for not less than 5 kms at a stretch. The only thing he would also relish in such a long journey was to chew a betel roll which he often offered to his companions. In rustic Bengal it was easier for him to do such a thing since rural people are used to such a practice and there were not many vehicles disturbing the pedestrians.

No smoking habit

He never smoked in his life time and advised everyone to stop the evil practice for health reasons. He had two addictions. Besides chewing betel rolls he would take snuff by breathing into his nose, which he considered invigorating but he was very particular to clean the nose after a while by sneezing. When we often advised him against using the nasty snuff he would say ”Look one must have at least one addiction since if I do not have such a simple habit I may fall prey to other serious vices which could damage my health and honor.” Besides he used to take tea that too infrequently. He firmly believed that everyone has one addiction or the other and some persons may not divulge his or her secret habits only to lament later.

Vegetarian dish

He would prefer such dishes and unless occasionally pestered for such items as fish or egg he would habitually order vegetarian food which included sufficient vegetables without much oil or spices. The meal was always in moderation. Whatever meal was served to him would be shared with the street dogs, cows and birds. He detested the idea of taking extra salt or sugar and never took butter or condensed milk in any form. He would consume plenty of water and brush his teeth with neem leaves.


Yoga & pranayam

Although he was not an addict he used to do simple breathing exercise which comprised deep breathing and alternate breathing through the two nostrils for which he never suffered from any ENT problems and that too after taking snuff regularly. Occasional blowing of nose to clear snuff remains and phlegm was a regular habit. He could stand on his head and the practice he followed occasionally in the morning which he claimed to have contributed to his brain power and unusual memory. He could name the consecutive railway stations even after 20 years after visit. Following lunch he would invariably sit in a yogic posture called Bajrasana which helped him in fighting indigestion.

Alternate breathing exercise
Alternate breathing exercise

Early to bed and early to rise

From his childhood he never went to bed just after dinner but would always retire before 11 PM and he used to wake up before dawn. Even if he had to go to bed late due to some compelling circumstances like accompanying a dead body for cremation or taking a seriously injured person to a hospital he would invariably leave bed much before the Sun appeared above the horizon. He could not compromise any way with such rigid practice any time during his life time. He was found to be more comfortable in rustic life since the serene environment allowed him to remain much away from the din and bustle of the urban life and he could jolly well adjust his life style with the nature, birds and animals. When he suffered from fever or stomach ailments he would never take any medicine but remain secluded for a few days only to come back totally recuperated and rejuvenated. Often we would politely question him to know the reasons for avoiding medicines or not consulting physicians when he would say “Do you know how the animals of the forest get rid of such ailments? They will just remain isolated in a deep forest for some days and will return when they are fit to résumé normal activities.” We would be completely dumbfounded by such arguments but had to accept the scientific logic behind such wise advice we often ignore much to our detriment.

Beaming children
Beaming children

Humorous & positive attitude

What helped him stand out in a crowd was his excellent sense of humour and huge collection of anecdotes with lively tales. He would love to laugh and let others laugh to their hearts' content. He advised everybody to enjoy life fully since life span is uncertain.

Besides he had a very positive attitude and would never be driven by any negative thoughts. Although he used to live a very simple austere life he always encouraged others to utilize their resources fully to be successful in life. He would give succour to the needy and stand by the helpless people who had found no hope in their existence.

A few weeks back a gentle man knocked on our door and as I proceeded to speak to him he introduced himself as an old acquaintance of Sona uncle whom he wished to see after a yawning gap of long years. When I intimated him about his demise a few years back he was totally upset as he had no chance to see again the noble man. After reeling out many interesting incidents about him which we did not know he said finally “Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that I am a high government official now but I could not have been established without his timely intervention and financial help for my parents were illiterate and much against my pursuing studies.”

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Mixing with innocent children

Perhaps the greatest joy he would derive by mixing with the children whom he considered the blameless creations of the almighty. The children in turn liked him very much and could learn a lot from his company and imbibe how to live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.


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    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Anita-Thank you very much for your visit and such wise comments. I have also come across busy physicians doing healthy practices like going to bed or leaving it early, avoiding pills as much as possible and taking traditional meals like puffed rice.

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 

      4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Very interesting hub. I totally agree with Sona Uncle. My grandfather, a famous, physician who was awarded the Padmabhushan, always discouraged us from popping pills. Only later on in life have I begun to rise with the sunrise or before it and sleep by 11 pm. It really energises you.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @tobusiness- You could read all the 4 parts on the life of the great man to know him completely. Thank you very much for stopping by leaving such wise comments.-

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Sona uncle was a very inspirational man, we could learn much from how he lived his life.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Travmaj -Such selfless men as Sona uncle are very rare these days and are considered odd men out in the society . Thank you very much for your rich comments

    • travmaj profile image


      4 years ago from australia

      Sona Uncle was indeed a man to be proud of. His philosophy of life is to be admired. How exceptional and how knowing he was. In a fast paced society most of us could learn a lesson about individuality. His life was so meaningful.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Jason R. Manning-Thank you very much for your visit and such wise comments which have only enriched the hub.

    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 

      4 years ago from Sacramento, California

      This is a great article. I think most of us could stand to take a moment and reflect on our bad habits and try to pick up some healthier ones. Thank you for sharing this, certainly contains wisdom from tradition. Cheers.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @DDE- Thank you for your stopping by summing up the essay.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A very well approached topic and so interesting to know of another way of life.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @phildazz - Thank you very much for your visit and such apt comments which are encouraging.

    • phildazz profile image

      Allan Philip 

      4 years ago from Toronto

      Interesting way of life to healthy living.


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