Doctor’s prescription for a Happy New Year: Free

K. JAVEED NAYEEM writes: A brand new year is standing at our threshold, all set to enter our lives. Or, maybe I should say that we are standing at its threshold, a little eagerly if not impatiently to see what it holds for us.

Although a year seems like a very long time, the years nevertheless march quietly but quite fast and before we realise it, a full year is gone in what seems like no time at all. Suddenly, we find that we have all grown a year older.

It is rightly said that ‘Time, like a fistful of sand, slips through our fingers while we stand and wonder what to do with it.’

Tomorrow evening or the evening the day after, depending on which side of the globe they live in, most people will be spending much time and money and sacrificing much sleep too, in the process of welcoming the new year.

This tradition of ushering in a new calendar year is often just an excuse to indulge in a little late-night partying which actually needs no excuse at all if we have the time and money for it along with a handful of willing friends.

To tell you the truth, I have never ever celebrated the arrival of any New Year in my life although I have seen a good many new years now. I don’t think any of my friends, either tipsy or sober, can recall seeing me at any New Year celebration simply because I refuse to be drawn into the celebration of an event which I do not consider eventful.

To me, a New Year is simply the time when I have to be a little extra careful in making sure that I write the correct year while writing the date after every prescription which fetches my bread and butter!


New Year is the time when most of us make new resolutions about how we should put our lives in order and live in a more organised manner.

Again, living in a very organised manner is something I can never do. This is a resolution I make every day and break it the very next, simply because I see so much convenience in the chaos that others see around me either in my work place or in what I call my study at home.

This love for having everything that I may need or not need around me at an arm’s length, at all times would have left my home a complete shambles were it not for the constant efforts of my wife who has stood all these years like a steadfast dike between the surging sea of my disorderliness and her unyielding intolerance for it.

Now, coming back to the topic of ushering in the New Year, although we all know that we invariably end up breaking them much sooner than later we nevertheless continue to make New Year resolutions year after year.

Thankfully, I am proud and happy to say that I have never ever broken a single New Year resolution in all my life. This is not because I happen to have an unusually resolute will power but simply because I have never ever made any New Year resolutions in my life!

But since I know that most people would be making their New Year resolutions I would like to tell them that they would do well to do it a little differently this year.


Since I happen to be a practicing doctor you may even consider this advice as a prescription of sorts that comes free as a New Year gift. And, I would like you all to try very hard and see that you do not break this one resolution even if you end up breaking many others.

These days I find that most people are earning more than what many of us used to earn in the past. Although most people somehow invariably imagine the possession of ‘easy money’ to be the good fortune only of software engineers, I would like to point out that people of many other professions too are earning very well these days.

And surprisingly, quite a few of them happen to be devoid of any formal education let alone the professional qualifications that we think are most essential for a good income.

For all those for whom the going is good, money is aplenty today. Thanks to good incomes and easy availability of bank loans most people who could in the past never even dream of owning them have now started acquiring all the luxuries of life like well-equipped homes and slick cars quite early in life.

But I find that while most people manage to have everything that should make life easy and convenient they somehow never have the inclination or time to enjoy life in a way that makes their families happy.

These days, as a doctor, I find so many affluent people coming to me with symptoms that are just signs of stress arising out of a lack of time to be happy and relaxed.

They have the money and even eagerness to get the most expensive tests done that invariably turn out negative results for all the ailments they imagine, thanks to the generous, albeit often incorrect advice from the internet but they fail to understand what their bodies and minds are trying to tell them in words loud and clear.

I find much marital discord among very young couples who tend to flare up at the slightest provocation.

While lack of sleep and sexual disorders are what most young males complain of, intractable chest pain, giddiness and unexplained weakness is what bothers their spouses. Hyperacidity, which is a completely preventable problem, stalks both.

These days, like my other professional colleagues I have been seeing a sharp upsurge in the number of young diabetics and hyper-tensives among urban patients.

I find unusually bright and otherwise cheerful children presenting with symptoms like recurring abdominal pain, headache, lack of concentration and increased frequency of urination which are symptoms that simply do not belong to their ages.

With joint families fast becoming extinct and both parents often tied up in demanding jobs most children these days find no one to turn to for their emotional needs. The result is that stress invariably steps in unnoticed, leading to behavioural problems that need prolonged counselling.

Children are no longer able to return from school and hop into the laps of indulgent grandparents to listen to their favourite stories. The television and the computer have now become grandpa and grandma for our children, making dazed zombies out of even the liveliest kids.

If we can all resolve this New Year, to take time off from our busy lives and change this rather sad picture for good, I think we would have made the best New Year resolution for all time to come.

Have a great New Year.

(K. Javeed Nayeem is a practising physician who writes a weekly column in Star of Mysore, where this piece originally appeared)

Illustration: courtesy Nasir Khan