Let’s go for a ‘space’ walk

This is a continuation of the hospital diaries. Read at your own risk 😉

I was waiting outside a procedure room, typing away furiously on my laptop, when a tiny kid cropped up next to me suddenly. ‘Didi (elder sister), will these buttons take me to space?’, he asked. Taken in by his innate curiosity, I asked him to try pressing a few buttons.

I was surprised with my own patience, but I guess having a loved one inside a procedure room makes you a bit of a better person.

The child’s mother held his hand and took him away, his regurgitation issues had to be addressed.

After we were done with the procedure, and were waiting for the bill, I, as always wanted to get a coffee. Standing at the counter, awaiting my turn, I felt someone tugging at my sleeve. Looking down, I saw that little boy, now holding my hand, and pulling me to his table.

Unable to resist, I went to his table where his mother told me that he had been looking for me everywhere. He wanted to share his brownie with me as I’d helped him get a little closer to space.

My eyes welled up. I couldn’t get over the honesty in the boy’s love. And I couldn’t get over his unwavering faith and belief that he would get to space.

I’d a bit of the brownie and as I was getting ready to leave, he said, ‘I’ll meet you in space’. I gave him the tightest hug I could and lathered him with kisses. For a fleeting second, I was in space, enveloped in the pure bliss of the child’s hug.

Life corrupts us. Adulterated, the word, has it’s genesis in adulthood, which means impure. But as we ride along life, we could make an honest effort to keep the child within us, alive. The extremely optimistic, very innocent, beautiful child, who would smile at silliness and believe in the underlying, latent yet definite goodness of people.

In this rat race of today, where we are all chasing our own stars, he taught me that space could be right here, right now. To him, and to all of you today – I will see you in space! 🙂

The Heart(s) of My Life

I’m the only daughter in my tiny little family of two fathers and one mother. ( before you get the horses in your mind running, the members are my mother, my father and my father’s elder brother whom I lovingly called Thuji and no he wasn’t involved in the 2G scam!)

So you can only fathom how I felt when we had to undergo an open heart surgery for my father. I say we, because a surgical procedure is never alone the patient’s, it is also the loved ones of the family who are deeply affected.

As I walked into the hospital on that fateful Monday morning, I had steeled myself. I knew the coming 21 days were going to be the toughest of my life and I’d decided that I would be graceful, patient and display utmost tolerance towards everyone and everything – and the resolve lasted, a total of 3 mins.

There was no room available and this was just the start of the ordeal. We had to brave the crowd for about 2 hours and you know what helped me go through those 2 hours – my friends. My pillars of strength and my sighs of relief. Every time I hyperventilated, I felt a hand of reassurance on my shoulder. Every time I panicked, there was someone I could hug and deep breathe.

But the hardest part was yet to come. I had to walk with my mum when Ba was wheeled into the operation theater. I could pass on fortitude to Mumma, who welled up and broke down while we were watching Ba being wheeled into the OT only because I knew I had my 2 pillars waiting outside, in front of whom I could express my extreme nervousness. Those 9 hours of the surgery were the toughest of my life, which I could sail through because we were laughing hand cracking jokes- all my loved ones together. The last 1 hour was possibly the toughest of the toughest, and it was all credit to my friends that I didn’t have a nervous breakdown.

And after the surgery, they called us in. They’d promised us a glimpse of Ba, and my God, that was what tested my grit – Unconscious father, on the ventilator, a zillion tubes emerging out of his body – but I didn’t shed a single tear. Thanks to my doctor friends who had counseled me for several hours and prepared me.

This phase in my life taught me a thing or two about friends. There are several kinds –

A. There’s the kind that sits with you (even if they’re not physically present) , through thick and thin. They read your eyes and your voice. They’re family

B. There’s the kind that asks if you want them to be present. You would need to tell them what you need. They’re great friends

C. There’s the kind that calls and/or texts and finds out if everything’s okay. They want to genuinely find out what’s happening. They’re friends

D. There’s the kind that doesn’t do anything. I don’t understand them. They’re probably acquaintances, or something?

When the going in life gets super tough, you need your family and friends turned family closest to you so that when the going is awesome, you all can celebrate together.

Do you know anyone who needs you today? Decide what you want to be. And be there! It means a lot. Ask me.

P.S – the picture here was taken in the hospital. One can always have more than one heart 😉

An unfinished conversation

Samir has been my friend for eons now. We grew up together since kindergarten and have always been pretty thick.

He had always been the non-servile kinds, sometimes almost bordering on impudence. Remember the types who used to be reprimanded by the teacher – and could be found standing outside, or the ones who were a supremely irritating yet funny concoction of no studying yet high marks? He was one of those. Always a joke at the tip of his tongue, he used to spare no one when he was in the mood.

Oh, and he used to fall in love every other week, with a new person. With hearts in his eyes, on his sleeves and everywhere else, he was a full package – the surprise proposals, flowers and presents, dates and getaways and then proposals again..

His influence was pernicious, God! How every boy used to want to be him. And man! he was enviable … he did have it all…

Thankfully, I didn’t fall into the romance trap with him. Though joint at the hip, our friendship was the talk of the town and we used to revel in the fact that we would always be each other’s pillar.

Come our 20s, and we drifted off to new cities – jobs, travel, partners ( his no. had definitely decreased – guess affording a change on one’s own salary was tougher than affording the same on parent’s pocket money) and while we were in touch, the pillar grew just a tad weak. And once you’re that close, you sense the crack before the crack, and for prevention purposes, decided to meet up in Goa.

Goa was Goa, which is basically another word for spectacular! We had a ball of a time, but Samir’s smile did not reach his eyes. There definitely was something amiss, but who wants to ruin 4 days in Goa? Keeping the tough conversation of reason at bay and with promises to meet up soon again… we parted, with me telling him that he owed me a conversation.

Who would have guessed that it would need to be another lifetime – he died. On an overdose of sleeping pills.

The earth gave way beneath my feet. There was no day, only night while I furiously refused to believe that this had actually happened. My mind couldn’t process a world without Samir – the ever funny, always laughing Samir. He whose smile lit up the room – he whose laugh was like the sound of million Christmas bells.

His letter said –

This world, though beautiful, is not a place for me. This is no one’s fault, except me. To my dear family, I love you all but I dislike me more. And my dear friends, when you’re drinking Black Label, and it seems like you’re drinking more than you’re actually drinking, guess who is there with you? 🙂

He had been battling depression for the past couple of months.

His smile really did not reach his eyes and my life remains incomplete, till date.

Could I have saved him had I undertaken that one tough conversation?

How often do we mistake smiling people for happy people?

That one conversation can help. That one phone call can help. That one hug can help. That one smile can help.

That one friend, my pillar, will never come back. But I am trying my best to ensure there is never ever a conversation that I don’t have.

So should you.

Are you free for a call?

I’ve taken to not reading papers nowadays. More often than not, I am horrified by the city happenings – a murder here, a rape there – I am a suspect of the usual evasion technique, much like the ostrich, I hide my face in the sand.

It was an unfortunate Thursday when I picked up the paper, glancing through the headlines when I stumbled upon a news item that made me feel suffocated in a room with enough ventilation.

There used to be a very happy family of three – mother, father and son, in a very posh colony of South Delhi. The father put together all that he had accumulated over his 45 years of service and managed to send the son to prestigious America, for an education that his motherland couldn’t provide him. Pride enveloped him like a warm, woollen shawl when his son held the admissions letter for one of the top universities in America.

Soon enough, our Indian boy became Americanized – his calls decreased, letters were lostmidway. It was always a class he had to get to, a job he had taken up, a friend’s housewarming party or some other chore he had to run. The extremely busy boy got to know about his father’s untimely demise 3 weeks after it happened when he couldn’t fathom why his mother persistently called him 21 times.

The mother’s whispering sighs of understanding – yes I know how busy you are, we understand, when can we see you – knew in her heart what she didn’t want to know. The already decrepit house began to see even more decay.

The vines whispered to each other – we will keep her safe, completely engulfing the House. Sunlight was afraid to enter – oh dear, what will I come face to face with? The air grew still and refused to change any direction – what if we carried the bad luck from this house to some other family?

Nothing and no one realized that the mother hadn’t ventured out of the house in days – there was no one coming out to collect the milk or the newspaper, no one drying clothes on a washing line and no one paying any bills or handing money to anyone for running any chores.

Anyone who spared a thought to the old lady concluded the obvious – the son had her shipped to the US.

It wasn’t until several months later when the neighbours couldn’t bear the acrid smell anymore, they realized that a body was decaying in the home ( can we call it that? ) next to theirs.

Is there a bit of the son in all of us? And if there isn’t, is there a gnawing feeling that there could a bit of the son in all of us?

A missed call here, an email there, maybe a bill we were supposed to pay, maybe a birthday we couldn’t attend, or maybe simply, the love we forgot to reciprocate?

Is there someone you need to call today?

What If…

This post, as the previous one, is heavily inspired by a very dear friend of mine, a friend who is family ( wouldn’t name her for reasons you will come to know as you read on)

She is in love with this amazing, young lad – vivacious, young, effervescent love. The kind where everything is roses and honey, the mundane paths of your life are laced with violins, the sun is extra bright and the rays penetrate right through you to light up your inner core. Her current state is such.

Everyone is beautifully aware of this phase – we, her closest, of course are. Her office colleagues, who have seen the chemistry transpire, know. Her bosses know – when on days , she walks in with a smile bright enough to light up the office and on those evenings she leaves a tad early ( personal commitments of course ;)). Her not so close friends are also aware, since those frequent Friday night dinners are now not as frequent as they used to be, and when asked, she always has some other plan ( in a city, where until a few weeks back she knew no one else). The cab drivers know, who see her in the rear view mirror, gazing wondrously out of the window with a hint of a smile, shaken back to reality with every bumper. She, who helps with the cleaning of the house, knows, because she has to mop extra hard on days when ‘guests’ are expected.

Guess who doesn’t know?

The mystery man, of course!

Why?

… because, you know, what if …. ( there is no what if here because both hearts are singing so loudly that I can hear them sitting 500 kms away)

Ever wondered, how much we let our lives be lead by the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘buts’. Fear of what may happen looms so ominously that it overshadows the beauty of the plausible, colorful rainbow.

What if he comes to know I need him? What if my love isn’t reciprocated? What if she isn’t ready?

A) you’ll never come to know the ‘what if’ if you don’t ask

B) say it before it’s too late

This morbid fear is overarching and extendable to all spheres of life.. the ‘what if’ is with friends, family, boss – all the most important stakeholders and maybe the not so important ones as well.

Drop that inhibition today. If you have something to say, say it.

Who knows, maybe the other person is also in the ‘what if’ conundrum!

P.S – you now know why I haven’t named her, because you know, what if 😉

P.S 2- isn’t this setting perfect for the scenario after the ‘what if’ 🙂

Let’s live for me!

This post is heavily inspired by Pee Cee, the much celebrated Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra.

I’ve been following her for quite a while now, and I was not in the least bit surprised when she walked in, hand in hand, with Nick Jonas, treading unabashedly on a million stereotypes, into the future.

Of course a sea of questions emerged around the status/stature/demographics of this new age boyfriend.

Even before this, came Anand ‘s’ Kapoor. Even if you glance away, the ‘s’ stays, staring at you, a very gentle reminder of the virtue of feminism being truly exemplified. For all the lesser mortals, Anand Kapoor is the husband of actor, model Sonam Kapoor.

We need the mighty and the famous to set these benchmarks – to follow their hearts, and set these age-old sentiments ablaze. You and I can be deterred by what the pretending-to-care neighbourhood aunty says, but thankfully this class is immune to such bilious world views.

I’m looking forward to a generation that does what it wants to, and is not limited in what it can do, due to some pretentious, unnecessary tenets that were set in stone, in the dinosaur era. And not be influenced by Mr.Sharma, whose son will always score more marks.

Let’s live it up!

And live for me 🙂