BIKRAM VOHRRA These days people are always telling you to relax. Take it easy. Slow down. Cool it. My kids tell me to chill out, whatever that means. You get the feeling sometimes that everybody is very concerned. Not about your health as you might think, but about your setting a pace that is too swift for them. So, the whole system is geared towards holding you back. Dont push it. Back off, ease up, smell the roses, you only live once, so be nice and laid back. Like dominoes falling upon one another. Yes, sure, thanks a lot, this is the sort of advice no one needs. It ranks down there in my book with spectators watching you playing tennis or squash and saying: Come on, Come on, which is about the stupidest thing to say to anyone. And I am beginning to resent this present day fad about slowing everyone down. All over the world people are giving other people little books and DVDs on how to relax, to shut your eyes and take deep breaths. Great, that will pay the bills. All of us can lie down and take deep breaths and think happy thoughts and by the time you open your eyes all you would have lost is your job, which should do wonders for your peace of mind. Like the big bogey, they fling at you to bleed the speed is stress and how stress is worse than smoking and is sure to kill you 10 years too soon because people who are stressed have aitch aye dee eye tee. Has it ever struck you to ask who are these people dispensing this sugary advice on taking it easy. Even songs have this lyric these days. I warn you they are spreading an epidemic out there. I go to my friends place and he is putting oil on his forehead and listening to rainfall on the audio system and there is a hot compress on his eyes. Not well, I ask. Hes relaxing, says his wife, it is an executive therapy, he got it from a book called I Chan. What does it do, I say, I mean, how long does he lie here? Thirty minutes, she says, then he opens his eyes and breathes deeply. I should have guessed. Why has he got his eyes closed? Hes thinking of serene things, she says, of seas and sands and faraway places. See what I mean. He should be thinking of corporate planning, the next months workload, profits, and tomorrows business. Not so long ago, he was one of your fast lane personality A types, always on the go, thinking new ideas, leading a team to new frontiers, getting that bottom line kicking and screaming and because of it, there was profit, the company was healthy and he was ensuring that everyone got bonuses and was secure and their families had nice houses to live in and good salaries and perks. Now, he frets about his primrose oil and his Ying Yang oil and his I Chan and the gravel in his gut has turned to sticky sweet sawdust. He might be relaxing, but everyone else in his office is tense and nervous. If he carries on like this, there is going to be no profit this year. What follows? Retrenchments. Cutbacks. Salary reductions. Dozens of people directly affected because one man has slowed down, begun to relax and take it easy. Mummy why has daddy lost his job? Because his boss is an aromatherapy relaxant, darling. I say, leave this lot alone. They are needed to keep things up to speed. Without these natural pacesetters nothing will happen in this world of ours. Theirs is a magnificent obsession and should be seen as such. They only function when they are under stress, when all systems are in top gear and they are driving everyone else up the wall. There is an old saying that is still valid. My candle burns at both ends, It will not last the night, But ah my friends and oh, my foes It gives a lovely light. Thats the great thing about those who get stressed, who go for broke and dont stop and stare. Their candle gives warmth and security to thousands who havent been gifted the speed and the ability to perform at that intensity. Dont knock it down. Khaleej Times