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.

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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!

The Farce that was #MeToo

And so the farce of #MeToo ended in a whimper. And we can be feminists about this and say , ‘well at least stories were told.’.. but to be realists- what good did that do any way?!

Stories were told, sordid details shared and every newspaper (even the serious ones) became gossip rags proudly sharing salacious details. We had news reports dissecting the who said what’s and when stuff happened and companies , film houses and advertising agencies proudly denouncing men who were caught up for their lecherous moves and unforgivable behaviour towards women.

We enjoyed the headlines we made by denouncing the creeps and we enjoyed the ‘stand that we took’ and the praise it seemed to garner us. We became proud supporting our women and we assured them that this would never ever be tolerated again.

And then overnight, we forgot it. It became inconvenient when the headlines changed and politics and other world issues took centre stage, It became a non-issue when we weren’t being applauded for just being a non lecherous creepy human being. It just became unimportant again.

And the creeps went back to work. Some were never even fired or let go of. It seems like it was difficult to expect a higher standard of human decency from people. Cases were dropped because creeps filed counter cases with more goons threatening the victim and she faced even more harassment. It was bad enough to be tabloid news fodder but to be openly shamed on social media and to have your case being discussed, distorted and destroyed by people who didn’t even know you was something the victims dealt with because for the first time they felt they had a voice and that even with all the noise, the people, the right people cared and were listening.

But then it hit home truly, when support was withdrawn; when law enforcers chose to humiliate rather than help and when quite literally their personal story became yesterday’s garbage.

I guess asking for change might have been too much. But may be we could have done more than just completely turn away from them. I guess it doesn’t mean anything unless it happens to you.

But when it does will anyone support you?

Trust me- after this – I wouldn’t ask you to hold your breath.

I knew that we were becoming shallow. I knew that women and women’s rights in India were never a priority but right now I have to say ,I am well and truly disappointed.

I guess #MeToo, your #TimesUp 😦

P.s.(Palat says)-: We need to be better. Not just because we owe it to humanity but because we owe it to ourselves.

The Relationship Saga

And in a world more connected than ever, most people find themselves more disconnected than they have ever been. We can connect on WhatsApp, Social media, the phone- all the time and yet in this fast paced world though we’re always seeming to be connected we’re often more alone than we have ever been.

This was the discussion a girl friend of mine and I had for more than a few hours this week. And it wasn’t even the first time I had heard this complaint. It was far too often, from far too many people for this to be a coincidence.

Connection requires work. Connection requires commitment and Connection requires both parties to keep at it!

And when I felt the same way a few years ago.. I set out to make a Commitment Cheat Sheet… to help me keep and nurture relationships that meant something to me…

So here’s a peak-:

  1. Make a list of just the closest friends (CFs) you’d like to have in you life and make sure you call or meet them once every 2 weeks at least.
  2. Do Date night. Even if you’ve been with your husband for tons of years…date him, reconnect. The only thing constant is change- so both of you will keep changing. Get to know the new him.
  3. Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
  4. Laugh more. Play games rather than watch TV. Connect, talk and have fun with your friends. TV is a wonderful medium for stories but real stories happen only when you actually participate in them. Be a part of your own life story not a spectator.
  5. Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
  6. Find common hobbies/ activities. I hate the morning walk… or actually hate getting up at 5 am… but the plus is I get a leisurely coffee chat with the uncrabby husband (he’s a morning sparrow, I am not) and a walk where we find tons of puppies and lots to chat about.
  7. Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
  8. Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
  9. Give yourself a break. All relationships change. Some change so much they become unrecognisable. Try as hard as you can, but remember sometime you need to let go. Reward yourself when you try. Don’t berate yourself.

Relationships are hard and connections even harder. In a world of a few billion- you just need a handful of connections but even those take work. Remember, it may look easy from watching a good relationship but both people work very hard with many off days to make that work. Instagram and Facebook stories are just that- stories. They are not reality.

P.s. (Palat says)-: At the end of the day, all the fame and money make for comfortable beds and homes but homes are only homes when you can fill them with people you love.

To My Bullies…

And the city was rocked when a promising young Doctor took her life because of harassment and bullying by her fellow seniors. It put into perspective the fact that bullying was something that was accepted. People had seen her being bullied but nothing had been done. If it doesn’t happen to you- we adopt the ostrich mentality- we don’t see it!

And these bullies cost her what could have been a fabulously successful career, a happy marriage and a wonderful life.

We shame them now on social media and in the papers but it’s too little too late. When we see bullying we more often than not turn a blind eye to the issue unless the issue is us.

And then there’s the hidden bullying- the trolling where faceless , nameless bullies feel it’s okay to shame you. And we can all pretend that these people are cowards and that their words don’t sting- but truth be told-we might all have a witty , caustic reply- but to put it plainly- it’s just mean. It’s mean to bully. It’s mean to gang up on people. It’s not just cowardice. It’s downright nasty!

And is that who we’ve become? Are we so dissatisfied with our lives that we think it’s okay to hurt others? Are we that full of ourselves that we think it’s okay to critique others? Are we that hurtful, prideful and egotistical?

So here’s to all my bullies, I didn’t say anything then and it’s taken me time-but I now have my answer-:

  1. To those who pulled my pigtails and made fun of my plaits- my hair is even cooler now because I looked after it then! Most of you have lost hair or have none. Guess it isn’t so funny now?
  2. To those who called me a nerd- I was a nerd. Still am. Nerds are cool. I own it! It also helped me get admission at Stanford and more than a few Ivy Leagues- so ….
  3. To those who made fun of my crushes and teased me, it’s because I was open to love that I found love.
  4. To those who mocked my choice of profession – I get to wake up and do something I love every day. How many of us are actually that lucky?
  5. To those who made fun of me and how I look post my illness- I was left side paralysed after my first multiple sclerosis attack and have a brain tumour and I still do more than most. And am hotter than most- still.
  6. To the “fan” who wrote to me last week criticising and taunting me for looking different from my 17 year old self…. well you probably look a heck of a lot different from yourself 20 odd years ago…. and well read Point 5!

I didn’t get to sit with the cool kids then. I got bullied and laughed at. It hurt then. And often , when idiots like my “fan” wrote, it hurt now. I’d like to believe that I am stronger for the bullying- but honestly I’m just a little more jaded, a little more complex, a little less trusting, a lot less nice.

I’ve now rid myself of most of the complexes and I hope one day I and we can all rid ourselves from the bullies.

I forgive myself for hurting. One day I hope to forgive you.

But most of all I know that I will never be a bully and most importantly if I see someone being bullied, I promise myself- today and forever- I will stop it.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Don’t mourn my obituary. Make a difference to my life while I’m alive.


My Harshest Self

And with Multiple sclerosis , the mood swings for me are a bit intense. It doesn’t help that I’m a Gemini- Taurus cusp or that I have a steroid producing brain tumour or that I’m plain nuts… but I do seem to have really low lows. The plus is that I am logical enough to know it’s temporary and fixable. The minus is more often than not I’m not sure how to do that and get frustrated with myself for not knowing how to!

And then I think about the number of times we’ve had flaws pointed out in our Bffs by others and how fiercely we’ve stood by and protected them! They are not flaws, we insist; merely traits that make them more unique, more special and more loved.

What if we were to apply the same rules to ourselves?

So when we are meeting an indecisive client who doesn’t see the amount of effort it took us to create something special and we’re feeling low, instead of blaming ourselves for not realising that the work we’ve done won”t be immediately appreciated or faulting ourselves when the work out we’ve been killing ourselves with doesn’t give us the results we need today- we should love ourselves- much like the Bff who doesn’t always return calls or the one who is perennially late. We know that good things come to those who wait for them… why don’t we allow ourselves the same indulgence?

Why are we so mean to ourselves? Why do we give everyone around us a break except ourselves?

And it’s almost with pride that we say that ‘we are our harshest critic!’ Isn’t that sad? Shouldn’t we instead be our biggest fan? Cos if we were friends with ourselves , we’d actually think that we’re pretty darn amazing! Why shouldn’t we allow ourselves to be proud of who we are?

So I’m gonna start- I am absolutely nuts on one hand and supremely focused on the other- that makes me fabulous to hang out with, never short of conversation or gossip! I’m insanely driven and I’m fiercely protective and loyal. I am a fighter having fought MS and fighting it every day and that makes me pretty amazing! I would choose a friend with all of these qualities. So today and forever I choose me!

P.s.-: We have enough people in the world who’d like to pull us down…. there’s no point joining them. They don’t need the help!

Birthday stresses (and no it’s not about just getting old!)

So the birthday rolled around and this one was unlike any other! I’m the quintessential Gemini about birthdays even though I’m a Taurus-Gemini cusp! I plan for the next birthday the evening of the previous one- so I’m that kinda psycho birthday maniac,

But this birthday I was a bit more introspective and stressed out- had this year counted for anything? Had anything changed ? Did my life thus far mean anything to anyone? Yup I was being a bit more fatalistic than usual. What had I acheived?

And so this time I stressed out before the birthday! And started (like the OCD maniac I am) listing down any positive learnings I have had or impacts I had made. Here’s what I found!

  1. I have become closer to family now than I ever was and that’s a win!
  2. I have more friends now and they accept me -flaws and all! I’ve reconnected with a few who knew me and they seem prouder of who I am today -so there must be growth and that’s awesome!
  3. More importantly I accept me- flaws and all and now can be honest with who I am , especially to me!
  4. I have taught people and they remember that fondly and I continue to teach the people who work with me and that’s amazing.
  5. I have started learning all over again! Online learning allows me to find knowledge in areas that I’ve always wanted to discover and that’s hugely positive for me.
  6. I’ve traveled and I’ve seen and learned more about cultures and places and put into perspective how magnificent the world is and how much more we can do and then gone ahead and tried to imbibe all that I have seen into making a positive impact.
  7. I have cared for animals and loved and looked after so many and got so much love in return.
  8. I have become kinder, more compassionate and learned to love more! I have become more grateful to the God, the Universe and to people.
  9. I have learned that the more positive you are , the more positivity comes your way!

And the list went on and I realised that not only had the years rolled on, the learnings had added up to and just the fact that I had so many blessings in my life, was definitely worth candles on the cake – even if there were more candles now, than cake !

P.s. (Palat says)-: Whenever you are down, look around you and make a list- when you see how much you have and how many love you; you’ll realise that the stress just disappears! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!