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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 50

Glenmore Park


The first of January 2023 marked the beginning of this new year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a great year ahead. I would also like to thank you for your continuous support for the walk for a noble cause. Sure, I did the walking, but there was a lot of work behind the scenes. I wouldn’t be able to take up such a gigantic challenge without the support of so many friends, family, volunteers and supporters. A big thanks to all of you for being there when I needed you. Thank you. I get asked again and again why I took on this monumental task at this stage in my life and why I opted to support the McGrath Foundation.



Please allow me to put the record straight right from the outset. As you get older especially when you go past the age of 70, you slowly begin to realise that one day like many of your friends, family members, work colleagues, and neighbours, you also will be leaving this world. You begin to appreciate and acknowledge the role of hundreds if not thousands of people and other subjects who have shaped or influenced the direction of your life. The thoughts of appreciation and acknowledgement bring you closer to the reality of the impermanent nature of this world. You tend to analyse your life like an old movie from the past that you can remember, scene by scene and see where someone helped you improve your life. You know that you don’t have much time left because no one knows when exactly “your sun” is going to set. But you do know that you are getting closer and closer to your finale. And that would be it….. Before that happens, you want to give something back to the country, to the society as a mark of appreciation and acknowledgement. What a better way than improve things for future generations?



The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that various forms of cancer are four out of top ten causes of death in the country. Around 20,000 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer every year that is one of the lead killers in women if not detected early and/or left untreated. Since its inception in 2005, the McGrath Foundation (MF) has been at the forefront to take on the challenges related to breast cancer. From nullifying the common myths to providing hands-on personal care, the MF has done commendable work in this area and has to date helped around 120,000 Australian families affected by breast cancer. The 193 breast care nurses currently on the register of MF, are specially trained to understand the complexity of the situation associated with breast cancer and help the patient and their families deal with physical, psychological, social and other issues. The MF would like to increase the numer of nurses to 250 by 2025. When an organisation delivers such a high level of specialised care to patients as MF does, it raises the bar for the rest of the country. With the level of dedication and commitment of its breast care nurses, the MF could become the world leader in specialised patient care.



Enough on the reasons of yatra. Now let us go back to the daily account of Yatra. We went to bed after midnight last night. But when the alarm went off at 5:00 AM, I woke up and started to work on the blogs. Shekhar woke up around 8:00 and went over to the kitchen area to see if the hosts were still asleep or if they had woken up. They were well awake as their little daughter was super active. She couldn’t sit still even for a couple of minutes. We had breakfast of makki ki roti with methi (bread made from maize flour and fresh herbal leaves) with Indian chai (tea).



There was so much food left over from last night that we could have had for lunch. But Raman and Kuldip insisted on cooking afresh. It might sound silly but that is perhaps typical Indian hospitality. We watched a few video clips. We made a video call and spoke with Raman’s dad who lives in Toronto, Canada. We played with this little angel who never gets tired of jumping and doing things to seek attention. We had freshly cooked food for lunch. It was very yummy indeed. Thank you so much Raman and Kuldip for everything.



For the last 20-25 years, I had been observing a day of silence (Mauna) on 1st of January every year. I couldn’t do it in 2017 because I had a shoulder replacement surgery a couple of weeks before the new year and I was still hospitalized or in rehab. This year again, I couldn’t observe it because of my commitment to walk and I didn’t want the hosts to feel uneasy, especially Kuldip, who had taken a day off from work when he could have got paid double time rates. We all had a good chat throughout the day and into the evening.



Kuldip and Raman asked me to show how they could also donate to the McGrath Foundation. We went online and opened the MF website. This young couple were very generous and made a huge contribution to the noble cause. Thank you so very much for your kind support for the McGrath Foundation. A big thank you!



We had late dinner once again, but it was worth the wait. Absolutely, finger licking good and delicious. The hosts went out of their way to cook something special. I think, Shekhar and I would have put on a couple of kilos in the last two days. However, it was really great to spend the weekend with this young Indian family. Thanks very much to both of them for everything they did for us.

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