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Featured Posts of 2019

The lockdown journal: On emotions and work

 As a toddler, I spent most of my time sitting in my mother's clinic. I neither had daycare nor doting grandparents who babysat me, and as a result, my mom juggled between her full time job and me. One of the first people I met in her practice was this woman with late stage esophageal cancer. I use the term 'met' rather loosely, because I never actually saw her. The first thing my Mom taught me before bringing me into the clinic was that I should never express revulsion at a human being's pain and suffering, no matter how horrible it looked or smelled. She said that if at any time I reacted or made a face, I wouldn't be allowed in to her clinic anymore. I complied. But somehow, she didn't trust me to see this cancer patient with half her food tract eaten away and not react. So anytime this patient made in appearance, I would be shooed inside. After she left, I would ask my Mom in curiosity: What was wrong with her? Would she get well again? Did she have family?

Moments: A dog called Turbo

 In the recent couple of months, I have found it exceedingly hard to write. My city and country have been ravaged by the pandemic, and I have been struggling to remain positive. My work desk faces one of the busiest junctions in Bangalore, and for the past couple of weeks the ambulances have been wailing non-stop. I hear them even in my nightmares, and I so badly wish they would stop. I stopped reading the news, I stopped looking at the bleak statistics, but somehow I cannot shut out the ambulance sounds. I shudder at the thought of all the people who are sick, and are not even able to receive timely medical intervention. I am pained by the thought of so many people losing their near and dear ones. I worry so much about my own first circle. I try to go down for a walk everyday, because it is a very fine thread that my sanity is hanging by, and that thread is this walk. Today too, I promptly stepped out with my husband around 6. We got into the lift and were instantly lost in our phones

Random Rant: The nightmare that goes by 'adulting'

This has been lying in my drafts for a month now, and I decided to spruce it up and send it out into the world. Disclaimer: As I have said many times in the past, I am aware that I am quite privileged and that my problems are very first world ones. Yet, I choose to write about this for two reasons: Writing is my first and best coping mechanism, and it helps me deal with the several frustrations of adulthood that make me feel powerless. Second, it is a true and holistic picture of my life. To much of the outside world, my descriptors are superficial labels- student, wife, daughter. But to my Reader, I will be nothing but honest. I want you to know my eternal struggle to do justice to all of these roles, to see the constant juggling that sometimes leaves me drained. I want you to know that whatever you are going through, you're not alone. Close to midnight on a Sunday, you find me here, typing this out feverishly. What happened, you ask? I'm dying to tell you. Well, it started ou

Existential meanderings: On decision paralysis

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I have always placed a great deal of importance on my career, and as a result have many times ended up prioritizing it over several things in the personal hemisphere. But of late, these decisions that come so naturally to me have started looking like difficult choices. I often wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Right by whom? Right for what? are questions that I pore over morosely. I write this in the hope that it will bring me some clarity, and help others dealing with similar questions. My father has had many skirmishes with illness lately, and they have resulted in numerous visits to the hospital. When this first started, my Dad was very shaken, and so was I. My parents, knowing my schedule, did not ask me to accompany them. I felt that they could use the moral support though, and hence, my husband and I went to the hospital despite my parents' insistence to the contrary. My dad was very happy to see us, and later confessed that he'd felt sad that there was no one to

From my bookshelf: The Midnight Library

One of the things I love about life is the infinite possibilities it holds. As a kid, I used to marvel at all the people I could be, all the futures I could have. They were magical what-ifs, shimmering with possibility. A quarter of a century later, my path in life has become more defined. I have made choices, and they have had consequences. But the dreamer in me often wonders: What if I had instead done this? Or that other thing? Maybe I would have become like this other person. And these what-ifs have gradually become tinted with regret. Not because I don't like where I am today, but because I had to give up all the alternate realities I could have inhabited to be here. That every choice meant that I had to leave behind the rest. I have previously written about this in an Obscure Sorrows post called Onism . A few years ago, I struggled reading Plath's Bell Jar, because I felt sad looking at life with that perspective. A paragraph that particularly caught my attention was thi

EFML: Thanksgiving

Yet another year has gone by, and I turn a year older today. Every year, I use this day to introspect and be grateful. This year though, as I stared at a blank window trying to write this post, I found it hard to be thankful. Like so many other people, I did not have good things to say about 2020. Here were some of my initial thoughts: I quit my job in the end of January, and transitioned to another in early Feb. This was a drastic change in terms of work for me, and Covid hit a month later. All of a sudden, I found myself working from home, struggling to get help or make progress. As if that alone wasn't enough, the nationwide lockdown happened and a ton of chores descended on me. I struggled through every single day, and got so little done. Things that I had meticulously planned out before leaving my job suddenly evaporated into a cloud of uncertainty, and the lack of control left me feeling severely anxious and helpless.  Then, my immediate neighbors tested positive for covid, a

Moments: Happiness in an anachronism

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This year has been difficult for all of us. Over the past couple of months, I have felt an overwhelming hesitation whenever I look at a blank screen and try to write. Add to that a time crunch, and you see why my posts are dwindling down. But, there's another reason. Ever since the lockdown, life has felt listless at times. I look around, and I see the struggles of so many people. I wonder, what is it that I can write about to alleviate some of this dystopia? Silence greets me. Today though, I see a glimmer of an answer, and I attempt to bring some peace and happiness through this series of articles I call "moments". Here goes! The subject of my article and my latest delight is this tiny cassette player. Yes, you heard that right! In today's era of music streaming services, it is doubtless an anachronism. Yet, it brings a smile on my face. Let me elaborate. In my childhood, we always had crazy mornings. There would be breakfast and lunch getting prepared, my parents a