DIWALI IN HOSPITAL

It was the morning of Diwali of 2016. It had been 3 days of us visiting emergency room of Columbia Asia every 4-6 hours. My son was 1.5 years old and was suffering with high fever and wheezing since a few days. Unfortunately, Diwali was a long weekend and doctors weren’t regular – OPD’s were closed. So, we had to go to Emergency ward even when it wasn’t an emergency. 

Doctors had said that he needs nebulization every 4 hours to start with and since his saturation level was too low, it had to be checked with every nebulization. That meant we couldn’t nebulize him at home, we had to go to the hospital every 4 hours – day or night. 

On the day of Diwali, we realized that his health is only getting worse. His fever wasn’t coming down in spite of all the strong meds that he was being given. To add to the problem, he was not eating. He had spent 3 days only on a couple of biscuits and water. He refused to take milk or any solids and puked when fed forcibly. So, that evening we raised our concern AGAIN to the doctors. This time he was advised a chest X-Ray and blood work. We came back home and my son slept off. 

It was the first Diwali after my Brother in law got married which meant it ideally was supposed to be a big celebration. I was in no mood to do anything for Diwali at all, but we still had relatives over for dinner. I hardly prepared anything and my Mother in law did all the work. I was totally disconnected. Soon after we finished dinner – my son started screaming really bad. He had fever greater than 103 degree. It was a panicky moment for us. Kapil (my husband) was in the hospital to collect his reports. Me and my in laws were quick in sponging him and managed to get his temperature under control. Meanwhile, the reports confirmed that he had lung infection – a typical case of pneumonia. 

We were keen to admit him right away after looking at his condition but hospital refused. To my surprise, the reason was that all medical staff is busy attending the Diwali emergency cases. My husband explained what he had witnessed – emergency ward of that hospital was crowded with cases where people were burnt while burning crackers. And that was just one hospital – doctors mentioned that it is same case in all hospitals every year on Diwali night. It was very disheartening to hear this. In spite of being disturbed with my son’s health, I felt extremely sad about what all pain people go through in the name of celebration. Also felt horrible for all the medical staff that is busy attending the patients on the Diwali night. 

Next day morning, my son was admitted. He was very scared and so was I. He was sleeping on my lap in the Emergency room when the doctors came in to put his IV. I was made to step away so that doctors could deal with him and curtains were drawn so that me and my son were blocked from each other. I remember my palms hurting because I had my hands clenched so tight when he started to scream. To make things worse, he started saying – “Sorry mumma, I will be a good boy!” and many things like that. In his cries, he even started reciting his favorite nursery rhymes. I was in tears standing just outside the curtains. I realized that I should never tell him that doctors give injections to bad children. I am sure he was smart enough to think that he was being given the injection (and pain) as a punishment. That moment was very difficult to go through. 

Once we moved to his ward, things started to improve. Within 24 hours, he became almost normal. The only reason that meds were not working was because he wasn’t eating. 2 units of glucose did the magic and his infection was reduced by 80% by the end of 24 hours. At the end of 36 hours, we walked out of the hospital hoping that we never have to experience something similar again. 

However, we again landed in the same state 1.5 years later after his 3rd birthday. He got lung infection again at the same spot. Well, that hospital visit is yet another story that I will write about some other time. As of now, he is 4.5 years old and the infections did not recur since last 1.5 years. Fingers crossed! Doctors suspected weak lungs by birth and I hope (pray) that this isn’t the case.

Hospital visits aren’t delightful for sure. The only time I was elated in a hospital was when my son was born and I saw him for the first time. 

Diwali is just round the corner – I really hope and pray that hospital emergency wards are not full like we saw that years.

I COULD CARE LESS!

So what is the “Lok kya kahenge” or “What will people think” thought process?

It is basically a phrase which underestimates one’s ability (not necessarily imposed by society always but more originating from one’s lack of confidence) It does NOT allow us to do what we want to do.

It is a given fact, whatever we have to do – will never be of someone else’s taste, more so if it is not to their liking – but what I haven’t understood until now is – Why would such a feeling come to a person in the first place? Is it just the way we are brought up – the Indian mentality, lack of confidence or simply something we blindly follow?

The millennial rarely care on what people would think of their actions – they like it – they go for it, they wouldn’t seek advice before taking something new up – and if you ask me. THAT IS THE WAY TO GO ABOUT LIFE.

I’ve had many an argument with my dad about this subject, so writing about it here (as the topic for the week) gives me immense pleasure! I wouldn’t know if a condition like this exists in any other country, but in India – WoW! You’d have to actually meet people to know how many dreams have been crushed and ambitions squashed just with the the mentality of What Will People Think!? Be it your job, marriage or anything else, people in India care way too much about… you know what!

If I have to stand up and address a large gathering and ask the question: How many of you lead compromised lives because of the “What will people say” syndrome?

I’m sure, each and everyone’s hands would be up, because in whichever small or big way, we have all compromised on something, and that’s how an average Indian has lived and continues to live their life.

If you ought to do something, I’ll say – do it openly, and if it embarrasses you, don’t do it – SIMPLE! but to not do something just because of others – That’s NOT acceptable at all.

So the automatic next question to then ask is: Why do we let people’s opinions affect us so much?

No two people think alike and like I said earlier, no matter what we do, it is never going to be appreciated or complimented other than members of your family (that too is a big ? nowadays-but I’m gonna go with ‘Family wants the best for us’ thought)

  • I am already 30 and unmarried, log kya kahenge?
  • I’m better off being single, but will society judge me?
  • I don’t have a regular 9-5 job, I work from home – what will people think? No girl will want to marry me. 
  • I want to drop out of school and pursue my dream of becoming a YouTuber, but what will people say?

If someone comes to me and I have to advice them on being anti-people thinking, I’ll have to simply say

“Why do you care? Do your thing, after all people aren’t feeding you” but that apparently isn’t what most people want to hear. They need you to break it down for them further. Let me see if I can do that for you – 5 pointers

  1. If you do not want people judging you, you got to stop doing that yourself first. I know its default setting, but have you heard of a starting over – YES, we can all do that.
  2. We need to take care of our self a little from time to time – its healthy practice.
  3. Something I personally do (and you should really try out) Imagine the worst case scenario, however that said – do not alter what you’ve set out to do, do it anyway!
  4. Nobody knows you as better as yourself, so how does the opinion of another even matter?
  5. No harm listening, but keep at what you’re doing. People will get the message eventually.

A person who knows what he wants in life and goes about getting things done (at his own speed) is respected. No one wants to be-friend someone who themselves do not know what their next step is going to be.

Of course it all starts with YOU. So are you willing to let go of the ‘thought’? YOU and only YOU matter, besides everyone is entitled to his/her opinion – no one can stop from mouths wagging.

If after reading this, you find yourself wiser by a percent or two – I think my job HERE is done – else…..

Image result for what will people think

Life is a game after all, all we constantly need to up our game.

THE INVISIBLE INFLUENCES

A couple of months back I was at the OB-GYN, waiting for my turn. There were almost 20 women already waiting, so I thought it would take time before I would be called in. I took out my phone to continue reading the book I started. Few pages into the book, I was pondering on the idea of the author when a girl in her mid-twenties walked in. 

Receptionist: Good morning Mam!

Her: Good morning! I need an appointment with OBG.

Receptionist: Name mam

Her: Abigail 

Receptionist: Number of weeks or gestation period?

Her: 28 weeks

Receptionist: Age mam

Her: 26

Receptionist: Married mam?

Her: Unmarried 

Receptionist: (Little hesitant, she asked again to reconfirm) Unmarried mam?

Her: Yes

By now, everyone’s eyes in the room were fixed on her. I slipped back into reading my book. I was called for my checkup and the doctor ordered for a scan. I was seated at the waiting area of the radiology wing when Abigail approached me and almost snapped with the question, “Would you mind if I sit here?“. There was a dose of anger in her face. “Sure“, I replied. 

“Is it so difficult to not make me feel awkward? Why can’t you do your own stuff and not concentrate on others?” – she said in a tone which was screaming frustration.

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to. Abigail, right?”. She nodded

“Abigail, you are feeling awkward because you noticed us glance at you when you said you weren’t married. I understand that it might be difficult for you to go through the process of birthing being unmarried. In a conservative society like India, heads are going to turn every time you say you are unmarried with this baby bump. By now, you have made a decision to go ahead with the baby, so, the only thing you should do is to get accustomed to these stares.”

She was staring at me with a puzzled face

“I am not judging you. In fact, I don’t know how you ended up with this pregnancy. This pregnancy could be a result of someone not keeping their promise, or you are having an IVF, or you are the receiver of an unconsented sexual encounter. Whatever the reason may be, personally I appreciate that you stood for your baby. There is a lot more for you to handle apart from these stares. Don’t give too much importance to what we would think or say. Am I going to help you during your delivery? No. Would I be taking care of your kid in the future? No. Do you think if you would ever cross my thoughts again? Maybe.  Am I your family or friend? No.. then, why should you care about what I think? Abigail, I don’t want to be harsh on you, but straight to the point, please stop consciously noticing other’s behaviors.”

“Are you saying it’s my fault?”

“It is not about one’s fault. Not about what is right or wrong either. When you made a decision, you should be prepared for the consequences, good or bad. Whatever your path may be, there would always be people who dislike it or criticize it. If I were you, I would think about ensuring a safe and secure future for my kid. The rest should be taking a back seat at this point in time.”

She smiled and I moved on with my scan. I never saw her again. I hope she is doing fine and had a healthy baby. 

It is not just Abigail who thinks about what others would think or behave when we do certain things, all of us do. Many think that only when we are doing something that does not fit into the “rightness” of society we tend to change or modify our decisions. In fact, these invisible factors are influencing us every day, they would continue to do so if we allow them to. 

Consider a situation when you are out for dinner with friends or family. When we are placing an order in a round-robin fashion, if anyone before us chooses the same dish as we have in mind, we tend to change our choice. This is often because we think it hinders our individuality. We do not buy shoes or clothing we see are being worn by many others. 

One more example could be choosing our next vacation spot. Many who follow others on facebook or Instagram, choose their vacation spot that is different than others in their social network. Somehow, we like to say that we visited a place no one else did. Constantly, we are conscious of our decisions. 

As far as I am concerned, I give the least importance to what others or society thinks. I believe society does little when we are in trouble. If we have a very caring society and family, we wouldn’t be so worried about our decisions in the first case. So, why give so much importance to what others think? Why should we base our decisions on their thoughts? We should always do what is best for us but do not hurt others at the same time. 

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

– Dr. Seuss

HAVE A MUNDANE IDENTITY

My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.”
Mark Manson

This is one of the stories I read in the book named – “The subtle art of not giving a *#@&”. Don’t go by the language of this book because when I started reading it, it totally changed my perspective in so many different ways. It helped me look at things really objectively, outside of the view of my value system.

So, here goes the story (of course in my words and with my take on it)

In 1983, there was a metal rock band group which was gaining a lot of popularity. They got their first debut to be recorded in New York. The lead guitarist of the group was also one of the founders of heavy metal, but the rest of the band was fed up with his drinking and drugs problem. Although he was highly talented, they decided to fire him.

It was in April’1983 that Dave was woken up by rest of the band members. He was in an ugly hangover. He was told directly that he was now out of the band. It came without any warning. They had already hired a new lead guitarist. When he was asked for his flight tickets, he was told that they would drop him New York Port Authority Bus Terminal and he is taking a 4 hour bus to California.

It was still one hour to go before his bus would depart. He had total of 5 hours to reflect on what had happened. He was definitely furious. He was fired from a band that he had co-founded. The rest of band was moving on to recording their first album for which he had written majority of lyrics. He felt cheated, betrayed and fumed. However, in those 5 hours – he got over his self-pity and decided that he would take on his ex-bandmates with a revenge and make them regret this decision.

By the time he reached California, he had decided to find his own band and also wrote the lyrics which later on became one of his famous songs. In the coming few years he worked like crazy, he hired new musicians and created his new band. This new band named Megadeth turned out to be a huge hit. It sold over 38 million records worldwide and earned platinum certification in US for five of its fifteen studio albums. It also received 12 Grammy nominations.

However Dave wasn’t satisfied. Never felt successful. Because the band that fired him was Metallica. And it was indeed way ahead of Megadeth. Metallica had sold 125 million records, won 9 Grammy awards, nominated for 23.

Dave is a strong man because he could turn around a negative experience into a productive one in just 5 hours. He put his entire heart and soul to what he wanted to do. He has money, fame, power. He is ranked as one of the best heavy metal guitarist in the world. Yet he fails to feel success inside him. Because for him, he always wanted to beat Metallica which he could never do.

Two decades earlier in 1962, one more similar incident happened. A guy named Pete Best was fired from his band. He had performed for 2 years with them and the band was at the brink of stardom.

The manager of the group called Pete in his office just before their first recording, and asked him to leave because other bandmates did not want him. He was heartbroken, he never met any of his bandmates again. He quietly left for home. In the coming years, he joined multiple bands and but it was no success. He struggled with depression while his bandmates were selling millions of copies worldwide. They came to be one of the most successful bands of the time – The Beatles.

In 1965, Pete attempted suicide from which he was saved by his mother and brother. His mother’s words put in the sense in him. “They want you to die. Think about your wife and your daughter. What would they be without you” she said. He then realized that suicide was a mistake and promised that he will never ever do that again. He took up a job as a civil servant and just worked 9 to 5 job. His main focus now was to be a civil servant, a good husband and a father. In late 1980’s, he picked up music again. He founded his very own The Pete Best Band.

Pete is a happy person because he found solace in being mundane. He found success in serving people and just being a father and a husband. He did not expect more from life and even though depression hit him hard but he could get over it.

He had met his wife when he was still “The Beatles”, however she did not leave him when he was kicked out. They got married and Pete found solace in being with her – knowing that one of his fans is his wife and even though he isn’t popular any more, she still chooses to be with him.

On the other hand, Dave Mustaine made it a mission of his life to beat Metallica. And even though he attained a huge success as a celebrated artist – he is far from feeling content.

The reason this story hit me hard is that even though you might have great ambitions to be famous and successful – your identity should not be that ambition. There is much more happiness in these mundane titles like a good mother, a good daughter, a good father, a good friend, a good public servant can give a lot more success than being a great businessman, a sportsperson, or a rich man.

I do not intend to say that being ambitious is not right. But making that ambition the whole reason of your existence is wrong. Your existence is worth much more than a few billion dollars that you might make in your lifetime. The real value of your existence is known only to your near and dear ones and not to the millions of fans that follow your work.

Follow your passion, earn lots of money and fame but do not let it become your value system. You and I might be laughing at Dave Mustaine because in spite of earning millions of dollars and fans, he still considers himself a failure. This is because you and I have a very different value system than that of Dave.

Look inside your value system. What are you really running behind? Is it really worth it?

The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible. This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself: that you’re uniquely intelligent, or spectacularly talented, or intimidatingly attractive, or especially victimized in ways other people could never imagine. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world.
Mark Manson

DON’T LET YOUR PROBLEMS PUSH YOU

Inspiration – a word that awakens a person’s soul and motivates to find a way from apathy to probability. It helps us to transcend our ability and find new possibilities. Ability and effort may lead you to success but without inspiration, we can’t think out of the box. If you look into the life of successful people you will find, they were just ordinary humans before they found inspiration. They struggled and faced so many problems but never gave up. Not only successful people but ordinary people too, go through the same. And so did Deepa.

I was in school when I first met this beautiful and an extraordinary girl, Deepika. She was a class junior to me. We fondly called her Deepa. She is a girl of tremendous courage and will-power. Her dusky skin tone, playful smile, and captivating eyes make her look like an angel. When I first met Deepa, we were going to a youth festival. I didn’t know who she was. Just before reaching the venue, I came to know Deepa had lost her right hand in an accident years ago. The accident took away her hand but never broke her spirit. It was late at night when we reached the venue. I saw she was carrying her bag all by herself.

The next day, I saw her rehearsing for her dance. The way she danced, had so much elegance and beauty in it. She danced her heart out and smiled with every twirl. Her feet never missed a beat. I admired her dance and expressions. While getting ready for her performance, she did her make-up so well. However, Deepa never needed any make-up. Her face always beamed with self-confidence and enthusiasm. While she danced, the whole audience applauded for her splendid performance.

While we were sitting together, I asked her how does she manage everything. She replied, “just like you do.” I was so impressed by her.

It was a three-days event and we stayed together. I witnessed how she managed everything gracefully. Deepa never seemed weak and never expected any sympathy or pity.

The next time when I saw her, it was the annual day function. She looked no less than an epitome of beauty. She hugged me as soon as she spotted me. I asked her whereabouts and asked her if she is performing or not. She said, “I am the lead dancer.”

She never fails to motivate and inspire me.

Today, I see her pictures on Facebook. She looks so gorgeous and full of life. If you look at her, you will surely fall in love with the spirit of this girl. We are not in touch and I don’t know if you are reading this Deepika but yes, you must know one thing, you made me realize it’s our willpower and determination that makes us beautiful. I learned, one should never give up. As long as, I stayed with you at the youth festival, I never saw a lack of energy in you. In fact, you were the most active person.

God bless you, dearie. I don’t know what are your dreams but I do know, you are a true example of women empowerment and will reach untold heights. I wish you all the best.

We, humans, tend to lose hope so easily. We cry over the spilled milk. Why can’t we focus on negating our problems and working on our gray areas? Unless we don’t accept our flaws and embrace our problems, life is never going to be beautiful. One should always look forth with confidence and determination. People who can look ahead will always find a ray of hope even in the darkest of time. One should never get pushed by problems, instead, be led by your dreams.

THE TASTE OF BETRAYAL

This is for those who know what it feels like to be betrayed, to be treated like you are invisible; Who know how it feels when you have a gut-wrenching pain and feel your innards burning to ashes; Who know what it feels like to give someone your heart, mind, body, love, and soul and in turn feel empty, powerless and unloved; Who know how to live every single second with the one for whom you are just a feeling of nihility; Who know what it takes to put on a smile despite everything wrong in your life, every day; Who know how it feels to cry in the darkness just so that no one sees your pain as they wouldn’t understand, they would judge you and hold you wrong; Who know how to pretend and say “oh nothing at all, I’m OK!” And smile again.

You are not alone!

This goes out to all who are awake in the middle of the night and probably wondering the same thing and who knows how this feels.

Zenith to nadir I fall
yet pretend to smile,
paint my face with glittering
glee, hiding the pain inside.
Rock bottom I hit
yet pretend to stand,
conceal my scars with a mask
of phony pride, as if
everything was planned.
I pant, I heave, I cry, I scream,
yet for the world I smile,
never show the ugly side
of my soul, so senile.
But, it’s okay not to be fine,
you can run, shout, be yourself as
you own no one a single petty dime.

ROPE OF HOPE – UNTOLD SAGA

Born in a cradle,

she had to handle

the burdens of the world

known as well as hidden to her;

all she craved was freedom from the burdens;

unable to endure the pain of the obligations,

she went down to complications ;

worsened with time and tide, as it never waited for none;

she turned numb, with every sensation;

until when she realised it was not a chance to win;

and then came a day ;

where she decided to dwell in her dreams ;

like she weaved her screams to be the rope of hope

finally, as she burned her burdens;

untangled herself from the chain of expectations;

she liberated herself from the dungeons of obligations,

no more becoming the caged scholar,

to the bird with the wings of imaginations…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • An untold Saga of a woman.