My Blog:)

Hey everybody! Welcome!
There's a lot to life and there're a dozen million ways and more to discover it!
This is where I share all of my experiences and views.

A myriad of hues which blend into perfection, or well almost there about, that's life ... No wait, i've got to change that definition!!!... Now that's life!!! ;P... Es mi vida!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A WALK AMONGST THE STARS


This story was written in the summer of 2013 as an entry for the annual Deccan Herald Short Story Competition.




As she nuzzled against me, I felt the warmth of her little body, the slow breathing

synchronising with mine. Her almond eyes tightly shut, her somnolent mind led

for a walk amongst the stars.

I remember the very first time I held Maya to my bosom. My blood was still

throbbing following the eight hours of intense labour. I was drained, parched and

broken. Yet true to her name, those little fingers, as I entwined mine with hers,

wielded a magic wand. No sooner than did I peer into those brown eyes, that I

was healed. My baby.

The tiny steps she took, were momentous milestones in our lives. Her tiny feet

traced a path the lit its way into our hearts. First a coo then a call, our little girl

was growing up fast.

It came as a bolt from the blue. One day my little girl was jumping and playing

about, walking into walls, losing her balance on the bicycle even as her father

held her, and the next day she was tripping down the deep caverns of sickness.

It was a Saturday afternoon that we’d taken her out for an ice- cream. She’d lost

her incisor, and after a bout of sobbing, a few negotiations with the tooth fairy,

we’d all stepped out. The first sign was when she declined the ice-cream. Never

one to say no to anything sweet, my little one ,a trait that she’d inherited from her

mother, I put it down to her childish whims. Her headache having been attributed

to playing all day long in the sun, I put the tin of ice cream in the freezer.

The Sunday morning, I’d woken Maya up, only to find her listless and lethargic.

It took her father and me a whole lot of coaxing to get her through her breakfast.

But even her favourite story, and Polka her stuffed pig couldn’t afford much

success as the day progressed. Finally, she surrendered to sleep in my lap, early

that evening. As I put her to bed, I noticed she was running a fever.

Adversity brings forth a startlingly different response from each person. When

we are stirred to our depths, shaken, jolted, what simmers forth is the myriad of

emotions that exemplify life.

A diagnosis of leukemia, is still, very much an ominous announcement. And

when it strikes as close as your very own four year old, a bitter chill scorches

through your insides, one that words hath failed to describe.

X-rays and scans, tubes after tubes of blood being sent back and forth, and stark

white envelopes holding within, your fate. As you wait anxiously in the doctors

office, and he looks poignantly albeit with a scientific detachment, to pronounce

the verdict... the claws of fear, the mind numbing chill.

Yet barely a moment later, I was lucid. My analytically trained brain, having

devoured the facts was running its mental checklist. On the other hand my

husband had succumbed to the one human flaw, emotion. Overwhelmed, his

strong paternal façade had caved, and sobbing uncontrollably he clutched our

sick yet confused daughter.

To explain to a four year old child how an illness, and in particular cancer works

is a challenge. One that takes not only the explanatory power of a doctor, but

also the reassuring capacity of a parent. Yet no amount of scientific knowledge

on my part could satiate her.

I held her, I hugged and kissed her, and I whispered a silent prayer in her ear.

In my own search for an answer I had transcended the realms of science, the

boundaries had seamlessly blended with those of spirituality, a quest for an

answer in the beyond. A vague journey had begun.

What followed was months of multiply tiny battles. Battles against malignant

cells which had invaded my baby, battles to keep my retching, toxic toddler

going, battles I faced against and with my husband, as we watched our only child

on the brink of complete destruction. A battle which you fight both within and

outwardly, much like the chemotherapeutic drugs, which destroys from within to

fight outwardly –the malignancy. Ultimately, in this lethal tug-o-war, where there

is a blind distinction between the elements that make you and break you, its

anybody’s guess and blind faith that you need to tell you which side it is, that’s

going to make it.

And much like all great battles, I fought this too is no less an arena. A Paediatric

Cancer Chemotherapy Unit is the Azkaban of our real world. As you watch sick

children being wheeled around, tubes running in and out of their tiny bodies,

anxious parents sallowed by fear and sadness, subconsciously you sink.

Yet at the same time, you stand together united by the same harsh fate.

If it is empathy that I felt on one hand, on the other my whole being resonated

with one question, “ Why me?”

It’s a question each one of us will ask at some or the other point in life. And that

day was my turn. I fought with the universe for answers, I cussed and cursed,

I swore, then again I swore off yet many other things, I threw wagers, forged

negotiations, pleaded, fell to my knees, implored, prostrated my self, give me my

little one back.

Nevertheless she fought with childish fervour. That gave me hope.

She made friends with the nurses and doctors, the other kids, she made her

father and me read out endless stories, narrated them over to all and sundry.

She tried to learn the name of her medicines even, and being unable to grasp

those sharp names, she made up sweet kiddish monikers for these lethal toxins.

Each chemo cycle was like the long up hill, the week in between an insufficient

breather. We had our little triumphs and tribulations with each fresh blood count.

The three of us striving to protect our cocoon in the face of an opponent that had

swallowed millions.

But with each passing day, we passed from the bleak to the bleaker.

One such night, in the dark as I held her hand, and watched her shift around

in an uncomfortable sleep, groping for me in the darkness, she took my hand

and asked, “ Mamma, am I going to become a star?” ... her childish reference to

Alas soon after one balmy afternoon, even as I watched my husband tell her and

Polka a story, I felt her squeeze my hand, just as she fell beyond the veil into an

eternal slumber.

The first few days after a devastating loss, the mind develops an unknown

strength. So it was with me. Even as I whispered a teary adieu, I had enough

lucidity to carry out the nitty gritties of the after procedures.

But as time goes on, you let your guard down, the memories the storm had

brushed aside in a heap begin to unfurl. Every pin that held your tattered

existence together gives way, you fall by the wayside, in a futile heap.

The cold bleak winter of my life followed. I lived amidst the gaunt shadows,

withdrawn, the blinds down on all windows. I shrunk into my own den, shunning

the world, refusing to be touched by the warmth of the rays.

I was alone. Endless conversations followed in the darkness, with darkness.

It was an unlit meandering path I chose to take , and I walked alone.

Because its only in the immediate aftermath are there people to help you. But as

times moves on, its up to you to pick up the pieces, its up to you to heal.

As the months went by, my husband resumed work, he had begun to heal. I

grappled in the darkness.

I shunned all help; my journey had to be alone.

The voice grew louder,

The darkness deeper.

Echo after echo resonated my pain.

The caverns are haunted,

Not very much unlike how I’m taunted.

My despair is resounding.

My insides are gnawed at by a hollow something.

I see no respite,

I see no light.

Eighteen months that had gone by had taken with it a life time.

Nobody could replace my Maya, my baby girl.

Then one fine day, coaxed out of my den, I stepped into the sunshine.

My hapless husband wearily eyed me for signs of healing. I was unmoved by the

exuberance of the tiny humans around me. My armour of despair, still intact.

Then, “Are you my mummy?”, the shrill voice of a little girl spoke.

As she entwined her fingers with mine, the icicles began to thaw.

Little Leia was snugly asleep. Polka the pig was her favourite toy. And her

favourite bed time story was that of her Big Sister who walked amongst the stars.

I would heal.

........................x............................x..............................x....................................x.....................................

Friday, September 05, 2014

Book Review: The Mistress Of the Throne

An insight into the intriguing lives of the Mughal dynasty, especially their women and in particular their daughters... The Mistress of the Throne is a semi fictional memoir of  the unsung princess Jahanara and how she played a defining role in shaping India's history from behind the veils.
 A powerful, independent and strong character, born  perhaps about 500 years ahead of time, her remarkable life, her vision and her sacrifices appear to be the less chronicles aspects of what undoubtedly was the Golden Era of the Mughal Rule.
Her unparalleled love for her eccentric family is remarkable. As an adolescent she was thrust into the forefront of royal responsibilities soon after her mother , the legendary Mumtaz Mahal breathed her last, yet this Persian beauty wore the title of Shah Jahan 's Empress and that of a foster mother to her siblings with grace and dignity.
The melancholy of her own life not withstanding, she was the will behind the Taj Mahal, thus immortalizing her parents' epic love story. Her architectural vision also lead to the design of Delhi's famous Chandni Chowk, whether this was a tribute to her own lost love I do not know.
The book also delves into the bonds shared by Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal's children, their early lives and how it shaped Indian and Mughal history eventually.
Mistress of the Throne by Dr. Ruchir Gupta is a very interesting read, a book as mesmerizing as the times and the woman it chronicles.  
 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

To Write InVerse

The blue sky, the bird and the butterfly,
In all their cerulean glory, for my attention do vie,
I strain my brain to not give a grain,
Putting to work all those years of train.

Teasing me with a sweep and caress,
The evening breeze seeks to ease my brows creased with stress.

Yet I persevere, hard and fast,
But I do fear my will won't last,
Alas, I have been at this for the day past.

Yet, to my master, I implore,
The myriad distractions shall you ignore!
Dear, hippocampus , I've a lot of work you see,
Do, I can't , all that which would set my spirit free.

And so despite the finger itch,
I must put in the next stitch.
Yet, I see how you're writing without a glitch,
And now the urge to have me read has reached , a fever's pitch.

Ah well, about physiology, (for now), the devil may care,
For I will pick up that pen and lay my thoughts bare.

Thus,
I write, frigid and terse,
And out flows this rusty verse.



*to all the connoisseurs out there  :I do apologise for this is unintentional.
I very rarely do rhyme,
Not much more than  rosemary and thyme ;
The writing bug , occasionally I choose to nurse,
The result is this piece of poetry inverse! 







Saturday, May 24, 2014

THE JUNIOR DOCTOR

I woke up this morning to the very reassuring news that govt MBBS doctors in Karnataka are to see a salary hike , and it will now see them cashing in on 60K a month!!

Yayy that's great news for my clan! And even more so for "MY CLAN" i.e. all those fresh MBBS graduates (read #babydocs, #jrdocs, #jrs) at the mercy of mankind, coursing through all of Dante's hells to arrive at the ultimate prize ... a PG seat!
( associated perks : fulfilled ambition, reinstilled sense of self worth, a job and a salary, recognition, a SPOUSE!!!, ... and I've also heard whispered in some corners 'Happiness!!')

And so as we course through this phantasmic journey, unmindful of the endless night duties, the thesis terrors, the next quest for DM/Mch and other what nots that will follow in the post PG life...!

As the rest of the world scales great heights ( specifically with regards to their bank accounts), we trudge along the dreary path where exams are mile stones and any, ANY, known pleasure is a potent stumbling stone, akin to that dreaded Snake on 99 that can barf you all the way back down to 0 on the game board :\

The journey is a thankless toil, a bootcamp, a nightmare all combined and magnified a hundred times...
You think I'm exaggerating , well here's an insight;
At ages 23-26 heres what "My Clan" is doing:
8am to 8pm reading and re reading all that was taught over a span of 5 and 1/2 years .. which is actually an amalgamation of everything that manking learnt from Hippocrates'(the Father Of Medicine) era to what the NEJM (or for that matter some other journal in some far corner of the world ) published as of this morning!.. this Ladies and Gentlemen is what comprises our"COURSE SYLLABUS"!

A far far cry from the happening lives of our peers! #nonexistentSocialLife
But hey, saving lives is no easy feat eh?!?
But yes none of us look as 'fab' trying to do so a la Jackson Avery...

That said Greys Anatomy has made this profession of ours more glamourous in the eyes of the lay man. Then again, the very famous 'On Call Room' of Sloan-Grey Memorial is not a reality in our day to day lives, nor do we run into a McDreamy or a McSteamy very often !!!( two questions absolutely everyone asks me when they realize I watch Greys)
Unfortunately Shonda doesn't script our day to days!

And as the rest of the world breaks new barriers, we are further bound and tied down by new legislations, malpractice insurances, bonds,QUOTAS, licenciating exams and the lot!
All as we try to follow our passion to learn more about this magnificent machine, the human body!

Yes, the general public is very distrustful of doctors, and definitely I accept not without reason , there are a fair number (that I've seen in my very short career thus far) who are in it for reasons that they shouldn't, and hence the apprehension is understandable. But by and large, there is a vast majority who are truly passionate and work very hard day and night! #truePassion

Yes eventually we might be able to afford that all elusive BMW #loveTheBMW , but that's after spending a good part of our twenties being largely broke (and perennially hungry) ;) ... #by2Coffee

And thus we work our way through countless books, solely focusing our attentions on Messrs. Harrison, Bailey and Robbins , adding 'dysdiadokokinesia' to our vocabulary, learning the 'idiosyncrasies' of life, and fighting the every day battle against- '5 and 1/2 years to become a hard core cynic'  (as a popular daily newspaper termed the MBBS course ), all because we will one day learn enough to qualify as 'good doctors' and serve the society.
 All because we truly love what we do!










 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Season

... Came in as the summers' breeze,
first a whiff,then a caress;
and soon all was at ease.

Such was the magic, such was the charm,
the cold countenance melted,
leaving the insides soft and warm.

The spring flowers bloomed and the bees held sway,
the hues grew brighter each passing day.

The fairy lights i noticed like never before,
for you were with me for ever more.

But as autumn heralds a bitter chill,
dark clouds marooneed over yonder hill.

Quiet grew the songbirds,
the lesson in absence learnt;
your silence speaks louder than your words.

Friday, April 05, 2013

MUSINGS OF MY MIND- A FOOLISH JOURNEY

One bright and sunny morning, I wake up to the not so startling realization that the world around me is filled with fools!
Old fools and young fools, flowery fools and mute fools, tall fools and fat fools, pretentious fools, and a whole lot of plain ol' fools! There's just an epidemic of foolishness it appears, and if you don't walk around with all of your bodily orifices firmly plugged, you might as well catch it!

So once this happy realization has sunk in, and your mind is in the midst of a thunderstorm even as the sun outside bakes all and sundry, you try hard.... to 'reason'!
The what ifs, and yets, the maybes and the may nots..... your effervescent brain dons the garb of the 'Devil's Advocate'!
And so it was with me!
But argue as I may in the court of my mind, I have not much to say, for the defendant is the devil itself, a fool! A waste of time, of space and of my grey matter!
Were they made to entertain us or to annoy us, I know not, yet they're all around!
The company of fools doesn't auger well. An ominous saying.

I take a deep breath, let me not be swayed, they shall not lead me astray!
I calm the inner turmoil.
It's the heat outside that's leading me down this path I tell myself.
Yet my insides seethe  the fire refusing to be doused, fight I shall, my blood boils over, the nostrils flare, my blood shot eyes personify the deep anger. In one swift move, I can see the end of this. The means to this end lies right in front of me, all I have to do is to extend my arm... I do so, with slow, steady hands, and in one quick swagger i gulp down the bottle of cold water!
I settle down for a nap. When I awake the sun would've abated, and left behind a few lesser fools.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

SS-1, Chapter-4


The following morning, the lady woke up. The lawyer had left, for his morning walk.
 After a strong dose of caffeine and popping yet another aspirin, she turned her attention to his closet. The previous night’s coat having been identified, was given a quick yet thorough search. This going down in vain, she turned to the drawers, then  the night stand, the book shelf… her initial caution being abandoned, things were now flung helter skelter, the room in a mess.
The crucial piece of evidence remained elusive.
I’m being silly and paranoid!
Half relieved, half tired she sat down by the study.
 The neat velvet packaging was unmistakable. The blue box, the golden embossed logo, unmistakable…
Half an hour later, she was still sitting at the table, twirling it with her fingers.
Hell was beginning to take a human form.
Presently the doorbell rang, only to be replaced by the clattering of metal on tiled floor. The stones rolled out, and the intricately set pattern in pieces, what was left of the necklace lay limply by the wayside.
The lawyer stared aghast at his wife, their gaze met for a brief moment, her’s red with fury, his steeped in sorrow.
‘My dearest, for all the years of love, for all the battles we fought, and for all that’s to come in life, I love you!...’
 He held the note in his hand, she stared at it.
The sorrow in his eyes was unmistakable. The more he stood their looking into her eyes, the more it pained her… shamed her.
Her judgment had been hasty, without even a hearing. The prejudices of a feminine mind had cost her her better judgment.
Unable to deal with the riot within, she collapsed into his arms, a wave of relief washing over her, the serenity restored over her countenance.
As they stood there, at one with each other, at one with the blue skies, and the white mountains, time stood still in the valley.
As he eased his wife into the chair, he inwardly thanked the years he’d spent mastering his craft, after all, a lawyer had to hold a degree in trickery. The same facts can be made to look a little different in different light.
I love you… my dear Ms. X
So read the rest of the torn note that he’d retrieved, to show his wife, from the ruins of the jewellery box. But this part she’d never read. He crumpled it further in his pocket. The thought of the attractive brunette, an old client, relegated for now, into the archives of the brain.
And whilst the lady rested, the crumpled bit joined the fuel in the fireplace.
 ...........>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<...........>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<............

SS-1, Chapter-3


 The middle aged woman was deep in conversation with the Colonel’s son, a smart young lieutenant himself.
The lady walked around the pillar to get a better look at this stranger, but her effort was to be in vain, for some of her friends barged in between and struck up conversation.
A couple of drinks, a dance or two, and few random conversations later, the lady had quite settled into the flow of the festivities. Despite the strain of the past fortnight, she surprised herself with the amount of enthusiasm she could muster. And so, the gaiety continued… and it would have, had she not noticed the hems of the silver gown, yet again.
This time, the lieutenant had disappeared, but the woman was in conversation with another man, his back to the dance floor. Her face was pale, but the dark brown of her hair and eyes, coupled with the sharp nose, and high cheek bones made it an attractive package. Then there was that hour glass frame, the generous bosom. The long slender fingers brushed his coat’s lapels, before resting on his shoulder. As the pitch began to rise, she swayed gracefully, matching her moves to that of her partner, the lawyer.
‘It’s only a dance’, she thought to herself.
But she was soon heard, telling anyone who struck up conversation with her, that Ms. X powdered face had been conquered by the ‘crow’s feet’, the pearls were a fake and despite it being the first time that the lady had seen her, she assured some of the more naïve guests, that the woman in question had put on a good ten pounds in weight!
A dance rolled into ‘few dances’. The lady now had a throbbing skull, and it wouldn’t be long before she’d have to pop the aspirin.
It was as the particular number reached a crescendo, that she thought she saw Ms. X slip something into the lawyer’s pocket.  Their eyes, with only each other to gaze at, conveyed a million unspoken words.
The throbbing in the lady’s head was now a frank, incessant pounding.
Soon after the lawyer, was by his lady’s side. And seeing as she was quite unwell, they quietly retreated home.
Hell hath no fury, they say, as a woman scorned!

SS-1; Chapter 2


It was at one such lazy afternoon when quite a few ladies had gathered at her home for tea that the lady of the house first heard about Ms. X. A wealthy spinster, she came each winter to the valley, laid her manicured claws on an able male, usually labeled quite a ‘catch’, and after a blink-and-you-miss it romance in the valley, made away with him, into the dark under belly of the city below. Nothing more would ever be heard of her rich and handsome-prey, yet she’d return the following year, intact, her pristine smile et al.
This had happened very many times over the past decade or so. But no one spoke about it in front of her, for:
a.)  The valley people were well meaning, dignified, and didn’t per say probe into anything that wasn’t their business.
and
b.)  Well, Ms. X seemed to be quite high up in the echelons of power, or so it would seem.
And so this trend had settled into being the rumour mongerers’ staple.
“Age is surely catching up! The lines are showing on her face.”, the women recall.
“Ah! But she’s still quite a fine specimen. ”, the men retort.
 “But how is she even managing such swift divorces?”, wonders a local woman, out aloud.
To which, “Quick out- of- court settlements”, says the eminent lawyer, offering a technical opinion.
And so the afternoon is spent regaling the new comers with anecdotes about some of the more colourful aspects of valley life.
It was a further fortnight of routine valley life, when the missus got a distressing call. Her only sister had been taken sick, and was at the hospital. The sister being childless, it was up to the lady to be by her sister’s side. And so she did, packing her bags and going down to the plains, the very next morning.  She left the lawyer behind, seeing as there was no particular need for him, and either which way only one person would be ample to help her brother in law handle the affairs at the hospital.
A hectic ten days followed before she could take leave of her sister, who having spent a week being tested and treated, had now been eased into convalescence.
And so the lady returned, exhausted, yet eager to be back home. She missed her husband, after all, it had been quite a while since they had spent this long a while apart in their many years of marriage, speaking of which, there were only two days away from celebrating their Coral (35th) Wedding Anniversary.
Barely had she managed to unpack and find her bearings, than she found herself in the midst of much fanfare and celebration. This time it was to be the Annual Ball in the Colonel’s house, to mark the onset of local fete, which would culminate with Christmas.
They had gone all out with the festivities, she noted. The entire valley was shimmering with fairy lights, the cheer in abundance, and the colonel’s property was as resplendent as a newlywed bride!
It was in the midst of this fanfare that she caught sight of the flowing gown, and the striking figure it adorned.

Short Story

My entry for DH short story contest 2012



KISS AND TELL
Chapter 1
“Nearly done, there you go!”, he commented, putting down the saw and admiring his handiwork. His tall frame was drenched in perspiration, but his eyes sparkled with the satisfaction of having completed his task.
Though a shade over sixty five, the former lawyer, thought his wife, looked… well resplendent. Despite the generous sprinkling of silver hair, the lines of wisdom which creased his temples, he still radiated the same powerful ‘something’ which drew her to him all those many years ago!
A shy smile homed in on her face, as the memories of the glorious past streamed in.
The first time she set her eyes on him, as a gawky eighteen year old in the bus, she thought him attractive, but it was only when they spoke, a long time later, that he truly won her heart. The courtship, the romance, she was well and truly swept off her feet. He was witty, intelligent, handsome, yet there was a mysterious something about his persona that drew people to this charismatic lawyer.
Having caught sight of his wife stealing a glimpse at her reflection in the window pane, the lawyer’s lips curled into a grin. He observed, her hair was swept back in a callous bun, her flowing dress held effortlessly onto her curvaceous figure, her once chiseled features now softened by age. Suppressing his analytically- trained brain, he just continued to stare, he didn’t need a reason to love that woman before him.
As the couple settled in with their hot mugs of coffee, on the front porch, the last rays of the season held them in warm embrace.
It had been nearly two new moons since the couple had moved into their retirement home in the valley. Having spent four or so decades carving out distinguished careers, raising their family and living amidst the general hullabaloo of life, the soul craved some calm and quiet. This being impossible to wring out of the hustle and bustle of city life, they had decided to abandon it altogether.
Their new cottage was nestled deep within a wood of oak trees, the gurgling river which fed the valley flowed a stone’s throw away, and the hue of the lilies sat in stark contrast to the pale of the environ.
The local community too, was well knit and warm. They had wasted no time in embracing this respectable couple, he a lawyer of repute, and she a dedicated teacher, who had retired as Principal of the Mission school.  The locals had gone out of their way to help the couple settle down, and feel at home. The post-retirement life was perfect.
  Life in the valley was simple. People didn’t crave power and prestige; they didn’t haggle in boardrooms, or fight power wars in the back rooms. There was no place for greed. They just worked hard, to earn a living and live their life…and that they did to the fullest.  
  So if the day was spent plying their trade, the evenings were spent in the pleasant company of friends and neighbours. So each evening, since their arrival, the couple had been ushered to and fro, once for a game of charades, then a garden party and so on. Despite all of this being quite novel to them, they’d quite enjoyed it. The food was sumptuous, the drink flowed, and the conversation eclectic. Their views, like life itself, were simple and the truth came out hard and straight.  
But as ever, amongst the women, gossip held sway. 

Sociable

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