A Life Worth Living Ch 4 (1): From 2 to 3

solo man

3: Okay

And so, it was. Never ever, even if I wished for it. But why would I? I thought, as I looked at her delicate little self, fast asleep, cocooned in her doting mother’s embrace. So tiny, yet so perfect. I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. What an entry she’d made. Her cry echoing through the halls of the labor and delivery unit making me smile and tears of joy sprout from her exhausted mother’s eyes.

Her poor mother, my wife, was beat. After almost 24 hours of ineffective pushing and perspiration, when our baby girl began showing signs of distress, Dr. Shepherd didn’t like the way her heart was reacting– speeding up and slowing down; so, she decided to force matters. She talked us into something called a vacuum device, to pull our baby out. I had my doubts, it sounded quite medievel, but there was no time for questions or research. It worked like a miracle. The baby slid out in seconds, but she had what looked like a big bump on her head. The doctor assured me it was nothing. “It’ll be gone in a couple of days;” she said. Ruhi, though, was oblivious to this slight inconsistency. The little bundle in her arms had hijacked all her attention. I don’t think she was even aware she was bleeding. The blood gushed out of her like a river. The doc had to stitch her up. I doubt anyone realized how much she’d lost till they sat her up in the wheelchair to transport her to another room and she promptly passed out. They had to give her two pints! Continue reading

A Woman is to be Seen not Heard.

Bust of a woman by Picasso

It may sound cliched yet nothing could be truer. A girl who goes on to become a woman has always learned to lead an inferior life. She has learned to be a perennial serf, who lives in the shadows. Who is seen and not heard. If she speaks– it has to be in soft tones or whispers. She has to align her opinions with those of the society — she has to be uncontroversial, motherly, generous. She has to live for her family and the world at large. She is ‘weak’ thus needs to be protected, yet she is also taken advantage of. Hypocrisy much? 

If she rebels and asserts herself even in the slightest she at once surrounds herself with frowns and draws rebuke and criticism. How dare she? She is labelled a vixen, a mad woman and cast out or burnt at the stake.

Hence since the birth of time (with a few notable exceptions) she has learned to clip her wings, succumb to the pressures, curb her desires, even censor her thoughts. What a tragedy isn’t it?

Do read ‘The Awakening’by Kate Chopin.

Image is of a painting titled Bust of a Woman by Pablo Picasso– Oil with fixed black chalk on canvas. Displayed at Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.

I Can’t Breathe!

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Three simple words but very powerful. It’s a primal cry of agony and fear. A SOS call transmitting tremendous distress. An urgent appeal for help. Anyone can understand it. Be it in any language. In my profession I hear it all the time and I leave everything and run (literally). I try to alleviate and ease (if not remedy) at least make the situation better.

I can’t get why anyone wouldn’t. There must be a reason.

Is it ignorance or hate or lack of respect for a fellow human life?

Which begs the question– are some lives less worthy than others?

 

 

 

A Silent Cry for Freedom

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A few summers ago, on a tour to the UK, I happened to be in Edinburgh, spending the evening in a hotel next to the well known zoo. So, in order to kill time, I decided to pay a visit and came across the enclosures with the usual occupants in various states of animation. I went inside the primate enclosure and saw this particular individual sitting in this state, and it made a great impression on me. It was as if I was seeing a human being, an old wise one, pondering on the sad state of life and it almost reduced me to tears. I wish I’d known what he was thinking. Was he contemplating on a happier past?I’m not sure if he was ever free or was born in captivity. 

Now that we are in the midst of the most unusual situation of our lives — when people are rebelling, crying for freedom, even when we are living in our homes and have freedom of movement and the internet do we spare a thought for our fellow sentient beings? What have they done to deserve this awful treatment? That we go to gawk at them, even tease and instigate them. What right do we have to shut these beautiful creatures up in cages so small they can barely move. We jail them like criminals and sometimes even abuse them. I also speak of circus animals. And when they turn around on us we call them rogue– take for example the case of Tilikum, the killer whale, who was captured at the age of two and spent the rest of his life performing at SeaWorld. He was responsible for the death of three people allegedly as a result of psychological trauma he suffered. Please watch (if you haven’t already) the wonderful documentary Blackfish, available on Netflix to know more. It’s an eye opener. 

Fortunately, nobody can enslave humans (at least by law), but slavery of animals continues unchecked and we lack the basic quality of humanity that defines us. 

 

Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 10: Closer

Milan-cover (2)

chap 9

Mili was uptight. In fact, that had become quite the usual for her nowadays. Anxiety, confusion, sheer nervousness when she was in Ahaan’s company; agitation, restlessness, a maddening confusion when she was not—for sure she was becoming irreversibly unhinged, she had no doubt about it.

She contemplated herself in the mirror; having lost count on how many times she had changed her outfit tonight. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. It was going to be the first time they would be seen socially together and she didn’t want to let him down, rather she wanted to impress him, make him puff up with pride. But how—she worried as her eyes ran critically over her shapely frame enhanced to perfection by the charcoal dress with a silvery sheen that shimmered each time she moved. Was it too revealing? No, she didn’t think so; it did cling but not too blatantly, with the scoop neck revealing just the right amount of silky skin. But would he think so too?

Oh Ahaan! How much do I not know about you!

“But I don’t care! Let him think what he wants to! After all, it was his decision to marry me, not mine!” She defiantly addressed her reflection.

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You Will Always be My Mother

 

Our bond transcends Time, Worlds and Space. 

Our relationship doesn’t need a ceremony, or an oath, or witnesses, or a piece of paper.

It doesn’t need a special day, a reminder, or a note on the calendar. 

It doesn’t need talk, work, gifts and or constant reassurances. 

It is there when I need it, and I know it’ll always be there.

I can count on it at any time, I can make demands of it.

I can ask you to lay down everything else for me and you will

Because

I will always be your daughter and you will always be my mother.

Thank you, Mom!

 

A Life Worth Living 3: Okay

solo man

2: When

“Shaan, are you okay? What’s wrong?”

I mashed my arm with my hand, screwed my eyes tight shut and tried not to curse out loud. “I’m fine Ruhi. It’s no big deal. Must be a pinched nerve or something like that. I’ve been banging on the keyboard way too much.” My attempted laugh came out sounding like a croak. My wife looked at me suspiciously but didn’t say anything. She examined my arm carefully and then when she didn’t see anything awry, massaged it gently. Then made me a new ice pack and forced me to swallow a couple of ibuprofens. She was taking care of me while it was supposed to be the other way around. Sorry mom-in-law!

I felt foolish and angry at myself as the pain abated again. But it left behind a strange tingling and numbness. I couldn’t feel the keyboard as well with my left hand as I could with my right. I couldn’t figure it out. I felt fine otherwise. It was more of an irritant than a concern.

I googled it. Pain in the elbow and arm. Tennis elbow. It was the first thing that showed up. Yeah that’s it!

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An Unprecedented Time

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Okay I get it. This is real. For a while I thought it was a farce; a dystopian narrative like in a movie or a book that are so popular nowadays. Unfortunately, I was wrong. 

I never thought I’d live through a time like this when everyday is worse than the day before and there’s no end in sight, at least not for the foreseeable future. My training never prepared me for this. But fortunately, I’m a rational being and I’m not scared easily. Plus, my work gives me succor because I feel I’m making a difference.

The very nature of my profession (I’m a physician) has taught me to be calm, and do my job. The problem though is the uncertainty. What was ‘the norm’ yesterday is taboo today and who knows what tomorrow will bring. This is a new disease and a new virus. There’s no actual cure though there are multiple potential cocktails being flaunted and used. They haven’t been diligently studied or tested but have brought vital hope. 

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‘Home’ (A Short Story)

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