Sid Sahrawat, 37, re­calls how a health scare made him re­alise the im­por­tance of not tak­ing things for granted

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - As told to Paul Lit­tle.

Sid Sahrawat

We were in the process of open­ing our sec­ond restau­rant, Cas­sia — on July 14, 2014 — when we won a restau­rant of the year award for Si­dart. So the tim­ing seemed to be on our side. Ex­cept it wasn’t, be­cause I got very sick at the end of June.

We had been so busy we had skipped our flu vac­cines that year. One day I had a sore throat and went to the doc­tor for some an­tibi­otics. Then I got chest pains, so went to the GP and had some tests. And I got sent straight to hospi­tal for more tests. The con­di­tion was called my­operi­cardi­tis, caused by in­fluenza — ba­si­cally the heart was at­tacked by in­fluenza, en­larged and was swelling un­der at­tack.

I was pretty close to hav­ing a heart at­tack, which was a big shock at that age. Ini­tially I thought it would mean a few hours in hospi­tal, and I was laugh­ing about it. But they kept me in and kept do­ing more and more tests and weren’t happy with the re­sults. I had been there for about a week, kept in iso­la­tion, and the Cas­sia open­ing was get­ting closer and closer. There were a lot of dif­fer­ent tests.

And even when I was given the all-clear, they wanted to keep me in for an­other day but I dis­charged my­self on July 10 with just four days to go to the open­ing.

We had peo­ple about to start work, food was on its way, there were two soft open­ings planned — I didn’t want to have to can­cel all that be­cause I was stuck in hospi­tal and then find out that I had been okay all along, so I took the risk, and for­tu­nately it turned out all right and we had a great open­ing.

But I learned my les­son about health. It re­ally was a wake-up call that changed my life. Now I stay away from too much carbs and re­fined sug­ars, and I go to the gym. I had to be­come a lit­tle more re­laxed about ev­ery­thing. For the first three months I wasn’t even al­lowed to cook. I was in the restau­rant, plat­ing and man­ag­ing peo­ple and look­ing over ev­ery­thing but the doc­tors didn’t want me too close to heat or lift­ing any­thing too heavy.

I was on a lot of heart med­i­ca­tions and am still on blood pres­sure and choles­terol medicine. And I’m con­scious of my staff’s health. I tell all my chefs to take time out reg­u­larly. And we have a pro­gramme where ev­ery­one has flu jabs. Flu is taken quite lightly some­times, but I know how se­ri­ous it can be.

Peo­ple ask me if my ill­ness was the re­sult of work­ing too hard. I don’t think it was, but open­ing a restau­rant is very stress­ful and maybe my im­mune sys­tem just wasn’t ready for the flu.

I also learned never to take any­thing — not just my health — for granted and how im­por­tant it is to have a life you’re happy with. Both our restau­rants are fam­ily-driven busi­nesses. My wife Chand and I have two chil­dren — Zoya is 7 this month and Roan is 2. We have to live for our fam­i­lies.

I learned my les­son about health. It re­ally was a wake-up call that changed my life.

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