a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

I am as normal as you are, or your colleague is or anyone else you know. Just that my muscles, at times, give up!

I grew up reading books, participating in debates and elocution and painting wonderful scenery. I love dancing – learnt Bharatanatyam for eight long years and later swayed to some moves of salsa and belly dancing.  I have completed my advanced levels in Tanjore painting and have even sold a beautiful goddess draped in gold.  I love listening to music and watching movies. I have wonderful friends – and time and distance are no barriers in keeping contact with the close ones.

I was a good student all along. I finished my ISC with a 95% in English but went on to do my Engineering (sigh! like most science students in Bangalore do). I began my career in the beautiful campus of Infosys, Mysore. I moved to Bangalore a couple of years later and then decided to bell the CAT. I got into a decent B-school and joined a top MNC. With a handful of client delights and an awesome team at work, I never had much to ask for.

I married the guy I dated, though we are at loggerheads with each other most of the time, we do genuinely care a lot for each other. I wouldn’t say love each other – for love has no unique definition and is a feeling which differs from person to person. The wedding wasn’t easy – a typical two states marriage (Chetan Bhagat wasn’t the only one who went through that ordeal). The wedding eventually happened after a lot of K-serial drama. And after that I was quite content with my office-home-eat-sleep-office-weekend-repeat routine except for a back-pain once in a while.

The pain got really bad at times, especially when I was stuck at never-ending Bangalore traffic or had a really long day at work. Catching up on sleep, Volini and a hot water bag acted as a catalyst on bringing me back to my feet. I did check with doctor’s when it was bad – but then I eventually got habituated to early morning stiffness.

The pain kept fluctuating like a sine curve. The bad days were really horrible. Sometimes the click of a mouse button sent a shooting pain up my arms till my neck. Well, the pain in the neck can be excruciatingly painful – and hence the proverb ‘pain in the neck’. This was never a perennial problem but always surfaced just before the day I had to attend a function, prepare for that urgent client deadline or had to immediately check items on my to-do list. And it always got procrastinated.

And then disaster struck. One day I could not lift my neck and look at the monitor. I just could not lift my neck. It was as though the instructions sent to the brain to lift my neck got frozen mid-way and the muscles refused to budge. The doctor suggested a week’s rest – avoid travelling and avoid a computer and avoid a mobile phone. What?! The last two were my lifelines.

A week and a MRI, vitamin B and vitamin D deficiency test later, I was suggested two more weeks off. I am sure all office goers understand what this equates to – but I have an awesome manager who asked me to recover and took care of the multiple projects I was handling (my manager has not bribed me to say this – it is a heartfelt and genuine note of gratitude). More blood tests. Another two weeks off. Each doctor I visited (16 so far) – second or third or fourth opinion told me to forget work when I asked for clarity on my joining date and was ready to give me a medical certificate without me even asking for it. But there was no sign of recovery from that monstrous pain.

I started dropping bowls in the kitchen, I couldn’t lift my own laptop. I couldn’t open the keys to the door of my parental home – I have been twisting it since 2002 and it stubbornly refused to let me in on an eventful day. I couldn’t open the slide doors of an elevator – had to wait for a kind soul to enter the lift to let me out. I couldn’t eat my dinner with my hands, my own hands. I stared at those five fingers for a long time, but they refused to touch each other. Even my fingers betrayed me and did not pay heed to what I had to say. I was stuck in the four walls of a rented apartment without a television, waiting for some doctor to brandish a wand and say ‘Abracadabra!’. This happened not so long ago, in June 2017, 6 weeks ago, to be precise.

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After a month of physiotherapy sessions – I feel much better, the pain has come down a little bit, but at the cost of my energy levels. Fatigue has taken out its cruelest whiplash and attacked me. A 15 minute walk makes me lie down and take rest for half an hour. The doctor’s now suggest I stop the only treatment which gave me some relief – till Fate turns its evil eye away from me. I have had bouts of fainting sessions where I lay in a semi-conscious state, unable to clearly articulate my need for a sip of drinking water.

Dear reader, I implore to you to read those pain signals. We take our health for granted, when we shouldn’t. I do not want anybody to undergo this pain – the wizards and witches would know how it would feel to have the Cruciatus and the Imperius Curse being hurled upon you at the same time by ten death-eater’s.

No one can comprehend the pain I undergo. Its not easy for an active person to stay confined in the walls of the house. I miss work. I miss chai (tea) shop anna who always greeted me with a smile. I miss listening to the Uber driver ranting about the changed incentive scheme. I miss the random conversations with my colleagues. I miss the freedom to travel alone to catch up with my friends. I wish I did not have to think thrice before swiping my credit card when I crave for ice-cream.

Most people shrug it away as a common back pain – they know not what a last stage of myofascial pain syndrome is. Some doctors say its an early stage of Fibromyalgia while others refute. Many people think I am killing time at home – to hell with you – I am aware of my liabilities and am more eager to get back to work than you can imagine. Many people think I am not focused enough on getting better – perhaps you would like to trade lives for a day? And there are others who comment that the pain is in the head – I wish you could slice my skull open to confirm that it is not – and apply Feviquick to set the cranium back in place.

I don’t need your sympathies, those who know me personally can vouch that I am way too strong a girl for sympathies. All I expect is that you put yourself in my shoes – and understand. I only wish you understand! Just be there, and understand.

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It’s been more than two months. Lightning strikes followed by the rumbling sound of thunder. I stand alone in the ice cold winds, my tears drowned by the pelting rain, waiting for the storm to pass. I look far into the clouded horizon, my eyes searching for the glint of golden rays of sunshine amidst the silver lining of the grey clouds. I don’t need an umbrella to shield myself, I am a strong girl. All I want is that you understand.

Things have not changed much in the past two months. The pain now feels like a cos curve (same difference). I have put down my papers and the job insecurity keeps nagging the back of my mind. I have no visibility on when I will be back to my old self.

Such incidents in life teach you the value of gratitude. Thank God for my family and friends! Thank you God for introducing me to this beautiful world of blogging. I find solace in wool-gathering.

Thank you Baba (Bengali for father). I know you keep asking me why I have stopped praying – but my faith is shaken. I know tumi toh acho, amar kichu hobena (you are around, nothing can happen to me).” Ma (Mother), a big hug to you. I know I can be very rude when I am hangry (hungry/angry), but you also know that I am your baby! Nothing has changed over the years, I have to tell you about everything under the sun, about things I do, and the people I meet, about the movie I watched without you, and now the comments in my blog. I love you more than anybody else in the world.

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Baby Me! Daddy’s Little Princess and Mommy’s World
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You are the apple of my eye

Man of the house, (alluding to my husband -Twinkle Khanna style), you rock! I know you hate being my punchbag and you got bullied into this obnoxious debacle for no fault of yours. I know there have been more troughs than crests in the last few months but I think we’ve managed to sail along pretty well, and I am sure the best is yet to come. Here’s a shout out to you – thanks for all the support. I know you care. Love you to the moon and back. I mean it. Tight hug. 

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Mr Husband. That best friend who you feel like strangling at times, well not literally!

Thank you! To all my friends and family who have supported me through this ordeal and helped in various capacities. Don’t know what I would have done without you guys! Muah!

Back to the realms of Blogosphere! I think I am smitten by the labyrinth of words 🙂 I keep staring at that stats bar chart every now and then – waiting for that tiny orange bar to climb to greater heights! I am content with 1.5k views, 50 likes, 20 followers (19 on WordPress and 1 on e-mail) and 12 (now 13) posts in 2 weeks. I am not sure if these are numbers to be proud of – but they definitely bring a smile on my face! I can spend only two hours in front of the laptop at a stretch and must take frequent breaks – learnt it the hard way! I cannot write on the bad days when the pain gets the better of me. But I think I liked the way a fellow blogger put it – this is not a running race! And I have set my own pace! Thank YOU for reading, being an awesome critic, commenting and sharing! Honestly, it makes my day!

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

– Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A letter to my 9 year-old nephew on his birthday

My Dear Upamanyu,

Wish you a very Happy Birthday! Hugs! More hugs! and Mmmmmuaaaah! Lots and lots of love from T-Moni.

It seems like only yesterday when I cradled you in my arms and sang a lullaby! Time flies! And today, a fine young gentleman of nine is reading this! A young man who knows his numbers, plays chess tournaments, is a star soccer player and more. Whoa! I am so proud of you my little champ! Manage your mischief with the swish of a wand! I wish you lots of fun and frolic, may you laugh till your cheeks hurt, and play till you drop on the couch! Hi-fi on that!

 

Well, this is a small gift from me – which will reach you soon in the form of a hand-written letter. It may not seem much today, but trust me, you will understand its value, in the years to come! A hand-written letter may seem odd in today’s age where the world is just a click away, but they have their own charm. And am hoping, that in the years to come, when you find my letter tucked away behind a pile of books, you will open it and re-read and get a better perspective to what I have to say!

 

Today, I am going to talk to you about something very important. You are a big boy now and need to understand certain things and follow them diligently. That’s a promise you will make to me, deal? You can shake that imaginary hand, I have mine extended 9248 miles away.

1. Take care of people you love, give them your time. 

Upa, there are so many people who love you dearly and you mean the world to them. I know, you are busy with a plethora of activities to do, but let me tell you young lad, as the days go by, you will have so much more to do. Never forget to give the loved one a hug, or just call to say ‘Hey, how are you doing?’. They may be absolutely fine, but may be looking at the telephone the whole day to see your number on it when it is ringing. It could be your grandparents or your parents when you grow older, but this is a must.

2. Gratitude, there is always something to be thankful for. 

I still remember, as a two feet tall-three year old kid, you used to stand on the chair and shake hands with your ‘Dadai’ (grandfather) to thank him for each meal. Everybody seated on the table used to look at you in bewilderment. Before going to bed, make it a point to thank God for three things you received that day. It could be the bar of chocolate gifted to you, a sumptuous meal put together by your mom, that baseball match you enjoyed or anything under the sun, but you must learn to be thankful. You have no idea what a cascading effect of positiveness this will have!

3. Be Humble and polite – modesty is a unique quality which not everyone can possess

Great men show the virtue of being humble and modest. You need not look far away from home. Both your grandfather’s are living examples of this quality. If you were to be allowed to travel to your dream destination without a back-pack, it is this quality which will tag along with you and will be the one friend who will never betray you.

4. Learn something new everyday

This is simple! It’s a fun game. This could be a puzzle which you can now solve, meaning of a new word or a complicated math problem which you did not know how to tackle the day before. Knowledge is that ingenious man who never gets tagged in the game of catch-me-if-you-can. The more you learn, realization dawns on how little you know.

5. Honesty has a power very few people can handle

You know what’s worse? Tell a lie once, only ONCE and all your truths become questionable. That’s horrible, isn’t it? This is not easy. Let me reiterate, this can be very difficult especially when you know that small lie can often save you from a grave situation. But I am sure you can handle it. And people will respect you for the truth you speak. Respect can only be earned, I cannot gift it to you even if I want to. This is deep, but you are a smart boy and I am sure you know what I mean.

6. Learn to let go

It’s okay to be upset about something, but not for long. You have better things to do than brood over something that kills your time. Whatever it is, park it aside. Think about something which makes you happy instead, or treat yourself to some yummy ‘roshogolla’, you are our precious little darling, and I am going to be extremely upset if I get to know from Mommy that you are fretting about mundane things.

7. Give your best in whatever you do 

Be it the prawn curry that’s cooking for Father’s Day or shaking your legs to some Salman Khan Bollywood number – give it your best shot buddy, carpe diem, the stage is all yours! You may want to try this, whenever I have butterflies in my stomach I close my eyes and think of the people I love, and I can see them smiling back at me with a thumbs-up victory sign. And I have always exceeded expectations. I am sure a talented young man like you would surpass all competition and rock it! Yo buddy!

8. Never judge a book by its cover

What you see is not what you get. People are different. Even identical twins do not behave the same way. The playmate at school is different from the neighbour next door. And by being different I am not referring to their ethnicity. I am referring to the different nature and characteristics of every individual. Observe. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you are good to someone, they are bound to be good to you one day or the other. And if they are not, it is their guilt conscience which will prick them, that is not for you to ponder. But then why do you need to observe? Because you need to handle people differently. The way you ask your teacher a question may be different from the way you ask your mom the same question, right? Similarly you will have to observe and understand how the mind’s of different people work.

9. Time is the new currency of our generation.Use it with prudence!

Yes it is! Dollars come a close second. And the best part is, we ALL have 24 hours a day. It’s how you make best use of it! Spend 5 minutes on planning what you want to do and how you want to do it – before starting any activity. Have a goal, I am sure the plan will work. And if it doesn’t you will have a better one next time.

That’s enough of gyaan for the day!

Run along and cut the cake before Pepe paws on it! 🙂 Let’s Skype soon.

Sealed with love, T-Moni.

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