He was happily sleeping while his mobile phone kept on ringing. Having been adequately trained over the years in snoozing alarms, sleeping through a ringing phone was a cake walk for him. But same thing cannot be said of his wife. Grumbling she picked up the phone and answered it, half seeing who caller was.
“Hi Albert, good morning. Ramesh is still sleeping.”
“Hi Sudha , this is Stella.” Sudha was surprised to hear Albert’s wife’s voice. Worryingly she sounded agitated.
“Yes, Stella. Is everything alright?”
“Albert had a massive heart attack this morning. We have moved him to the General Hospital. Can you pls come here?”
“Ofcourse Stella. I will be there in 30 minutes with Ramesh. Dont worry. Nothing will happen to Albert. “
“I am trying to be calm. But Joseph also did not pick up. He had slept in the hostel with his friends. They have just taken Albert to the ICU.”
“No issues at all. Do you have enough cash with you?”
“I think so. I have just brought all the cards with me as of now.”
“Dont worry . Ramesh will take care of the Finance.”
Ramesh and Albert have been business partners for over 20 years and have known each other from their school days. Ramesh was hardly a deep sleeper, always a grumpy riser from the bed in the morning.
Grumpy Ramesh was shocked when he heard about the news.
“Albert is one of the fittest guys I have ever known. How could this happen to him! We are only 48 years old.”
Albert regularly worked out. He successfully avoided having the middle age bumps. He had a healthy life style and was always in control of his health. He looked at least 5-10 years younger than his age.
Visibly shocked Sudha and Ramesh left for the hospital immediately. They were received by a rather nervous looking Stella. Their arrival calmed down Stella a bit. Sudha started to console Stella and sat with her outside the ICU. There were several other grieving families near by. Sudha hated the aroma associated with hospitals. The only time she enjoyed this smell was when her daughter was born. In the recent times luckily neither she nor Ramesh had to stay overnight in a hospital.
There was some frantic action in and out of the ward, with several medical staff entering the room. Ramesh tried to enquire about the progress to the fleet footed nurses and doctors without any success. After a 6 hour wait, the doctors came out with some good news. They explained for a few minutes in medical jargons that they could only understand, the gist of which meant that Albert is no more critical. There was relief all around. After about 8 hours, Albert was in a state to see everyone. Ramesh and Sudha finally left the hospital.
“We have to come here again tomorrow” said a concerned Ramesh to Sudha.
“Yes. I will cook something for Joseph and stella. The hospital food is not upto the mark.”
“Yes thats there. But I have booked a complete medical check up for both of us in the afternoon.”
Sudha was intrigued.
“It’s true that we have been trying to improve our dietary habits, but don’t you think you are over reacting to Albert’s situation?”
“Are you kidding! Albert was the best of the lot. Look at me, my tummy. God only knows what my cholesterol level is. There must be a start. You have also been constantly gaining weight, ever since Lakshmi was born. We don’t take our health seriously. Albert’s healthy life style must have saved him today. If we get a cardiac arrest, I am not sure if we would survive that.”
“Dont talk inauspicious things.”
“I am just being pragmatic.”
The general check up turned out to be scarier than expected. While both of them were in the overweight category, they also had Hyper tension, near high blood sugar level. Sudha had weak cartilages in her knees and Ramesh had high Cholesterol levels. They also had other minor issues. In short, their health was in a mess. Their medical report was a rude wake up call.
Within two days, it was Ramesh who reacted first. “I have got us membership in ABC fitness center. They have aerobics and power Yoga also. Its 3 kms from here. Daily morning we can cycle there. I have ordered 2 bicycles also.”
“ I have been browsing the internet for some healthy diet tips. I found this GM weight loss diet plan. It’s assured 5-6 kg weight loss in a week. Its mainly fruit and veggie based. Absolutely no rice at all. Starting from tomorrow let us try that.”
Thus began their quest of finding that perfect health. The first day they woke up at 5 in the morning and cycled to the gym. 1 hour of moderate workout was exhausting but, they enjoyed every bit of it. After that started the GM diet routine. First day was fine. But as they entered the 3rd day, the lack of food and physical exhaustion was taking its toll on them. They were getting easily irritated and started taking out the frustration from lack of food on each other.
It was the 4th day morning. The fight the previous night was plain bad and they were not in talking terms with each other. They got dressed for the gym and left silently in the car. Ramesh was driving and there was no eye contact at all between them. He stopped at the local restaurant.
“2 plates sambar vadai and 2 ghee masala dosas pls”.