Monday, November 28, 2016

Villains in real life

Most Indian movies; the over the top dramatic ones, the tear jerker ones, the horrifying hold your breath dramatic last ending ones; have one or multiple villains in the ending. The hero or heroine or hero/heroine's loved ones are/is tied up while the villains contemplate how they will die. Should they be pushed out of a plane? Should they be fed to the alligators or sharks? Should they be shot? The more dramatic ones have more innovative methods of a tank bubbling away with mysterious dangerous stuff; should they be pushed into it? Or should they have a slow painful death? The American Mission Impossible movies always show a variety of tools to imply a slow death. 

These movies/books with similar plots and descriptions always scared me, gave me nightmares and made me uncomfortable. I distinctly remember leaving a book on a plane because it had awful descriptions of how a husband and a wife were tied and tortured in front of each other. That book has given me the chills and the creeps for years now and I still cannot forget it. And now I am haunted by the thought of what if it has landed in some insane person's hands and he actually has ideas now :( 

But I digress. We have our own villains now. My Dad is tied up and we are all too, along with him; helpless and powerless in front of these villains. The villains come in many forms - MSA Multiple systems atrophy, PCP cerebral palsy, various forms of advanced Parkinsons.  There is a train headed towards us and nothing can stop it. There is no solution, no hero to save the day! No miracle drug, no amazing doctor with cutting edge research. Just imminent death but wait a minute, lets thicken this plot. 

We don't know what kind of death. Will it be going blind followed by choking on your own food and then dying of pneumonia? Or will it be being bedridden, completely unable to move, eat or speak and then die of heart failure or respiratory infection? Or will it be a fall at the wrong time in the wrong place which will paralyze. The possibilities are endless, the outcome is all the same. The events have been set into motion and we are all helpless tied up victims. There is no knight in shining armor in the form of doctors, medicines, alternative medicines, therapy to save him (and us) from this fate.

Whoever is up there writing my Dad's life story sure does have a cruel sense of humor. Because he has given him this disease where his mind will stay exceptionally clear until the end. So that my Dad can clearly feel, see and understand every single betrayal of his body. I would not wish such a fate on my worst enemy. 

Which makes me wonder again about the fairness in life. Have you ever looked around and seen these people - they are the ones whose presence is never comforting, soothing to anyone, not even to their loved ones; who have words that hurt, actions that cause pain and who never have done anything in their lives for any other human being except to benefit themselves. Have you also seen how they tend to live long healthy lives? Of course they still complain about their lives because they always are in a state of dissatisfaction. I am sure all of you also know at least a few people who were so immensely loved and needed and who passed away way before their time. I guess this is life! 

Life again teaches me how we are never really in control and to be grateful always for all the good things we have right now. In the present moment, in the current situation. Because no one knows whats around the corner. I will never complain about any trying situation because there are more awful situations to trump those trying situations. Always be grateful, always be thankful, always hug your loved ones and be in the moment. And I hope that there are only good things around the corner for all of you (us) and bad things/situations/conditions fall away. 

Please keep my Baba in your thoughts and send good healing vibes his way. Thank you! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

What is a friend?

I use the term "friend" very generously. If you are my colleague, I see you everyday, I have vented to you and we chat about your life and mine, you are my friend. Apparently this word has different connotations to different people.

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser) I try to remind myself to be accommodating and accept things/people/views different than mine without having to swing people over to my side and see things exactly as I see them. It was this trait that helped me listen patiently to my babysitter defend Trump's campaign, to dismiss how he was a womanizer, to dismiss how he disrespects women and to actually listen to the things that make him an attractive candidate to a section of the voters. I learnt something new. And I left it at that. This is conservation of the limited energy I have :)

Well back to "friend", I remember remarking to a work colleague of mine, someone who I had gone out to lunch with, heard about his divorce and ongoing life situation and challenges first hand and chatted with on a daily basis. I remarked to him about someone else that "Grace is my friend" and he jumped back and said "Whoa whoa whoa, that's a big statement!". I wonder if he would consider me his "friend".

Yesterday our big boss was telling the folks who sit by me to be nice and say good things about the company as I had not yet accepted their offer. Or she would have to move me by pleasanter people. And I said No, I like it here, these people are my friends. And one guy immediately remarked "That is a very strong word to use" I don't know if I would say that.

I remember saying to my brother's wife that I think of her as my sister and she had retorted that she thought of me as her "friend" and not her "sister".

Learning from that episode, at one point I had said to my husband's sister that I think of her as my friend and she remarked "Hold on, it takes me a long time to consider someone my friend and I don't think of you as a friend".

These statements had hurt me very much at that time. But now I realize that a "friend" is different things to different people. And that it does not reflect on me - it is them not me.

So today I am grateful that I do have lots of people who call me their friends and I get to call them mine. I am very grateful that I also have a handful of friends who call me their soul sister and their best friend forever. I am also grateful that my husband, my classic introvert, thinks of me as his best friend :) And I am grateful that God has given me the wisdom to accept the different definitions of "friend" with different people and to let go and continue on..

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dayyyyyyy twoooooo of Nablopomo

Its day two and I am already struggling to think of what am I grateful about today!!! S has a bad cough and cold. Every time she gets sick, two days later I am sick, a week later she is fit and fine, two weeks later I am still struggling!!! I woke up today with my throat burning like it was on fire! The entire day stretched out soooooooo looooooooooong.

But I am super grateful for my job. I took the summer off and as soon as I was ready to look, God plonked this contract opportunity right in front of me. The controller loves me and wants to hire me and I went right back to work after my wonderful wonderful summer off. I am thankful to God for the break I could take and for giving me a job when I was ready to go back. Incredibly blessed!!

I was doing so good on my diet and exercise; did I say I lost 18 pounds over the past four months!!!! Diwali has put some of it right back :(( And now being sick makes me want to reach for all the unhealthy creamy cheesy fried, chocolatey, gooey yumminess that makes my mind feel better (temporarily).

So maybe I should talk about my diet here. I had put on 20 pounds over last summer - sheer side effect of taking prescription asthma medicines that I should not have taken in the first place and pushing stupid quantities of albuterol and other steroids which had no business being in my poor body. But I will not dwell on the past. So this year, when I took my break, I also ran over to a medical weight loss solutions group here. They put me on a 800 calorie diet with meal replacements for the first month and Oh man, what a huge shock it was to my system!!! The first few days I only thought in terms of three hour installments - I could eat a snack/bar/shake every three hours and it was gone within minutes and I would be staring at my watch waiting for the next one. But slowly the hunger pangs ceased and my body adjusted to eating smaller portions. And then the mind focused on how I turned to food every time I was bored, sad, tired. It was very hard getting rid of this habit of wanting to eat every five seconds and to divert my mind to other activities; to dealing with the root cause of every emotion instead of throwing coffees and chocolates at it, to drink water when you think you are hungry because if you ate lunch thirty minutes ago, there is no way you are hungry in 30 minutes! My dietitian said many folks mistake thirst for hunger. I was amazed at how much water you should drink and how much I actually did. And I thought I drank a lot. This first month made me more aware of my thoughts and my body and how I reacted to situations and adjusting to portion sizes. We started adding back regular food slowly and now I am back to a regular diet (reduced portions). But I did lose 18 pounds so far.

Working out daily during my break carved out my muscles, made my butt tighter and gave me a new high. I also managed to "walk" a half marathon to accompany my super star 64 year old brother who has turned into a Forrest Gump ever since he retired. He walks about 14 miles every single day!!

I am so grateful to have these opportunities to take care of myself; a husband who lets me have time to focus on my health and to have the courage to take those steps of enrolling in a weight loss program and to stay focused on my diet and exercise plan. Next eighteen pounds are going to be the hardest but I am hoping I slowly trudge along and make it to my goal weight. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New month resolution :)

I am a very open person. I am a very vocal person. I blab out my deepest fears and worries and feelings out to my family, my husband, my closest friends. Over the years, I have found that as life gets busier and busier and everyone around you is juggling many balls and plates and many balls on those plates; it is a bit trying for everyone to listen to you vent about the same things over and over. 

That's when I realized how valuable my poor blog is (to me). It cannot roll its eyes, cannot talk back (I have been pretty lucky never to attract any trolls), cannot judge or wont remind me when I do or say things that I said once upon a time that I would never do.

So when Swathi shook some of us bloggers from slumber and asked if we would all do a Nablopomo (?) together, I jumped at it. I want the chance to be regular at something. I do many things for a while and then slack off! I need to get into the regiment of being regular. So lets see how it goes; a post for every day in November!! Daunting!

I have decided that I have whined enough on this blog. I am going to call out things I am grateful for - every single day. 

So today I am grateful to be living in a city that celebrates diversity. I went to S's kindergarten class to talk about Diwali. Took along a collage of pictures of fire crackers, rangoli, plate full of Diwali goodies, the girls with their cousins lighting sparklers etc. Took along a beautiful star lantern, some battery operated lights and some diyas. Took along a lot of Diwali goodies to arrange in a big platter to share with her teachers and class. S and I dressed up in Indian traditional clothes. I shared two stories of Diwali with the class - one of Rama's return from exile and the other of Narakasura and how he was destroyed by Lord Krishna (his wife). Explained that the gist is the victory of good over bad. How each of us should light a lamp inside us and get rid of the bad thoughts and embrace good ones. Do little things like not be mean to our friends/siblings, be helpful and polite and shine with happiness like the little twinkling lights and bring joy to everyone around us. The class went around and shared one good thing they will do today. They devoured the sweets and the savories and even the teachers tried all of the items and declared their favorites. All in all it was a lot of fun!! The principal of the school also stopped by to thank me for sharing our culture and festivals with the class. S was beaming with joy the entire time. 25 kids walked away with a slightly better understanding of Diwali and wished each other "Happy Diwali"!! So grateful for my girls to go to a school where they embrace diversity, so grateful to live in a city where no one looks at you strangely for wearing a traditional get up, so grateful to be surrounded by teachers and inquisitive young minds who want to know more about Indian traditions and customs. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The best teacher in life is life itself!!!

Life continues to kick our ass and teaches us long painful lessons. We hope this is the last setback, tomorrow might bring good news or next week for sure but next week comes and goes and so does the week after it. Every sunny cloud seems to have a dark lining to it; the minute we start getting hopeful or optimistic about one thing, it immediately proceeds to fall apart. You know how they say that you can bear your own troubles but you cannot bear to see your loved ones in pain. The same way I am really done begging the Almighty, fate, the universe to send some good cheer P's way. Yes, he procrastinated and dilly dallied and hurt his own career but this has been punishment enough. Please please please cut him some slack and give him a break!

SO big painful lessons learnt:

1. Your attitude when you are waiting, is far more important than the results of the wait. I need to remind myself everyday to support and cheer P. These might be one of the most unhappiest days in his life and I should atleast make sure he knows I am by his side and understand.
2. Look for the good everyday. Celebrate small successes. We are so fixated on the things we know we deserve and should achieve that we sometimes forget to celebrate and be happy about the small things we get and sometimes without any effort, along the way. I have a contract opportunity within days of my job search and I should be happy and excited about it. Money is money is money after all!!
3. Count your blessings - all those things that we take for granted until we lose some. This is the first time in my life that I am actually worried about our financial stability. I had never even thought of it in my twenties and thirties and now on the cusp of entering my forties, I worry about our employment and finances :(
4. Health is wealth. If you are fit and healthy, you can take on the world :)

With that I am going to go sleep and hope with all my might that tomorrow indeed will bring good news or I will count by blessings one more time and hope that we are almost there, this too shall pass!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Where did my summer go!!! :)

So after months and months of doldrums and taking this scary decision of quitting my well paying job, the job that gave us subsidized cost insurance, the job that was our stability; walking away from it was terrifying but staying was even worse. And walk away I did and I still do not regret that decision at all.

I joined a local gym right away and started going to their group exercise classes. Love love loved the freedom. I would drop off both girls and then go the gym, come home and organize a section of my house, one at a time, cook and then go pick up the girls so they didn't have to stay in after care. Some days the girls wanted a break from routine and would ask to stay home and I would let them. We would take spontaneous days off and plan fun things - they took breaks from their summer camps after every couple of weeks and are now taking August off before they go back to school :) It was fun and relaxing for them too. I took them and their friends places - the children's museum, a farm, a local forest preserve and so on.

In the first week of August, my family descended upon us. We were 22 under the same roof - all the way from 9 months to seventy years :) I planned our entire family gathering from the food to the activities and we had a blast! :)

My Mama in law (Uncle in law) was hospitalized for open heart surgery and ended up having to be in the CCU (ICU) for almost a week. So I spent a LOT of time back and forth to the hospital and being there for them. Mama Mami have always loved me like their own daughter and I was glad to have had the time to be there for them in this difficult phase.Fortunately he is much better now and is on his way home from the hospital now.

I also joined a medical weight loss solutions clinic and lost about 12 pounds so far from diet - substituting food with their meals.

AND I did ANOTHER HALF marathon - it was more to accompany my cousin who is 64 years old and has turned into Forrest Gump since his retirement. He literally walks all day!!! He finished twenty minutes before me!! But I am so proud of myself - going from not being able to walk a mile to walking 13.1 miles in 3.5 hours this year.

R's school starts on Monday and slowly my summer break draws to a close. I really have lost my mojo, my ambitious drive for my career. I am not sure I want to go back to burning the candle at both ends. I love this luxury of taking care of my health, my children, my home. But we are paying about a thousand dollars per month for insurance and that is rapidly draining our savings. So a full time job is a must. Unless P finds one. I literally want to go to every temple and beg God to send an offer his way. That will be the cherry on the topping to end my beautiful summer break.

I want to remember this hard time to remind myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel always, sometimes you need to light light inside the tunnel and keep walking until you finally get out into the bright sunshine.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why is life so damn hard sometimes?

You know how it are going along, bitching about some minor thing, making a mountain out of a molehill and life dumps a thousand of the most annoying, frustrating little shit bombs it can find. Nothing goes your way. Its one thing after the other. Non stop! And you dust yourself off and stand up and tell yourself tomorrow will be better and tomorrow comes and knocks you down again.

I know life makes sense in hindsight but it would really really help to know what I am learning out of these punishing situations.

So I am going to make a list of all the shit and what I have learnt from it:
1. I have learnt that you can no longer trust a doctor completely. The family doctors of the past, the ones, who you unquestionably devotedly trusted, the ones whose medicines - the numerous small pills and the awful syrups brought you back spanking new in a mere two three days. Those doctors are gone. Today's doctors need to be looked at with suspicion, independent research needs to be done and their approaches need to be challenged and a HUGE hue and cry raised when you do not seem to feel better after weeks of trying their approach.
2. When life painfully pushes/nudges you in a corner and holds you down, when you are at your worst and feel your worst and behave your worst, when the chips are truly down; you know how many still stand by you. And the answer is painful itself. But I will remember those who did and cherish them forever.
3. Sometimes you really need to only think about yourself.
4. Good guys don't win, not in the end, not in the beginning, not in the middle. So its okay not to be so good to everyone.
5. If you were fortunate to find a good man and he stands by you through all the shitty situations, make sure to hold his hand tightly and never let go even if everything is disappointing and unsatisfying.
6. Some people turn on a dime; courage is very very hard and very rare. Very few people will stand up for the truth and to fight against the bad. Most will find it convenient to shut their mouths and go with the flow.
7. The things/people you thought you couldn't live without; your heart becomes resilient and somehow manages to sustain their void and moves on.
8. What's broken once can be fixed, but can never be as it was before. It is forever changed.
9. Health is wealth - such a generic saying, but never have realized how true it was.
10. Stress and worrying can kill

I have finally handed in my resignation and it has been finally accepted. Many people tried to talk me out of it, told me to hang in there until I can find another job and then leave or asked me to be patient and see if the situation changes. I have no more patience. I have no more energy.

Tomorrow is my last day. Today I got a call from a recruiter asking if I would like to do some consulting. I am not ready. I want to wait. But P still does not have a full time job. He is doing his contract work which is quite boring. I see the sadness and defeat in his eyes. I am not sure if he is putting in enough efforts to find another full time job. I am not sure if he knows what he wants to do in his life next. I am not sure if I have the heart to turn down a sure shot thing and focus on relaxing. I am not sure if I can enjoy my time off with this humongous uncertainty looming on us. I so desperately want someone else to be strong and say I am here, I will take care of you. But then I realize there is no one. No one.

I don't know if this will change. I don't know if it will get better or worse. I don't know why this is happening to me while apparently there are a zillion others who have things go their way. I am too afraid to remind myself that there are also a billion others who have far worse problems than me. I am convinced I will immediately inherit their problems. So I keep quiet. And smile. And try to push all my worries away. And try to not think negatively or positively because how much hope and pep talking can one give oneself, there is a limit! So I don't think. And I keep going on. And some day fate might decide to take pity on us and luck might smile our way.