Don’t be a pill, be ‘forty-fied’ and fabulous

Forty-plus. Please don’t think I'm talking of my waist size. (We crossed 40 before Tendulkar made his first century). Forty is the age at which, universally, our lives start revolving around small, coloured, cylindrical objects. (Again, not the tassels on Govinda’s outfits). I speak of those, sometimes round, sometimes rectangular, and often times, intimidating, annoying things called, relatives. Oh sorry, not relatives, but just like relatives, they are always around. I speak of pills. Medicine. Over-the-counter powders, that kind of thing. I know. I know exactly what you are thinking: “Pills? At least they are not as bad as relatives”. “Tsk-tsk”, I say. And that’s because they actually are. It was the famous astrologer, Caicus, who said, “The difference between medication and poison is not the dosage, but who you are facing at the time.” This lack of knowledge on the subject of pills is the real culprit.

So, I have taken the liberty of putting together a guide to essential medicines. Pills that will make you, not break you. All my research is based on the scientific knowledge shared with me by a famous doctor, who asked not to be named in the article. Dr Sharma, a leading gynaecologist, fascinated by the stomach (he called it his moon), switched to digestive tract ailments and nutrition. Brijesh, as Dr Sharma is known to his friends, has won nine awards. Although none of them are for medical science. Then again, polo is Dr Brijesh Sharma’s first love. And it is possibly why his daughter, who was named after this sport, is not on speaking terms with her father. But, let us respect Dr Brijesh Sharma’s wishes, and hereby only refer to him as ‘doctor’. (Hopefully no other doctor, vet, or PhD will be mentioned, to avoid obvious confusion.)

Dr Sharma, sorry, I meant to say my good doctor, has listed the most essential of all medicines for the above-40. Keep in mind, this list is for the above 40. The moment you turn 50, you get different pill options, or at least much bigger pills, so that you can at least identify them, in the first place. Brijesh begins with an obvious one. Fish Oil.

 Fish Oil. First a little background on Fish Oil. Fish as a species are always oily. The reason for this is genetics. Their parents were oily. Oil spills from big ships don’t help. In fact, the two defining points of being a fish are: (a) you are oily, and (b) you can swim. Now, for the important part. If you consume three-and-a-half fish a week in your diet, then you are fine. What you do with the other half of the fish is entirely up to you. But now bear in mind that many of us are vegetarians. Secondly, until we become a five trillion-dollar economy, most of us may not be able to afford fish. This is not the fish’s fault, more likely the fisherman’s. Of course, by the time we hit the five trillion-dollar mark, all the fish and all the oil on God’s not-so-green earth, will be gone. In which case, we would need to eat seaweed. Which I'm told offers far less benefits, although it tastes better than fish oil. For the record, everything tastes better than fish oil. This is why, while consuming other fish, fish themselves are known to hold their own noses. (Please don’t ask me how).

Sharma next marks out CoQ10. Yep, that’s how it's spelt, and pronounced. If you want its full form, you have to contact Dr Brijesh Sharma. But for God’s sake don’t do that, as he doesn’t want to be named in this column. CoQ10 is a pill for the most important organ in women and the second most important in men. In comes in varying doses, but basically its function is to remind your heart that it's a heart. After 40, many hearts go in for voluntary retirement, thus leading to all kinds of engine trouble.

Okay, now Brijesh Sharma points us to Celin. At first I thought he meant his beautiful apprentice. Her name, it turns out, is Shalin-an honest mistake. Celin or Vitamin C is Sharma’s favourite pill. He’s not that keen on Vitamins A and B. He also says for Vitamin D, a walk in the sun should do it. And he quickly lost interest in Vitamin E. Then he lied to my face and said there is no Vitamin F. Clearly, Dr Brijesh Sharma, he who must not be named, is no fan of the alphabet.

Then that takes us to the last one, Pill No. 4. It's called Liv52. This pill, Dr Sharma says, keeps the liver strong. The other option is to just not drink alcohol. Apparently a strong liver indicates a healthy body. Which means all the models in Playboy and Penthouse magazines that I researched growing up, were on this liver supplement–Liv52.

So, there's your guide to the 40-plus tribe. Fish Oil, minus the fish, CoQ10, Vitamin C, and the liver chap, who goes by the number 52. There is one more pill, a very important pill, perhaps the most important one. It's the memory pill. But I can’t, for the life of me, remember the name of the memory pill. Which is the reason why I'm supposed to take it in the first place. It's a real joke, this selective memory thing. Can’t remember the memory pill. But I can remember the good doctor, Dr Brijesh Sharma’s name. And he hadn’t wanted to be named, in the first place.

The writer is a comedian, TV anchor, theatre personality, satirist, podcaster and an author.

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