BANGALORE: Like father like son. Taking the sound advice of his fitness-conscious son and his concerned father, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy has decided to invest heavily in the most valuable assets—his body and mind.
After returning from Singapore in October, where he underwent a master health checkup at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, HDK appears to have gained a new perspective on the benefits of healthy habits. He exercises for at least four hours at the high-end gym in his house and trains under his son, Nikhil, who is an aspiring actor and politician.
“This (gym) is the only investment that I value,” says Nikhil, a fitness freak, of his state-of-the-art gym at his Jaiprakash Narayan Nagar residence in Bangalore. Nikhil feels his father needs to shed at least 20 kg to get back in shape. “I am giving him some light stretches to do, minimal weight training and cardio. He is not only responding well, but is also showing results,” says Nikhil.
And HDK seems to be following this new routine to a tee. After returning from Singapore, he put an end to his night-outs with friends and also abstains from eating chicken or taking a swig of his favourite Glenfiddich whiskey.
As a result, HDK has lost a few kilos and feels energetic throughout the day, he says. “I have lost five kilos already. You will see a completely different Kumaraswamy in the next couple of months,” he beams. On his wife Anitha’s advice, he has also started practising yoga and breathing exercises as well.
The veteran politician himself is enjoying his new regimen. “I was a sportsperson during my school and college days,” he says. “I gave up yoga and exercising after I entered public life. There was hardly anytime left for myself. I was working and travelling 24X7. In the last ten years, I hardly had time for myself, barring a couple of short outings with family,” he says. “Even when I went to rest, people thronged wherever I stayed. I couldn’t turn them away,” he says.
GOWDA’S SOUND ADVICE
HDK had gone to Singapore on the advice of his father, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. Worried about his son’s poor health, Gowda warned him of severe consequences on both personal and political front if HDK didn’t improve his health.
Living an erratic and a stressful life for more than two decades now, Kumar anna, as HDK is called by his followers, not only put on weight (crossing over 100 kg) but also became a severe diabetic and even underwent a heart surgery. Despite all these health risks, he continued his hectic lifestyle, binging on his favourite chicken meat and single malt whiskey, besides occasionally puffing a Parliament slim cigarette. A source says that he picked up alcohol much later. “He thought that the easiest way to mingle with MLAs was by raising a toast. And he picked the habit to know the pulse of party MLAs when his father, HD Deve Gowda, was the CM (1994-96),” said the source.
The habit, over a period of time, became a lifestyle with young and old leaders wanting to sit with him for a drink. Add to this his long hours of public life and food habits, and HDK gained weight, became diabetic and underwent a open-heart surgery to remove blocks formed due to severe calcific aortic valve stenosis.
Though, his brother-in-law, Dr CN Manjunath, an eminent cardiologist, advised him to give up his late night habits, Kumaraswamy continued his outings with fellow party leaders and friends. In the past few weeks, however, HDK has transformed his routine entirely.