Kill Cruella!

I have always been rather self destructive. My parents remember this well, when I got myself in trouble when they were in the midst of shouting at my sister for something she had done and I would suddenly point out something I had done which was worse.

But cute as that seemed as I grew older, I got even more destructive. The critical little voice in my head was almost a shout and I was never good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or worthy enough. And so I hurt myself, I had terrible bouts of anxiety and stress. I was depressed at times and was easily swayed into believing that I was lucky to get anything because I obviously didn’t deserve it.

And when I got sick (multiple sclerosis), this became even worse. Now I was living proof of someone who may never be pretty enough, smart enough or worthy of anything- but something switched inside me. I was stuck so long listening to this evil shouting voice, I never took the time to hear the softer, more encouraging voice in my head. And when I did take the time, and since in the hospital ,I did have just time- I started hearing the voice that told me to believe.

It’s the voice that tells you that ‘you can be more, you can do more and that you are better than you think you are.’ It’s the voice that tells you to believe in yourself and that you are ready for the meeting, for the interview and even to take over the world! It’s the voice that tells you that your body- in pain, fit or unfit- is amazing because it’s yours. It’s the voice that tells you every day can be amazing because you are part of it.

And once you listen to this voice , the evil one becomes softer and slowly becomes non existent, if you work hard enough.

Initially and even sometimes now, when I hear Cruella (yup she has a name) popping up with her fears and doubts in me… I loudly proclaim how sure , how positive and how amazing I am so that Miss D (yup she has a name too) gets the strength to go louder than ever!

P.s.(Palat says)-: How successful you are will often be a direct relation to how much you believe in you. Don’t look for the applause from outside. Be proud to be your biggest cheerleader.

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I’m Too Old for This S%^&!

‘Too old for that s^&t!’ I keep exclaiming.(Excuse the expletives Ma!). But I’ve realised that nowadays my propensity for rubbish – notice I didn’t use the bull$%^ word Ma; has reduced greatly. Been there, done that. Listened to the excuses before, the reasons why payments get delayed, the questionable ways of making money under the table etc. and I guess the newness of the deceitfulness has ended and the amazement and shock of people always trying to pull a fast one on you has faded. I can now call it, get annoyed and get out all in no time at all leaving very few war wounds, except for a terrible migraine!

But as you get older , you realise that much as you don’t have brain space or time to waste on this ; you find time to truly devote to what’s important. You find time to reconnect with family, make friends, find time to spend with them and discover what you want to devote time to. And that has really been a blessing. Because I’ve realised that the annoyance is like static on a TV set- you can either keep watching and feel sick and bored and fed up or you can just change the channel!

This week has been about changing channels…. it’s been about spending time with the family. It’s been about re-learning what’s new with the husband and parents and blocking all the noise for sun , sea and Vitamin D.

And to tell you the truth, much as I love all the drama my life holds; sometimes lying on a beach watching just the waves lap the shore almost in a continuous beat is the most satisfying way to spend a day… I’ll never be too old for that! 😬

P.s. (Palat says)-: Call out the rubbish. You should never suffer lies or fools. You deserve better. And in turn don’t lie or be foolish… That’s only fair!

Why does it Hurt so bad?

So I’ve realised it takes a village to build you up and make you feel confident but it’s often just the one person that can bring that confidence crashing down! And that’s just sad…

What the tens, hundreds or millions say about you can be shattered by one thoughtless comment or one mean remark. It’s like that little devil inside of us barely needs a drop of water to take on a monstrous form and take us over completely.

And that’s why the trolls succeed so much. I used to visit a client ever so often and despite me being at my best; I’d watch how every compliment would be followed by a quick jibe, a passing thoughtless remark or just something plain mean. I noticed it a few times but I think it really came to a head when my team asked me what was wrong with them? I honestly didn’t know. Every time they made a comment it hurt but I tried to push it aside as much as I could and eventually knew when the comment would come , so played a song in my head to dull their words!

But then the husband came up with an insightful reason (no I wasn’t bribed to compliment him :)) they did this.He said that often people chose to use hurtful words to cover up what was happening in their lives. When they chose to criticise how I looked or that I spoke with an accent- it was often a reflection of them not being happy with what they looked like or how they spoke. And when I started really listening to what they were saying I saw all their deep rooted personal issues- marriage problems, body image issues, blatant racism and insecurities. And now I have realised that perhaps that’s the way to deal with trolls.

Everyone is on a journey. When they lash out, it’s more about what’s happening with them not with you. And when you re-teach yourself to think like that the hurt is less and you too are equally careful about how you speak.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Every person I meet I try and learn something from… even the worst people you meet have something they can teach you. Learn.

The Goodbyes…

And I have realised that every good bye is tough…

When I did plays – as much as I loved opening night and all the grandeur and excitement; it was always bitter-sweet. There’d be no more rehearsals, no more swapping stories and gossip, no more long coffee breaks and bloopers. The family that we created would graduate and move on to their own lives. Of course we’d meet for shows , much like families meet for the holidays and we’d have the quick catchups and the familiar laughs but there would now be a distance and it would never quite be the same.

But then before you know it there’d be a new show and a new family and the closeness and bonds would be forged again.

When I started expanding Balancing Act, it became the same. Each person was hand picked and chosen and I made them family over time and every time one left there was a part of me that missed the relationship we shared and another part excited about the new person/ people I would meet.

I now know that life is a journey. You will meet many people on the way. People come in to your life for many reasons. Some to help you , even when you didn’t know you needed help; some to teach you lessons – even the harshest or hardest of lessons and once you receive the help or learn from the lessons they will leave you and move on as their purpose has been served.

However there will be a few who will stay on and on and on, because both you and them will keep learning, growing and helping each other. And these are the people that you will find over time, that you will learn to value and who will always have your back. These are the people who are on your journey with you- so you will never be alone.

These are the people you won’t say goodbye to.

Look for these people. Treasure these people. Love these people.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Every good bye has a hello just waiting to happen!

With unimaginable pain …

And as the steroids ended and my body struggled to fix itself I understood what pain and starting over truly felt like.

Steroids made me relearn how easy it is to take our body for granted. The simplest thing like taking a straight step became a chore and my body hurt in places I didn’t know could hurt at all.

But with that came respect. I began re learning movement, the joy of getting one step right– I can do about 5 now and the absolute joy of even one second of no pain.

It also made me re look at where I was and who I wanted to be and I realised with great joy that I had become the person I’d dreamed of becoming… the person in ‘if (by Rudyard Kipling)’ who learns to start over without a moment’s hesitation, who keeps on going and who is inspirational. And I was proud.

In life we all get our own personal struggles, it’s how we deal that makes us the people we are.

The weekend had 2 blocked veins – I equate it to 2 long client meetings. I had so much pain… I equate that to crazy work stress that we all often deal with. And I had sleepless , painful nights that I compare to the delays we face in work done and appreciation received.

And then I got the flu on a day we had a long, much awaited for Client meeting and woke up in a personal hell of pain and sickness. I put my ego aside and asked for help and with the strength that can only come from family (i.e. Mom), I was able to semi-recover and power on to a fabulous and rewarding day.

We all have a choice- every day, to either get up and roll with the punches or go to sleep and wait for another day. The new day may be brighter or duller- but a dull day can always become bright- it’s up to you to wake up and do the best you can with it.

We don’t get just one chance to make the day a better day. We get numerous chances. So why waste it? I was told numerous times I was doing too much and needed to recover and much as I agreed… I knew I was also getting a second chance at making things right and doing things over and re-learning.

And as much as every day hurt, I would have hurt more if I hadn’t tried.

So I get up and fight another day knowing that the world and my life is worth fighting for, knowing that it’s both the ups and downs that makes life worthwhile…and it’s because of the downs that the ups are even more special.

And so I’m off to a party filled weekend with tons of laughter and joy knowing that this will drown out the fuzziness and pain and illness and even happier that I have another day to recognise the power and awesomeness of the life we get to live.

P.s. (Palat says)-: It shouldn’t take illness or pain or steroids to learn to value all that we have… but sometimes its a good push in the right direction.

Sometimes we all need steroids…

It was a leap of faith- this was what the entire week seemed focussed on. On Tuesday I was told that in all likelihood my MRIs were false negatives and I would need to be put on to an immediate dosage of steroids! This is the first time this has happened since 2005 and naturally I was extremely worried about this. Another attack of multiple sclerosis seemed overwhelming not just for me but for my whole family. Wouldn’t I get better naturally? The pain has been worsening for over 6 months now and has been really bad for more than a few years and now I was walking like the Leaning tower of Pisa (if it could walk); so may be I should trust the good doctor’s expertise and take the leap of faith by taking treatment no matter how scary it seemed.

Sometimes you have to trust yourself and the people around you.

It seemed like I needed a bit more than faith and chocolate ice cream when the Nurse who came home couldn’t find my veins .She did try in three injection points and I held on to faith till she twisted the needle so hard it hit a nerve and I just saw black all around.

Must I actually do this? I asked Aditya as we now then decided to do this at the hospital. ‘Well, if you want to feel better, it’s the only way- ‘ he said. So the 5 days started and well I’m going to hope the pain is better and the walk a little straighter. I am going to feel better. I will. I have to.

A friend dropped in, having given up a steady job , he seemed worried about reactions around him.

He’d lost joy.

I know sometimes that (joy) seems such an elusive concept, but I do believe that we all have the power to search , nay the responsibility to find our joy. It is only when we know how to find joy can we truly live our best lives. It is only if you know how to be joyous , that you can truly inspire and give happiness. Responsibilities must be fulfilled but it should never be at the cost of joy. This world can be such an incredible place, it is up to us to find at least one thing that brings us happiness/joy every day.

I used to make that a task every day because I didn’t know how to find it! Now I do this out of habit. There’s always at least a few moments that give me absolute joy, if not more every day and it also keeps me grateful.

Just FYI it’s Masterchef and trashy TV shows that keep me happy thru the hour long injection… see even in that there can be joy.

P.s. (Palat says)-: The leap of faith can be terrifying… much like when I jumped off a plane to sky dive… but its only when you jump that you truly experience freedom and complete joy.

Fear, MRIs and 5 ams

The stress of or the fear of something often is far larger than the actual task itself. This was at its clearest this week. With the planning of a surprise party, the visit to a new doctor, yet another (though each one is as stressful as the next) MRI and the travel and return travel on 5 am flights made for a memorable week.

The surprise party had to be perfect. Everything had to be planned without the inquisitive Birthday boys’ knowledge and we had to get him back in time lest the guests and here we kept it to family only let the cat out of the bag! The menu had to delight him and each of our demanding guests and the party had to be run on time despite the Mumbai rains and horrendous traffic snarls. Add to that a power cut which took out all the lights in the house, but none of the air conditioning! Candles were lit and the dinner with all its pre planning drama ended perfectly. The minute I just allowed myself to go with the flow instead of fighting to control it… I learned to have fun and actually enjoy the party!

I met the new doctor with trepidation and cynicism. Challenging him almost by telling him the hateful, scary things I’d been told over the years; I was taken aback when he empathised and even apologised for Doctors without tact and bedside manner. This threw me off because I expected him to stick with the way I had been treated thus far. The apology made me learn that the fear of one doctor can’t make you avoid all others. And as much as I don’t want to be seen as a clone of anyone else… I mustn’t assume that all in the same profession are alike either.

The MRI technician asked if I’d like to see ‘Friends.’I was taken aback. How was that possible? With a new machine, you could watch something, you may not hear it all but you could watch it. The 2 hr long series of MRIs were made more tolerable with a comedy show playing above my head!

5 am flights to meetings- would I hack it? Would I be on my best game? Worried I did not sleep all of night 1… And then the day ended and I was wonderful. The staying awake only made for dark circles- didn’t dampen my enthusiasm at all!

I write this as Day 2 begins (at 4:30 am now)- and now I’m not scared!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I do now what I do during an MRI. Take a deep slow breath and let the fear find another person they can cripple- not me!