Monthly Archives: May 2011

Few realizations about the “unexpected”….

There used to be this common phrase echoed throughout my childhood, “to always be ready to face the unexpected.” Surprising though in fact, when you consider that unexpected is something that you are totally unprepared for. How then can you face it?!

And Gran’s view that, “Everything happens for a reason. You just do your bit and sop standing there and wondering. Life goes on and time won’t wait.”

There are many days that I often wonder why did it have to happen like this? What if I had chosen to say to “no”, would this sequence of events would have entailed so, in this manner. That’s what I guess most of us do.

When something out of the way happens, first is the emotion of disbelief, no it’s not true. Maybe you have heard it wrong. Maybe it was not meant to be for us. May be there is another person similar by name and age.

Then is the next stage of shock. Or rather denial, why did it happen to me? Ironic fact is that, news is always easier to digest as long as we are not the victim. Somehow, good or bad, when it happens in the unexpected manner, we are bound to deny it first. Even if someone, said I won the state lottery, I would first be in shock. And it would lead to me checking the numbers an ‘n’ number of times, fervently praying that I am not the victim of some prank.

And then finally, we accept the news. The trend which I have noticed, good or most often the bad, any news that comes out of the blue, takes us by surprise. Which is quite a genuine reaction, considering the fact that, the news was not an expected one. But what I feel is more important, is how we react to it, or rather how we deal with it, which influences the outcome of the “news”.

Fair or unfair, certain times of life feels like, I’m in the “lucky dip”. Sometimes, life gives you the same option twice; sometimes it gives you an entirely new opportunity. Most of the time, we miss the latter, ‘cause we are still grieving for the one chance that went by. What I have seen, or rather experienced is that what is gone, is gone. What has happened has happened. You can’t change back the hands of time. In that case, most of us would have been living in that same year. When something happens, that we absolutely have no control over, it’s better to live through it and make the best of what we have got in our hands.

For someday, everything will make perfect sense. About why it happened so, was it worth it and more importantly, the answer to the
question, why me. Till that moment arrives, for now, live the moments. Laugh whenever you can, through the confusion, the tears, and even the surprises. Smile for the pure joy of the moments. Not only for the sake of baring your teeth (though at times, that’s what is necessary), but smile from within. For the pure happiness of the moments. And once in a while, keep reminding ourselves that everything happens for a reason.

For by the time we reach the end of the road, the final phase, the answers will start coming. Realizations dawning on us. Though, it shouldn’t be too late, so as to miss the best parts of the journey, what it has to teach us and share with us.


De-cluttering crisis : the music tapes !!

Ah, great, even for garage sales they have gone out of fad. I was trying to disperse a part my collection of audio tapes. Don’t get me wrong. I am crazy about my music collection. But some of them have to go (Space and I are at war). Yet even for free, they hardly sold. Music of the 80-s and 90-s has not faded, but the tapes sure have gone out of demand. Which brings me to the thought : is it already the by-gone era for the music tapes ?!! I must say, that technology has progressed real fast. 

Well, after the i-pod and the mp4 players, who would want to lug around a tape-recorder and a bundle of cassettes. You want volume for the party, the amplifiers and speakers will do. Besides, for the latest videos and albums, on-line purchase gets you the tracks faster than even when you order the audio-cd’s, leave out the tapes. And talk about space, the only reason I am even thinking of parting with a part of my audio-tape collection (not the priceless ones!!) is to de-clutter. Unlike the gramophone, no way the tape-recorder neither the tapes are going to be ancient relics, even centuries later. Less likely.

Yet, I agree there is a different feel when you hold a music tape in hand. Recordings. Your own personalized collection of songs. Attempts at forming my own band. And the numerous dance numbers. The Saturday night gigs. But, when I asked the teens in my family. Tapes, they are too tedious. Now cd’s that’s better. Still better are the i-pods. Well, honestly I prefer the latter these days.

Ah now that all roads leading to their exit from my collection is closed, the next agenda to create more space in the basement, if feasible. Wasn’t it Napoleon who said that, impossible is a word that doesn’t exist. Er, I beg to differ. My basement doesn’t agree. Space is impossible, unless you win the war for it !!!

Ramblings while in an “occasional bout of insomnia”…

03 hrs, IST. No point in tossing and turning over in bed. Looks like it’s going to be one of those nights. Wherein I am tired but I simply can’t sleep. Can’t even sit still. Maybe it’s what only the occasional insomniacs can relate to. My brain is still functioning normal. And a week of continuous calls looms ahead, starting tomorrow. The mind knows that it needs to get some rest, but somehow the body still thinks it’s on day mode.

Insomnia. Rather occasional sleepless nights. Tell me about it. My sleep-clock had gone hay-wire since mid of my med-school  days. Endless calls, irregular sleep cycles. Most of the time, I have learnt to compress a nights’ sleep in twenty min or an hour or two. Agreed, it’s totally unhealthy, but someone’s got to keep an eye on the ward, finish all the reports and go through the books as well.

The funny fact is that, on some days, even without my midnight cuppa, I can still stay up late till dawn. Yet on other days, post-cuppa, I would still be hitting the bed an hour later. To combat this till I finish my post-graduate studies, what I have figured out is; if my eyes enter the  shut down phase and my gray cells go into hibernation, kill the alarms and sleep. Or else keep functioning , till sleep claims me over. Usually in a couple of days, my sleep cycle reverts to normal, but till then, I have to survive. So into this bout of an insomniac night, I figured out that the networks might keep me busy for some time.

Reflecting on the week that went by, was in the town this time. Busy schedule, mostly to do with a  lot of travelling especially to the out-reach areas. Busy. Rush for time. Racing against time. This is what I saw on the road. On the streets. Each person at their own pace, trying to outrun time. Funny, I am sure that the old man must laughing his head off.

Busy beyond the hours. Even I am guilty of this crime. Trying to compress all the work in a day. Hoping that the impossible task of completing 48hrs work in a 24hr run is possible. Foolhardy is what it really is.

Absolutley no time for the necessary mundane things of life. Taking the time to appreciate the beauty of nature. The work of nature. The silent miracles of nature. The breaking of dawn and coming of dusk.Even in the rurals, people are getting caught up with the daily grind, making bread for the day. Birth of a calf, shearing of sheep becomes more or less a mechanical part of the day.

Nothing makes me any different either. I remember the initial days of interning in the ostretrics and gynaecology department, every new birth was a miracle, a joy. Yet now, it’s not the same. I am more worried about infections and whether the baby will make it out of the gates safe. Maybe it’s to do with being alone in the rural areas. Or the sudden responsibility in my hands. Or it is a part of the daily hospital routines growing on me, I reallly can’t figure out the cause.

Either way, one thing I do realize. It’s time to hit the pause button every now and then. To take time off and just stroll about. After all, being busy is fine, but without hours to unwind in between, the last thing I want for me, is to crash and burn. I do have to avoid that at all costs. I guess it’s more or less about taking one day at a time, but to slow down the pace that has been a part of me for the last five years is not so easy. Though, I do have to give it a try. To try slowing down a wee bit that is.

Meanwhile, dealing with my occasional bouts of insomnia, I think I’ll do some light reading on the porch to while away time till sleep catches over. After all someone has to give the crickets and Brownie, my labrador company, for a while through the night. Better to start the unwinding process now, than later !!

In daily dosages…

One thing I startingly realised today around mid-noon, Internet revolution came in with a big hue and cry, and caught on real fast, but nothing can replace my daily dose. Sometimes, it’s in the mornings; though when I was on the other side of the globe, it used to be in the evenings. And some of the days, it goes beyond the usual number, with all the supplementary pages and specials.

Frankly speaking, nothing can replace “the newspaper”. I get to hear it on the television wires, or across the Internet networks; where the war rages between various media groups, who gets the news across to the masses first ? The one to steal the show, the highlights, the first one to be out with all that information !! But come next day, if it’s not in the daily news, nah then for me, maybe it wasn’t really that important after all.

I guess, it’s more to do with the ritual of the “newspaper mornings”. Back home, the morning scenario before the rush hour sets in, was to see, Mom frantically skimming through the headlines before Dad got his hands on the paper. And then during breakfast, my sole accompaniment through the morning bread-and-cereal ritual was the paper. ( Oh, yes I was a one of ‘em, picky eaters !) While on the farm, Grandma was the first to lay her hands on the daily news, ‘cause by the time Grandpa returned it around noon, it would be solely in his hands till dusk settles in .

The thing about the paper is that it offers you all, ranging from the local news to the global fast-track; amidst a myriad of subjects, politics, science, history,contemporaries, financials, advertisements and not to forget, the gossips, the sports and the business pages. The days when additional supplements are given are the best. Mostly it’s on Sundays, when peace mostly reigns through the house, and I can leisurely read the weekend specials.

If anyone said that today’s newspapers will line tomorrows’ shelves, I would rather add, “Says who?” True, newspapers may line the shelves in the garage, but not necessarily yesterdays’!! What about the funnies, the Editorials, the contents to send entries for, the crosswords to solve, the Bridge to crack..?! And the news cuttings, can’t miss out on that one !! Magazines come mostly weekly or fortnightly, with most articles compressed in its pages, but newspapers give the daily zing to the day.

It’s what makes waiting for the dentist, whiling away time in the train worthwhile, or even taking a break from the daily schedule, be it a desk job or even in the hospital. Where else would there be such a assorted variety of news ? More importantly, what else can be carried around everywhere, which is so versatile to while away time ? And not to miss out, reading  the letters to the Editor ?! Even if newspapers go completely online, it’s still not the same. No thanks,  I am not willing let go of the rolled up sheets of paper which lands on my doorstep every morning.

The sudden realisation which led to me putting up this post is that, no matter what news technology brings to my fingertips, or even if the news comes online on the spot, without the daily morning dosage, somehow the whole day leading upto nightfall seems lacking. So this post is for all the newspapers and the staff across the globe, kudos to you guys and stay in action. Nothing can ever replace the feel of the recycled newsprint with that cup of coffee in the morning. Keep the printers running.

What happens when you click on “publish” ?!

Scanning through the articles in the Sunday Express Magazine, one article that caught my eye was regarding the modes of distributing your stress, whether it is regarding work, or life, or family or whatever else it may be.

What brought to my mind while reading the article, was that one of the modes of “destressing” is to jot down the daily events. Recently, I have started “e-diarying”(includes blogging, e-journaling, and all other names that I have missed….). Considering the volumes of journals and diaries stored in the attic back at home, it seemed a better alternative to avoid all the clutter.

Nevertheless, comparing the two de-stressor techniques,  the “after-effect” is the same. Almost the same. Putting down the frowns and tiredness, the worries, the fears, the happiness and the silent miracles, the blessings; all help in gearing up and facing tomorrow. But as I already said, it’s almost the same.

“E-diarying” again can be as what I call it, the ones that I type and store it in password locked encrypted folders, or the ones that I hit the publish button once when I finish typing down my thoughts, mood swings, observations, experiences ; rather everything and almost anything under the sun. Here lies the difference in, “almost”. Writing diaries and journals is fun, but e-diarying is better.

Why so ? Maybe it’s because when I click on the “publish” icon, or when I press “enter”, my post is shared across the networks. Frankly speaking, I don’t have any idea of who gets to see my post, or who reviews it, unless and until the reader “likes” it or comments on it.

But what I do believe is that on saying it out aloud, there would be someone who realizes that they are alone in their journey. That help or inspiration is still around. That all beauty is not lost. That hope still beckons for a new day, a fresh start. And most of all, though we each feel that we are alone; in reality we are part of a larger map, a larger plan. It’s the trying-to-find-your-own-niche part that gets tedious. Yet, on the road, along the way, there will always be someone to lend a hand. Someone whom you can look at, rather read and pick yourself up. Little steps that finally reaches the door.

Kind of reminds me of the movie, Julie and Julia, the story is of how a working lady Julie tries her hand in French cuisine by referring to Julia Child’s cookbooks, over a years’ time.  She resorted to blogging her daily culinary attempts. Success or failure, she posted a day-by-day account. Some days, there were readers, some days there were none. Some told her to keep up the efforts, some didn’t. But what if, she inspired someone to try their hand at something different ?!

We all need reminders in between to stay on the path. By reading reflections and experiences as they are posted, gives the reader the outlook, “Hey, life can also be like that !!!” Though I firmly draw a line regarding writing courtesy and privacy, each one has their own views which they want to share or “e-send” it out to the world. Those who want the answers, shall find it.

Hence, for now, I have figured it out, as to the additional benefits of “e-diarying’ . At times, I feel that resorting to the old way of pen and paper journaling is better. But, then again it’s always interesting to see, what happens after you click on the “publish” icon?!

Yo-Yo phase: living the decision

For the past two days, I have been in a yo-yo state of mind. Binging between stated of contnetment and busy to that of listless and somber.  Though, unfortunately, I can’t pin-point the exact cause or reason for me to be in such a mood. What do I blame it on ?

Maybe it’s to do with the fact that I work for a week in the rural part of India and then a week in the heart of the city. That is trying to handle two separate lives. Here and there.  Or maybe it’s to do with the change of scene. Five months, and oh yes, I’m still settling in.

Maybe it’s because I miss the old life, on campus, with friends and the big city. I like rural India too, but at times, it tends to be too quiet. Venturing out beyond sunset is considered taboo, unless you are in the big city which is like a two hour drive away !! Yet the greenery and the farms are worth to stay over. I guess it depends on the mood.

Whatever it is, one thing I have to live with it is the consequences. The cosequences of the decision I made.

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

We all make them. Sometimes it’s on the spur of the moment. Sometimes, it’s after a lot of thought after weighing the pros and cons. Yet when a decision is made, the fruit of it, the consequences; good or bad, it must be borne by the decision-maker. How far the influence extends is a variable factor.

To be honest, I hate making decisions. Though if someone were to run my life, the Spartan mode, I would personally spearhead that someone. Yet, I don’t know what it is about decisions that I hate. No not, the small ones, as to what’s for supper, or what to wear for the party. It’s the big decisions that I dread to make. I know there may be many out there, who too have to take the big decision; but hey, that doesn’t hide the fact that,me; i.e. I have to make my own decision. Maybe it’s the fear of change. Or it’s about hating the uncertainity of what lies next. Yet once made, many a time there is no turning back. It’s what they ( as in people, life….) say, you got to stick to it and live the decision.

Sometimes, once a while, admist all the chaos I step aside and try to think. Believe me, through the chaos of trying to maintain two separate phases of life, it’s really difficult to even get few minutes of real  silence. The decision, good or bad, that only time can tell. But come what may, I guess the consequences of it, adds to the experiences.

All said and done with my rambling, even now I can’t figure out if while making a decision is it worth contemplating the two sides, or forseeing the aftermath of deciding for or against a possibilty; or just closing my eyes and going with the primal nature of behaviour . Maybe, it’s a bit about basic instincts or as the local slang says, “a gut feeling”. The rest,  is about me facing the music, come what may. Just hope the road gets less bumpy after a while, till then may be the head gear would help me hold on !!

Uh oh !! Meal time ! Not that green stuff again…

“Oh no, what’s that gooey thing? Do I have to eat that?!” whines my five year old neice, Jo

-“Yep, you do. That or no supper, no t.v., straight to bed”, was the reply.

“You know, I could have an allergic reaction to all that stuff. Who knows, nothing is organic these days,” remarks a very “mature” 13 year old Julie.

-“Its okay.I have very good, tried and tested remedies for allergies. It’ll work for you, too.” Wow, allergies, what next, I wonder. Got to appreciate the creativity though. Never thought of that one.

“Besides, we could have all nutrients through your ‘nasty, vile tasting prescriptions’ (up went my eyebrows!!); they both taste the same,” says a very belligerent 3 year old Ash.

-“Now, since they both taste the same, have this instead.” Wonderful, I have not yet lost my sense of sarcasm.

Oh don’t get it wrong, I am not a terrible cook. I am just having toddler-trouble. Well, here I am, with my three wonderful neices and nephews. And this is supper time. Ask me where my brother and his wife, as well as my sister and my most amazing bro-in-law disappeared off to. To a far way, on their adventures to explore this part of the world . (Forget chasing them!!)  If life could get any better, it would have. I love my three imps, but try making them eat anything that closely resembles the edible variety of the plant kingdom, up goes their noses, shoving of plates and the most-dreaded whining starts. I think it’s something to do with being a toddler, I guess. Come adulthood, or even late-teens; yikes, can’t gain any weight (for us girls) and got to build the muscles (that one is for you, guys). And the greens somehow become edible then.

When I worked in the Paediatric wing, almost all the parents, I came across were complaining , “They just won’t eat veggies or even milk. Do you think there is any tonic, which builds their appetite?” Well, sorry, I do understand your problem, but no tonic is there like that. They’ll get their vitamins through the syrup but, appetite-stimulants at this age, hopefully avoid.

It’s not like they are on starvation mode. If lil’ Jo spots her fav’ crisps, or anything with cream, fries…hey she’s hungry. Once in a while, when she gets the mood, she’ll have her fruits. Blame the current scenario of the food industry for eating problems of the toddlers. It’s high time that McD’s, KFC, Burger King issues a statutory warning on the packaging of their products saying, “Too much intake leads to obesity”. Same goes for all the crisps packets, coke and all the other “junk” stuff. And as for in schools, they say they would regulate the lunch menu, but that’s more like straightening the tail of a lil’ piglet. All talk and changes that last for less than a month.

Growing up, Mom had a way with the veggies. If anyone thought that I was any different; nope, I was a toddler to the core. Mom resorted to trickery to make me eat my veggies. She would make chicken salad, but I swear there were more veggies in it than meat. Same goes for the sandwiches and the desserts, more frosted fruits than cream. And the neat trick, of placing cut veggies on the dining table. We usually ended popping a bite and before supper, the bowl would be empty.

Well sneaky or not, we got our veggies in; thanks to mom. But, at present ‘m stuck with these imps. So far, we made a deal. Eat your veggies and we get to sleepover on the terrace, like a “mini-camp”. For this time, it worked. Need some tricks up my sleeve.  Think I have to make a long-distance call to Mom for help and inspiration. Till then, I may have to declare war with the imps regarding their meals. Dang it, I need another alternative. Is there any trick that works ?!!