There is a saying of my mother which I can never forget and it says that a man or a woman can find everything in life, but still lack in something that is very important to life, like good health – Ali Peter John
I can give you any number of examples about people who have all the wisdom and all the wealth, but have all the problems with their health which don’t leave them till they leave the world. I have tried to understand this phenomenon, but have miserably failed ….
Today, Amitabh Bachchan enters the 80th year of his illustrious life and looking at the history of his ailments and accidents down the years, I wonder how he has kept alive and stayed alive all These years….
Amitabh was hardly seven years old when he was struck by an acute attack of asthma, which sometimes almost killed him.
These attacks followed him till he was a superstar and I was witness to how he wriggled in misery and pain when these attacks gripped him and he once almost jumped off the 18nt floor of the now defunct Sea Rock Hotel where he was shooting with Shashi Kapoor for a film called “Do Aur Do Paanch” and Shashi had saved him in the nick of time.
And another time he had a serious attack of asthma was when I took for the college function early in the morning with him driving in Maruti 800 car himself, with his security guards following him in an Ambassador car.
The function was a huge success and we were coming back when he had a serious attack and if his guards had not got his Maruti 800 out of the traffic jam in time, I would perhaps not have this story to tell.
After the Maruti was brought out of the jam with Amitabh at the steering, Amitabh drow like a mad man and literally crashed into “Prateeksha” and a team of doctors rushed in to bring him back to normal …
Who doesn’t know about that famous and almost fatal accident he had met with in August 1982.
Any other man in his place would have died several deaths, but he survived. He suffered from various ailments, but the worst was a disease of the liver called peritonitis which scared the entire country and forced the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi to fly down to Bombay to have a last look at her friend Mrs Teji Bachchan’s son before he could die, but he survived ….
It was while he was at the Breach Candy Hospital for several months that he developed a new disease of the muscles and nerves called Myasthenia Gravis which was a threat to his life, but the fighter in him refused to give up.
He was just a bundle of bones and could not even stand on his feet and he cried when he tried to stand near his bed and crumbled on the ground.
He fought the rest of his physical battle in a cottage in Madh Island which his family had hired on the advice of his doctors, Dr Farokh Udwadia, Dr S Shah and Dr Jayant Barwe.
He reported for the shootings of “Coolie” on which he had met with the accident and started shooting for Prakash Mehra’s ” Sharaabi” and then there was no stopping him and in fact he was working harder than he used to work before the accident…..
In the 90s, he fell sick again and spent days at the Leelwati Hospital in Bandra. And he was on of the first celebrity Covid victims who was admitted at the Nanavati Hospital and recovered within a short time.
He is seventy nine and going on eighty and has a team of doctors taking care of his heath and there are laboratories and every kind of medical facility available at “Jalsa” his palatial house, “Janak” his office and Prateeksha, his first house.
And besides all these man – made facilities and equipments, he has the millions of prayers and blessings of people from different religions and from different parts of the world
I was traveling with him in his vanity van one day and I asked him how he managed to work so much and for so many hours in a day and he just pushed a box of colourful pills and tablets towards me and quietly asked, “what are all these for” ?