Sunday, December 29, 2013


The past several weeks have been one of the most stressful periods in my life. And mom's. This time owing to my mother's health. At various points she and I thought my mom won't be alive to see the next week.

And finally a couple of weeks ago, a biopsy triggered allergic reactions which led to bronchial and laryngeal spasms. I saw a scene which was similar to one imprinted in my memory from 5 years ago. 

Mom and I'd gone to Canada for a concert and for the first time, my mom developed what we think  was an allergic reaction to milk there. It could have been because the milk was stored in an open container in a refrigerator where they'd also stored raw meat. We both are not really clear what how, but the day we landed my mom had shivers and fever for the entire span of 10 days that we were there. 

Once back in Chennai we got her admitted into hospital straight away and a battery of tests were on to check everything from malaria to leptospirosis. All of which later came clear. During the course of her treatment, between she was administered a drug on IV, which triggered allergic reactions, her body bloated and she stopped breathing. All this had happened when I was out to buy her juice. I came back to doctors running all around, she was being wheeled into ICU. The next 24 hours I was subject to questions like "Who else is there in your family?" to "Can we speak to someone else?". I thought my mom was gone. They were doing a lot to revive her. And they eventually did. When I finally went into the ICU to see my mother, all I saw was a person resembling a samurai wrestler. Funny as it may sound, her body had bloated to that extent. I had this sense of not telling anyone that my mom was unwell because I didn't want sympathy and wanted to be able to manage things on my own. I was an RJ then, I didn't  bunk work nor tell anyone what was happening. I would go from the hospital and come back from the hospital. It was only after the ICU incident when I had to call in and say I couldn't come the next day that my boss knew. And of course, he chided me for not asking for help.

I am proud that way. A pride that has passed down from my mother. Of not asking for help or letting anyone know that we are in trouble. 

Cut to the recent past of 2 weeks ago, she developed allergic reactions to the anesthetic administered for the biopsy, which is said to be normal apparently. And if not for the team of great doctors and a really great friend who I now call "savior man" - Manoj, my mom would have been history by now. To Manoj, I owe a lot more than gratitude and I wish him only the best in the entire world. 

During the course of the past few weeks, I saw my mother become a child. This, from a lady I have known to be a pillar of my strength, who'd braved battles, who'd taken on the name of a "Tyrant" to protect me and herself (because you see there is no other option that the Indian society offers you. A single woman who is friendly is immediately said to be of loose morals. I think a lot of that tough exterior percolated to me too. I remember friends of mine telling me that no one would ever date me if I have a shield around me that is thicker than a concrete wall. Anyway, that's another story) I saw a lady who thought it would be better to give up. I saw in her eyes that she no longer wanted to be alive. Keeping my sanity was tough. Behaving like everything was normal, tougher. 

I had a couple of close people I'd talk to. Who were there when needed. And there when they weren't really 'needed', just to silently say, "I am right here". All my life I thought I hadn't had the time to make friends. I have a handful now. And am I glad for them. 

To you reading this post, I wish you all the happiness in the universe. I also wish you peace of mind, good health to yourself, to your near and dear, enough money to buy whatever you desire, so much love from people that you feel important and wanted, great jobs and in all, a great life. 

Godspeed to you. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Detachment and surrender...

A few days ago mom happened to tell me that it was easy to speak about the Maarjaara tatva or complete surrender to God, but difficult to actually follow it. Similarly I have often - for lack of a better word - romanticized the concept of detached attachment. To be there in situations but not get attached or affected by people and circumstances.

Many a time, life presents us queer circumstances which we may encounter for the first time, where so many aspects of our character are tested. Patience, response to stress/pressure, emotional reactions - the decision of guarding them or not, so on and so forth. I remember a dialogue from a film that 'response under pressure is the best judge of character'. Though I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all sort of  a advice, I don't know why this line usually comes to my mind when faced with, say, what I think may be a tough situation. And again how 'tough' a situation is also subjective. People react to instances based on their own life experiences, their past, based on accounts from others in their family or their circle of reference. Should we judge someone or something based on trace elements of similarity with an encounter or an experience in the past? Perhaps not. A point in time like this may be where we listen to a higher force, intuition, or the inner voice; some of us may resort to prayer, some others may just know the right thing to do and they may do it easily. 

However, what I am learning, with each passing day, is that people will do a lot of things. It might be an unthinking, flippant act, or premeditated. One may react or feel a myriad emotions even or just a couple of significant ones. Blood may rush to the head and we may be able to hear only that noise loudly in our ears. 
And perhaps one of the ways of redressal is to spend time with oneself and accept what we are for who we are first. Identify our own failings, our responses under pressure and try not to be acidic in self criticism and forgive ourselves first. Thereafter one may reconsider and revisit decisions. And I definitely believe if one can be honest to oneself first and never compromise on knowing the truth about oneself things could be easier. 

A journey called a lifetime. Several paths, crossroads, dead ends and intersections, highways and flyovers, speed limits and speed breakers. And choices. The learned know what lies in the end. And they say that we know about the things that were truly worth it, only in the end. If only we could have the wisdom early on, things'd  be simpler. 

However, maintaining a graceful bearing, poise and dignity is paramount to me and my upbringing.

Life. And learning. Or so they say :)

I am trying to see and learn how it is to walk the talk of detachment that I romanticize about. Would that hurt people closest to me or would they understand, I wonder. Of course to even get to that zen like state I guess I must be some sort of a yogi :p