Life Is A Fine Balance

Chinmaya NARASIMIAH responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire: 

Your view on beauty? 

I think beauty is one of the most polarising, also blinkered, topics since the beginning of time. It has gained enormous, albeit skewed, traction — for all the wrong reasons — especially in our troubled times. There is, perhaps, a supposed, also cock-eyed, standard set for a person to be considered beautiful, or simply ‘not good looking.’ This is, in my view, superficial gibberish; it actually holds no value in the grand scheme of things even one bit. Beauty, as I contend, is being the best version of yourself, from the inside out. What’s more, it is the ever-evolving aspect of life — where the individual can set certain standards for oneself and also achieve them.

Your ‘take’ on fitness?

I am a professional chef. The kitchen in my world — sort of. So, fitness is paramount, more so because my work entails spending long hours on my feet in the ‘caboose,’ as it were, with just a break, or two, for a meal, or cup of tea. The days of ‘Never trust a skinny chef’ is long gone. I firmly believe that there is no need for one to be as fit as an athlete though, albeit a basic level of physical fitness goes a long way in preventing, or mitigating, health concerns, especially in the long run.

Your view of health and wellness?

A decent level of physical fitness, as I have already touched upon, helps in avoiding complications that may be lurking around the corner, so to speak. This also holds good for the present. I personally feel amazing on the days I get to go for my morning run. It keeps my mind fresh and active. There is, on the contrary, a noticeable difference in my mental, or emotional, state when I spend too many days without exercise — irritation at trifles, frustration and lethargy, among others. I also believe that food, aside from exercise, is yet another outlet to ensuring you keep your body and mind well nourished — but, the caveat ‘eating right’ too is now more important than ever before — because, food is also medicine. In other words, eating whole and nutritious food is a key element for good health. So, there you are — and, before you make a rushed decision to eating something unhealthy you ought to ask yourself, “Am I making the best possible food choices, right now?” Agreed, that, there are times when you eat what you want, but it’s important to always counterbalance it with a healthy, focused lifestyle.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance? 

Work-life balance in the hospitality business is often touted to be a myth — and, that it is cut-throat and brutal. Well, mountains are meant to be climbed and I believe that a resolute effort to maintain a certain balance is the way to go. It is best to plan your day at work in advance to giving yourself a chance to get home and do the things you love doing. Setting limits for your work time, or scheduling breaks after a certain period is just as important. The stipulation is — for any of this to work, mastering — not just dabbling with — time management is crucial. Or, as philosopher Andrew Whitehead said, it is best to “grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamer for deductions,” in complex situations. This works, provided you balance the ‘equation’ with diligence and fidelity.

Your mantra to beat stress?

The best way to beat stress is to segregate work and your personal space. It’s also about letting go of the stress once you know that there nothing more you can do about it. One simple trick is to unlock what isn’t worth holding on to. I enjoy watching sports — cricket, Formula 1 and football [Manchester United], spending time running, watching documentaries and looking at ways to honing my skills, or getting better at my craft. The reason is simple, also profound — it’s just as important to enjoy and live every moment of the work you do.

CHINMAYA NARASIMIAH, a die-hard, incorrigible foodie since childhood, and now an aspiring professional chef, is an alumnus of the Institute of Hotel Management, Bengaluru, Karnataka. That he has been selected for the Kitchen Management Training Programme at the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development — the gold standard of hospitality training in Asia — is a glittering new feather in his culinary cap. Narasimiah is as passionate about Indian and Italian cuisine as his firm belief that food can change the world. He may also be found glued to TV, watching cricket matches of all kinds — when the time permits — while distilling and interpreting the subtle, or refined, technical elements of the sport with his doting dad in tow. He lives in Bengaluru, India.

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