Full text of actor R. Madhavan’s talk titled “Drink Your Food, Chew Your Water” at RWC16 conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Drink your food, chew your water by R. Madhavan at the RWC16
I’m going to tell you something that you may not know about our next speaker. Did you know when he was still in school he was a star NCC Cadet. And he went to UK to train with the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Did you know that he is a big believer in protection of animals? A few years ago, PETA ranked him as the ‘Person of the year’. We all know him as an actor, but very few of us know that he’s also a writer and a producer.
So ladies and gentlemen, bring down the roof. Let’s welcome Mr. R. Madhavan!
Madhavan – Actor
Oh! Very good afternoon. Thank you very much.
When I first came in and I saw this setup I was blown. I was talking to a doctor in the evening last night and she was saying this forum should be as big as TED. With this sort of preparation and the kind of speakers you are, I think you’ll soon be as big if not more prominent than TED in India.
And so I wish you all the very best for it.
I’m going to speak to you on my idea of wellness. I am NOT an authority on History nor on the Medical sciences that I have bravely ventured out to speak on today.
But I can tell you with complete certainty that it has worked for me. It has really changed the way my life has been proceeding, when I was made aware of these facts.
You know, being an actor, the stardom was thrust upon me and I was more than excited to be called a star and have people cheer after me.
And what happens with most successes at an age when you didn’t expect it is that complacency sets in. So after my first seven-eight years in the film industry, the kind of films that I was doing was mundane. I was getting into doing three films a year and more importantly I was becoming fat. And even more importantly deep inside I was getting unhealthy, mentally as well as physically.
Mentally because complacency is one of those stages where it starts… You start living in what I call the 30-second rule which is you must be aware when you are in stress and you get up in the morning every day, you’re brushing your teeth, you’re thinking about whether to have breakfast before you go to work, or have breakfast at work.
When you are actually having a shower, you’re thinking instead of concentrating on the shower, you are thinking: ‘As soon as I get out of the shower I have to wear these clothes, and probably take this route to the office.’
When you’re driving the car, you’re living another 30 seconds ahead. I am thinking, as soon as I reach the office, this is the first call I have to make.
And what happens is you are never actually in the moment that you’re doing a particular activity.
How many of you all really enjoyed a shower, recently? Not had a shower, enjoyed a shower? When I say enjoyed a shower, it is actually looking at every part of your body that you’re cleaning and seeing how it feels, being there in that one. And that is what meditation is all about – is being in the moment.
This 30-second rule I realized was what was happening in my life. I was thinking about what I’m going to do after the shot, while doing the shot. I was thinking about what I’m going to do after, you know, there’s backup is over when I’m in the shoot. And as a result, I was never actually present completely in what I was doing. And that was never the best formula to excel.
So when this complacency set in and I became unhealthy, I decided to go and meet a doctor. Like all of us do today, we want to do all the research in the internet before we go to meet the doctor. Because we want to seem sure of what is happening with us and help the doctor in his, you know, diagnosis of our issues.
I have a neighbor whose name is Dr. Manoj and he tells me a story about how this patient came to him after doing all the research; he was living in the ghettos in Bombay – Abdul. He came and said, ‘Doctor Saab! My wife is unwell. There is something wrong in her stomach. You have to do an operation!’
The doctor said, ‘Let me examine the patient first! Or why did you bring her to me, you could have just taken there and done the operation on your own?’
‘Nahi nahi saab! Aap dheko..! See what has to be done.’
And sure enough Dr.Manoj checked her and they found out that she did have an infected appendix. So they did appendix surgery and she was cured.
One and a half years later, Abdul calls the doctor again. Exactly one and a half years later. ‘Doctor Saab, I’m bringing my wife. She’s got appendix again. You have to do the surgery and take it off!’
So now Dr. Manoj is getting a little upset. He said, ‘Yeah, listen. Let me be the doctor. Let me do all the diagnoses. You just bring your wife with the complaint!’
He said. ‘No, no. I’m telling you the same thing. Just take out the appendix. She’ll be fine!’
And the doctor was really angry. He said, ‘Listen you’re going to teach me how to be a medical officer? One human being has only one appendix; that has already been taken out.’
And he’s yelling at Abdul. Abdul waited for him to finish and he said, ‘Sir, I understand that one human being can have only one appendix. But a man can have two wives, nah?’
Yeah! Hey I find it tough to manage with one. I don’t know how Abdul does it.
But the thing is when I went to the doctor he said, ‘high triglycerides, this problem, that problem. All the issues!’ And I said what he wanted to do. He said, ‘I’m going to give you medicines!’ It was a quick fix.
But that is the time that I came across some very interesting notions that were being floated around in the world. And more importantly, I met some very interesting people that changed the way I thought I was going to get cured.
So let’s go back to these interesting notions first, something that I believe in very strongly.
You know human beings are not designed, or were not meant to live past the age of 40. The average age expectancy of the Homo sapiens was about 40 to 45. Everything else starts closing down. If you are lucky you manage to 50. The Japanese made it a habit of reaching the 100 now. And everybody lives on what I call bonus time now.
The problem is mentally we do not prepare for the next 40-50 years of our extended life. And what happens is many people think that retirement is a retirement from life. Or when a certain sort of unhealthy situation sets in, they think that’s the end of it.
And the worst curse that my grandfather told me in the world today – be it youngsters, be it students, professors or people who are flying high. The worst curse today mentally is to be considered irrelevant. To be considered irrelevant in the society that you live in, the family that you live in, and the environment that you live in. They may say old man, it doesn’t matter. Don’t listen to him.