A story starter · Choices · Co workers

A thief, a cross and a night shift

In 1992, which seems a long time back now, I was a very junior doctor, fresh out of college. It was a rural area and the hospital was the only one that served at least 20 hamlets around. Patients were few and those that came preferred to come at the dead of night. For that is when they fell ill. We junior doctors were on duty most nights- to be spared the night shift was a privilege of the senior doctors.

One dark night, it must have been in late October of that year, I was on duty. Our shifts were for 24 hours at a time. At around 1 am, I got called to go to Emergency and fortunately the case did not take too long to look at. I could get back fairly quick to bed- that I remember.

Shrieks and huffs and puffs woke me up. The time on the luminescent dial of my watch declared it close to 2 am. The sounds seemed to come from my neighbouring room. Shuffles and pushes and pulls were heard. Words like “let me go” or ” let it go” were audible through the thin walls. And then loud sobs and doors slamming. I buried myself in my blanket and my sorrows. I was newly married at that time- just a month or so and I was planning my escape from that hospital to join my husband at the hospital where he worked.

A few moments later, a knock sounded on my door. I opened the door to find my neighbour there. She told me a thief had gotten into her room through the open door and had snatched her gold neckpiece. At the end of the chain was a small cross, one of the two symbols of being married in that part of the world among Christians. She told me she fought the thief, the only thought in her mind being, to save the little cross. A costly gold necklace could be replaced but the little cross ordained by the priest could not be- could never be. The thief spared the little cross and ran away with the gold chain.

I wonder if the chain was ever returned to its owner, my neighbour. 26 years later, I was reminded of this incident because my younger daughter went to dinner at the house of this very same woman, yesterday. And she recounted this incident to my daughter. I remembered the scolding I got from this woman that night – I should have gone to help her fight the thief. I would have heard the shouts and struggles. Together we could have overpowered the thief. I don’t think so. I have never wanted to fight a thief- it is not one of my bucket list things. Live and let live is my policy. October 31 was my last day at that hospital. I went on long leave. It was a coincidence that the thief incident and my leaving the hospital were all consequential though totally unrelated.

The little cross( google images)
A story starter · About me · Airport · As a Mamma · Being honest · Book Reading · Book Review · Breakfast at Tiffany's · Cats · Choices · Navtej Sarna · Second Thoughts · Truman Capote · Truths and Inspiration

Words without brakes

It is surprising how reading a book inspires one to write. A fountain that was dried up seems to want to send out water again. A tap that ran dry seems to be waiting to be opened up and let flow. Poetry seems to be flowing out. Can there be magic in a pen and can magic transfer from one writer to another ? It would seem so.

When I post, usually I read and re-read and sometimes trash my posts because they have been written over days and the day I am ready to publish, the post does not resonate with my inner muse anymore. Time has changed my outlook on the same issue even though much time has not gone by. Even seconds can change one’s way of looking at the same thing. Writing a post for me is like capturing a moment on a photographic plate, slicing through my life at that point in time. In epidemiology, cross sectional studies are defined as those studies that report events as they are at a particular point of time- such are my usual blog posts. A few days later, the same post does not seem right enough as it did the day it was conceived. Am I driveling ? Perhaps I am. But I continue to write in order not to stop the flow of that muse that has seen drier days and lonelier nights.

The book I picked up at the airport on my way back is my inspiration. ” Second Thoughts” by Navtej Sarna. It is a book which should be a reader’s dream book. A book that speaks of the writer’s travels through the circumstances and sometimes the places where the writers of his choice once lived or wrote. Imagine having the freedom to go to places or sit on site at tables or in rooms where writers once wrote and imagine the thoughts that went into those writer’s minds as they wrote. Writing should be the most honest of crafts for if written as words are born in the mind, it should be a thread that connects the soul of the writer with the soul of the reader. When I began posting I was such a writer. Over years, a veil seems to have clouded my writing, I seem to go back and read over my words and decide certain words must go or some thought removed( often to not offend) and then the post becomes presentable. In the process it becomes far removed from what it should have been. I see now, that my posts in recent days have been dishonest.

I am inspired to look in my library for many of the books written about in ” Second Thoughts”. The book describes the book ” Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote,which probably will be the first book I will be looking for. And another book- Landour Days by Ruskin Bond, which I might have read before but am inspired to read again. Seems like Landour Days is like a collection of Bond’s ” Morning Pages”, if such can be, a rambling through his days in Landour, a hill station in the Himalayas. The words the book quotes from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” are the ones that have inspired me to look for the original –

“Never love a wild thing. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get.Until they are strong enough to run into the woods.Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you will end up— If you let yourself love a wild thing. You will end up looking at the sky.”

As a mother who is probably going to lose her treasure to another, these words seem prophetic to me. Is that funny ? Is there even a comparison between a wild thing and a child ? Giving your heart to another living thing until one day that living thing leaves you and you are left looking at emptiness. If what remained was the blue sky, I would take it. If what remained was memories of good times together, I probably don’t want it. Does that mean one should not love to not be left holding the kite strings, once the kite has broken free ? When did I become a mother like this ? When did I change ?

Where do my rambling thoughts take me ? Mothers are funny creatures. They love and love and love, until surprisingly one day, the love seems to be a chain, a burden, a heavy weighted vest, which has to be cast off.

A story starter · About me · Adolescents · As a Mamma · Being honest · Choices · New Experiences

Hard work does break bones

Some children( read that adolescents) take on too much. My younger daughter, recently admitted to med school seems to be on a job spree. She wants to do everything. She tells me,” I don’t want to feel later that I have missed out something”. When she was just a year old, I remember her pottering around our house just looking for “naughtiness”. Its the same now- 18 years later. She used to avoid going to bed to not miss out on anything going on at home and would only sleep if her body absolutely refused to keep up. Somethings never change, it seems.

 In college, she auditioned for a dance and she was selected for the main event. She did well and a lot of people praised her dance moves. ( she is not a trained dancer but has always loved dancing, so she used to learn dance looking at the youtube). Ever since she has been selected for every dance in the college. The dance practices go on till late at night, so much  that she has no time to read her books. She is tired most of the time. Today she is in a dance that accompanies a carol- what child is this ? It seems carols have to have dances accompanying them in their college.

And then she is house captain for the Cochrane house. The job of the house captain is to gather people to come watch the various matches and even substitute as a player should there be a deficit in the number of players. This takes up a lot of her evening time. She tells me she has no time to do her laundry.

Finally, two days back all the stress got to her and she broke down while sitting on the sides cheering her Cochrane team during a volleyball match. The seniors sent her to to her room and advised her not to show up at the field for any match as she was doing too much. She got a good night’s rest that day. 

Where she studies is my alma mater too and I knew how things work there but children being what they are never listen to their mother’s-that is the rule of nature. So I kept quiet and let her learn to prioritise her duties and work on her own. Seems like she is learning a hard lesson.

 

A story starter · About me · Being honest · Book Reading · Choices · Commitment · crafts · Crochet · Goal setting · Julia Cameron

Artist Date -first week of December

Per Julia Cameron’s book ” Its never too late to begin again”, I started writing the morning pages 6 days ago. The second item recommended by her in the process of knowing oneself is to have an artistic date with oneself. Take off on something that brings out the child inside a person. Its easy to wish an artist date and think about things I did as a child but have not been doing for a long time now.

Smiling, feeling free, no burdens or very few, jumping for joy when a happy something happened( I find it very difficult to jump now with my creaking knees) and so many more things. 

Feeling overwhelmed with the artist date, I decide to google it and look for ideas and there are so many sites that give out ideas- most of them doable. 

Started the clock at 12:15 pm yesterday and decided to stop at 1:15 pm- one hour. I took off to my office garden where  I keep a few plants on the balcony of the third floor which is the only outdoor space on the floor. Cut off a few withered rose flowers, trimmed some plants and cleaned up some flower pots. This is a date without social media or a phone- so I went without any electronic media to document my date. Fifteen minutes later,  I was done. 

What would I do for the other 45 minutes  ? I thought of the stacks of yarn sitting under my office desk and decided to start a crochet project. I have not been able to crochet for more than a year now- I can’t think of starting a project with an unhappy frame of mind. So I took up the book which I got a couple of years back – All American crochet Afghans- edited by Laura Scott and started off on a beginner project- by the time two rows were done, my 45 minutes had passed and without a care in my mind.

This artist date stuff seems to work. 

A story starter · About me · Awaiting the weekend · Being honest · Bullying · Choices · Co workers · Conflict management style

Feeling anti social ?

Our office won the best research office award- again- 6 times in 7 years. It is a record. The sponsors don’t know what to do with our office. The standards we set are too high.:)

As a sort of Thanksgiving for the office, we are set to go to lunch to a Mall about 20 kms away. Many of us don’t want to go- the long drive, the purposelessness of the venture, the lack of communication and true team spirit all boggles us down. Despite contrary opinions, most opted to go, to avoid confrontation with supervisors. I am too far gone to even care. 

I brought my lunch from home and decided to sit put at my desk till I go home. This is who I am- this is who I have become. There is no pleasure in social gatherings any more. And the sheer guts  I have in defying standards is surprising. There comes a time in everyone’s life when one cannot take things lying down and do things others expect them to do for society’s sake. 

I don’t care what people think any more. 

A story starter · As a Mamma · Awaiting the weekend · Being honest · Choices · Co workers · Commitment · Inspiration · Truths and Inspiration

Now may be best

A friend of mine from another university has been on the line a couple of times trying to contact me. I missed her calls a couple of times and didn’t call her back, when I could, always finding excuses to not call. She is one who has been following my journey about leaving this university to pursue my education. And now I am embarrassed to face her. When my visa was rejected, I told her but have been sort of restricting my communications with her to emails.

My mother, who is recovering from two cancer surgeries had her yearly check up last week. There is a small fatty lump in her abdomen still, which doesn’t seem malignant but one doesn’t know if it is residual tumour from the original mass or a new growth. It has been a year or maybe two years since she went to church. What with the hair falling off and the loss of weight and the sudden aging all her illness took their toll and she couldn’t attend church in a while. Today was a landmark day and she went to church and even had communion. For her it was a true red letter day.

I have a chance to go to church either every week- often I don’t take it and blame the weather or something else to keep away. For people who can’t go, the ability to go and stand through a service is such a blessing. I have heard the thrill in my mother’s voice as she narrated her experience being in church after a long time. One learns the value of small pleasures when one is denied that pleasure for a time.

I talked to my friend a few minutes back. I thought I should not put it away any more for now is best. There is no time like now.

A story starter · About me · Being honest · Choices · Inspiration · Truths and Inspiration · Wednesday

What we think and what actually is…

June 20, I had my birthday. Being someone who sets a great deal by birthdays, I wait for phone calls or wishes from my people, acquaintances or friends. This year, I had all of the family calling me but from two of my treasured friends no calls at all( though I was pretty sure they knew the date). And June passed by.

And July. And now half of August is past too. Yesterday I wrote to one of them about something else and we started off a chain of messages. In one message, he wrote back, I didn’t go on the Sri Lanka trip with the classmates because my father was not keeping well.

I read the message and didn’t say anything because I knew his father knew no one and couldn’t remember anything. In another time, he was an eminent Space scientist.

A couple more messages later, I read another message- my father passed away last month.

Can you believe it ? Here I was- sad, angry about my friends not wishing me on my birthday and my friends were probably battling with the illness of their father/father in law. In my ignorance or lack of understanding, I didn’t bother to ask on my birthday- I wanted them to remember on their own, which they didn’t. My callous attitude and selfishness made me miss a time of their lives when they needed someone to talk to.

We never know what the other half of the world is going through- all we think of is our wrongs. Others could be having things going wrong at the same time  too.