Category Archives: Food for thought

The Fickle Mind

the mind is a strange thing it can be brilliant and irrational Often generating senseless chatter Don't take to heart Ignore it.

 

The mind is at the center of the body. It controls/ influences every organ. Yet, a lot of its workings remain a mystery. How it does or doesn’t control or manipulate our thoughts and emotions. How things long ‘forgotten’ manifest in our subconscious in our dreams and influence our health and behaviour. How we carry our trauma with us like a back breaking burden.

There are many ways to heal- nature, meditation, mindfulness, counseling, etc. But first we have to recognize and be aware that sometimes we are our greatest enemies.

 

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?

 

 

 

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!

 

The Color of my DNA

girl-3717166_1280

The color of my DNA is brown.  I’m conditioned to despise it and assign labels to it– including but not limited to- low status, bad character, poor hygiene and scant education if any. And this is how it all began.

My mother is fair complexioned while I’m not. ‘Tumhari ladki kaali hai’ or ‘your girl is black or dark’ was a common remark I came across which my mother rushed to correct; ‘no, her color is gehua’ i.e ‘wheatish’ as if to provide me solace. It didn’t. Not really. Because I’d been labelled and it was drilled into me from as long as I can remember. Over and over. not necessarily in an accusatory rather in a matter of fact manner. Yes, my color is dark, meaning I’m not fair, or pretty or beautiful etc. And everyone knows how important it is for a girl to be ‘pretty’ in our society. I don’t think the intention was to put me down as many members of this ‘color’ club were very dear to me including my own mother. But it had its effect. I began to believe I was lacking. That I was inferior to my fair counterparts. I used to compare myself with others all the time. Often, I’d align the back of my arm with my mother’s hoping to see a change. I did try a couple of creams and soaps but gave up soon enough as they had no effect.

Fortunately, this ‘anomaly’ of mine remained a mere irritant. I wanted to make something out of myself. I was good in both academics and extracurricular activities and generally I got my way. So, even though I was insecure about my looks I didn’t let it hinder my progress. I realized very soon that color has nothing to do with beauty or character or competence. Working as a physician in the west I also discovered how color segregates people and turns them against each other and negates all the progress that humankind has made. Today I feel enriched interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures and I realize how shallow and abhorrent it is to judge someone based simply on their skin color.

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Is Love a Responsibility?


In this month of February where there’s an overdose of love everywhere, here is a refreshing and thoughtprovoking examination from a teenager.

Love is often spoken about as something divine and beautiful, but talk of it is so widespread that it can get degraded to a mere obligation. Some argue that falling in love is a given in everyone’s life, and that one has not fully experienced life without it. Others insist that it is impossible to be happy without a lover or spouse despite it not being the case for some. In today’s society, significant others are almost treated as an object to be won – interpersonal connections and close relationships appear no longer be as important as they were in the past. In a society where living alone is often perceived as a failure rather than a choice, the role of relationships and love in culture is to be examined.

A functionalist may argue that a spouse, or some other form of significant other, is necessary in an individual’s growth and maintaining a balanced society. In most cultures, it is expected and considered natural to have a partner in order to procreate and have children. In fact, that is the very purpose of a living being – to reproduce. This concept is so instilled in society that it’s almost difficult to imagine a good and settled future without someone else. Not having a significant other or spouse merely breaks the cycle; one is unable to have kids, raise them, send them to school, and get them married, as well. In this case, change is unwarranted, and whoever does dare to resist this cycle ‘breaks the family lineage’ and is often viewed as a disappointment.

The culture and personality theory illustrates the idea that cultures create and value certain kinds of citizens. People in the west, and in many other areas around the world, simply perceive a partner as a requisite aspect of adulthood. People who don’t have one seem out of place, and this can oftentimes be demoralizing. They may eventually start questioning themselves: are they worthless, unwanted or unlovable? This may not be true, but societal culture can influence thought and emotions. Even though one may be satisfied without a partner, expectations may force them to think otherwise. People may question what is right for them, and could possibly act to please others at their own expense.

As emphasized by the theories of functionalism and culture and personality, the idea of love can be changed from a personal relationship to a responsibility. Having a significant other or spouse fulfills one’s role in a harmonious society, and anyone who doesn’t fulfill that role is considered strange and rebellious. Living without a partner has been so denormalized that it can prompt self-doubt and hatred. Though a partner is certainly not necessary for happiness, societal expectations and pressures regarding relationships present significant challenges to those who would rather remain alone.

Any thoughts? Do share.

Introducing The Med Bag

 

I’m excited to announce my new blog and website called The Med Bag. It’s a place where people from all walks of life can share their experiences and insights related to the medical field– sort of like medical reality TV but in the magazine form.

Do check it out, share and subscribe. Contributions are welcome! You can also click on the link right above this blog.

 

Surya Namaskar (Salutations to the Sun)

According to me one of the most spectacular scenes of nature is the play of the sun across the horizon. I’ve been lucky to watch the sunset often–over the Rockies and the ocean (whenever I visit the California coast) but not as often as the sunrise. The reason is quite obvious. I’m not an early riser, unfortunately.

Today, however I had to get up quite early to drive to the bus stop to pick up my husband (better than the 40 min haul to and from the airport). On the way back, I witnessed the most ordinary yet extraordinary phenomenon–the advent of dawn. First, the burgundy tint to the clouds in the east, followed by the gradual lightening of the skies and then the most spectacular of all– orange flames consuming the horizon. I was mesmerized. Who wouldn’t be? If you think about it there’s no other message more powerful than of a new day. It’s the message of hope, of change, of renewal, of revival. No wonder native people around the world worship the Sun and have done so for millenia including those from my country.  

Surya namaskar (Salutations to the Sun)

In the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures) Surya also known as Aditya is the Sun God. He first appears in literature in the Rig Veda (the oldest among the Hindu texts composed between 1500 and 1000 BC). He travels across the sky in a massive chariot pulled by seven horses representing the seven colors of the rainbow. He is also the creator of the material universe or prakriti. Those familiar with the practice of Yoga are familiar with Surya Namaskar or Sun salutation; a sequence of twelve poses, performed in the early morning on an empty stomach facing the east. They provide an excellent whole body stretching routine and cardiovascular workout. The purpose of this most famous yoga sequence which is in practice for thousands of years is to express gratitude to the Sun, the giver of life and the source of energy. According to Hindu tradition, different parts of the body are governed by divine impulses. One of these, the solar plexus (also called the second brain) is located in the center of the body and is connected to the Sun. The regular practice of Surya Namaskar enhances it thereby increasing our creativity and intuition. The notion is very tempting. Enough (I hope) to nudge me awake every morning 🙂