A SNOWFLAKE’S TALE – PART VIII

Meera was crying inconsolably and cursing her fate. She was thinking that she made a big mistake by leaving Sia at the orphanage. She was shocked to see the turn of things which landed her here in this isolated cold room. Yes, Meera was feeling cold because she had never experienced the luxury of AC ever in her life. Meera closed her eyes shut but that didn’t prevent the tears from rolling down her cheeks. She was repeatedly praying to God to safeguard Sia and to make her able to fight for herself in this big bad world. Meera was loosing her hope to make out alive from this trap.

A loud thud jerked Meera out of her trance and she was surprised to see a lady doctor walk in with a few sheets of papers. Meera closely observed the lady. It was the first time in so many days that she thought she had seen a good human being. Such was the aura of that doctor.

Hi Meera. I am Dr Sudha Nair” said the doctor extending her right hand out for a handshake. Meera was too baffled to understand what is happening. Meera didn’t know how react.

The doctor continued, “First of all, I want to congratulate you Meera for this brave decision of yours. I understand that you have not been given a clarity with respect to what is expected from you and that is exactly why I am here. Meera, there are countless couples in this world who crave for having their own children but for some reason they cannot. There is a couple who wants a surrogate mother and we are considering you for the same. The couple is willing to pay 15 lacs INR in return. All that you will have to do is grow their child in your womb. They will take care of you for all 9 months including your stay, food and nutrition plus health and hygiene. Give it a good thought Meera. A commitment of just 9 months will fetch you a good life and a great future. You can take a day’s time to make up your mind. I will come back tomorrow to know your decision. Take care Meera.” Having said that, Dr Sudha turned and walked out of the room swiftly closing the door behind her with a loud thud.

The room was back to what it was. Cold and isolated. Dr Sudha’s words were echoing in Meera’s years. Meera couldn’t believe her ears. 15 lacs INR?? Meera wasn’t sure if she could even count the whole amount. This amount was more than sufficient to provide good life and education to Sia.

Meera started talking to herself. “With this money I can give a good life to Sia. I will give her education and make her a doctor… Doctor like Mrs Sudha Nair. Then I will get her married to a nice man and then I can rest in peace. God… Thank you God for answering my prayers…” Meera’s happiness heaved a sigh of relief.

And then suddenly something struck her… She mumbled in fear….”How will I grow someone else’s child in my womb? Does it mean… Does it mean that I will have to sleep with a stranger??? No..no I can’t do that.. No.. never… But then how can I get Sia back? How can I give her a good life? How can I make her a doctor? And who will marry her? God… Oh God, you are testing me, aren’t you?”

Meera was feeling giddy because of whirlpool of these thoughts. Poor lady, little did she know that she will not need to do this to rent her womb.

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LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

It is this time of the year when most of us wonder how quickly the year passed by. Well, this year is no exception but it has been exceptionally exceptional for us!

I cannot end this year without expressing my gratitude to Almighty for blessing us with baby Aarnav. I cannot express my joy and satisfaction for being a mother. I am immensely happy to have baby Aarnav with us against all odds. This year has been like never before because it is in this year that I have transformed into a different human being – a mother, someone who doesn’t care how she looks, someone who doesn’t rest enough in order to give more time to baby, someone who doesn’t mind waking up 10 times from the slumber just to rock and nurse the baby, someone who doesn’t mind being peed and pooped on innumerable times in a day 😊. I am happy that I am making my way to be a selfless mom! So this year has majorly been about being pregnant, delivering the baby, and enjoying every day with him, celebrating his every milestone and wondering whether there is anything better on earth than this little baby of mine.

I am looking forward to 2019 to be as fulfilling as 2018. Some key things I would like to do in 2019 are –

1. Fitness: Very important that I take my fitness seriously. I need to match the energy level of my little one plus manage a job and household

2. Being mommy: Oh yes, I am totally into motherhood. At the cost of repetition, let me tell you that I always wanted to be a mother and after a long long wait finally I am. I wouldn’t mind considering a sibling for baby Aarnav, but will have to check with my husband too 😜

3: Going back to ambitious self: Oh yes, maybe next year! At present, I am far away from professional ambitions and merrily enjoying being Mumma.

4: Work on spiritual growth.

Few learnings 2018 gave me that I would like to carry forward with me:

1. Willpower works magic

2. You get what you are destined to. No odds can stop you.

3. You can endure far more than you can imagine, so never quit.

4. Life is a lot more than career and money making.

5. While making money is important and growing professionally is as much important too, but there are little things in life that give you far more satisfaction and happiness than materialistic things. Take time to enjoy that.

WHEN I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END…

What I am going to share today was a life-changing experience for me. Those 3 months taught me the value of life, relationships and it further strengthened my trust in God.

Rewind to 2014

While the life was as normal as any other day, I noticed a pea sized lump on my neck. It was on the front side, a couple of inches above the collarbone. I was getting ready to leave for work and I was late as always. I made a mental note of checking this again in the evening and dismissed it as nothing for the time being. The rest of the day was uneventful. Next morning my fingers could feel the lump again and it got me thinking. What was it? How did it come up all of a sudden? Why wasn’t it paining? The first sprint of scare rushed in my mind but I calmed myself down and chose to believe it is not what I was thinking it is. After all, cancer doesn’t happen just like that! Or does it?

The lump refused to leave my neck and mind. I spent the next several days googling about such growth and was mentally checking the probability of malignancy. A couple of months passed away and day by day the size of the lump was increasing and so was my fear. I used to press it very hard with the hope that it will pain but it never did! Boy, was it really the big C?

Time had come to share my fear with my family and even though nobody mentioned it clearly, they feared the same big C that I was fearing.

We consulted a doctor who suspected typhoid. Apparently, this was the most common symptom of typhoid. I was relieved. Not that typhoid was good but it was far better and curable than Cancer. I was advised some blood tests and a needle test. Needle test is when they prick a needle deep inside the lump and collect the particles of growth to examine for typhoid. A few days later we got the results. “No trace of typhoid found however further examination advised to rule out malignancy”

I was shattered. My world came crashing down. Was it really Cancer after all? I was not ready for it. Next several days were spent crying and questioning whether I deserved this. No words gave me enough strength to put myself back together. Routine life continued but the sacre reflected in every action and every thought. After all, I was just 30 then. Married only for 5 years and waiting to have a baby! Was I going to die without most of my wishes unfulfilled, most of my goals unachieved and more importantly was I going to leave all my dear ones grieving after I die?

Wheels moved faster than on. The unavoidable biopsy was scheduled. All this while my relationship with God was undergoing a transformation. From blaming Him to be stone-hearted to pleading for my life, it was full of enlightenment of good and bad deeds in the past.

The day of biopsy dawned. I cannot describe the feeling I had when I was wheeled to the operation theatre. All that I wanted was if there was malignancy there then I wished that something goes wrong with the surgery and I die during the procedure. I was ok dying without notice instead of dying every single day fighting the big C. Coward I know! But I was really not prepared for it.

Biopsy went well and the sample was sent for further investigation. The report was due after a week. This was my first test. I started undergoing change. I slowly embraced acceptance. I decided to make the best use of whatever time was left. I started expressing love more to my family. I started praying harder. My prayers changed from being demanding to being humble. I thanked God for everything He has given me and I asked for the fortitude to help me get through this phase. God is kind indeed. He blessed me with tons of fortitude and I was able to resume my routine quite soon. Of course, there were breakdowns and the fear did manifest every now and then but somehow I managed to stay put. I used to tell myself every day that things are going to be fine. I was learning to focus on positivity.

The report came. “No malignancy detected. Culture recommended” Aaaah… What a relief! I felt like I had been gifted a new life. I hugged my husband and both of us cried. God is Great! It gave me a boost and more faith to take on life. A sample was further sent for culture. Culture reports come in three parts, each a month apart.

Those 3 months transformed me completely. I was more positive, enthusiastic and living every day of my life. I was more confident that probably the big C is not in the picture. I joined a new job which seemed impossible a few weeks ago. I was my normal self again sans the fear at the back of my mind. I got introduced to spirituality during this time and my relationship with God enhanced further. God has always been kind. Each time I broke down He lifted my spirit with more confidence and fortitude than before. It was impossible without Him to keep going.

All three reports came out clear. I was amazed by my tenacity and fortitude – both which were the gifts of Almighty. Some experiences are life-changing. They make us stronger and more courageous. Thank you God for being there for me ALWAYS. I truly believe that had it not been for God, malignancy was sure to be there because there was no other diagnosis to it.

Anyway, I am glad things turned out well. All is well that ends well, isn’t it? Today I am more matured in my thought process, value and emphasise my relationships more, take life easy. I have understood that life is not only about chasing dreams but living one!

SUNBEAMS AT SUNSET – VII

Raman kept tossing and turning in his bed. He had had a wonderful evening with the Lal couple but there was something that disturbed him. A lot of voices were making the loudest sound in his mind.

RAMAN, HOW IRRESPONSIBLE YOU ARE! YOU LEFT GRANNY ALONE? WHY? SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE HAD YOU NOT GONE OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER DEATH IN A WAY RAMAN!!!!

This thought never left Raman’s mind ever since his grandmother passed away untimely. While nobody else blamed him for being irresponsible understanding the fact that he was merely a teenager and granny had not shown any signs of uneasiness when he left, Raman could never forgive himself for being a reason to his granny’s death. Ever since then he had decided that he will do his best to save an elderly person in need. There was no better way than specializing in Geriatric Care and Management. Raman had progressed to be the best Geriatric Care Manager in the country. His job involved planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long-term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible. It entails working with persons of old age and their families in managing, rendering and referring various types of health and social care services.  He had drowned himself in his studies and work so much that he didn’t realise when did he drift apart from his parents.

The last time he spoke with his parents was 5 years ago when his dad had called him home to inform that he is disowning Raman. Raman couldn’t believe what he was told and no amount of apologies and pleading changed his dad’s decision. He knew he couldn’t expect any help from his mother because she was a mere puppet of his dad’s hands.

Raman was alone ever since then. There was no one that he could call a family of his own. He had a big professional circle but he always returned to an empty home, same as he did today. He was amazed at how life takes one for a ride. Here he was missing his family, his parents and two blocks down the lane there was Lal family who was missing their children. Such a cute and happy go, lucky family! Or that is what one may opine by just looking at them. But the dinner tonight had exhibited an array of sorrows this elderly couple was fighting – Four estranged children and old man’s Alzheimer! How could life be so cruel?

The shrill ringtone of his mobile phone zapped him out of his thoughts. Raman rubbed his face with his palms and wondered who could be calling at 3 am!

Hello? Oh, sir you! At this hour? I hope everything is all right at your end. Yes, I met them today. They are safe and doing ok, don’t you worry. They just need a little care, a little love and all four children…” He couldn’t hold himself back but just uttered those words… And continued to respond before hanging up the phone… “Fine sir… I will connect with you next week… Thank you sir!

WHEN I WAS BODY SHAMED AS A NEW MOM

It was my baby’s naming ceremony. I was all decked up in a pink zari (gold thread) sari, gold jewellery and a hairdo. The colour of the sari complemented the glow on my face. Yes, I was glowing after the delivery. Happy hormones may be! I was indeed so happy about the arrival of my bundle of joy that it showed on my face.

We had hosted the naming ceremony 2 months after the birth of my baby. So I was clearly a new mom then! I looked beautiful, I just knew that because I felt beautiful from within. When I arrived at the venue with the baby (purposely I waited at home till baby fell asleep and most of the family members including my husband had proceeded to the venue earlier in order to supervise the arrangements) my husband whispered in my ear that I was looking beautiful than ever! It made my day. It was the first time in so many months that someone said I looked good. Otherwise, all that I heard all through the pregnancy was that how I am going to become fatter or worse, have already become that!

I was greeting all the guests merrily and was answering their typical questions like whether the baby sleeps in the night, is he breastfed etc. Obviously, the men clan didn’t get into nitty grities of the baby, for most of them, it was just like exchanging pleasantries or casual greetings. However, a person (very close relative) took me by surprise when he exhibited the audacity to comment something about my body.

It so happened that my husband had lost quite some weight a little before our baby arrived and obviously my weight was increasing as the baby was growing inside me. Obviously, all the weight that I had gained through the nine months of pregnancy was not going to disappear in just 2 months. All of you would agree that the new mum certainly feels like a balloon post delivery. The bloating and at times swelling on the body is certainly visible for the first few months post delivery and my case was no different. And it didn’t matter to me really. So, this man asked me why my husband had lost weight and whether I can cook well. Obviously, he was pulling my leg. Maintaining the sense of humour, I promptly answered that it was my mother-in-law who was in charge of cooking so be assured that he was fed well. On a lighter note, I added that perhaps he lost weight because he has been staying away from me for long now (because I was at my mom’s place since the birth of our baby) and probably he is missing me too much. We shared a hearty laughter and I expected the discussion to end there. But to my utter surprise, this man had the guts to say, “Looks like he is having meals twice a day and you are having six times of day”

I was so annoyed with that comment but I kept my cool and replied firmly saying, “oh yes, I do! Sometimes I have even eight meals a day and I don’t care if I look fat or ugly because I have something more important to think about. I have to breastfeed my baby which nobody else can do” I purposely replied to him a little louder than normal because I wanted other guests to hear our conversation. The very mention of breastfeeding made this man a little embarrassed and he chose to end the discussion by just saying I was right.

I calmly moved ahead to greet other guests who silently witnessed my body shaming episode. Obviously, I didn’t expect any of them to step in for me. If there was somebody who could shut up that man, it was me and I did just that!

Yes, I looked fat that day because I WAS fat then. My breasts looked heavy. But, how a mom who has delivered a baby just a few days back supposed to look? I didn’t take his comments very seriously because I know that its only a woman who can grow a life within her, nurture it, tear herself apart to give birth yet stand on her feet within three days of delivery, carry litres of milk in her body and tirelessly feed the little one every two hours (or even sooner). No man, however, fit he may be, can do that ever. 

Most of the mums are body-shamed because of their bulging tummies or round body shape. But friends, do not let such experience boggle you. Stand up for yourself. While it is important to be physically fit, it is also important to give time for our bodies to settle down post delivery. Don’t get depressed with such comments or do not haste to get back your pre-pregnancy appearance. Understand that your body is doing a great job. Feel proud of yourself. Only then will you be able to curb the discouraging and stupid remarks society makes about your body.

Next time somebody body shames you, do not forget to give them a piece of your mind.

(Image Credit: https://deho.tv )

VALUE VALUES

All through this week we read some wonderful insights of value. And today I am going to share a small experience of mine which showed that values are really taught.

I stepped out of the dentist’s clinic at the dusk hour. The sight of children playing outside the clinic was quite refreshing to watch during that otherwise gloomy hour. Some kids were playing on the slide and see-saw some were running around and two little girls were playing badminton. I was glad that there was no rush of vehicles around because the dentist’s clinic was located in a residential complex and these kids were safe from vehicles. And so was I!

No, I am not scared of vehicles but that time I used to prefer the road less used by vehicles because I was heavily pregnant and a rushing vehicle often scared me doubting myself whether I can jump away if need arises.

Well back to the scene. So these two girls were playing badminton. One seemed to be about 5 yrs old and other must be 7 or 8. I didn’t want to cross their invisible badminton court so took a longer way but coincidentally the little girl hit a shot harder and the shuttle cock landed on me. I was startled for a moment and as a reflex I looked at the direction of that little girl expecting an apology. She quickly looked away.

Kids after all! Or so I thought. I was reasoning to myself, “I can certainly do with a little sorry! I am pregnant, what if it had hurt me?” And quickly the sane side of my brain told me that a shot hit by such a little girl is no way capable of hurting my little one inside my tummy. True that! I was glad that the sane brain stepped in at the right time and I was not mad at the little girl anymore!

I continued dragging my heavy body towards the exit of the complex and soon that little girl came running from behind and said, “Aunty I am sorry.” She smiled at me after saying this and she looked so cute! My obvious reply was, “No problem beta, take care!”. I patted on her cheek and she rushed back to play.

I turned around to soak in a little more cuteness and innocence of her and what did I see? The elder girl patted the little one on her back and said “Good job!”

It made my day really! A small kid of 7 or 8 yrs had made even younger kid understand that she owes an apology and the younger one understood! Wasn’t this how values are taught? We sure inherit a lot from our parents but IMPLEMENTING what we inherit is very important. And this implementing is what needs to be taught. That evening, that little girl taught the younger one a lot of values unknowingly, like being humble and modest and respecting elders.

The point here is, how we behave teaches a lot of values for those who observe us. I remember we had a chapter in primary school which explained how an otherwise irate taxi driver calms down when a passenger says a simple “thank you” before getting out of his taxi. After this small gesture of gratitude the taxi drivers stays happy all through the remaining day and he passes on that gratitude to other people he meets through the day. Those other people in turn pass on that small thank you to many others and the chain continues. Isn’t this a lovely way to teach values and spread its importance? Since then, I always thank taxi drivers, auto drivers, janitors and anybody and everybody who helps me even a bit. Initially my husband found it funny that i say thank you to random people but I shared the story with him and he understood the importance and since then he also thanks everybody who helps him.

Bottom line: Be good, do good. People watch you and learn from you. Never hesitate to apologise when you must, thank when you can, be honest and own mistakes every time you make one!

IS THERE ANYTHING CALLED AS CIVIC SENSE?

Its long back that we studied what is Civic Sense. We knew what it was when we were small obedient children. And today most of us have forgotten about it. Or should I say, as we are growing up we are becoming increasingly ignorant? Just to refresh your memory, Civic Sense is nothing but the sense of responsibility which refrains you from misusing and misbehaving in public places. Common examples could be not spitting or urinating on the roads, not portraying obscene behavior at public places etc. Civic Sense includes but is not limited to not creating public nuisance. It has a larger ambit and includes traffic, government, health, education, environment etc.

So many times I have seen that a nice posh Honda City is driving ahead of me and waits at the signal when it turns red. Good, the driver is following traffic rules. But that’s not all!! As soon as he stops, he rolls down the window and spits outside on the road. How disgusting is that? Mind you, not every time the driver is the chauffer, so many times he is the owner himself! Now if somebody is so prosperous that he can afford a Honda City, why can’t his thoughts and behavior be equally prosperous? Why don’t such people think twice before doing such dirty things?

Another common example is that of a mother taking her child to pee right on to the road! WOW, if mothers themselves encourage such behavior then obviously the kid is going to grow up learning wrong things. No wonder we get to see so many grownups also doing the same thing and mind you, they don’t need any quiet corners, just a wall is enough and many a times, even the wall is not necessary!!

I understand that our country lacks infrastructure and basic public amenities. But somebody somewhere has to find a way out. And each one of us says, WHY ME?? If we can’t do anything in a way that can change the country, we should at least be doing something in a smaller way like following discipline. If all the citizens of this country are determined to do so, India will definitely be the best places!

There are so many there examples that each one of us does everyday – like throwing bits of paper on the road. That reminds me of one classic example – and a recurring one – a commuter is sitting comfortably by the window in a local train. He has a nice backpack or a laptop bag with him. He is munching on to some chips and is really enjoying eating! As soon as he is done, he promptly throws the empty wrapper outside the running train. DISGUSTING!!! Instead, he could have just folded the wrapper and kept it in this bag till he comes across a garbage bin, but who wants to do that?

There is no point in blaming the country and the ruling, or for that matter non-ruling party for lack of infrastructure. The biggest question is how well the citizens of this country are going to be able to preserve and develop that infrastructure once that is provided. It’s a shame to see such things happening in metros like Mumbai but these things happen every day, every moment! We are lucky enough to have an opportunity to get educated then why do we forget our education so soon?

How common is it to see that the traffic signal at a junction turns red and none of the cars jump the signal? Very UNCOMMON, right? Why can’t we learn something from other countries where all the citizens follow traffic rules religiously? Over there, vehicles halt each time the traffic signal turns red, no matter if there is no pedestrian crossing the road! We like to use imported electronics, clothes and what not, then why can’t we imbibe some imported discipline in ourselves

I would love to see my country following the same discipline, but the question is who will do that? Being a responsible citizen, each one of us should step forward and take a pledge that we will do something to improvise the civic sense in our country. If we can’t change the entire country, which is obviously difficult and almost impossible, we can at least change ourselves for better. And if each one of us changes, INDIA will change for better.

DREAM INDIA. BETTER INDIA.