Covid the flow

The onset

It really felt like someone sneaking up on you stealthily and ruthlessly taking over your mind and body. While I do not remember the exact date, I believe it was around the 26th of March 2021. I had already seen my parents in a state of complete capitulation just a few days prior. My mother, who at the age of 64 could put the Energizer bunny to shame could barely move a limb, and my father seemed more distraught than the times he has been told that we’d be having pizza for dinner as opposed to ‘regular food’. And before we knew it, all eleven family members at home were hit by the ailment as if we were a length of rope doused in kerosene and duly lighted. The oldest was my grandmother, who unfortunately lost the battle to covid and the youngest was my niece who was just 10 days old. In between were my uncle, my aunt, my two cousins, my wife, my 5-year-old daughter and yours truly. While all of us were out of commission for a week or more, some of us decided to be adventurous and go for a staycation at various hospitals in the city, forcibly so.

The build up

The second wave of covid was similar to peak vacation season in the country where one would be hard pressed to obtain hotel bookings of choice. Everyone seemed to be vying for a hospital bed. While my parents were completely gripped by the ailment, they were stable, as were my wife, daughter and other family members. I, on the other hand was slipping into a less favorable position. My head seemed leaden and throbbed constantly. I was overcome with weakness like I had never felt before and pulling myself out of bed just to walk a few steps seemed like a task that should be considered in the same category as the nine labors of Hercules. My body burned with fever and I felt lethargic. Fortunately, I could still smell and taste my food, that is if I could get to it and feed myself. A few days into this melancholic scenario, I started to experience a throbbing pain under the left part of my chest. My parents and consulting physician deemed it as a natural occurrence amongst covid patients and advised me to sleep it off. I spent about ten days writhing in pain of varying categories and then my oxygen levels began to drop well below a comfortable threshold. If I remember correctly my SPO2 reading was between 86 and 89 at the time and my wife wasn’t doing much better with her oxygen levels either. Now everyone went into a frenzy making calls to the doctor, trying to organize for an oxygen concentrator, even considering admission at a hospital upon the doctor’s advice. Getting a hospital bed, let alone four or five was a different beast in itself. My poor parents and wife, while involved in the heat of battle with covid themselves were trying to get me a hospital bed. My wife’s energy and oxygen were waning every minute but she continued to make phone calls relentlessly in her desperate effort to obtain a hospital bed for me. It only took several hours of phone calls over two days while facing constant rejection, disappointment and ever-increasing anxiety and fear till they managed to acquire one for me at a very earthly hour of 1 am. Little did I know that this process would be repeated a few times in my household once I left for my allocated hospital. As I got dressed to leave in the middle of the night and packed my belongings, which comprised all of my phone and charger, I didn’t know that I would be away for a lot longer than anticipated and that a lot would be different upon my return.

The calm before the storm

At that time of the night, the 4-km drive to the hospital took a mere ten minutes, which during earthly hours could take anywhere between an hour and three days in Mumbai. My poor parents had to drive me despite not having recovered from covid themselves, and were still in a state of discomfort. As covid patients, we had to enter the hospital from one of its side entrances and as soon as I walked into the corridor I was made to sit down right in the alleyway and was held captive for about forty-five minutes, while they tested me for at least three dozen potential ailments. I could barely sit or keep my eyes open due to the weakness but the hospital staff attending to me insisted on playing twenty questions. And it was not like the topics were interesting.

By the time I was checked into my room after saying goodbye to my folks, I was exhausted but sleep was not on my mind yet. I wanted to take my surroundings in, which consisted of a wall and cabinet on the right side of my bed, a television set on the wall in front and as I try to recall, I have no distinct memory of the terrain on the left side of my bed. The entrance to my room opened into a small passage that housed the bathroom on the left, which was off limits for me as I was deemed very weak by the doctor to hop about the room. This was a fair assessment because I had certainly felt my energy wane over the previous ten days, and it was the lowest I had ever experienced in my life. Apart from the side table and television set, I had a portable toilet (let’s call it a porta potty) next to my bed on the left and it doesn’t make for great company. Neither does it evoke any pleasant feelings. When I look at a piece of chocolate cake, I want to pounce on it and devour it. When I looked at the pot however, I did not feel like “Yay, let’s do potty”. On the contrary, it just served as a constant reminder of my stinking presence. And just getting off my bed to use it and jumping back onto the bed was another one of those herculean tasks. The process of putting food in my mouth was hard and getting it out of my body was harder.

The next three days seemed like a haze. All I remember doing is eating in small quantities, trying to poop, responding to inquiries from family and friends on instant messaging, and in the evenings watching a bit of the IPL. I felt I had the energy to do none of it. In fact, just lying in the bed seemed onerous. And in between, just to ensure that I had no energy left whatsoever, the hospital food services in-charge would pick my brains on what I would like to eat for each meal and then most of the time send me what she wanted to, anyway. I sensed something was truly off with me while I watched the IPL. Now, cricket is a sport I have followed ardently (and played) over the previous three decades and I understand the finer nuances of the game well. Fundamentals like the sound of the ball hitting the bat, the direction the ball travelled in, the distance it covered, seemed completely out of place. This is something anyone that follows the sport would be able to tell. First, I thought the television set was acting up and deserved a place next to my porta potty. But I slowly realized that my senses were the culprit and they all seemed to be dimming simultaneously. I decided to keep up with this for two days, spending most of my time lying in bed, considering I was feeling even weaker. Watching television which required no movement at all was slowly becoming burdensome. The inquiries and good wishes from friends and family continued to pour in overwhelmingly and I was tempted to send a mass message to all of them with the three magic words – ‘Please fuck off’. Not because I don’t love and care for them and appreciate their love and concern for me. But because I was so frustrated and ensnared by my weakness and pain that I just wanted to be left alone to lay motionless in my bed. I was admitted in the wee hours of April 7 and while I followed this routine over the next three days, I have no memory of what happened on the morning of the 11th. My best guess is a Thanos snap.

The shit hits the fan

As we begin this section, I’d like to state that the porta potty in my room did not explode contrary to what the heading might suggest.

I learnt of the following only after they had occurred and passed. But the enigma of it all still prevails in my mind. I have no idea how I got into this state in the first place and before I knew it, a fortnight had passed.

First a macabre recap of events. At some point on April 11, just before noon, I collapsed owing to a variety of events occurring inside me eventually leading to multiple organ failure. Or someone was performing some illegal experiments on me that I was totally unaware of. My heart, lungs and kidneys were severely impacted and I suspect the coronavirus and the antibodies inside me had escalated their war to a nuclear level. Later, I realized that my skin too had suffered severe repercussions of this battle. I’m not sure why this was not reported in my file considering it is the largest organ on my person and I’m quite certain yours too. My oxygen level teetering in the mid to high eighties despite receiving support from an external device, plunged to a very unimpressive mid fifty figure in a span of minutes or possibly a few hours (I may never know). The readings of my vitals were second only to my marks during the final term of my first year in junior college. My attitude during those two years of my education were callous and embarrassing. I had become critical and was at the doorstep of the afterlife. In fact, I had one foot across and barely had a toe of the other on this side. This reminds me of my time batting with a foot on either side of the crease wondering if the next ball would get me out. Such negative thinking, I say. The second in command at the Covid ICU called my father and said I had turned into a Smurf. Well, his exact words were that I had turned blue. I won’t get into the events that occurred on that day but let’s just say I’ve seen better days.

I was in a medically induced coma for two weeks and while the body is in complete limbo, the mind can get very adventurous in a such a situation. I had the strangest of visions, some of which I remember vividly and some that are very foggy. The more I think about these visions, the more I feel that some of them were actually my experience of the afterlife, considering In was given a minimal chance of survival at the time. I remember being part of a procession that involved some sort of voodoo dancing and tribal exorcism along a meandering mud path surrounded by muddy hillocks no more than two storeys high. A central line was suspended a few feet in the air over this path and there were several pods (modak shaped) attached to it. The pods seemed to be made of some material that resembled a combination of Plaster of Paris and jute, and were translucent. I was inside one of these pods and the rest of the pods contained other unfortunate souls. Bare chested men with intimidating face and body paint danced and chanted along the length of the procession. If this wasn’t menacing, a few saree-clad women with big eyes and excessive makeup, enough to scare the bejesus out of Navy SEALs were also part of the gathering. In fact, they seemed to be priestesses and served as very important participants of the parade. They chanted some incantations as my pod passed and I watched on in apprehension trying to figure out where I was, how I got there and just what exactly was going on. And then the chain of pods went into motion like a really slow moving, yet petrifying roller coaster and the sole aim was not to give you a thrill ride but torture you as much as they possibly could. The pods lurched forward, downward, upward and repeated this cycle, giving me a glimpse of some really large and threatening insect like creatures. I gasped for air and clawed at the interiors of the pod trying to fight my way out but to no avail. It was a frantic effort on my part before I ran out of energy, succumbed to horror and dejection, and started the process again with a burst of energy. The procession seemed to mimic my persistence as it seemed to run on a never-ending loop. This definitely seemed like some sort of cleansing process before you were granted entry to the other world. I had no semblance of time but at least now I know what ‘forever’ might actually mean. Another vision I had was of me with my family but again I was bound in a pod, while my family seemed to be in a celebratory mood. They laughed, clinked glasses and made merry, while I was in an enclosure that barely allowed me to breathe. Occasionally one of them would come and ruffle my hair like I was a dog that wasn’t allowed to participate in the event and had to just observe while I was tied to my post. This experience again was horrifying and I couldn’t figure out if my family was oblivious to my situation or just didn’t care. These visions just seemed to play in a loop. I had other unpleasant visions too during this two-week period but I have experienced online schooling along with my daughter so let’s not fuss about these other experiences. I had experienced a nightmare within a nightmare within a nightmare, the makings of Inception meets Halloween. At some point I was brought back by the Hulk snap and I can relate to how each of those people that were snuffed out in the movie Avengers: Infinity War, may have felt having reappeared after five years without having existed through that five-year time frame.

The resurrection

As I started to come around with a complete sense of obscurity, I flitted between consciousness, semi consciousness, and what I can best term as sleep. This may have occurred over a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days, and I sense the latter is more accurate. Once I found my bearings, I was completely clueless about my surroundings. I was in a room that I didn’t recognize and just outside I witnessed activity of near hysterical proportions amongst nurses and other hospital staff. I figured I was just waking up from a nightmare and some of its visuals still prevailed in front of me or I was given a very unimpressive role in a low budget movie production. Then my attention was drawn towards myself. I had various tubes coming out of my face and neck, both my hands were bandaged, I was practically immobile, and parts of my body hurt. The memory of being admitted at the hospital came flooding into my head and yet my current situation seemed far removed from that particular instance and from a very different time. The first thought that crossed my mind was that the porta potty had indeed exploded. When I say I had absolutely no idea where I was and why I was there I mean exactly that. It was the strangest of feelings I have ever experienced. It might have been after the 25th of April that I had regained complete consciousness and was in a state of semi awareness. However, I was still unsure of where I was and why I was there. I learnt that apart from being physically handicapped for the most part, I was also mute, and being able to breathe comfortably was a bit of a luxury. I learnt from the nurses that while I was unconscious or semi-conscious, their team had done their best to save me but I had fought them off bravely. The next phase was going to be some ride.

The ordeal

While my family, friends and well-wishers may have been partly relieved upon my partial revival, my discomfort and frustrations were only about to begin. I keep telling people that coronavirus may not have been able to kill me but boredom could very well have. Boredom might have been the general theme but I experienced a medley of emotions during that last fortnight at the hospital. Initially the gravity of the situation was lost on me as I was in the process of trying to figure out my condition through diminished senses. But in a day or two I learnt that things had spiralled out of control rather briskly in my hospital room a fortnight earlier, and I was now a resident of the Covid ICU. I imagine a garment factory couldn’t be any more cacophonous than that place. I overheard conversations between doctors and nurses, which told me that some of my parameters were unflattering and I was still very much in a position to meet my maker. My time in the ICU gave me a glimpse into the lives of several Mumbaikars, who live in pigeonholes they are forced to call home. They have single room accommodations, the size of a closet, and communal bathrooms shared by a few dozen. My room did have a bathroom which was out of bounds for me as was anything beyond the railings of my hospital bed. My bed was my living accommodation and bathroom. Talk about bed-n-breakfast-n-poop. I had room service around the clock and for a few pints of blood and the joy of pricking me with needles several times a day, the nurses fed my body with nutrition through the tubes attached to my face. I was told that this will help me get better and allow me to go home. Talk about the present-day endeavour of ‘Give me blood and I will give you independence’. Apparently, they took loads of money on top of this too.

I’ve felt the last decade vanish in the blink of an eye. I can’t imagine an hour today is as long as what it was two or three decades ago. The earth is certainly spinning faster in my opinion and we haven’t been given the official notice yet. I was more active in my youth than I am now and definitely had more fun. Therefore, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time should have slowed down now. How then has twiddling my thumbs over these past few years made the days go faster? I couldn’t twiddle my thumbs at the hospital since both my hands were wrapped in bandage and had rendered them as passive bystanders. I understood time at the hospital like I never have before. It was a crushing experience. The first time I gestured (I couldn’t speak at the time) to a nurse asking what time it was she asked me if I was hungry. I had pointed at my wrist, made a circle indicating the face of a watch and even lifted my wrist mimicking the action of someone checking the time. I realized then why the game is called ‘dumb charades’. And it wasn’t because I could not speak. However, when she did figure it out, she told me it was 10 am. A few hours passed and I asked her for the time again and she said it was 10:15 am, of the same day mind you. And then I got really worried. For her. I wanted to tell her that she needs to check herself into one of the rooms and get some oxygen into her body as well. However, based on my experience earlier that day, I figured that enacting this thought could keep me in the hospital for a very long time, without making any headway. I was alarmed at learning that it was indeed 10:15 am. Now I figured there was some conspiracy brewing. I felt this way about many things at the hospital but we won’t get into that. To feel the weight of every second of your life as it passed in slow motion was cumbersome. I was a prisoner in my own mind, trying to gauge the outcome of my situation.

I felt like a lifeless rag for the first ten days or so after I awoke from my beauty sleep. I had to be moved around, even from side to side, and onto my back on my own bed. My sponge time was at a very comfortable 3 am and it took three people to sponge me, change my clothes and bedsheets, dress my bed sores and reconnect all the devices to my being. I didn’t mind it as I barely slept on any given day, and this was the only time I felt a little clean. I didn’t appreciate them tossing me around the bed during this gimmick and I was in a good mind to challenge one of the helpers to a wrestling bout in a year’s time. Having overheard a few conversations between nurses and doctors, I knew that my condition was precarious. But how on earth were the bedsores not on top of that list?  After a couple of days, only the bedsores made me feel like I was alive and how. A bedsore on one’s bottom can serve as a perpetual reminder of a very painful existence. No matter what position I sat or lay down in, it wouldn’t stop kissing the bed. Nutrition was another fun experience. I was fed through a tube that passed through my nose, and it was my only experience of finding my tummy full within two minutes of having begun the meal without having to move a muscle. Why then were we asked to eat slowly as children? I think parents have it all wrong. We shut the noses of our children and stuff food into their mouths. We should do the exact opposite. This would ensure that their bodies received nutrition without any protests.

I had very little semblance of time for almost my entire stay at the hospital but my daily routine looked something like the following. A sponge at 3 am, sometimes at 4 am depending upon the mood of the incumbents on the day, which was generally dictated by their previous night shenanigans and comprised mainly of arguments amongst themselves and frustrations from the day’s events. I was given heavy medication so there was no pooping or pissing for the first few days, which felt great compared to what came later. My dressings were changed as and when required. I was given a handful of pricks every day, which were a combination of injections and blood withdrawals. Liquids were poured down the tube attached to my nose thrice a day. I had visitors from the medical staff like I was a recently unearthed ancient relic on display. In fact, very early every morning, I was propped up on pillows in a half sitting, half sleeping position to pose for an Xray. I looked something like this.

I’m not even sure the portable contraption was an actual Xray. It might have been a sizeable camera that these folk were wheeling around the ward every morning to see which one of us clowns would make it to the cover page of their monthly magazine. I’ve got to get the June edition because I’m sure I had the winning number of votes by a landslide.

Some of the nice staff members would come over for a brief chat, ask me how I felt and offer words of kindness and encouragement. The rest of the time I was in a daze and moved in and out of momentary sleep. However, things became more dynamic after a few days when I was fully awake and had near complete awareness.

When I was told of what had transpired over the previous fortnight or so, I had no clue how it had come down to that. I was fairly active, had no major consumption vices, and had reasonably healthy organs. Perhaps I shouldn’t have stopped my daily dose of Chyavanprash. In fact, all people should just consume Chyavanprash as a force field against Coronavirus. Scientists may be getting close in their knowledge about the constitution and evolution of Coronavirus in just two years but four decades later no one knows what Chyavanprash contains. For a few days after gaining consciousness, for some reason I thought I was in Kerala. I couldn’t speak and therefore couldn’t ask and I’d learnt my lesson about dumb charades the hard way. I was too weak to hold a pen to write. How would I communicate? A doctor had a brain wave and offered me his phone asking me to type my query and somehow, after a dozen attempts, I managed to do so. He was amused and told me that I was in the same hospital I was admitted to and I had only been moved from my room to the Covid ICU. My chest swelled with confidence, knowing that in my own city, that too so close to home, I was king. This certainly helped me mentally and I would need it.

Now we had two types of nurses, the experienced one who brought enough empathy to the workplace and the young ones who were always under the pump and needed rescuing themselves. Even one statement of encouragement and affection got me through a whole day which could be very trying. However, I didn’t receive it very often as the experienced nurses were on duty with the more critical patients, and rightly so. I had passed the stage of extreme criticality, and boredom and helplessness, along with some misbehaving vitals were my primary banes at the time. I overheard gossip and exchanges between nurses and doctors regularly and they always spoke about a different parameter being off the charts. This was concerning because I was really worried about how long I would have to stay there. I just wanted to get out, whether it was in a body bag or on my feet. Eventually it was neither. I was wheeled out and it was amongst the most glorious and happy rides of my life. Coming back to the conversations, the one that topped the list was about how much hair I had lost. I looked at my shaved forearms and thought to myself that they better be talking about that. But in my heart, I knew that was not the case. This was a real disaster. Sure, some of my organs had taken a hit but you can’t see them in the mirror and neither can others. But the hair on your head is a completely different story. People can see it when it’s there and also see that it isn’t there. And we live today only to make sure others are pleased with our appearance, presence, obeisance, and the list goes on. Let’s see how many of you catch on to the sarcasm. All that glitters is gold, isn’t it? On a positive note, a bald head does glitter.

Slowly but surely, each of my endangered vitals began to improve and the only things that lingered were weakness, virtual immobility and a lot of frustration. As my health improved, the attention of the medical staff was diverted towards patients that were in a state similar to mine from a fortnight ago. Despite all the hustle and bustle around me I became very lonely and I felt like I was stuck in a time loop. The head of the Covid ICU decided that I was ready to consume food orally but that didn’t last too long. I had an immediate setback and I was back to being fed via the subway tubes that passed through my nose. In fact, I was barred from consuming water too and I had to spend three-day stints of going without any water at all, on three different occasions. I succumbed the first time but the determination of going home and putting my family and friends out of their misery helped me power through the next two. I felt like a man stuck in the desert and the most I could ask for is that the nurses dab my lips with wet cotton a couple of times a day. My lips had chapped to the extent that they looked like giant moth balls and a whole new mouth on top of my mouth. I could have auditioned for the role of the Joker in a Batman flick. And potentially even the role of Scarecrow without the need for a hooded mask. Without getting into too many details of my recovery period and all the drama, I began to show improvement, and food channels were opened to me again. Speaking of food, if you’d like anything edible, I recommend you look elsewhere. Most, if not all hospitals aren’t for you. Every morning when I wear my bathroom slippers, I say to myself, that probably tastes like the ‘uthapas’ I had last summer.

There is one action sequence that I’d like to write about. Something that is still a partial mystery to me. I’ll be brief. One night, while I was staring at the ceiling in my room, I heard a lot of commotion coming from the corridors outside. I heard screaming, crying, and the occasional thumping of human body against wood. The first thought that crossed my mind was ‘finally some entertainment’. I could barely move my head from side to side but I had a surge of energy pass through me and I tried to sit up, even stand. Unfortunately, that surge of energy was only mental and my body refused to comply. The hullabaloo continued and from the exchange of animated words, I figured that some people were really ill and an emergency surgery was to begin immediately. The next three or four days was a live version of the show, Crime Patrol. All sorts of characters were present at some point during this charade. I figured out that the first night a man, two women and a small child had shown up amidst the commotion. There were definitely more, but these four were inmates along with me. Both women claimed that the man was their husband, but from what I could gather, one was actually his mother. Makes no sense, right? Join the party. The poor child let out yells of anguish every now and again till she was put in another room. The man was apparently beating one of the women in the Covid ICU and was locked in another room and made every attempt to break down the door. Nurses screamed and some even broke down amidst the chaos over these few days. A day into the drama, one of the women had succumbed to death based on what I gathered from the whispers of the nurses. The doctors were trying to assuage the situation and also issued threats to the man. I also overheard that this guy was known to a don or a gang head with some clout. They were also residents of Oman and seemed to have come to Bombay only to create a ruckus at one of the hospitals, it seems. And they were allowed to order food in the ICU, can you believe it? Biryani, kebabs and the like appeared for every meal. How do I know? Well, as bad as my case of Covid may have been, I did not lose my sense of smell or taste. In an odourless environment the fragrance of that stuff came wafting to my nostrils. I was eating rubber for heaven’s sake. Surely, they could have parted with a piece of chicken tandoori. The cops came down one night and issued another threat. Senior personnel at the hospital were making calls to their powerful network to get this guy in order. A few nurses went down to the local police station to serve as witnesses to everything that transpired over those four days, which tells me that the death of the woman may not have been natural. But the wailing over those few days transported me to a prolonged death procession. As if things around me weren’t bad enough. At times the decibel levels increased to such an extent that I almost expected guns to come out and shots to be fired. I was in the firing line and had my water jug ready to be used as a helmet and my bed pan as a chest plate. Mark 1.0. I was Iron Man! This entire 4-day screenplay occurred in the room across from me but the entrance to that room was at an angle and I could only see the exterior of one of the walls of the room. Therefore, this was like a podcast with nurses filling me in on finer details during their internal gossip and outbursts. I still want to know what happened. A few days before I left, I even asked a nurse and she denied the whole thing. But I know I had heard the entire episode exactly as I’ve relayed above just by her countenance.

As if this was not enough, a senior resident doctor’s (I assume) daughter had scored 90% in something and everyone was thrilled. Just when that previous spectacle had ended, a new, albeit a shorter one began. There was a bit of whooping several times a day like all of us patients were already corpses and wouldn’t mind the pandemonium. Then to my surprise, they threw her a party right at the nurse’s station in the center of all the rooms. At one point, I saw a young boy tailed by a large balloon zip past my room. The party moved to the floor above the one I was on and that didn’t help. I could hear the loud bass through my window and eventually had to make a noise complaint. I have gone to college in the USA, discos and dance clubs were my sister’s adopted homes, and yet I have never had to issue a noise complaint. Who would have thought doing so at a hospital ICU would be my first? I’m not sure where the lady of the moment had scored 90%, but it better have been her cumulative percentage in her twelfth boards or at the entrance examination of a worthwhile college program, and not in fourth grade arithmetic.

During my last week at the hospital, food had regularized and I was offered four meals a day of which I managed to eat three at the most, that too partially. While I had to be fed initially, the nurses decided after the first two days that I was capable of feeding myself. I still struggled to hold a spoon but just like in every other scenario, my complaints were minimal to nonexistent. I put myself through whatever test I had to endure. I was at the hospital during the whirlwind portion of the Delta wave and I had sensed that my co patients were in dire straits. As mentioned earlier, it was only right that once my condition began to improve the nurses would tend to other critical patients. In the process, my food was forgotten on several occasions, at times just lying on a table at more than an arm’s length from me but I couldn’t get to it. I spent hours of some days hungry as my call bells went unanswered, dreaming of all the things I would eat when I got home. I have not thought about food as much as I did over the course of those few days ever in my life. And while I thought of pizzas and desserts previously, I thought of fruits and vegetables at the hospital. Talk about a cleansing process. And what’s more, when I did return home, I had lost 17 kilograms in five weeks. I had not managed even half the success in over five years. Well done to everyone involved.

However, something that was mortifying for me was the post processing portion of the food. I was still bed ridden and the bathroom was off limits. I had a urine bag attached to me and that goddamn thing would malfunction every now and again. I must have wet my bed more than half a dozen times and each time I had to be cleaned and sponged which ate into my time of staring at the ceiling. I believe I had to undergo some complex interventions to be brought back from the brink of death to where I was and the medical team seemed to have done a great job. But even three of four put together could not figure out how to correctly install the urine bag to avoid any mishaps even if their life depended on it. I was like that kid in the locality with the biggest water gun on Holi, spraying everyone and everything around him. This was embarrassing as an adult. I was stuck in the mind of a 40-year-old who had the bodily functions of a three-month-old. Pooping was even worse as I had to wait up to an hour at times just to have my call bell answered and for someone to bring me a bed pan. With my complete lack of strength at the time, this was very difficult. I found the experience of using one repulsive. On top of that I had to ensure that I was aiming correctly, without actually resting my bottoms on the pan to protect my very fresh bed sore. I had to hover over the pan and get into positions that defied gravity.

Now only if I had that jacket and those sunglasses on.


By the time early May came about, most of the tubes from my body had been removed and my vocal cords were back in action. I still looked like I had been rescued from under a collapsed building, and despite the coaxing from the doctors and nurses to speak with my family, I refused to do so. I didn’t want them to see me or sound like I did. Eventually I came around and got on a daily call with my parents, wife and daughter. They were brief but very energizing. When I saw them on the phone screen with shots of my home in the background, it seemed like all that had occurred in a different lifetime, and despite my resilience and will, I wondered if I would ever experience it again. True that my condition was improving but the way I felt I had still not negated the chance of not making it. In fact, I did have a couple of episodes where my breathing became difficult and I gasped for air like I was drowning. The medical team had to come to my aid to relieve me of this misery. However, I had come this far and I wasn’t going to go without a fight. Amidst all this there was a love story brewing between a helper and a nurse right across my hospital bed with me as a mute referee in the middle and at one point I definitely had the following expression on my face. ‘Corona pyaar hai’ I suppose.

During the last few days, the doctors decided I needed to exercise and gave me a few basic routines that I could do while lying in bed. They began to make me sit for an hour or so every evening and even walk a few paces, which seemed like running a half marathon. I had changed multiple rooms during my time at the ICU. The room I spent my early days in had a small window behind my bed so I had no view of the outside world. However, with about a week to go, I was shifted to another room which had a nice big wall to wall glass window on my left that gave me a view of several towers and black kites soaring well above them. My sitting regimen began in the previous room but it was this room that gave me a better view. It took two people to haul me off my bed and put me on a chair next to it. I would stare at the buildings in the distance and there was one particular building I used to look at. I had zeroed in on one home a few floors above my own in that building, but with the distance it was only slightly above eye level. I would begin the sitting process a little before sunset and slowly lights would come on in all the buildings as the setting got darker. As the lights came on in that home, I would sense a warmth inside me. The lights in that home gave me a sense of my own family that I was so eager to see again. Those lights are what I waited for each day. The lights in that home were a sign of life for me.

There was a lot of talk about letting me go home from late April but the decision or the day never came as my condition was unconvincing. And then the day came when my doctor told me that I would be discharged in two days. I was thrilled because I thought the only place I would go to from the ICU, would be a regular room for a few days before I actually got to go home. I worked even harder on my exercising and prepared myself the best I could to avoid any setbacks. I did not want to give anyone an opportunity to keep me there any longer.

I was changed into my home clothes late in the evening on May 12, 2021 and now I truly believed that this was it. I was finally going home. I was put on a wheelchair and wheeled through half the floor to get to the elevators. I saw many patients with tubes in them and barely alive. I figured this was what I looked like not too long ago. A sense of remorse passed through me and I prayed that every one of them gets to go home soon. I know a few didn’t make it, including several in my own family. To this day I feel guilty about surviving while so many people known to me and unknown to me didn’t have the same fortune as me. People say I’m silly about feeling this way but I do feel it and for good reason. My experience is only mine to bear just like everyone that cares for me had their own challenges and experiences while I was in the hospital. The best way for me to explain this is the following. Think of me as a solider that is fighting a common enemy with his comrades. I managed to survive the war but several faces that stood next to me in the heat of battle did not. It’s a very humbling feeling and one that makes me question why I deserved good fortune more than them.

All the complaints and challenges aside, I know I came home because of the caliber and passion of the medical staff, especially the nurses. I came home because of the prayers of my family, friends and well-wishers. I came home because I was lucky to have obtained a hospital bed in the first place. I came home because I literally put up a fight for my life.

Second innings

When I was brought down into the hospital lobby, one of my closest friends was there along with my parents to receive me and drive me home. This is when I felt that I had returned to life as I knew it. The drive home and the entry into my apartment was a surreal experience. I had to fight hard to hold back tears when I saw my hospital party as well as my wife and daughter. As I lay down on my bed, the first thing I did was stare at my ceiling. This was familiar, this was comforting.

My bed sores continued to plague me for months after having returned home and normal activity was a brutal task. Pictures of my bed sores, especially on my bum were being taken and shared via messenger with various doctors. I’m sure they were forwarded onwards as well. My bum is now a celebrity and I have not seen a rupee in royalty yet.

Eight months on my body had not recovered completely and I did experience aches, pains, reduced motion of my limbs, and the occasional days of fatigue, but I know that with discipline, consistency and endurance, I will reach my optimum capacity. Now just over a year later, I have returned to normal functioning with the exception of my pre-covid endurance for intermediate to intense physical activity, some joint and bone related pain, and the lifelong scars to bare on my neck.

I consider myself fortunate not only to have survived but to have so many of you think of me and pray for me while I did my tight rope walk. From what I hear it was an overwhelming experience for you all and I’m sorry for putting you through it. And I applaud you all on your courage and generosity for wanting me back….;)

Lock, Stock and Barrel Down


We’ve just completed seven weeks in lockdown in Mumbai and while the first couple of weeks seemed surreal, I can’t quite remember what the original normal was anymore. I am trying to recollect what incessant honking sounds like or what it feels like to get pushed around against my will on a railway platform. How does a Margherita pizza taste? What was the name of my office building again? Is it my imagination or can I actually hear the wall clock ticking? Seeing sparrows and listening to Magpie Robins outside my window is no more a novelty. Neither is seeing myself transform from a well-groomed chap to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo (I miss my barber the most). I’m quite certain I heard that pigeon say “Look, son, the exhibit in this next window is a human being, or at least was. Now it looks like some sort of relic”.

I intend to make good use of my time while I’m away from the world, and while I do spend a fair portion of my week doing household chores and work related to my profession, I also want to engage in activities that are actually productive and meaningful. Here is a list of things I do and am considering doing. Maybe you want to try a thing or ten yourself.

  • Perform household chores blindfolded just to ensure that I know the exact location of all the furniture and artifacts in all the rooms since I have rarely looked away from my phone and television screens when at home. And of course, since I don’t drive in traffic anymore on uneven roads, this provides the thrill of a bumpy ride.
  • Jump out at people at home from behind the sofa or from top of the cupboard just to make sure they get their daily dose of exercise that drives their heart rate up.
  • Hangout with my action figures. At least they don’t try to keep talking to me about the morbid situation that engulfs us. I might even do a photoshoot with them and send the results to Fashion TV.
  • Play dumb charades on the balcony with the distant neighbor or the occasional pedestrian on the street below. The patrolling cops may get competitive and show me around their workplace.
  • Create an orchestra with the stainless steel vessels in the kitchen and make the dog the lead singer. The cops might invite me again. Hey, at least I’m getting out of the apartment often.
  • Try a new hairstyle where the first step would be to hope for some hair growth on my head. I know it’s a long process but we have time.
  • Have a water gun fight where all the guns are filled with hand sanitizer.
  • Compose and sing a song. Then send it to Simon Cowell. The reaction might keep me entertained for weeks until it starts affecting my confidence.
  • Play dead or practice social distancing when called on for additional household chores.
  • Put my daughter’s toy sea animals in the tub and go snorkeling.
  • Put beer bottles in different rooms in the apartment, dress up, and go bar hopping.
  • Direct a ‘home’ production.
  • Turn off the lights, get onto my daughter’s tricycle, and inch towards the television. I’ve always wanted to experience a drive-in theatre.
  • Break my piggy bank, have someone hide the contents, and go treasure hunting.
  • Play monopoly in the building society with our actual apartments and use underhanded tactics to win every piece of real estate available. The lack of a regular flow of income has to be compensated somewhere.

I wish I could illustrate the numerous other ideas I have in my head but I don’t suppose the lockdown will go on for that long.

It’s easy to get frustrated and perturbed about how things are and how they might turn out going forward. It’s also easy to get swayed by all the negativity that has hit our senses these past few months because we won’t stop reading, thinking, seeing news reports and studies, and speaking about the current pandemic.


Why subject ourselves to this endless misery? It’s best to engage in some positive productivity and while I strongly recommend the actionable items in the list above, it won’t hurt to participate in some lesser but useful activities. Play with your kid, you won’t do it as much again (or hopefully you’ll create a life habit to do so). Learn a new skill through self-practice or online courses. Exercise, you already live in your gymnasium (where else will you go?). Pursue that hobby you have always given yourself excuses not to. Begin to eat healthy home-cooked food (are you really going to risk regular food delivery?). Read, let me say that again, READ!! (No, not the news. Please go read the previous paragraph again). Start a side hustle (or hustle your sibling). Look outside your window and actually observe. Slow down and breathe, you have time.

The current circumstances may last for a week, a month, or even a year. We can’t predict the future but we can certainly put our present to good use. If coronavirus can kill us, so can Tik Tok videos. If we have survived the latter, we can survive the former too.

Que Sera Sera. Just co-vid the flow.Lockdown1


The Escape Artist

Escapist 4

With our bodies getting bigger and our apartments getting smaller, space constraints have to be one of the primary first world problems. We literally have to shove clothes into our closet and seal them with tape so that they don’t invade each other’s space or the space on the floor in front of the closet. When we open our refrigerators, it tends to attack us with anything in the frontline: eggs, soda cans, half-eaten apples, 3-month old milk, phone chargers (so that’s where I left mine), the annoying neighbor’s severed arm, and if we’re lucky, perhaps even an assortment of pastries. Washing machines occupy the tile right next to the one under the shower spout so that we may get a bit of a massage while we shower as it tumble-dries. We don’t even have to hit the floor as we can tiptoe over furniture right from one end of our apartment to the main door. The bicycle now shares our bed. The television is attached facedown to the ceiling and we have to keep glancing upward to follow the plot. The writing desk serves as the dining table. And the children live with the neighbor (the other neighbor who’s hand we didn’t sever).

This does not even begin to define all the other clutter that exists in our homes. We won’t stop buying more but will tear our hair out at the lack of space and whine about how unfair life is because the new 12-seater sofa set we bought does not fit in our 400 square foot apartment. And while we fret over these ‘diabolical’ issues, the real threat lurks under our feet. Under our rugs and carpets.

Isn’t that where we shove all our actual problems? In fact, we go a step further. We store our materialistic objects for current use or use at a future time but we dismiss our problems and pretend that they have gone away for good, or never existed in the first place. That’s like a passenger in a crowded Mumbai train pretending that the foot of another man does not exist on the floorboard and places his own over it. This single move alone can worsen the plight of all 130 people in that compartment. As a toddler I played hide and seek by hiding in plain sight with my eyes shut, thinking that if I can’t see the world, the world can’t see me. My family was kind enough to humor me. Life isn’t.

Escapist 2

Sure there are plenty of reasons for us to avoid problems.

  • We have to deal with unpleasant situations (especially if we upset our cable TV operator or internet service provider)
  • We have to admit a mistake (or two dozen)
  • We have to take responsibility (I never signed up for this)
  • We have to cease being in denial (oh it’s such a cozy place to be in)
  • We need a reason to continue drinking and smoking regularly (avoiding problems is a full-time job and requires plenty of hard work)
  • We also need excuses to call and text our friends about frivolous topics that allow us to live in fantasyland (with billion-dollar startups popping up like daisies, unicorns are now a reality)
  • And we get to become close friends with tomorrow (a mutually convenient long-distance relationship)

While we bide our time, these problems start flowing out from under the carpet and into our lives like a behemoth with the tantrums of a spoilsport. We may feel safer in delaying our intervention in a situation, but either way, at whatever point in time, that situation is eventually inevitable (Thanos anyone?). The term ‘nip it in the bud’ is something I urge everyone to take very seriously when dealing with problems and adversities. Whether it is a strained relationship, a toxic work environment, stressed finances, unhealthy lifestyle habits, fixing your vehicle’s tail light, or even kicking that stalking creep in the nuts, these problems are here to stay until addressed. And in my humble experience, these problems are like rotting teeth, they just go from bad to worse if ignored (and from my perspective dentists are easily amongst the scariest people on earth).

Escapist 1

We may try and keep ourselves busy being busy in the hope that when we look up, our problems will either have gone away or be resolved. But are we really fooling ourselves? Is our subconscious not aware of the strain with our coworker as we chug our fourth beer at the bar? Is our subconscious not aware of the bad blood that is beginning to creep into our relationship with the spouse as we distract ourselves binge-watching series after series? Is our mind not worried about the ballooning debt that has to be paid, while we continue to rack up credit card bills to keep us materialistically happy? Are we unaware of our rising cholesterol as we submerge ourselves in food delivery applications? Our mind is aware of all our issues every second of our lives whether we acknowledge it or not. And this will consume us from within, slowly but surely. There is no point jumping from one roller coaster ride to another to keep our spirits high because the park will close at a certain hour and we will be left with silence and darkness.

By focusing on accepting our problems and being solution-oriented, we will realize that problems don’t necessarily get the better of us. This, in turn, will provide the experience to deal with future problems with greater confidence and a sense of control. Sure we all need to let out some steam, but that is to help us deal with our problems better, not run away from them.

Escapist 3

The Essence of Sportsmanship


At the time of writing this piece, I was still reeling from the cricket world cup finals that took place in July 2019. At the time of posting this article, a few may remember the roller coaster ride that the two teams took during that eventful night, which may very well be the definitive game that decided a champion (two champions in fact) in cricket, if not all sport. So for those who witnessed it, here I am to remind you, lest you forget. The calm and collected faces on the field hid the emotional mayhem that must have played out in the minds of all men involved in that contest. And when the game finally ended on one delivery after over 600 deliveries were unable to decide a clear winner, a winner was decided by the smallest of margins, there was no margin at all. And unlike in trading, in cricket, there is no provision for a margin call.

Agony, elation, nightmare, relief, disbelief, joy, pain, living a dream, a dream being shattered, euphoria, heartache, a contrast of emotions ran amongst the English players and the Kiwis. Yet, nothing separated the two and while some were whooping in ecstasy and others held their heads in despair, they were all champions. The Kiwis could take pride in their verdict, while there seemed to be a sense of embarrassment on the part of the English in theirs. England had won without New Zealand losing and every participant in this game was aware of this fact. New Zealand was gracious in ‘defeat’ while the English were empathetic and respectful towards their opponents in celebration. The English fans I’m certain were stunned because sporting history is testament to the fact that they have been at the receiving end of such outcomes more often than not.


The New Zealand cricket captain, Kane Williamson embodies the spirit that his team wears on their sleeves and in their hearts. They are the perennial nice guys of the cricketing world, which should not be misconstrued as soft. They are as fierce as they are talented, as competitive as they are good-spirited, and they play as much to win as they do to uphold the standards and grace of the game. As much as this is an English product, in my mind, the term ‘gentleman’s game’ reflects the characteristics displayed by the New Zealand cricket team.

It was very difficult to not let emotions run beyond their control at the end of that final. It was hard not to be distraught and lash out at the unfairness of the outcome. There was every reason to be inconsolable, for a lifelong dream that almost came true was taken away in a whiff by the cruelty of life. A dream that life may not offer another opportunity to fulfill. The English players, on the other hand, did everything they could to console their opponents and remind them that they were as good on the day. And this is the essence of sport.


This cricket match is just one instance that personifies the true spirit of sportsmanship. During the 1992 Olympics, pre-race favorite Derek Redmond tore his hamstring during the race but helped by his father decided to continue to the finish line limping. Finishing the race was as important as finishing first. During the single hand around the world yacht race, Pete Goss abandoned his lead to rescue another competitor whose yacht was destroyed in an ensuing storm. One may have many opportunities at sporting victories but just one at life. During the Winter Olympics in Italy, Norwegian ski coach Hakensmoen offered Canada’s Sara Renner a ski pole after another competitor accidentally stepped on and broke the one she was using. Canada won silver while Norway could only finish fourth. Generosity over victory. The Indian captain, M S Dhoni withdrew his appeal on a dubious run out decision of English Batsmen Ian Bell (yup, these English are everywhere) despite being in a losing position. Fair play took precedence over the desperation to win. During the 2012 Olympics, Usain Bolt decided to stop his interview in respect as the US national anthem began to play, and continued only after it was over. Respect over stardom. From Shawn Crawford returning his silver medal to Churandy Martina after the latter was disqualified at the Beijing Olympics to Canadian skater Junio’s selflessness in giving up his spot to teammate Morrison who failed qualification during the national trials owing to faulty equipment, there are innumerous acts of heartwarming sportsmanship that will reverberate through the sands of time.

Yes, sport is meant to be competitive. Yes, sport is about coming out on top over opponents. Yes, sport is about being relentless in one’s pursuits. Yes, sport is about skill, discipline, consistency, and hard work. Yes, sport is about beers, fan fights, and stadium ejections. But in the end, sport extends beyond winning. Its symbolism transcends beyond that trophy or medal. It is not just about getting to that tape at the finishing line but how we conduct ourselves before and beyond it. Only if we all conducted our lives with this equanimity.


‘Toony’ Boons


There may only be a few things in life that anyone with any background, including race, creed, color, religion, beliefs, nationality, upbringing, procrastination levels, binging habits, and the number of acquired traffic violations, can understand, appreciate and enjoy. No, I’m not referring to cannabis or alcohol. I’m not even referring to ridiculous Facebook status updates like ‘cough’. Go see a doctor in that case. The overtly sympathizing messages from your online connections aren’t going to drive the flu away. On the contrary, this exercise will provide you with a false sense of friendship and belonging until a situation arises when you really need someone. What was that? No, it’s not free Wi-Fi either. Come on people, it’s cartoons. Since we live in an age where we love screens of all sizes ranging from a square inch on our wrist to something large enough to cover a wall in our bedroom (I’m not counting cinema screens, which are as large as small ships, since most of us don’t own one), it makes us all the more willing to watch cartoons.

I have never met a single person who has not enjoyed at least one cartoon series or is a fan of at least one cartoon character. If you happen to claim that you’re the first to not like cartoons, I say you need to open up a little and be honest with yourself. Cartoons are not a childish fascination so feel free to admit your love for them. I know we keep getting told that there is a time and age for everything, but certain things are ageless. Cartoons are certainly among that group. And what’s so special about the things we do as adults anyway? As children, we may resort to childishness but as adults, we resort to adultery. Try both out and see which one has more disastrous consequences.

I have always found cartoons to be a great connector between people. Growing up I had cousins that were brought up in different towns in India. Now, in a country, as vast and varied in India, everything from your customs and food habits to your entertainment and language change every couple of hundred kilometers. While we didn’t always understand or agree with each other’s habits and lifestyles, cartoon time was when we were all in sync, and watched every little scene with awe, giggles, heightened attentiveness, and a sense of complete joy. After every session, we felt happy and inspired, and discussions that ensued during and after, betrayed no sign of disagreement or lack of understanding in each other.


Tom & Jerry, and the battles between Donald Duck and Chip & Dale were among my early favorites (I always cheered for Tom and Donald. Too bad the modern-day Donald in his big white house does not inspire enough cheer). To begin with, they are hilarious and even as adults a few minutes of viewership can melt away a fair bit of the day’s tension. They contain very little spoken language (which does not have to be understood), and apart from the tunes of certain classics produced by great musical minds of the past that play in the background, the only other sounds are the uproarious screeches, yelps, groans, grunts, gurgles, hoots, and cheers. Anyone can appreciate the quality and genius of the artwork, the animation, the storyline, and wit. The personality of every character is brilliantly designed and depicted, and any one of them could serve as our steadfast imaginary friend we never had. He-man and the Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe were other cartoons I began to follow. While the previously mentioned cartoons inspired creativity, fun, and humor, these other ones illustrated the feats of heroes and superheroes, good over evil, me over examinations and school projects (And now with the ubiquitous nature of YouTube, stealing a few minutes of cartoon time at work even helps before client negotiations and deliverables).

Cartoons made me believe that I could get out of a tough spot even if it was only fourth-grade math. They showed me the importance of being positive, which has stayed with me till date. I was convinced that no matter what the odds (Cobra always outnumbered the Joes), I could be victorious, in elocution class then, and in life now. They instilled the confidence in me to wield my plastic sword (just like He-Man did) to make myself feel invincible and ready for any challenge ranging from potato sack races and handwriting competitions to hot dog eating contests and Pictionary. And of course, the less fascinating battles of life pertaining to education, careers, relationships, health, finances (or fiancés: the two cannot coexist), and overall development. I realized that I could keep aside differences with anyone over an hour-long cartoon episode, whether it was my sporting rival, the office jerk, my stockbroker (who believed that a broker is someone that is meant to make his clients broke), and the airport security (It’s only a penknife. Since I cannot decide which is mightier, the pen or the sword, this little tool settled it for me.). They make me see that it’s the simple pleasures in life that make us laugh loudest. It’s the childish exuberance within us all that helps us maintain our sanctum.

Cartoons were something I watched with my parents and grandparents, as I do with my 4-year old daughter today. They are almost like a family legacy, as much as the wealth and wisdom that is passed down from generation to generation. And they are so easily passable from culture to culture, and nation to nation, breaking down barriers with true value for entertainment, joy, and oneness.


Dream On


If I were to tell you that dreaming could likely be the single most productive task you’ve done in your life, would you believe me? And I don’t mean having a life long dream that we care to achieve, but dreams that occur on most nights while we sleep and try to restore our energy to ensure that we are ready and fit for all the activities we don’t intend to do the following day. I wouldn’t believe me. I mean imagine yawning, sleeping, dreaming, checking social media messages, snatching the blanket back, dreaming, sleepwalking, dreaming, and finally waking (or not) becoming the logistical mantra for a successful life. It sounds too good to be true.

The first science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, the concept of the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, the structure of the Atom by Niels Bohr, the composition of the famous hit ‘Yesterday’ by Paul McCartney and The Beatles, the structure of the periodic table by Dmitri Mendeleev, Dr. Frederick Banting’s discovery of the use of insulin for diabetic patients, a few of Srinivas Ramanujan’s mathematical theories, as well as my theory of procrastination, all find their roots in vivid dreams. An argument can be made that a majority of these discoveries are scientific and educational in nature, and if these people decided to not doze off while working, we would have a lot less to study in our schools and colleges. Nevertheless, these discoveries are groundbreaking, to say the least. Take my theory of procrastination for instance. If I had not decided to sleep and dream aimlessly and endlessly, how would this theory ever have come into existence? In fact, I am willing to wager that the impact of the theory of procrastination has been on many more people than the impacts by Google, the Avengers movie franchise, and even sliced bread.


It’s fair to assume that we all spend a third of our day sleeping, and therefore a third of our life asleep too (except the few spots when we endure ‘all-nighters’ to read comic books on exam nights, to watch our sports team take a beating in a different time zone, to transfer items from the refrigerator into our tummy, which we apparently term as a midnight snack as opposed to a midnight banquet, and even getting thrown out of bars). This is a significant portion of our lives, and studies show that the average person spends about a quarter of their sleep time dreaming. Two hours of dreaming a night? We must have hit that ten thousand hour mark many times over. Now I’m not sure how the eminent people sans one mentioned in the previous paragraph managed to discipline their minds enough to engage in meaningful, structured, and creative dreams. I, for some reason experience dreams that I cannot even begin to explain. They range from ‘shame shame puppy shame’, and falling from the sky (gravity has already been discovered so it’s pointless), to storylines changing faster than the speed of light, ‘pee-pee’ dreams and being on a sports team with pizza slices and muffins (I don’t know what this is even meant to signify, except that I need to stop gorging on them). Or maybe I just haven’t bothered to remember a dream that may have actually offered some guidance and enlightenment.

My point here is that we all have issues and challenges that we are in a constant tussle with. While these challenges exhaust us and put us to sleep, our unconscious mind continues to try and solve them well into the night. Based on several studies by experts, there are numerous areas that our dreams help us in. Here are some.

  1. We have emotional trials that we constantly deal with. While we may not be able to understand or relate our emotional duress to their causes during our conscious hours, our brains are highly capable of joining the dots and forming connections, without our annoying waking interference while we sleep. This allows us to find some answers and obtain emotional balance to a degree. We potentially have a chance of healing over time. We have a free therapist in our head and we don’t even need to be awake as she speaks.
  2. Dreaming helps us reflect on our actual lives on a daily basis. Our unconscious mind helps replay situations, our actions in those situations, and alternate courses of action that may have been apter under the circumstances. This offers perspective and learning for future situations. This is our automatic problem-solving kit.
  3. Often dreams can lead to premonitions of threats and other occurrences in our lives. It gets us battle-ready (or ready to flee).
  4. Creativity can be at its highest in our dreams. Pioneering discoveries and creations born in people’s dreams are a testimony that the deliberations by our mind as our body rests lead to revolutions. It’s probably happened to every single one of us as well. A business idea, an idea for a new advertising campaign, a movie theme, a poem, or even the idea to write about dreams may have occurred in a dream, without our conscious knowledge. So pay attention boys and girls, for your dreams may lead to solutions for first world problems like finding enough storage for the consequences of our compulsive shopping habits, fat burning desserts, self making beds, getting every single one of our connections to like our social media posts, phone charging trouser pockets, and even a spouse proof television remote.
  5. Dreams also act as a sorting mechanism for all the information we absorb during our waking hours. It would be highly improbable for us to retain all the information we encounter in our lives and our dreams help decide what to keep and what to discard.

Research continues to find more benefits of dreaming and if we care to pay attention to them and remember them, we may become mentally and emotionally healthier, and experience boundless creativity. There are several ways to remember our dreams and brain coach Jim Kwik recommends simple steps like making a conscious choice to remember our dreams, writing them down immediately when we wake up, keeping our eyes closed as we wake up and reflect on our dreams, tell ourselves daily that we will remember our dreams, and manage our sleep well to ensure a dreamy nightcap.

The benefits of paying attention to the small little stories in our head as we do what we love most are astounding. It truly is ‘lights out’.


The Quizzical Life


When we’re not sleeping, eating, working hard on our social media accounts at the workplace, gossiping, jerking off, or just plain old playing the fool, we have several unanswered questions about the world around us that we ponder over. These questions may have puzzled us for a lifetime, impacted us on a deep level that may have been bothersome, or maybe rhetorical questions that we may seem to know the answer to, but don’t.

I, for one constantly have questions going around in my mind like a nonstop merry-go-round. And once a question is answered, it is replaced by at least two new ones if not more. That’s getting to be a pretty crowded merry-go-round. Since I cannot spend the rest of my life writing this article, neither can you spend yours cursing it, let’s explore only a few of these mysteries.

  • Why do we chase people that barely know about our existence or do not care to? We have enough genuine people in our lives that love us and have professed it openly. Yet, we pine for the attention of the uninterested and potentially unworthy. Are relationships purely based on our egos and to honor our ancestors we feel we must conquer one and all? We neglect the believers and spend our efforts on converting the non-believers until of course, they become believers. Then we move on to the next lot. On our death beds, we may realize that our original circle was the only one that truly existed.
  • How is social acceptance equivalent to a like or comment on our social media posts? A friend or family member may give us profound insights that aid significantly in our development and overall happiness. But no. A mother’s advice or a friend’s concern is no match for a positive comment we may get from Mr. Cool (who we may have last met in our previous lifetime) on our Instagram picture, despite looking like a bashed up bucket in it.
  • Where is time going? How come my last decade has gone by a lot quicker than the previous ones? Is there some global conspiracy I am unaware of? Has Tesla come up with a method to make the earth rotate and revolve faster? Is this why my watch is always showing the wrong time because it’s on a 24-hour/day pattern, whereas now we have just 18 in a day? Or am I taking too long to look up from my handheld devices to realize that people have grown older, opportunities have gone by, and Pierce Brosnan is no longer James Bond (Thank God)?
  • Where are the aliens hiding? Oh come on, I sense they’ve been around for a while but no one seems to want to admit it. I mean if we do believe in a higher power, am I supposed to believe that we, the humans (and our wild and tame pets of course) are the chosen ones to represent and preserve the entire universe? We can’t even take care of our personal hygiene for crying out loud. I suppose while we wait with our hands on our hips, tapping our toes, we have each other for comfort. When is the last time we got or gave eye contact, smile, or had a conversation with someone? I won’t be disappointed if there are indeed no aliens. We have each other.
  • Alice? Who the f**k is Alice?
  • How long do we plan to pretend to not see and not know? I mean the world around us is burning and our fellow men are struggling. We may not be doing so well ourselves if we gauge ourselves on the parameters that matter. How long do we plan to deceive ourselves?
  • What exactly is the opposite term of goody-two-shoes? I mean is it baddy two-shoes? Or does the bad person have just one shoe or no shoes at all? How about beach sandals?
  • How do procrastination and cigarette smoking sell? Both are going to be the end of us, and yet we knowingly do both proudly and copiously. Are we saying that we are not scared of death if we plan it ourselves on a daily basis?
  • Did that top at the end of ‘Inception’ topple over? Now I’ve gotten into spinning tops just to make sure that the stuff that is happening is real like promotions, vacationing in Europe, weight loss (despite the binging), and even when I see an alien walk by (Oops I wasn’t supposed to reveal that. The world isn’t ready yet).
  • What does a cat have in mind as it stares at us without blinking? As I stare back I’m thinking ‘furry purry’. Is the cat thinking ‘hairy scary’?


  • What makes us truly laugh? No, not funny movies, or jokes, or comical stories. Sure they make us laugh, but not ‘truly’ laugh. What makes us laugh in a manner that the laughter does not die with the moment, but resonates for a lifetime?
  • What does one have to do to be understood? Sure, we are not here to please everyone and everyone is going to have some complaint about us. We tell ourselves (and coaches around the world tell us too) that we should continue being ourselves, that we don’t need validation, and we have to ignore the naysayers. But it’s not always as simple as that is it? Sometimes these people are close to us and genuinely care for us. I mean we can’t disassociate with everyone that fails to understand us. We may be left with no one. So what’s the strategy here? Inception?
  • How’s it going? Are you with it? How you handling it? And so on. I have been guilty of asking similar questions too. I suppose we are all referring to the challenges of life and the word ‘it’ really undermines the gravity of that beast. I mean ‘it’ technically refers to a minuscule item you would find on your kitchen counter or work desk. Life just happens to weigh about 23 trillion times more than these objects. Show some respect.
  • Following from the previous query, what is with people using slangs and acronyms in spoken communication? I mean it takes as long to say ‘oh my god’ as it does to say ‘omg’. I’ve heard people say ‘lol’. We can’t even laugh anymore? ‘My bad’? No it is not. It’s Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ which happened to sell over 30 million copies.
  • What’s with everyone’s ‘me first’ approach? I mean if we all honor ability, deservingness, hard work, consistency and humanity overall, we’ll all get there in due time. If we all try to get there first it is going to result in a global brawl and we may never even get there, let alone get there first. Where is the logic here?
  • What were the choreographers of the 1980s Bollywood flicks smoking?
  • Is our life panning out based on fate or our will? If everything is written, do we even have free will? Are we choosing what is written or is the script developing as we choose?
  • Did the Baha Men ever find out who let the dogs out?
  • Happiness in a bottle? Isn’t Coca Cola and any other soda just two bottles of sugar in a bottle? (Note: This doesn’t stop me from consuming a few bottles every now and again).
  • How is Poker a sport? By that standard even snapping one’s fingers or hailing a cab should be a sport? Now ‘poke her’ on the other hand…
  • Do people refuel their vehicles when they want chips and soda or do they buy chips and soda when they stop to refuel their vehicles? Also, when people order a diet coke with their double cheeseburger and large fries, is that just guilt doing its job or is there a formula I’m not privy to?
  • Are we being watched every second of our lives? Is Google reading what I’m writing this very minute and saying ‘what an idiot’?
  • Who’s watching commercials on television? Everyone I meet seems to hate commercials and claims to flip channels when they come on. And yet the time allotted to commercials during any television program seems to be increasing by the minute. I’m sure advertisers have done their research and are not spending money for charitable purposes. Someone’s watching these commercials secretly. If it’s not me, or you, or her, or them, then who? I think we all need to have a serious word with our dogs, cats, parrots, and goldfish. Someone brave enough better speak to King Kong, Godzilla, and Drogon as well.
  • Why has no one made 1/6 scale action figures from the Brendan Fraser starring ‘The Mummy’?
  • Where can I buy a thinking cap?
  • I see #Nofilter posts all the time on Instagram. Is there one for our character?
  • In a movie theatre which cup holder is mine? If all seats in a row are full and we all have drinks and the person on the outer end decides to use his inside cup holder, are we supposed to communicate down the row using Chinese whispers? Also, how does one stake claim over the armrests?
  • How come most of us use our talent for unlawful, immoral or unethical practices? Do we want to piss people off? I remember never feeling as happy growing up when people called me a ‘bad boy’ compared to how happy I felt when people said ‘good boy’.

I think we are getting to a point where life is calling us back and the reading and pondering needs to stop for now. However, I’d love to hear what preposterous obscurities bother you.

Aasman hai neela kyon? Paani geela geela kyon? Gol kyon hai zameen?…


Shadow Cat

The title may have you believe that I refer to the popular member of X-Men (who by the way is Shadowcat, one word), a new, sinister, back alley, comic villain set to disrupt life in New York City (or the monk life in Tibet if you prefer), or just a kitten roaming the ledges outside your bedroom window at night, at a distance from the street lamp that casts a feline shadow large enough to scare the bejesus out of you. If we let our imagination run wild, shadow cat could also mean an eclipse involving the sun, the moon, and Halle Berry. I have written a few blogs now and none of them have featured my customary ‘pj’ (poor jokes) so I had to put this in here. Anyway, let’s move on.


The term ‘shadow’ to me apart from the mute scary black thing that follows us around, has meant to learn a trade, task, or skill by observing someone else do it. It’s something that can be practiced in any conceivable profession or aspect of our personal lives. Usually, when a fresh recruit arrives at a company, she is asked to ‘shadow’ a more seasoned pro to learn the practical ropes of the trade. We learn not just physical skills like construction, engineering techniques, healthcare delivery, farming, cooking, stealing, tying one’s shoelaces, and stapling a bunch of papers, but also soft skills like negotiating, selling, coaching, manipulating, throwing tantrums, and snoring, by shadowing people that excel at these skills. I believe in learning by doing and observing. In fact, being a big advocate of sport and someone that has played a fair amount in my younger days, I believe shadow practice plays an important part in many sports, especially ones that involve a ball, like cricket, table tennis, and tennis. The idea is to practice one’s technique by observing one’s shadow, without the use of an actual ball. I wish they had this option available during school examinations as well, where we would imagine writing our answers and not have to actually pen them on paper.

Shadowing people through the course of my life has added tremendous impetus and growth to my being. Not only did I draw value by observing leaders at work, veterans on my sports team, seniors at the university, family members, and George W Bush, but also the unsuspecting mentors in my daily life that genuinely made me feel positive and empowered. And that for me has been the key to forming more holistic and sound attributes. A majority of us only look as far as the physical or verbal nature of an art form. We feel that as long as we learn how to build, or program, or repair, or present well by shadowing people, we will become perfect specimens in our professional and personal lives. We feel that mastering skills that appear on a typical job advertisement is what it takes to excel. Providing a big home, fast cars, regular exotic vacations, and material goods, makes us feel like irrefutable success stories in our personal and family lives. Sure, these skills are important but shouldn’t we learn more about the people we shadow, which is every one of essence around us? No matter what our profession is, where in the world we live, what our principles and cultural outlook are, there is one common tie to us all: relationships with other humans.


We pay attention to what our mentors do and how they do it but rarely dwell deep into why they do it. We spend little time understanding the man or woman behind the machine. We see everything our eyes show us but very little of the unseen that our mind is capable of perceiving. We want to learn a skill quickly and be one of the top dogs as soon as possible but we fail to grasp the essence of being a leader. We misconstrue a designation for the position of a leader. A leader is made not only on her superlative abilities to deliver results, fluent communication, great decision-making skills, commitment to the cause, brilliant creativity, or the ability to create irresistible strategies. A leader is also made on her abilities to gain the trust of others by being inspirational and not by power or authority. She flourishes by her facility to understand people and empathize with them. She is respected by being accountable for problems and sharing the credit for success. And she is an indomitable leader when she can stimulate those around her to act beyond their own needs. To be able to do this, it’s not only important to know what people can do, but also who they are.

When we observe to learn and grow it seems almost selfish in nature. As long as we derive whatever value we can to help ourselves, we don’t feel the need to look beyond. Almost every candidate I have interviewed for a job has spoken about how they would want to learn and grow, but rarely has one spoken about the contribution they would like to make. We learn as much from giving as we do from taking. By giving, we understand the true extent of our intent and abilities that take us beyond the threshold for success we create in our minds. So even if it’s for purely self-oriented reasons, understanding people and contributing to their growth will, in turn, promote ours to new heights. When we observe (and I don’t mean going around being the peeping tom in your locality) with empathy and the intent to understand people it becomes innate over time and we become better leaders and humans.


Shadowing fills us with knowledge but eventually stepping out of the shadows to make contributions beyond the self rewards us with wisdom, courage, and inspiration.


The Wandering Wondering Mind – Part 2


In the preceding part, I have written about the dreadful thoughts and images that plague our minds and drive peace and harmony out of our lives. And more often than not, all our efforts to block these disturbances out are in vain. We may be able to distract ourselves temporarily but the death rattle continues to play in the background before resurfacing in full force. We need answers that we don’t get easily and may never find. We go into panic mode, hyperventilate and even think we’re going crazy because we have lost complete control of our minds and the situations it constructs.

I have also made an attempt to classify these turbulences into broad categories that are certainly relevant to me and hopefully something you can relate to as well. The only person in our control is ourselves and the only situations we can control are the ones that our mind creates and overemphasizes on. We must realize that anything else is beyond our control and while we hope for the best, we cannot expect things to turn out rosy

There may not be a magically effective way to calm our minds but small daily routines certainly help.

Be productive

Shutting our minds down can be infuriatingly difficult. However, if we keep ourselves busy and aligned with our short and long term goals, we’re more inclined to be creative and positive and less likely to entertain negative thoughts. We must invest our minds in activities that we are passionate about and bring us joy. It’s these things we are likely to do best and the subsequent results will have an uplifting impact of our minds


While I still struggle with this even though I try it for only ten to fifteen minutes daily, meditating every day can have therapeutic effects on the mind and the body. I have been meditating for about seven months now and while my mind still wanders when I’m meditating and I still have my mind infuriate me, I am certainly calmer and more in control today than I was when I began. Considering that sages take decades to master the art of medication and attain enlightenment, I’m only just getting started. Having said that, the start has certainly been promising.

Use a positive chant

Telling ourselves that ‘we’re fine’, ‘life is good’ or ‘The Yankees will win the world series’ constantly will have long term positive effects on our minds and we will experience more stability within. Hearing a positively soothing voice is very effective. There is a reason to-be parents are asked to sing to and speak to their child while she is still in mummy’s tummy. We’re not very different as adults and when we don’t have an external voice that can do the sweet-talking for us, we need to do it for ourselves.


Cardiovascular workouts and breathing routines help relieve us of stress and anxiety. Playing a sport that involves sweating (because you could very well start playing poker) or even strength training help release endorphins, which are natural pain killers that exist in our body and help reduce stress. If we engage in these activities consistently, our physical health improves as well, which is an essential collaborator to our mental state.


Writing things down that bother us, allow us to clear a cluttered mind. Revisiting these thoughts at a later stage allow us to reflect upon and gain clarity on some of our confusion. Write about the things that work for you and repeat these habitually in your life. Over time these habits will allow us more mental stability.


Reading books like ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’, ‘Before I Fall’, and ‘The Bell Jar’ are likely to be counterproductive, but reading motivating books like success stories and even ‘feel good’ novels help lift the mood and the mind. And you never know what evasive answers you may find on any given page.

Listen to music

If we’re frustrated or angry, listening to Megadeth or Black Sabbath may do us little good. However, we all have happy memories associated with some song or the other and listening to these during our melancholic existence can be very uplifting. The right music not only helps me form happy memories and calm my nerves but also helps me think of a positive future.

Pursue a hobby

If you have the love and the skill for something like playing a guitar, a racket sport, stand up comedy, or even making French fries, put it to use. Engaging in constructive activities that we enjoy is always a sure way to switch out negative thoughts. Not only do we have fun but we also improve our skills, and one never knows where that may lead us.

Keep a clean environment

I personally cannot stand clutter, whether it is inside my mind or in my surroundings. I tend to think better when I keep a clean environment and I strongly believe that the way we keep our surroundings is a reflection of our minds. For example, if our desk is cluttered, our room untidy, our beds unmade, it mirrors that state of our mind. Sometimes we need to jumpstart our brain into positive motion and making a concerted effort to maintain a clean and tidy environment can have that impact. Personally, I’ve noticed that I think better when I keep my environment clean.

Surround yourself with positive people

I cannot emphasize enough on how important this is. Surrounding ourselves with toxicity is a sure shot way to end up in a hole and remain in it. We love it when people lend an ear to listen to our problems, but ideally, we need to see if they offer solutions or just join us in the cribbing game and spread more negativity. Besides there are people that just seem upset with everything in life and constantly complain, demean, ignore, fight, and try to control us. Some of them could be family members and close friends who we cannot discard from our lives but we need to be aware of where we draw our lines for our own sanity. To counter these negative effects and also as a general practice we must make a conscious effort to surround ourselves with people that spread positivity, joy, and imbibe confidence in us.

Sleep well

We spend a third of our lives sleeping (some of us even spend a majority of our waking hours asleep). Sound sleep is as essential to our physical and mental health as any other form of fitness routine, dietary habits, and other good health practices. A lack of proper sleep can lead to a drop in performance, mental tiredness, anxiety, as well as other health-related problems. I have my phases of getting appropriate sleep versus not getting enough and I sense a marked difference in my mood, functioning, and mindset in each of these scenarios. If you’re struggling to get proper sleep, there are plenty of tips available online to help you sleep better.

Live in the present

A lot of our issues arise because we cannot get over the past or stop worrying about the future. We cannot alter one and cannot predict the other. All we can do is to use our failures and pain from the past to learn and grow and plan for the future. We can only do this by living in the present and using our time at hand to the best of our abilities to make our present productive.


We hurt terribly from the actions and inactions of people, and find it difficult to forgive them for putting us through so much grief. However, we pine over these matters long after the situation has taken place, and extend our grieving with no end in sight. Yes, it does take time to heal but how are we helping ourselves by not making any effort to move on? Forgiving someone does not mean we accept the pain they have given us, but helps us heal faster. We tell ourselves that we are now in control of our situation and getting back on our feet and running is up to us.


We need to understand that there are people in situations that are way worse than our own. Making a contribution in their lives not only adds perspective to ours but also makes us feel good about ourselves (release of dopamine – the ‘reward’ neurotransmitter). We could choose to help people in our circles or even volunteer for a good cause.


So stop moping around and trying to solve every mystery in your life. Sometimes, we just need to focus on other matters and let bygones be bygones.

The Wandering Wondering Mind – Part 1


Overthinking is a mental battle I have fought for as long as I can remember and no matter the decision arrived upon after this long drawn out struggle, there are always casualties. These casualties are usually ourselves and many a time people that are close to us. And by casualties I don’t mean being rushed through heavy traffic in an ambulance or even getting stuck in a critical care bed and having to deal with stories about family problems of all our visitors, but about the mental setback that this inexorable activity causes. A loss of peace of mind, lack of focus, loss of interest, irritability, inexplicable sadness, disturbed sleep patterns, extreme binging modes (or loss of appetite), and a general feeling of loss overpower us.

Whether it’s tough experiences from the past or a generally pessimistic attitude we may have developed, allowing our mind to constantly visit an occurrence, situation, or behavior, and analyze it over and over, grips our life with a sense of incompleteness and severe lack of clarity. We strive for answers, come up with many without any confidence in any, which leads us to favor the negative outcomes. And from experience, I can say that the turmoil that this causes in the mind is as unnerving as anything can be (Except when the Wi-Fi goes down because that has to be the epitome of deprivation and depression).


Why did he behave in a peculiar manner the other day? Why does she always act aloof in every situation? Why was my research thesis rejected without an explanation? Why did Eddard Stark have to die in season 1 of Game of Thrones? Why do the Mumbai Indians make our blood pressure shoot through the roof during their consistently erratic seasons? What are companies looking for in job applicants? Why am I made to feel like an outcast? Why do the people I care about take me for granted and instead chase people that don’t really care about them? Why doesn’t she tell me what she thinks and feels openly and honestly? Why can’t people care more? Why do my plans always go bust? The ‘Why’, ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘Who’ ‘Which’ and a gazillion other questions that plague our minds. Our mind is not built to handle unclear messages, unexpected circumstances, unanswered questions, and the mysteries surrounding relationships that we deem important. Sometimes my mind is so loud with uncertainties clanging away nightmarishly that I wish I could remove my mind from my head when needed, unlike an iPhone battery. If we think jail is a scary place, being trapped inside our own minds is hellish at best.

We can seek help from others, and the ones that truly care for us will certainly offer solutions with all earnestness, and good ones at that (Unless you ask your dog because then the solutions for everything would be to scratch your ear with your leg and rollover, which is a good way to lead life if you think about it). However, just like the relationship between any coach and student, the responsibility to believe and execute lies with the student. While most of us have external help, the real battle lies within, which we must face ourselves.


While some mysteries in our lives may unravel quickly, some may plague us for a long time, and still, some others may never reveal themselves during the course of our lifetime. Here are some areas we need to think about, accept, and address to help understand some of these uncertainties.

Mirror mirror on the wall

We are an echo of our upbringing and the values that we grow up with are the values we look for in others. Now only if choosing friends and significant others was such a well thought out and transparent process. We form associations based on looks, a sense of humor, dancing skills, popularity, the ability to win hot dog eating contests and several other parameters that meet the eye in quick time. Even for those of us that take our time to get to know people better and are strictly selective in forging bonds, differences in one’s outlook towards life is likely to crop up in certain areas. We expect people to be who we perceive them as, which in many ways is a reflection of who we are. For instance, if we grew up in an environment where control was exerted and things were expected of us, then we tend to repeat this in other relationships as adults, expect from others and want to be in control. If we were accepted conditionally, then we will lay down conditions in accepting others. We seek relationships to fulfill and complete us because we have an unhealed child inside us and are often disappointed if others cannot meet our needs. Just because people are different from us does not make them wrong. We need to understand who we are inside and heal ourselves first. Only then will we stop to seek relationships to fill gaps in our lives and seek them instead for the true value they add to us.

Relationships can fail

This follows from the previous point. As much as we’d like to put the blame of failed relationships on circumstances or our counterparts, we must realize that relationships are also a reflection of who we are as much as the other person. We need to form a perspective in relationships because if we feel dejected by others, there is an equal chance that others feel dejected in us. Sometimes we misread people at the onset and feel betrayed when we see them change. Sometimes people change as they grow, while we are still stuck at the very same spot and may feel abandoned. As the cliché goes ‘change is the only constant’, and is also applicable to people. Parents experience this as well. They may feel that their children are not what they were while growing up. As much as their love is unconditional, their expectations from their children are not. Any deviation from the well-set our patterns as they grow hurts parents and leaves them with unexplained changes in behavior. However, we are all on our unique paths of finding our truth and the likelihood of us having the same vision as our parents and being on the exact same path at the same time is slim. Paths can be similar but not exactly the same. Without perspective, understanding, and empathy, it is difficult to see this difference. Once we do, our mind will be able to grasp this concept better.

 The need for reciprocation

The need for attention, to be wanted, loved, appreciated, and cared for are common human expectations. If we bestow this upon others, then we consider them not returning the favor to be absolute sacrilege. This puzzles us and we fail to understand why someone won’t respect our feelings by reciprocating. What exactly are we looking for? Do we have a set of parameters that this reciprocation must fit? People do love but in their own way. Yes, it would be nice for people to express what they feel openly and transparently in a globally recognizable manner. Love as they say is a global language and yet it’s expression can be very complex. Open communication is a challenge all around the world and only a few have the courage and willingness to participate in this exercise. Sometimes two people find a common ground to be understood and at times it’s a never-ending mystery due to the natural shortcomings in expression of one or both individuals.

Life is not our debtor

We make plans and more often than not they go awry. We can’t for the life of us understand why things always have to go wrong. Life doesn’t owe us anything and is meant to carry on its business as it deems fit. We need to adapt to situations and circumstances. To make plans and be prepared is very important, but to prepare our minds to the fact that our plans can and will fail many a time is of utmost significance.

Neither are people

Just because we feel people owe us due to our own concoctions in our minds does not make it a reality. Sometimes it’s a feeling of entitlement and at times we genuinely expect it because we do a lot for them. If people owe us money, sure we can find ways of extracting it should they resist. However, no matter how much good we do for someone, he or she does not owe us anything in return. Sometimes people don’t love back, just like the answer to some of our prayers is a resounding ‘no’. Someone may mean the world to us but for them, we may barely exist. That’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes and we need to accept that. Let’s understand that some things are beyond our control and not let our delusions create havoc in our minds because of them.

 Every man for himself

The thought that the human race is rapidly losing any semblance of brotherhood, chivalry, unity, and generally doing good in the world drives me nuts. Small acts frustrate me on a regular basis. Why can’t that cab driver observe the traffic rules? Why can’t that person respect the queue? If businesses keep other businesses alive, why does he think about only his profits? Why do they kill over a 20-rupee ticket at a toll booth? Why do they cheat and then shamelessly stare the law in the eye, knowing they cannot be touched? Why does she take advantage of his grave financial condition? My mind knows that the world has always been like this, but I expect better because we live under this veil of a civilized society. As bad as the middle ages were, people’s word counted for something (Except that of Cersei Lannister of course). Not today. If people find any unscrupulous means of getting ahead, they will resort to it. So I shouldn’t expect from others but only from myself to have an impact large enough to turn the tide.

What people think about me

This is amongst my favorites. I have had long conversations with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers about their insecurities of being perceived in a bad light by others. Trying to please a bunch of people is exactly what that will cause a major deviation from our pristine personality and relegates us to confused, inconsistent, moody, and erratic individuals. Just when we think we have done everything right in everyone’s eyes, someone will express their displeasure. And if that does not happen, over time we will feel hollow from within. We will rack our brains and spend sleepless nights wondering what went wrong. The answer is we strayed away from who we really are. People that accept us for who we are, are the ones that should really matter. Everything else is just an illusion of an association.

These are some broad areas that I have spent years worrying about and I can fit most worrisome and frustrating thoughts into one of these categories. While I haven’t attained nirvana (not even close), I have recognized these problem areas and am now making a valiant attempt to stem the tide. Some of us prefer professional help, while others may want to start small with their own backing.

Stay tuned for some backyard practices to halt the wondering wanderer.