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.

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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!

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!

The Dirtiest 3 LETTER word!

feed-your-own-ego-im-busy

A common ailment most people are suffering can be put into just 3 little letters… E-G-O!

We’ve all heard “Jaante nahi ki hum Kaun hai?” (Do you not know who I am?) but nowadays it’s not just about stupid and cheesy lines , it’s about shouting louder, valuing your opinion above all else and not listening to anyone’s voice but you’re own, it’s about thinking of yourself as smarter and more important than anyone else in the room.

And even if you are, it’s when the ‘ego’ comes in to play that you drop in the eyes of those around you. The most successful people, I believe are those who let their words and work do the talking- not their ego.

I remember a client I worked with, who’d spend the first half of a conversation dissecting what I was wearing and how I was looking just to prove that they were ‘in charge’ of the meeting.

They would then continue to tell me how they laughed at someone’s ideas, how unfit another of their own employees was and use the first 40 + minutes of a meeting  talking themselves up by talking other people down.

At first I’d wonder about the personal attacks and then as they became the Modus Operandi – I realised there was no point in worrying, justifying or even thinking about this- because that would be an absolute waste of brain space!

Ego shows insecurity. It shows nervousness and worries. It shows you’re not as smart or as important as you think you are. And it even shows you’re probably not even right!

Rather than fight over non-issues these days, I’m realising to state my case and leave it at that- let the egos fight it out. I’m not in their ring. I don’t need to be.

While they bash themselves up over who’s more ‘important’, I might as well strut along at my slow but solid space- get out of the fight and go a long and win the war!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I am getting wiser in my youthful older age I’d like to believe or may be I’ve just realised if you’ve not got the ending you want… it’s probably not the end… 

…to all who have lost someone

What if I were forgotten , as if I were never there?

What if you couldn’t see me anymore , what if you didn’t care?

When my life is over , would you know my name?

Would I be remembered, would sunsets feel the same ?

What if I were forgotten , as if I were never there?

Isn’t life so transient- a breeze just passing air,

And for a while you’d miss me , see me all around,

But then you would forget me ,forget whether they were blue or brown…

What if I were forgotten , as if I were never there?

Would it even matter , should I even care?

Tonight I stand beside you and all the world stands still…

Tonight I’m yours forever , my fears are none , they’re nil.

So tonight let’s always remember, let’s not waste any time

Tonight I’m yours for always , tonight you’re always mine

And so if I were forgotten , I’ll never be not there

Because somewhere deep inside of you , some part of you will always care.

Sour Puss & Kotak Mahindra Bank

So off to the bank we went. Adulting is hard even when you are older. It seems everyone and here, by everyone you really mean your parents,- can do stuff way better than you! How they got so good at fixing everything is beyond me… but I decided let’s give it a try and handle some bank work on my own!

It seemed simple enough… we were paying money back to a bank- an absolutely unheard concept for most but since the amounts weren’t sufficient for us to do a Mallya or Modi and buy a new citizenship, rant about the fact that we ‘wanted to pay a debt back’ on twitter and afford a mansion in Europe- I figured let’s get out of debt. So off we were to Kotak Mahindra Bank, and sitting in front a sullen woman , who seemed unhappy that work was being given to her on a day she’d rather eat lays and glower. My chirpy (yes that happens occasionally) attitude annoyed her and she moved us away from her line of vision and then recommended (and I use the word kindly) that we leave. But we want to pay back a debt , we informed her. Well, the paper work was going to be an issue- i.e. she hadn’t printed them out yet , so may be we could take our selves out and come back later. While we changed schedules around to accommodate her, a gentleman who looked worn and tired brought paper work to her. “That’s it , right Ma’am, I’m done? Loan free?” Sour puss (my name for her) glared at him as if he’d broken the system by doing his own printouts and then grudgingly said yes. We congratulated him but the poor man was almost in tears– ” it’s been so hard…. just to give them the money and close the loan ,” he said.

And that’s when I realised. Every day we have a choice- a choice on how we are viewed. This man had probably taken a loan for his dream home. Today should have been the happiest day of his life- now that his home was finally his and yet she chose to make it hard on him. Instead of being his supporter, his cheerleader and his helper- she chose to vilify herself.

We get a choice every single day to make an impact on someone’s life- to make a difference. That difference can be either negative or positive- but the choice is solely ours.

Your life impacts others. Your choices impact them. Your behaviour impacts them. We can’t live selfishly unless we’re in a box. When you converse with someone don’t just turn up- actually show up. Be present and be aware of your impact.

So what happened to my interaction with Sour Puss? Well she pushed us out of the branch and we returned (more because of that gentleman’s warning). She remained sullen and upset when we now had done the hard job of print outs for her. She made us sign all the wrong sheets for her own record and had to then spend the next day coming to our office and correcting all her mistakes.

She made an impression on me but like the gentleman earlier- she made a terrible one. But she also inspired me to start being present during my interactions with people because I want all those that I meet to feel that I am present and that I want to be there. In a terribly negative situation, I learnt something…though more often than not I wish you could just learn life lessons from fortune cookies… not miserable encounters 🙂

P.s. (Palat says)-: Be grateful for the people you meet. Learn from them- not just what to do but what never to do.