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!

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Live the Moment

We all believe we live in the moment but I have to be honest most do not! Unless you go through something life changing, you don’t even recognise how long or how powerful a moment can be. This is true. A moment really counts when my arm hurts so bad tears stream down my face or when the husband holds me apologising for the arm pain which he didn’t even cause-the MS did!

Most people just turn up in their lives. They make a guest appearance. You go to your 9-5 or 10-6 job and you just count the hours so you can leave and go back and do another mindless thing you won’t give yourself to.

You shouldn’t have to have MS or a brain tumour or nearly die or do something equally dramatic to care about your life! You can be the hero- the star of your own story- shouldn’t you use your potential to do that

With those I work with and those I’m friends with , this is what I try and enforce

  1. Do one thing- but do it well, else don’t even start.
  2. In a conversation with me , lets both look at each other and actually listen.
  3. A job is not 8 hrs, it can be 1 hr or 2 hrs as well- it’s just about applying yourself when you work
  4. Do something- one thing every day that you absolutely love and be present during that moment.
  5. Have one conversation every day- not on the phone but face to face. Make sure it’s honest and be absolutely involved in the conversation.
  6. When you are doing your job- make that the most important. When you are with your family- make that the most.
  7. Be true to yourself, even with new people. People will either like you or not but you can’t live your life acting like someone you are not.
  8. You are the star of every day. Your film stars you. Make a it a film you’d like to watch. Be proud of you.
  9. This won’t happen easily- there’ll be many times where you are not even present during a work day or a boring family dinner. Stop, reboot, refresh!

I write this because I see so many who just turn up in their lives and never actually show up and enjoy it. We get one chance, (even if we believe in rebirth and after life) to be the best version of ourselves- to be a part of a film called our life. Wouldn’t you want a blockbuster? I do!

P.s. (Palat says)-: Its the husband’s birthday weekend this weekend so stay tuned for soppy posts and mushy , unwritten love letters!

I’m never gonna be who I thought I would

All through our lives we’ve been taught to make a difference, do more, be more!

And then it gets to a point- and here may be it’s the impending Birthday Me talking, where you worry- have I actually achieved what I was supposed to have… or was it all just castles in the sky created by my indulgent, loving parents (who btw are throwing a birthday dinner for me tonight- so yay!)… so I decided to take stock!

Well I started out right, topped school, went to Stanford and then I left Stanford prematurely to start acting. Interesting choice!

I started doing films, and started a Production house. One film became seven; the production house put on some truly memorable plays. Each play made me learn to give back to society and be really grateful as to where I was.

I got sick, got Multiple Sclerosis, was told I wouldn’t move but Docs ain’t got nothin on my stubbornness! So up I was and back at work!

I wrote and here I shall boast a bit (allow me, it’s my blog) a truly exceptional play where we toured the world, won numerous World Awards and gave lots of money to a cause I truly supported.

I found a tumour in the pituitary in my brain- didn’t waste a second ,started another company and an Not for profit charity, moved offices.

I have directed TV, commercials, digital, short films and anything that has a story- I have learnt to tell.

I have loved one dog with all my soul and another takes up my heart.

I see my family regularly and it’s still not enough; spend every waking moment I can stalking my husband, who annoys me , infuriates me, challenges me, engages me and loves me.

I’ve not done anything I planned to do when I was a child- but I’ve done so much more than I dreamed of. I’ve lived a life that I couldn’t have imagined because you can’t write lives like mine…

I may not be who I was but I am so excited to see who I will become…so as I countdown the days to my birthday…I’m going to celebrate who I have become with all those who’ve made me who I am on this crazy journey we call life.

P.s. (Palat says)-: You may not be where you think you want to be; but you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now!

Where Am I now?

So yesterday while watching the deviously delightful ‘Lucifer’ on Netflix I asked the husband the existential question- “do you think God has a plan for all of us…” He answered in the affirmative- more of a grunt, because I had obviously disturbed his ‘serial-watching- while reading football news on twitter’ evening with a far too serious question…

That got me thinking- not about the highly distracted way my husband watches Tv, but if there is really a plan; then are we really at the place where supposed to be?

I wondered , whether I should be or could be doing more?

Should I be richer, smarted, stronger, fitter?

Should I have made better choices, better friends, better decisions?

Are any of those choices actually in my own hands?

Taking a few seconds, I rethought my whole life and all the ‘choices’ I had made and wondered if I’d do it all differently.

Maybe I would.

But then again, understanding that I am a product of all those choices; and I have had an interesting full life- full of love and drama, pain and joy, happiness and sorrow – I realised that it’s been a good journey… I mean , if my life were a film; I think we’d have quite a good audience including me…

So if God truly does have a plan for all of us then he’s a pretty great script writer… because he ensures that no 2 scripts (lives) are the same…

Also it seems a comforting feeling to know that, even when I’m a bit lost; someone knows the way home for me…

i love you. i hate you.

Those petty fights.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

You took too long on saying I love you. You think I’m fat? You don’t buy me anything. You forgot my birthday/ our date/ to meet me.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

You don’t care about me. You don’t listen. You shout too much. You nag to much. I hate your friends. You hate my drinking/ football/ work/ late nights.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

You left me alone. You yelled. You talked to her. I hate your ex. You hate my mom. I hate this car. I hate your hair. You hate my dress. You hate everything I wear.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

Every moment could be our last. Do we really want to go fighting or being fought with?Is it really important? Is that what we really mean to say?

I love you. I’m sorry. I tried. I mean well. You inspire me. You challenge me. I must be better for you.

Please. Love me. Thank you.

 

The Seven Year Itch!

So the husband and I just completed our seventh year of marriage and after every 3 congratulatory messages, the customary 7 year itch joke was then messaged/warned/joked about!

That got me down to thinking… the seven year itch is only popular because of the wildly popular Marilyn Monroe film of the same name which was popular because of the iconic dress-blowing image…! Seven years in actuality means nothing at all!

Some people can have the one day itch, the one year itch, the six-month itch, the ‘Oh no I might get married ‘ itch! The itch really has nothing to do with the passage of time but more to do with the person you are with!

Cheaters cheat!Abusers hit! And liars lie! To blame it on 7 years, or on the fact that monogamy is not natural or the ‘ I was drunk’ excuse is just that…. an Excuse!

There is a freedom in being single and dating…a sense of lightness and excitement in who you might meet and where life may take you. But there’s also fear of ending up alone, the worry of not finding someone who will understand/ respect / love you and a loneliness of coming back home to an empty home and an empty bed.

There’s routine in marriage. There are rules. There are expectations and demands. But there is also support, trust, love and faith. There is also the great joy of being able to curl up and watch television with someone you love in your night shorts and spectacles and for them to still think you are the most wonderful looking person in all the world. There is responsibility but there’s also a cheerleader by your side to support and give wings to your dreams,your ambitions, your life…!

It’s up to each one of us the choices we make but it’s impossible to have both.

In a world where marriages don’t make the first year hurdle and where cheating and infidelity has become the norm- the friendship, trust and faith that our parents’ marriages had is becoming rarer to see. You have to try to keep your marriage, fight to save your marriage, work every day to make your marriage work. If you are not ready to put in the time…. don’t get married and DON’T BE THE OTHER WOMAN/ MAN IN THE RELATIONSHIP !

How did Aditya and I get to Number 7….

With lots of fights and even more tears,

With some heartaches and a couple of cheers;

With several losses and a few wins;

And with many prayers and fewer sins…

… here’s to a life time of arguments, fights, hugs and laughs….!

I love you Mr. Hitkari and there’ll be no 7/8/9/10………… itch….

And to all the friends who joked/ragged/messaged about it… I’m going to hunt you down and punch each one of you… :))))) so BEWARE!

Take a Chance on Change!

To start over…something must end. To say hello… sometimes we have to say goodbye.To laugh again…sometimes we need to have cried!

Divya Palat 

It’s so hard when things are over when we just keep holding on! I realised this when I produced my first set of shows and the run was complete and as everyone was about to go on stage , I was bawling in the bathroom not willing to let go. Since then ,it’s been 10 years and it’s still hard; but the public display of tears has significantly reduced and I’m learning to let go of incredible shows, amazing experiences and new found family to make way for even more incredible moments!

A lot of my girl friends are the same with relationships. Trapped with bad boyfriends, terrible husbands, abusive relationships- they aren’t even having a great time- but they’re scared of letting go- what if there’s nothing amazing in store for them next? What if this is as good as it gets? A friend of mine stayed with his cheating boy friend just because she was too afraid to actually go out and find someone again. “It’s too hard,” she told me ..”to start over!”

But even if we’re unwilling to change, scared to let go and holding on with all we’ve got- Life is way faster, smarter and trickier than all of us! Sometimes despite all our ‘clingy’ efforts , we’re going to have to change, have to let go, have to start over! And maybe the new is scary but may be it’s what we needed all along.

A perfect planner, I hated to lose control till I got sick and then paralysed and then suddenly had to allow nurses, doctors and family control of my choices, my life, my body! Suddenly in a moment, all that I was clinging to- my ridiculous plans, my naive thoughts on my career progress and my life ambitions had to be re-thought, re assessed and restarted overnight! And when you stop fearing the future and embrace the change then suddenly Life is an adventure and you can be part of an incredible journey. Had I resisted change, Balancing Act Productions (my company) would not be in it’s tenth year , I would not be married to my soulmate and best friend, and I’d never have walked again.

Sometimes Change makes all the right choices you were just too scared to make! Sometimes Change gets it right!

Trust!