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Rape, retweet, repeat.

To all the ‘woke’ a$%es I know…

The rape shook me like all the others had in the past and the brutality horrified me. But I was amazed at every one who spent time writing #Rip using her name as a hashtag. It generated more likes and retweets but little else. Nothing changes with silent marches and candle light vigils. New days share more horrors and past brutalities seem like minor infractions compared to the new senseless depravity that we are being subject to.

There was no statement from our ‘voted’ authorities, no definitive action plan. All we did was share sordid details of some poor girls’ last moments and pretended that by writing #rip that we had made a difference.

The next day- we had a new cause to tweet.

It’s much like #metoo. Massively supported when it was a trend but quickly forgotten when it became inconvenient.

And that’s the thing. You don’t really care unless it affects you and that is scary. How can it not affect you? A director this week, said we should legalise rape… because it was the woman’s fault for not giving in and being a b@#$. And we printed this crap. And we’ve forgotten it as well.

We need to make the change and not just on social media- an actual change.

  • We should encourage reasonable working hours and not encourage all nighters.
  • Companies need to ensure safe passage to the homes of women employees who work late.
  • Cab companies etc need to step up and get police verification of their drivers and have more women drivers deployed as well.
  • More cc cameras so that incidents can be caught and prevented
  • Chemical castration for rapists.

Men need to call other men out on their depravity. Rape is not a boys club. It shouldn’t be. Men know when other men are talking badly about women, and even what their intentions are sometimes. They just don’t want to rock the boat. That must stop.

In the same way #MeToo must be treated with shaming and isolating the perpetrator.

Rape , #MeToo are power crimes. They are wrong in every way and whereas one may have pushed the line further, it’s still the same line.

Power should not be achieved by brute force or manipulation. But unless we start calling out the perpetrators , we’re just words on the internet- written in a void that will soon be forgotten.

I once had a person bang my head against a dashboard because he was angry with me. There were 2 other people in the car. No one said anything.

I got out and left. Shattered and in pain- but I left. I was lucky nothing else happened but let me tell you , it was unlikely I’d have had much support beyond myself.

This is the world we live in.

So f#$k candle light vigils. Let’s get real.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Let’s stop tweeting and start speaking up for women, speaking to our men- telling them what we actually face and making them realise that they need to call out toxic masculine behaviour because ‘she’ is each and every one of us.

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Getting off the meds

So I was on anti-depressants… I did not know that, till I completely understood the medicines prescribed. Apparently anti-depressants are great for progressive multiple sclerosis…and minimising the attacks.

Of course the minute I understood the drugs I was taking I stopped them immediately. Even though this may help MS; I was really worried about addiction and side effects. Sure enough, withdrawal was awful. Bad dreams plagued me as did lack of sleep.Lack of sleep was better than the death dreams I got… death dreams being the nicest dreams that I dreamt!

And as the meds left the system, came the low feeling. The gloomy November , crunched in between the Diwali gloriousness and the anticipation of the new year didn’t help any.

How do you feel better when you are stuck feeling like the Happiness Grinch, if that’s a thing!?

So the last week was filled with cutting myself some slack, giving myself a break and just looking after me. We’re often tougher on ourselves than we should be, meaner to ourselves than we need to. We’re not working hard enough, trying enough, doing enough and then we’re not resting enough, not spending time with family/ friends. Anything we do can be turned into the wrong way to do it!

Look for your Happy

Magic’s party was a huge success and his happiness delighted me. The joy of puppies running around a room is incomparable and exhausted though I was hosting 20 + people and puppies… I was delighted!

This week it was a breakfast date with the husband.. I’m looking to be happy. And that way I am more positive and ensure those around me are happy too!

Smile

Smile. The first thing you wake up… smile… it sets a good feeling in order for the day. Even if you are exhausted , which I always am at 5:30 am. or in pain… another delightful fact- smile! It starts the day a whole lot better!

Change it Up

We all get caught up in the gloom… Shock your system. Change it up. From date brekkies, to mid week movies to even a new start with power plate fitness- I’m too exhausted to focus on the gloom!

Plan the vacay!

From #ParentTrap2020 to easter next year, to the birthday… sometimes window shopping for trips and even planning a few can take you in to the best happy high you can get.

Exhaust yourself

Every day ,I’m exhausted! I’ve filled my day with fun, family and newness and I’m ready for a good night minus the dreams and feel good knowing that I’ve done all that I can in the day!

P.s. (Palat says)-: Life is about looking after yourself… self care goes a long way in not just making yourself happy but allowing you to look after those you love too!

Find your Magic

The puppy party dominated the week. With Magic’s birthday on Saturday , all the planning and energy was reserved for him. Now , those who don’t have dogs will never understand why so much energy is used on what could be seen as a ‘party for dogs.’ But what you don’t get is how important they are.

Magic came to our lives 2 years after Cookie passed away. The 2 years had been lonely at best. Aditya and I talked about work and little else. Our hearts had been broken and seemed beyond repair. We gained bad habits and worse tempers and just seem to continue each day without joy.

We focused selfishly on our individual jobs and lives and we’d grown more distant and disconnected, in a way. We’d done well in our work and in life but I realised that we’d stopped caring. Cookie had taught us too care and love someone just because it was something we could. Her death had hit us both so hard, it seemed we were afraid to share so much of our lives again.

Magic came in, the size of my palm, and without any fear that he’d not fit in our family- he just took it over. Much of our days is still spent fighting over Magic’s love and who he might love more. It never seemed to occur to him to even try winning us over… he won us over as he walked in!

But the real Magic lay not in his name , but in what he did for us. Suddenly we had a new small person to talk about, a confidante, a best friend and a being who would give us unconditional love even when we behaved our worst.

When we fight, he gets scared and we must stop immediately to look after him and so we learned to resolve issues quicker, better and faster. When we come home we’re surrounded by licks and love, no matter how long the day was. And we now have our 5km walk in the morning, where Aditya and I get to chat. The walk is painful for me and my MS issues, but I am addicted to it because we get to just laugh and chat. We get to meet puppies and make new friends. But most importantly the three of us get to connect.

Magic helped me reconnect.

Magic helped me love again, unconditionally. My plans , parties, shoots and even work locations, involve Magic first and then Aditya and last of all me and that’s made me happier and freer.

He notices the subtle change in my tone and jumps on me hugging me when I am down, even when no one else notices or gets it. He’s not about the ‘pretence and showing that he cares’ because he actually does. He doesn’t care if its just me alone- he’ll hug me anyway. He doesn’t wait to tell me how much he loves me- he just does. He needs to sleep cuddled up to me, sit on my lap to see dogs through the car window and argue with me when I’m late for his walk.

He’s honest and pure and perfect and I’m so happy he’s mine.

So yup, it’s been birthday month, with gifts every day and the puppy party will be exhausting and grand and he’ll deserve every second of it.

In a world filled with boring every days and schedules with no respite- some of us are lucky to have a little Magic in our lives.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Do something special today. Find your Magic.

5/5

Death Happened

And so he died. He walked his usual morning walk, sat down perhaps a bit out of breath and died.Since he died, resting at a bus stop, daily travellers saw him. People gathered and whispers began. The police came. And all this before it was 7 am.

Crowds and strangers knew before his family did.

Who called the cops? The street cleaner- she had seen the man sit down and then she saw him die. She called the cops because she knew his walk routine.

It hit me then- more so because I had just finished my ‘routine’ walk. Is that what we do every day? We wake up, follow a routine and then fall asleep and then wake up and do the darn thing again? And then die.

Sure may be the over exercise has made me more fatalistic than usual. Or more tired. And the gloomy November coupled with pain doesn’t help, but that scared me!

We live one life. We know this. And we know every day is a gift. Yet we seem to just be content doing the same thing every day. And then before you realise it we’re done.

So this week was about celebrating the ‘un-schedule.’ Sure, we did the ridiculous exercise every day and the spinning- but we also did a #DateBreakfast ,a #MidweekMovie, a card game evening, a shopping afternoon, a girls dinner and a trip to Alibag…

The week was longer than it should have been but way more memorable. I shocked my routine, surprised my self doing more things in a day than I thought possible- but it was amazing.

I always said I will not die until I live and somewhere along the way somehow even the crazy, psychotic me, lost my madness in routine. And I guess death was a big wake up call for me. Thank you Unknown Man, you made me value my day a lot more.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Re look at your life… it shouldn’t be a movie you are bored of. It should have all the masala and romance of your favourite film. After all , here you are the star.

The Big Fight

This blog has become a venting outlet for my week, my pain, my stress and all my drama. And this week had all of it in bucket loads!

The exercise routine is tiring me out more than I care to accept and 5 ams, look no brighter on a Friday than they do on Mondays. Add to that a long work week and new pain in areas I didn’t know had sensation, it was a recipe for disaster.

So when the husband decided to argue with me on an obvious non-issue, my world fell apart. Having been friends for so long the honesty that we share is comforting and frightening all together. But he laid bare about his stress with my pain and illness and how that became frightening for him. In turn I felt like I had further complicated his life and felt truly ashamed and frighteningly alone. The over tiredness and stress had gotten to both of us and we said things that we definitely shouldn’t have. However under all the layers what did shine out, was that this journey is scary.

I am blessed. I see my Multiple Sclerosis. He’s the invisible villain, but I know of his existence. Life is scary and as much as we’re trying to get through this journey as unscathed as we possibly can, life happens! Life happens when you least expect it. And it just doesn’t happen to us, it happens to all those around us too. I can howl in pain, Aditya stresses. I can take a tablet or 5, but those around me just have to watch helplessly.

I don’t need your pity or help. But know you feel hopeless when you can offer me none..

So today, to all those in my life who silently play cheerleader- thank you. I am sorry you’re on a journey that neither of us bargained for. And I’m sorry I keep taking you on my rollercoaster without acknowledging that you too our stuck on this ride with me and often without a seat belt.

Thank you for your love and support. I am proud to have you.

P.s. (Palat says)-: The big fight will end and will start again but every so often it’s important to have the honest conversations. These make for the good fights even if they are big ones. But it’s very important to have them.

Burn the Old

And in keeping with the theme of the year Diwali had me with the flu! The Diwali party I went to had me in tears when a guest innocently asked me about my health. I blamed it on over tiredness and far too much medication with almost no food but it spoke to me of a deeper worry. This year my health got me scared. I was tired of being ill, fed up of the pain and was almost desperate to have a day where I felt better. It also made me realise that while I was so busy pretending that none of this mattered to me at all, in truth, it actually did.

The party was cut short by the worried husband and I fell asleep with more medication, wheezing severly and in pain.

But like always we started the new day , with me pretending the previous vulnerable me didn’t exist. I marched around the house lighting lamps, cleaning up, powering through a back pain, fever and faking that I could actually breathe. It was then in the evening, the magic of Diwali happened.

Some friends came over- just to relax, hang out, have a drink and laugh. They didn’t care how I looked or what I felt like. They accepted that I couldn’t get up so easily and that I was cold and flu-ish. They marvelled at the little lighting I had done and played new games which neither of us understood. They made Diwali easy. Diwali became about friends and family. It became about no judgement and easiness and the lights were all of us in that room- laughing and smiling.

I stopped pretending and guess what, the world didn’t stop loving me… and I didn’t lose face either… a remarkable revelation , in many ways most so for me!

This Diwali wasn’t fancy.It was simple. It was intimate. It was messy. And that was perfect.

P.s. (Palat says)-: The end of the year sometimes also means learning to put an end to the expectations and drama you carry within yourself. If you kill your inner Ravana (ego), you can allow your soul to fully shine through…

Warning: Angry Post!

Beware this is an angry post… cos I am …well… angry!

She didn’t even know me. She walked up to me as I was crossing the street, and in pain because of my back and chose to talk to me. “Are you Divya Palat,” she curiously questioned. To my affirmative, she immediately said “Oh you have put on…” emphasising her point by showing me how much larger she assumed my frame had become.

“Yes, I also have a brain tumour,” I added not skipping a beat. The quickness I replied, masked the hurt I felt by this thoughtless comment. “Oh,” her face changed and she now seemed to want me to accept an apology and allow her to feel forgiven for her insensitive comment. She didn’t try hard enough and I didn’t wait and honestly even if she tried, neither would I have forgiven her nor would I have cared to even understand her audacity to have made such a comment.

My mother always told me if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And maybe her insecurity shone through her stupid statement. But it still stung.

But when did it become okay to comment on how people look? When did it become okay to hurt people, for no reason at all but just because you could? In the last 20 years, with Multiple sclerosis and a brain tumour, I have put on weight and then lost some and then put it on again and then lost some again but that is my journey. I’m sure our self- entitled beauty critic has changed a fair amount in 20 years too, even without illness. And even if that has happened it would be crass of me to take pot shots of her and her journey because neither has she asked my opinion nor am I entitled to make personal judgements about her.

When did being mean become the new normal?

We can all wander about saying we shouldn’t care about what people say or what people think but why should that give people carte blanche to say whatever they want, whenever they want and to whom ever they want?

I have multiple sclerosis , have a brain tumour and have been in and out of treatment this year and on and off of intravenous steroids to manage the illness. I have slipped a disc in my back , haven’t slept a good night’s sleep for 2 weeks and am in unbelievable pain every single day. I still make sure I give my best to the day and give each person I meet respect, empathy and thoughtfulness… You don’t have to care about me or my journey… but may be you could not volunteer your unnecessary point of view and just quite simply SHUT UP!

Or is basic decency too much to ask for now?

The ‘Perfect’ storm

This weekend I had a realisation– more often than not , while we’re so busy trying to be perfect and appear flawless…we sometimes put on the same front for ourselves. Appearing ‘perfect’ for someone else is fine, but conning yourself into believing that all is well, is delusional, silly and can be downright harmful.

In my life, I’ve always tried to appear the trooper, someone totally in control and someone who needs little to no help. And sometimes, especially on the difficult days I have my guard up so high, I almost believe it. But the week had been long and tiring and the weekend came as a welcome respite and for the first time in a long time, I was truly honest with myself – about my fears, the pain, my negative habits and the mean voices in my head. And as I talked about them with the husband, who, is my biggest confidante, my best friend and long time sufferer of me :); I became calmer and stronger and less afraid.

We build walls around us to mask who we truly are because we feel the world won’t like us and then over time, some times we forget who we truly are behind those very high walls. And it may take more than a few moments for you to find out who you really are, flaws and all; once the mask is removed. But every so often it’s important you do that, and lay yourself bare, if not for someone else, but at least for yourself. It is the most incredibly cathartic, terrifying and completely freeing thing you will ever do.

This weekend was long, scary and wonderful for me.

It opened me up to a week where I start to build my walls all over again, but I’ve decided to acknowledge the walls this time, acknowledge that I’m building up a shield , so that may be I can keep a small door open at the side, to allow me to still know and recognise and most importantly love my true self.

P.s.(Palat says)-: There will always be those that judge you… don’t stand behind them in line…Find your own cheerleader and if that’s hard to find then be your personal cheerleader!

#BadDay

The Doc’s appointment was not the easy, breezy, smooth sailing Friday evening I expected… Instead I was given a scary fact check and reminded that despite the fact that I take my illness (Multiple sclerosis) rather lightly, it is a serious illness and I will need to start taking more care of me.

And so I did, what else, but go out on Friday night and just had fun!

We celebrate all our wins and achievements but more often than not, we don’t celebrate sorrows or losses. I am not in the habit of celebrating just the wins… I learnt a long time ago that life happens when you least expect it and we might as well celebrate everything- the highs and the lows because it’s all part of the ride of life.

Much like a roller coaster where you are waiting for the high you get on the drop, you enjoy the anticipation of the climb as well – such is life. For every low, you will have a high… but just celebrating the highs make the lows seem lower and the highs seem higher and in my mind that doesn’t add up.

It seems easier to say than to put in practise but try this in your life once and you’ll find the bad day becomes a whole lot better… and I like better days , good days and great days…! I mean, who doesn’t.

P.s. (Palat says)-: A bad day is just a day… and tomorrow can always be bright , sunny and amazing. So if we focus on the happy… the happy focusses on us!

I’m weird!

I’m a little weird and I know that most of you who know me will think that this is a glaring understatement. But I think , in the most part, so are each of you!

This week was a mixture of emotions. With the looming doctor visit today, the week had a sense of foreboding and horror. The start of the week though seemed promising- we had the premiere of ‘The Joker’ to watch. An unbelievable performance shone light on a character’s incredible personal turmoil and struggle and desire to be accepted. In all his strangeness , eventually he desired to be seen and , if possible, loved. And isn’t that in a way, each one of us, don’t we mask our imperfections with a mask/ filter. We colour of thoughts with politically correct words thinking it will make us more liked and accepted.

Aren’t we all in one way or another wearing a disguise?

And then I realised that the one thing I have learnt over the years is to allow myself to feel, to be vulnerable, to yell and to shout and to cry. And this who know my weirdness also know my many, many flaws. Sure , it may be better to hide them; but really what is the point?

I’ve realised no matter how much you change or try- some people won’t like you and no matter how hard you become the person you think they want you to be nothing changes.

But if you look hard enough, you’ll find your people. They will be weird , in different ways, but they will accept you. And when you do find them, learn and allow them to be who they are, so you each can grow, learn, accept and be stronger.

With ‘The Joker’ I looked inside of me. And with the rest of the week that followed, I learnt that I can’t be everything to everyone. I can just be me and that’s ok too!

P.s. (Palat says)-:The week has been a roller coaster… I’m hoping tonight’s doc visit ends on a win… But nonetheless I’m out partying tonight! What am I celebrating…? I’m celebrating making it thru another week! And that’s awesome!

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