Friday, April 26, 2024

The Black Shirt and The Chase


Today, I encountered an issue with the polling process. Yesterday, I had downloaded the voting slip on my office laptop which I couldn't transfer to my phone because of security restrictions. I assumed someone would have dropped the slip at home letter box as is the case usually since the house is locked. But upon arriving home late last night, there was no sign of it. So I tried downloading it again onto my phone, but unfortunately, the website was down today, leaving me without the slip at the polling booth. Despite the efforts of the polling agents to locate my name, they were unable to find it. They suggested I look for someone wearing a tucked in black shirt outside the booth who might be able to assist me faster. Upon exiting, I searched for the individual in the black shirt but couldn't locate them and so returned home to retrieve the slip from my laptop. Upon my return to the booth, I spotted the man in the black shirt, wearing white pants, which reminded me of a funny incident from 25 years ago.

We were in our 7th semester and had signed up for the IES exam. At that time, we had no idea about its difficulty or seriousness; it was more of 'our seniors are taking it, so we'll do the same' mentality. Most of us in our class had signed up, with all the enthusiasm of clueless adventurers, and we had planned to travel the previous day to Ernakulam, where the center was located. I believe someone in the class had booked a couple of rooms in a hotel, anticipating a large group. However, on the day of the exam, only four people showed up - two boys and two girls. This was a time when even interacting between girls and boys was enough to raise eyebrows, and staying in a hotel would have been scandalous. So, we decided not to go to the hotel, and our classmates left, leaving only me and my friend behind.

My friend called her dad and explained the situation. Naturally, he wasn't too thrilled but told us to wait in the station to see what he can do. He then managed to coordinate with one of his colleagues in the Ernakulam office to assist us. So when we called again, he instructed us to look for someone wearing a "black shirt and white mundu(dhoti)", and we were to go with him. We had no idea who he was, his age range, or how he looked. By then, it was late evening, and darkness was setting in, making us increasingly uneasy about being alone at the station. Obviously, this was before the era of mobile phones, so we waited at the station looking for our knight in not-so-shiny attire and eventually spotted an elderly man dressed in a black shirt and white mundu. Assuming he was the person we were supposed to meet, I stayed back with our luggage and my friend approached him. However, the old man seemed frightened by a girl approaching him with confidence. He began walking faster, with my friend following him, and he paced even faster. Somewhere along the way, she lost the chase and the sight of him and we were wondering what to do. There was no way we could call back home again and admit that we had lost sight of our 'savior'. Luckily, our actual rescuer showed up eventually and whisked us away to a convent hostel, where we stayed for the night.

The case of mistaken identity and "the chase" became a source of legendary tales in our circle for a long time. Unfortunately, this incident also meant we were denied permission to travel for any future exams or placement calls, which were centralized in Ernakulam at that time.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Hachi - The gentlest soul I have ever seen

I'm not exactly sure when my attraction to Golden Retrievers began, but at some point along the way, I decided that if I were to own a dog in the future, it would definitely be a Golden. Once, I even came across an ad for Golden Retriever puppies and reserved one, but I couldn't proceed with the purchase because my landlord vetoed the idea of me having a puppy when I was living alone. During my teenage years, I had a pet that was given to me as a gift. However, at that time, we had no idea how to properly raise a puppy, and she ended up being completely untrained.(The reason why you should never ever 'gift' a pet to anyone..) That was my only experience with a pet dog until then. Once I got married, Ram's family had 7 dogs, and he was also feeding many more on the streets. So when I told him about the Golden Retriever story, he said we would have one. Additionally, I felt more confident about having another pet because of his expertise.

However, once we moved to Bangalore, I saw news about lab-released beagles, which was the largest batch at that time. These poor creatures had been kept in solitary cages, subjected to daily drug testing. The release from the labs was a significant shock to their bodies and minds. When they emerged, they lacked confidence, were anxious, and knew nothing about the world outside the laboratory walls – soil, grass, stones, leaves, or sunlight were all foreign to them. Rehabilitation was a challenging process that involved gradually exposing them to the world, patient socialization, and dealing with frequent setbacks. We were so heartbroken listening to the story that we felt compelled to adopt one. Despite being with us for six months, Diva remained fearful and anxious. However, she seemed to improve when we took her back to our hometown and introduced her to our other pets. Seeing her struggle to adapt to human interaction and learn how to be a dog, we decided to adopt a second dog. By then, I was also aware of the issues within the breeding industry and had resolved to adopt from a shelter. When we approached the counselor and expressed our preference for Golden Retrievers, they were uncertain if a breed-specific adoption could be arranged. But, just a few weeks later, they informed us about Hachi, who had been abandoned by his previous owners. Hachi, around 3-4 years old at the time, immediately stole our hearts from the moment we first met him. Despite being abandoned, he exuded an undeniable warmth and trust.

Once he came home, we thought he might dominate Diva, but the total opposite happened. He was always the gentle one, even when Diva stole his food, bed, or snuck in while we petted him. It wasn't long before Diva started observing Hachi's behavior, and began trusting us. Hachi's gentle nature extended beyond the humans in our home. All cats and kittens seemed to instinctively trust him, finding comfort and playfulness in his presence. 
His ability to connect with others, regardless of species, showcased the depth of his empathy and compassion. A couple of months ago, we had a fully paralyzed dog named Amy, with very limited movements. Hachi, who suffered from arthritis, found it difficult to get up, especially in colder months, and usually required assistance. However, one day, when he seemed to have improved slightly, he got up on his own, walked up to Amy, and lay down next to her with his paws on hers, probably to comfort her.

Hachi was everyone's favorite, despite the competition from the many four-legged species we shared our home with. He had a fan following in the neighborhood we lived in; he was adored by groomers and veterinarians alike due to his friendly and obeying nature. Just as Hachi was everyone's favorite, everyone was his favorite too. We also felt he might have been searching for his original owner in all the people he met. It's often said that dogs become heartbroken when separated from their owners. Despite his love for people, he also made sure to give space to those who didn't like dogs or were scared of him due to his size. How he understood it instinctively was just amazing.

He loved car rides, which was a blessing for hodophiles like us. The moment he saw us packing, he would be all charged up and ready to go. We often wondered why someone would give up such a fine dog like Hachi, and we joked that the only reason might be his never-ending love for food.

But as life often unfolds, our time with Hachi was not infinite. He had various health issues which finally claimed his gentle soul, leaving a huge void in our hearts and home. He was with us for over 7 years, and it has been 3 weeks since he passed away, yet we still feel a profound sense of loss and sadness. Sometimes we wonder, while he was literally a dream pet one could ever have, were we the best family he could have gotten? Would it have been better for him to be in a family with just one dog so that he could receive all the attention? Did our move back to Kerala limit his options for receiving the best treatment? Did our elder care responsibilities limit the time and attention we could give him in his final years? However, we won't get any answers to these questions, and they will linger forever in our minds.

As we bid farewell to our beloved Hachi, we hold onto the legacy of his gentle spirit and unwavering love. Though he may no longer walk by our side, his presence will forever be felt in our hearts as we cherish every precious moment we had with him.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

The Chains of Colorism


Photo by Alexander Suhorucov:

I just watched a counterpoint debate featuring a dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama, and I went back to the clip where the controversy erupted. It is astonishing to learn that even in this so-called progressive time, how vile some of her remarks were. She says, "Some of the performers' complexions are dark as a crow, and even their own mothers would not want to look at them." "People have different opinions. If an artist thinks a black-skinned person can perform Mohiniyattam, it is their opinion. But for me, the performer should be fair-skinned.”

It's disheartening to see individuals in positions of influence perpetuate harmful stereotypes and reinforce old-fashioned notions of beauty based on skin color.

I guess what she doesn't understand is the deep wound she is inflicting on someone else, not just the person she referred to but probably many kids who do not fall in the 'fair-skinned' category. By equating dark skin with unattractiveness and implying that it detracts from one's artistic abilities, she not only undermines the talent and dedication of countless performers but also inflicts deep emotional wounds on those who do not conform to her narrow standards of beauty.

Listening to her words, dripping with contempt for those whose skin did not meet her arbitrary standards of beauty, I couldn't help but feel a pang of familiarity. As someone who has personally experienced the repercussions of colorism, I understand the lasting effects it can have on one's self-esteem and sense of worth. Growing up where fair skin was prized, I'm all too familiar with the hurtful comments and comparisons that clouded my childhood.  My mother, with her extremely fair complexion, was the epitome of beauty in the eyes of our community. People often remarked on our striking resemblance, except for one glaring difference – my skin color. From a young age, I was aware of the disappointment and pity on their faces when they realized I didn't inherit my mother's fair skin. The comments were relentless, "Ayyo, ammade color kittiyillallo" (so sad she didn't inherit her mother's color), they would sigh, their words like daggers to my fragile sense of self-worth. "Chinnakkuttide mol karutha kutti aayallo" (the girl is dark-skinned), they would whisper, clearly showing their disappointment in every syllable. There were also comparisons with my fair cousins so much so that  I have always felt  unattractive and unlovable.  It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the seeds of self-doubt were planted, but societal prejudice played a big role. It took a long time to start overcoming those feelings, even if only partly.

So, to Kalamandalam Sathyabhama and all those who believe in the toxic myth of colorism, I say this:  true beauty lies not in the shade of one's skin but in the depth of one's character and the resilience of one's spirit. We must challenge these biased ideas and strive towards a more inclusive and equitable society where every individual is valued and celebrated, regardless of their skin color. 

And to those who feel judged by societal beauty standards: Do not allow others to dictate your worth based on the melanin in your skin. It is not your skin color that defines you but rather the strength and resilience that lie within. You are capable of rising above the narrow confines of societal expectations.

By making diverse voices heard, showing representation in every way, and creating a culture where all kinds of beauty are accepted and valued, we can start to undo the damage caused by colorism. This will lead to a better future for everyone.

Monday, February 05, 2024

The Gorgeous Mess of Life


It's February, and a whole month has passed since New Year's. I am someone who keeps multiple to-do lists throughout the year—mostly for daily tasks, work, personal projects, etc. During the New Year, the planning process reaches its peak. Last New Year's Day, I had planned multiple tasks in my daily todo which I successfully completed and felt a sense of accomplishment. Alas, just before the day concluded, I spilled some boiling milk on me and ended up with a second-degree burn, which took a while to heal, sending all the to-dos for the rest of my days/weeks berserk. So, this year, I was more cautious and set monthly goals. However, the entire month of January saw me falling ill and feeling extremely tired and the to-dos kept piling up. Now as I sit here contemplating the beautiful chaos that is my life, I realized that's how life is. It has a funny way of piling up pages and pages of incomplete tasks, half-baked plans, abandoned projects, unfulfilled dreams, journeys that never took off, and ideas that never saw the light of day. It's a messy set of ambitions that were momentarily sparked by passion but faded into the background as life's responsibilities took center stage. However, I can't help but appreciate all the different experiences that have shaped me into who I am today. We are all such gorgeous messes, aren't we?

But you know what? There's a certain kind of beauty in our messiness. It's life's way of keeping us humble, reminding us that perfection is overrated. It's in these messy moments that we discover the raw authenticity of our existence. So, here's the thing – In the midst of this beautiful mess, let's not forget to be kind to ourselves. It's okay not to have everything figured out, to have dreams at different stages, and to be a mix of what we want and what holds us back. Here's to embracing the chaos, to being okay with the messiness of life, and trusting that things will get better. Those ideas that never saw the light of day? They might be dormant, but they're not dead. Maybe they're just waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Life has its own way of unfolding, and sometimes, the best is yet to come.

Here's to us – the beautifully imperfect, wonderfully messy souls. May our incomplete tasks serve as a reminder that we are constantly evolving, and our unfulfilled dreams fuel the fire of possibility. Let's be kind to ourselves, celebrate the mess, and trust that life has a way of treating us to some pretty awesome surprises. Cheers to the beautifully imperfect journey we're all on! 🌟

Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023 Reflections


I was going through some of my older posts from decades back and realized I had forgotten about many of those incidents. These posts serve as reminders of my journey as a person. So, I thought it's probably a good idea to reflect on the year gone by – a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences that defined this year.

Probably one of the significant decisions I made this year was to pursue a 2-year MBA program from BITS Pilani. Quite a few people asked me what the need for it was and if it's even possible to cope with the pressure when the days are already tough with a full-time job and demanding elder care/pets care/home care/plant care responsibilities. I think the answer goes back to September 2009 when I was accepted for the EGMP-XV batch at IIMB. The admission date was Sept 11th, and the classes were commencing from September 21, 2009. But it was on Sept 10th that my life changed when Amma passed. After that, as most of you know, it was a wild ride. So, it was more about getting back to an unfinished task that I wanted to do than anything else. Now that I have completed two semesters and am at the halfway mark, I have to say it is not at all easy but worth the trouble. It is kind of a transformative journey that challenges me to step out of my comfort zone, develop resilience, and cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement.

Another change is shifting home to another city (Kochi). When I moved back to my childhood home, I was happy or thought I would be happy in the place where I grew up, where I could be me, with people who knew me from childhood around. But how wrong I was - you are residing in a place that holds so many memories, especially when those who created those memories are no longer there. It is a bittersweet experience, filled with both nostalgia and a sense of loss. Every room seems to whisper stories of your childhood; each corner of the house is a portal to a time when life felt simpler, and your parents were your anchors. Their favorite chair, their room and lot many other things - when you are surrounded by the physical remnants of their lives, which are now reminders of the void they've left behind. Sometimes rediscovering old family albums, stumbling upon handwritten notes and letters can bring a smile amid the tears. It's a delicate dance between acknowledging the pain of loss and finding joy in the precious memories stored within the walls. Sometimes I've had arguments with Ram because some of the changes and the need to adapt the space to our own life can bring about a sense of guilt, as if we're altering a sacred space. I've been leaning towards the idea that it might be better to keep it as a visiting place rather than a permanent living place. Time will tell how this decision fares.

I hadn't been putting much effort into connecting with people after the weird experiences during the orphaned stage. Other than the ones who were my support system and connected with me constantly, I wasn't looking forward to connecting with others for the last many years. However, I've come to realize the importance of forging meaningful connections and the positive impact they can have on my life. So, I'm making a conscious effort to change my approach now. I'm actively seeking opportunities to connect, communicate, and build lasting bonds with others (not an easy job for an introvert),. It's a shift in my mindset and I'm hopeful that by actively engaging with people, I'll not only enhance my social connections but also enrich my overall experiences and perspectives. Thus, it's been a year of reconnecting—from old PUC classmates to engineering batchmates, extended families, and even new friends from other communities.

I was reading one of my favorite authors today, and she writes, '...the end of a year should be filled with congratulations, for all we survived... And a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.' So as we turn the page on 2023, let's remember the times we laughed, the moments we learned, and the instances we grew. Of course, there's something magical about a fresh start, and 2024 holds the promise of new beginnings. As we embark on this journey, may the upcoming year bring not just new opportunities but also a sense of peace and good health. Let's take a deep breath, embrace the memories, and step into the future with optimism.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Balancing Care and Life!

Recently, the renowned Malayalam filmmaker and screenwriter, K G George, passed away in a retirement care home. Following his demise, his family, especially his wife, faced significant criticism and cyberattacks from fans and the media for not caring for him at home. He had suffered a stroke a couple of years earlier, and his family has stated that they meticulously researched and selected a retirement home with a strong reputation for specialized stroke patient care, with doctors readily available. Their primary aim was to ensure he received the best possible care, not abandonment. It is indeed saddening that the family had to endure this unexpected wave of societal judgment and criticism during such a painful time.

Taking care of elderly parents is a difficult and emotionally demanding task that isn't straightforward. It becomes even harder when you live far away because you may not be physically present to provide daily care. Most of my friends are currently dealing with similar challenges as our parents' generation is getting older, with most of them now over 65 years old. Even if the elderly person is healthy, catering to their needs can be challenging because mentally, they may still feel they can manage their lives as before, but their aging bodies may not agree, leading to a struggle.

Caring for a loved one, particularly as a primary caregiver, comes with significant challenges that can impact the caregiver's own life in various ways. Below are some of the experiences that me and my mom had to overcome when my father was critically ill. While each family's situation is unique, there are common challenges and issues that families often face.  Although I'm not an expert, here are some of my thoughts on how to navigate these situations.

Emotional and Mental Well-Being: Witnessing a loved one's decline in health can be emotionally and mentally distressing, especially when you've known them as a strong person all your life. As caregivers, we may feel sadness, frustration, guilt, and anxiety, which can lead to burnout and mental health problems if not managed effectively. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize self-care, seek emotional support, practice stress-reduction techniques, and ensure that we take regular breaks to recharge and manage our well-being.

Physical Health: The physical demands of caregiving can take a toll on a caregiver's health. Lifting and assisting with mobility, managing medications, and providing personal care can be physically challenging, leading to exhaustion. Prioritize personal health by maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough rest. Seek assistance from others or professional caregivers for physically demanding tasks.

Gender Roles: In many Indian households, caregiving responsibilities are primarily shouldered by women, which can result in a disproportionate burden on female family members. It is important to involve other family members and encourage a fair distribution of household and caregiving duties.

Time Management: Caregiving responsibilities can be time-consuming, leaving us with little time for personal pursuits, work, or other family commitments. Develop a structured schedule that involves multiple family members or professional caregivers. Prioritize tasks and consider delegating responsibilities to others.

Career and Work-Life Balance: Many of us have to balance their caregiving responsibilities with full-time jobs, which can be physically and emotionally demanding. This can lead to burnout and a strained work-life balance. Communicate with employers about caregiving responsibilities and explore available workplace support, such as flexible work arrangements or employee assistance programs.

Lack of Respite Care: Adequate respite care options are often lacking in India, leaving us with little opportunity to take breaks and recharge. Therefore, it is important to seek help from friends and family members to provide respite care, or consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide temporary relief.

Social Isolation: The demands of caregiving can often lead to social isolation. We may find ourselves with limited time and energy to maintain social connections and engage in activities outside of the caregiving role. Make an effort to maintain social connections even if it means seeking support from friends and family to free up time for social activities.

Uncooperative Patients: Caring for a patient who is uncooperative or resistant to care presents significant challenges for the family. It is important to respect the patient's dignity and autonomy while offering choices whenever possible. Seek their preferences and consider making adjustments to the care routine.

Stigma Around Institutional Care: There is often a stigma associated with placing elderly family members in institutional care, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This can make it challenging for family to explore alternative care options. Educate skeptical family members about the benefits and necessity of institutional care when it's in the best interest of the elderly person. 

Financial Strain: Last but definitely not the least, caregiving can have financial implications, as it often requires hiring professional help, purchase of medical supplies, home modifications, or even reduced work hours or career interruptions to provide care. Seek financial advice to create a budget and explore available resources to manage caregiving-related expenses. 

Friday, September 01, 2023

Breaking Silence, Shattering Stigmas: Women's Health Awareness


I had thought long and hard whether to write this. In fact, this was a post I had been contemplating from my active blogging days more than a decade ago and finally got to write it now. This is to share my experience living with Polycystic ovary syndrome/ Disease  (PCOS/PCOD) which is a common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age.  It is characterized by hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, and the formation of multiple cysts in the ovaries. It is a precursor for other serious conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer and its prevalence has been on the rise in recent years.

Teenage Turmoil

 My journey with this disorder began during my early teenage years. My mother had a transferable job, and during my teenage years, she was working outside the district, coming home only on Sundays. During one of her visits, she sat me down and explained about the menstrual cycle and gave me instructions on what needs to be done which according to her I might experience soon. The very next month I got my first period and managed it exactly as I was instructed. I also informed mom about it, and she was glad that she educated me just in time. But one thing she missed telling me and I was not aware of was that this bleeding would stop after a couple of days. Then one day I fainted and was rushed to hospital. A blood test showed extremely low HB count and that was when everyone around me realized I was bleeding heavily for 4 months straight! And that was just the first instance of the turmoil I had to endure in the coming years. Doctors were also new to this symptom at that time, and I was put on multiple experimental medications just to stop the bleeding.

 In a society where anything related to menstruation was considered taboo and impure, all the difficulties had to be hushed and endured silently. I remember the struggle I had in school during PT classes which I had no strength to attend but I could not take an exception as I was not comfortable talking to my teachers about it. Moreover, it was difficult to explain to others what I was going through, when I did not fully understand it myself. Then there was this excruciating pain that kept me awake all night and made me miss classes (even exams). After countless appointments and tests that spanned over 2-3 years, I was finally diagnosed with PCOD when I was 15 years old. The internet was not as prevalent then and so I had to turn to medical dictionaries to understand what it meant. Knowing what I was dealing with gave me a sense of relief, but it was also daunting to learn about the complexities of the condition.

Adulthood Challenges and Finding Support

The irregularity of my menstrual cycles made it difficult to plan my life, whether it was pursuing career goals or making social commitments. That was the time I had discovered travel as a passion, but it was difficult as I was unsure of when the heavy bleeding or pain would strike again. The unpredictability was frustrating, and I could not help but feel like I was missing so much if not for this situation. It was like putting my life on hold with no end in sight. (Though I have to say I have managed a lot of travels still with the condition)

The Internet gave me more insights into my condition but also amplified my fears, apprehensions, and uncertainties. That time I also realized I am not the only one in this space unlike what I had thought initially. I have close friends/relatives in the medical field and still it took me a decade even to talk to them about my experiences and that was a big relief. Slowly I told some of my travel mates so that they were aware of my difficulties during our trips. Sharing my stories and experiences provided a sense of belonging and acceptance and reminded me that I was not alone in this battle.

Symptoms of PCOS:

PCOS presents a range of symptoms that impact various aspects of a woman's health. Irregular menstrual cycles, often accompanied by missed periods or heavy bleeding, are a common hallmark.  Many women also grapple with weight gain and obesity due to insulin resistance, which may lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Conversely, excess weight can exacerbate insulin resistance and other PCOS symptoms. Polycystic ovaries, detected through ultrasound, are characteristic, but not all women experience this feature. Excess androgen levels contribute to symptoms such as hirsutism and acne. Mood disorders, skin issues, and sleep disturbances can further complicate the PCOS experience. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for cardiovascular issues due to factors like obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Irregular periods can lead to changes in the uterine lining, increasing the risk of endometrial hyperplasia (excessive thickening of the uterine lining) and possibly endometrial cancer.

It is important to recognize that while these symptoms are prevalent, not all individuals with PCOS will experience all of these issues. The diagnosis of PCOS is typically based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as blood hormone levels and ultrasound. Treatment and management of PCOS can vary depending on individual circumstances and goals. Lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise, often play a central role. Medications may also be prescribed to address specific symptoms, such as regulating menstrual cycles or managing insulin resistance. If you suspect you have PCOS or are experiencing related symptoms, it's recommended to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance. 

Managing PCOD and Acceptance

To manage my PCOD, I relied on a combination of medical interventions and lifestyle changes. Birth control pills helped regulate my menstrual cycles and reduce the heavy bleeding to some extent. But I also realized that lifestyle modifications played a crucial role. Regular exercise became a part of my routine, and I focused on maintaining a balanced diet to improve my overall health. While these changes did not cure my condition, they helped in managing the symptoms and reducing some of the emotional burden I carried. I also realized any change in my routine, food habits or even my mental state also adversely affected the condition and I tried to keep up with my routine whenever I deviated.

Living with PCOD has taught me the importance of self-love and acceptance. The societal notion of "good" is often intertwined with perfectionism and the pursuit of flawlessness can paralyze us. There were times when I blamed myself for not being "normal" or 'perfect' like others, but over the years I have come to understand that PCOD is not my fault, and it does not define my worth as a person. It has been a challenging journey, but I have also grown stronger through this experience. I try to be kinder to myself and acknowledge that my journey may be different from others, but it is still meaningful and beautiful in its own way.

While PCOD continues to be a part of my life, I refuse to let it hold me back. Through the years, I have learned to navigate the difficulties, finding strength in my struggles, and discovering ways to manage this condition. If you are going through a similar experience, know that you are not alone, and together, we can support and uplift one another on this unique path we walk.

# PCOS Awareness for a Healthier Tomorrow


Monday, August 22, 2022

Bucket list for this year

Two days back I was reminiscing about my activity filled early Bengaluru days and Ram was asking me why I am not active now and whether it was the marriage that changed me. Truth is, I had stopped doing many of those activities much before marriage, may be the day-to-day life just got in the way. And of-late, the pandemic had put some serious limitations on living the life that my heart wanted to live, and I thought it is high time I do something about it. So, I have decided to start living my bucket list by taking at least one step towards my goals every day. 

I do have a much bigger bucket list, but I thought of taking a subset to be completed in a year. I am just listing down few of my bucket list ideas and examples as inspiration if any of you want to create your own cool bucket list. Most of my list is based on things I am reluctant to do (like interacting with strangers) or to nudge me to do things I used to do earlier (photography, art, volunteering etc.) Basically, try new things, take a risk, overcome a fear, accomplish a task, pamper yourself - all tiny steps towards a more well-rounded you. Some of it might need some planning, some will only take a few hours out of our day, but at the end of the year, when we look back at all that we have accomplished, it will be worth it. So, make a list of the things you would really like to do and promise yourself to get started on one task each week. 

  1. Invite someone new to go for a coffee.
  2. On holiday, take a photo of ten strangers and try to get a little story or snippet to go with each.
  3. Ask a senior citizen, to tell you about what it was like when they were young
  4. Meet a Blog Reader in person (Anyone game? Of course, my treat)
  5. Give lots of (genuine) compliments. If you have a nice thought about someone, let it out!
  6. Perform a random act of kindness for a stranger 
  7. Become a mentor to someone younger than you.
  8. Take all old books and magazines to a local waiting room, for others to read
  9. Clean out your closet, donate everything you have not worn in the past year to charity.
  10. Declutter ten items
  11. Volunteer for a day
  12. For a period, a week, a month, or all year, only shop locally. Purchase free-range, ethical, and fair-trade goods, buy from independent retailers, at farmer’s markets and give handcrafted creations as presents.
  13. Pick a random novel from a bookshop. Read the first paragraph. Do something (anything) triggered by those words.
  14. Grow a Beautiful Garden
  15. Take an art class. (May be
  16. Make a scrapbook of a memorable occasion 
  17. Take the camera with you for an entire day and capture everything and anything that takes your interest
  18. Every day of a week, capture a moment of your day with a drawing or painting
  19. Create a piece of art & sell it
  20. Print and display the digital photos 
  21. Make a new website
  22. Make someone a birthday or celebration cake.
  23. Surprise Someone
  24. Take photos of ten favorite corners of your home.
  25. Visit your elementary teacher 
  26. Get back in touch with an old friend
  27. Write a handwritten letter to someone
  28. Get a professional body massage
  29. Book a meditation or yoga retreat
  30. Organize a professional photo shoot
  31. Create a family logo/monogram
  32. Run a marathon
  33. Take an academic course
  34. Clear credit card
  35. Take a vacation from the world for a day. Turn your cell phone off.
  36.  Keep a diary of all your thoughts and feelings. Write every time you feel like it.
  37. Visit a different country
  38. Go on a drive in an area nearby that you do not know well. Explore hometown like a tourist.
  39. Sleep under the stars. 
  40. Watch the sunrise and sunset on the same day
  41. Take a coastal road trip 
  42. Take the train journey through a scenic route
  43. Visit a new tourist attraction 
  44. Do a tour you have never done before
  45. Stay in a unique hotel
  46. Go on a girls only trip
  47. Stay up all night talking
  48. Go on a wildlife safari 
  49. Explore scenic biking trails
  50. Finish a classic novel
  51. Plant ten trees
  52. Make a list of everything that you have done and take yourself out to dinner to celebrate your accomplishments.


Friday, January 08, 2021

Hope filled New Year


We are already a week into the New Year and I guess the only word that can describe everyone's feelings is 'Hope'

Last year when I wrote , "Anyways the 2020s are here, and with this brand new decade come new challenges and some new opportunities that will change the way we live", I did not expect the kind of challenges that it would bring in. I guess the biggest change for most of us is that we now have a before and after lives - a life that was carefree and another where we need to hide behind a mask to safeguard our health.
2020 has been an emotionally testing and turbulent time, for almost all of us.  However, it was so unique and I consider it as one of the best I ever had. Here are some silver linings 

  1. Owing to the pandemic, it was impossible for any plans to be executed for many months. I usually fret even for a slight deviation in the plans I have worked out in my head. Covid taught me to drop the expectations and take tiny steps with discipline and consistency - one day at a time and see where it takes. 
  2. This is the year where I finally took the plunge to leave the corporate life behind and pursue my dreams. Though it got a bit delayed, the firm is finally registered and I am hoping for the operations to begin soon 😊
  3. Lockdown was the keyword in 2020 when almost all the countries across the world had to implement it. It happened during our planned relocation. I had my corporate exit on March 31st and the one month that followed was the most relaxing time I have ever had in my life - a big relief from conf calls/meetings/reviews/targets/milestones and what not. Probably a time I watched the most TV ever in my life. Binge watched Netflix and even saw a lot of movies too.
  4. To be back in the house you grew up - whenever we planned the shift, we had thought of moving back to Ram's place as it has a Machu (family temple) which needs to be tended to daily. But Covid stalled our renovation plans there and we are at my childhood home and who can be more  happier 😉
  5. As we have a nonagenarian at home, we are extremely careful in going out. The only place that we have been last few months is the grocery store. So to break the monotony, we have developed an occasional hobby - plant shopping. Also I am getting more than enough time to spend with my plants which gives me so much joy 💗
  6. I am so so grateful for the health and safety of my dear and near ones especially when we know healthy days are a luxury these days. It is scary especially when there are casualties in your close circle itself.
I did have my fair share of disappointments - not being able to travel tops the list. That was one of the main activates we had planned once I quit. Second is not being able to meet my family and friends in person especially when I was deliberately avoiding online communication and doing personal meetups. Hopefully we will be able to overcome these challenges in the New Year. Let us Hope that the New Year is different in a good way.  Do let me know how was your 2020 and what are you looking forward  2021 in the comments.

PS: Do let me know if you are seeing any layout issue for the post. Apologies to my subscribers as you would have got multiple mails when I was posting and reposting for the last 2 days. Maybe pandemic effected the blog too 😵 

Friday, May 15, 2020

lnter-state travel to Kerala (14-05-2020)

Just wanted to share the procedures and  experience travelling from Bangalore to Kerala (Thrissur) by road.   


  1. Apply for epass in the site giving preferred date of travel and the time window of arrival at the checkpost
  2. Wait for an enquiry call from your respective local administration bodies.We got a call from thrissur corporation. Main requirement for home quarantine is to have a room with an attached bathroom and also some to help to get the essentials.
  3. Post the call and a confirmation on facilities for home quarantine, an entry pass will be issued.
  4. Once the entry pass was approved, we had applied for source pass from Karnataka in the SevaSindhu app but it never got approved till 14th, may be because the rules were changed later  ==> So this step is NOT needed.
  5. On the date of travel, keep the entry pass ready (no need of printout. Can show in phone) as there will be checking at every state and district boarders that you pass.
  6. At the destination checkpost, there will be verification of the epass post which you need to undergo screening 
  7. Screening was very smooth and it barely took us 20 mins for the whole procedure.  They verified the details and  did a temperature check of all passengers (contactless)
  8. You also need to install Aarogya Setu app and register, if not done already.
  9. Post the screening, transportation pass
    Transportation pass

    is issued to the passengers indicating the fitness and a sticker for the vehicle

  10. You can cross district boarders only with this pass where it is checked and the full address of destination is noted.
  11. You will be advised to contact the respective PHC upon arrival and also advice given on the quarantine procedures to be followed at home.
  12. We got the call from PHC even before we arrived and also in the evening after we arrived.
  13. We also got calls from counceller yesterday and also multiple calls from the state police today cheking on us. 
  14. Edited to add - Police visited our home and looks like there will be daily visits twice until the end of 14 days.
  15. Edit 2 : People from DMO office also visited our home and handed over the quarantine procedures to follow and also a specific booklet on lockdown with lots of info including mental health and food habits.  We had to sign an affidavit as well.

Quarantine Procedures:
  1. We are advised room quarantine and since we have a nonagenarian at home, we are staying upstairs.   
  2. Food to be served in the room and family member serving us to wear mask.
  3. We have to keep seperate utencils for us and to be washed by us and not to be mixed with other vessels used by other members
  4. Wash our cloths ourselves
  5. Car which we travelled should also be quarantined and not to be taken out by other family members
  6. None of our possessions to be touched by other family members. Newspapers etc to be read by other members and then only given to us and not to be passed back.

Random notes:
  1. All the tolls are functional and so recharge the FastTag to avoid cash transaction. Some have increased toll amount  and so keep a buffer while recharging
  2. Cook and carry food , snacks and refreshments as almost all of the highway eateries are closed and that is much safer too.
  3. We were shifting back to Kerala and so had the entire household to be moved back. Most of the packers and movers said they haven't started interstate operations for fear of 14 days quarantine. But this is not the case for container drivers as long as they have  exit pass (it is a different procedure). Same with taxi also in case you do not have own vehicle.
  4.  As soon as the norka registration for interstate travel opened , we had registered but due to ambiguities related to cargo movement earlier, we had applied for epass only on 3rd of May for a travel date of 11th May after getting confirmation from packers n movers. Initially there was a confusion in issuing passes for people coming from red zone and our application was not approved until 10th May. Since we couldn't do the shift in a day, we couldn't travel on the same day of pass. But travelling on a later date is fine. Earlier date will not be possible. So apply accordingly
  5. There was no rush at the screening centers on the date and time we arrived and social distancing was followed  unlike the reports that we read. 
  6. Everyone coming in single vehicle will be screened at the same counter. There are seperate counters for senior citizens, pregnant women and children.
  7. Follow the quarantine procedures strictly as we do not know how and when we are getting exposed especially since we are passing through different checkposts. Most of the officers were careful not to touch anything from the passengers but it is never a guarantee
  8. Last but not least avoid any non-essential travel. We travelled only because I had quit my job and our next plans were to be in hometown permanently.