I’m not a survivor.

Yes- I have Multiple Sclerosis. Yes- I have a Pituitary Tumour. Yes- I have a tremendous amount of pain every single day… but I’m not a survivor… I’m a WINNER :)!

I learnt a while ago that there are 2 ways to approach anything this serious – 1. Let it control you. 2. Don’t !

I choose to not let fear nor pain nor the fear of pain rule my life. I am incredible and I am all that I am because of the M.S.

How ? You ask?

Well sure.. when we were first told about the disease I was shattered… I didn’t understand it… no one did and it left me fearful. I was left side paralysed and I couldn’t speak… For an actor and especially a person as talkative as me… the not speaking thing was harder than the paralysis…! I could think it …it was just too hard to say so many words…!

And then I tried. I failed. I tried some more. I failed some more. And then I started from scratch. I got to re-learn as an adult how to be Divya and what fun that was!! My Dad and sister would read me the gossip columns of my favourite newspapers…My Mom would watch Oprah with me and Aditya would watch all my favourite rom-coms and comedies with me… and I got to spend all that amazing time with my family who made me realise how cool I was because they were so cool! My Doctor played catch with me and though I pretty much always failed in that…we got some good laughs every evening and I looked forward to the new day with childlike enthusiasm…enthusiasm that I had lost a while before that when work became WORK and family became FAMILY- the 2 things you were committed to but didn’t love the way you should!

And work? Well I decided to focus on MY COMPANY- BALANCING ACT PRODUCTIONS… and when I got up…I put heart and soul in to theatre and the company and it gave me purpose. i was proud to get up every morning because I was the coolest boss to work for! I had no fixed timings…I did short film direction, taught theatre, produced plays, directed videos, directed television shows, wrote television shows, wrote films, created tv properties for clients, ideated, acted,directed, produced and even sang! If I thought it…I did it!

From waiting hours for a shot, and waiting endlessly for the phone to ring I now had no empty minutes…and the phone rang off the hook!And I had to start saying no to work…so I could try something even more new and incredible !

And the travel… Aditya and I traveled every where and we’d pick a country and devour it! Days of research, months of planning and every trip was more exciting, more unforgettable and with more moments than I’d ever imagined possible…

And then last but definitely not least…I married the man of my dreams…someone I’d have only married 2/3 years post 2006 had the illness not happened and all that would have done would have made me miss out on living with my best friend, my partner in crime and my better half (in every way)!

So I didn’t survive… I live, I thrive and I win… and I wouldn’t change my life with all it’s ups and downs because it’s made me me…. and I’m pretty darn awesome!

 

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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.

 

Just because they are family doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings!

This weekend a movie (English Vinglish!) and a conversation with a friend made me think of something very important. We often take family for granted and sometimes the unkindest cut of all comes from those closest to us. They may not aim to be mean. It might be just a thoughtless remark or an angry outburst that they regret later but you are often unkinder to family than you are to distant friends and even enemies.

I remember once yelling at my Mom who allowed me an extra hour of sleep after I had shot an all night shift for a music video. I remember telling her unkindly that she was trying to sabotage my career- a statement so mean and thoughtless in retrospect, I wish I could go back to that day and take it back. She was just worried about how tired I was and I was just being a brat! A friend was talking about her mother-in-law and discussing how she was dealing with her son and telling him that he had joined ┬áthe family business to ensure his inheritance , not assuming for one moment that he’d made their dreams his, that he’d put aside his desires to pursue a field of his choice by doing what he feels is the responsible thing and looking after a company created by his parents and continuing their legacy. He had been hurt by her thoughtless statements and wondered whether he had done something wrong by telling her how he felt.

As children we sometimes lash out without meaning it…there is no justification for our actions but my belief is that you must understand that it could have caused pain and you must be truly sorry for hurting someone you care about. I’m sorry Amma and I’m sorry Achan. I’m sure I lashed out thoughtlessly and senselessly at times and considering you always worked to make my life a better life and worked towards my goals, putting my dreams ahead of your own- I’m truly sorry.

But it’s not only the children who are at fault…In some cases parents also voice their own insecurities in mean and hurtful ways.

As adults sometimes it so happens that your parents are unnecessarily critical or flippant with some remarks and that could cause you pain as well. As adults I think it’s important to tell each other why it’s not okay to make a quick, snide comment or make a thoughtless judgement about someone in your family. You might be their children but they are also human and sometimes they may be having a bad day, be in pain, alone or just sad and maybe snapping at you was their way of trying to hurt you so you could feel part of what they’re feeling. It’s still not okay to hurt you so it’s important you tell them that and get down to the actual base of the matter and deal with that sensitively.

Even if it’s family , when an opinion is unfair, overly critical or hurtful- tell them. We protect the feelings of co-workers, of friends and are even tactful when it comes to enemies so why is okay to walk all over the feelings of family?

Each one of us has hurt our family several times. Think about that today and next time don’t. Also the next time you get hurt by their flippant remark- don’t be afraid to tell them. Respect and boundaries are important- EVEN FOR FAMILY!