Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Living Life in Compartments


Its not been easy, and it perhaps happens with everyone else. But there are times I feel I don't know who the real me is. I feel I am lost or maybe lost myself in the many roles I play?

I am sure many of you can relate to it. My life feels like a train chugging towards an unknown destination and there are compartments where I see many selves of mine.

First...a daughter to my mum. She lives with me, loves me and my kids, drives me nuts, but I love her all the same. I try to be her strength, but fail sometimes, especially when it comes to restoring her emotional health vis a vis my sisters who is battling cancer.

Second...a mum to my two daughters. This is perhaps the best role I enjoy. The best part is both of them have a massive sense of humour, so we are all a riot together!

Wife....Hmmm..here is something I guess I need to work on.

Co-worker.....Extremely turf conscious but a team worker nonetheless.

Friend..Confidante to many, but cannot suffer fools and fakes easily! Need more patience. Value honesty more than anything else....

Bewildered....a smothered soul, breathless for personal oxygen, starving for soul food..

But in all these roles, where is the real me? I also see no connection between all of them, and that is what worries me.

There are times when I want to piece tgether these splinters and get the complete picture. Mind you, these are splinters, not part of a jigsaw. What will this true picture look like? Not a horror, I hope. Perhaps I should periodically call an AGM of all the varied selves.

Lots to ponder about, buddy!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Coping as a Caregiver


I have been the primary caregiver for two intensely suffering patients in my life. Caregiving became a continuous job for me for around 4 to 5 years. At a relatively early age, at that. When I was all of 29 years, I had to nurse my ma-in-law who had come to stay with us and a couple of months later, she had been diagnosed with a terminal stage of liver cirhossis. I started with being the primary caregiver....had hired a day nurse, worked the whole day at office...I was a journalist with a frontline business daily, came back home and resumed my duties as a night nurse, stayed up nights, tended to bed sores and other accompanying chores. I used to wash her hair, bathe her, feed her food and medicines when the day nurse would play truant and generally be responsible for monitoring the daily ups and downs. During this period, I realised what a challenging job this is. It scoops out whatever perseverence and determination you have to do the job. It was an emotional and physical rollercoaster and you do end up feeling your efforts are not taken cognisance of. You feel frustrated and unappreciated. Natural...but you need to realise what goes on through the mind of the terminally ill patient. The cocktail of medicines plays havoc with their system and physiologically induces depression, irritability and has more to do with their bodies than their heart and mind. The caregiver as a result, goes through the same mental stress the patient undergoes, but in a milder way.

My second role was even more challenging.. Around the time my ma-in-law passed away, my other half had been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, an extreme condition of facial pain...and for three years I ran from pillar to post trying to find the correct diagnosis for his condition, till I took him to the US and he underwent a complicated brain surgery and came out of it completely (Touch wood). Ditto for my role as caregiver.

Such issues now arise with my sister. I am the only one in the family who has seen all this from close quarters. My role is now to counsel the caregivers...be patient. The patient is not really angry with you but at his/her own helplessness. And this is compounded by extreme suffering and despair and so takes it out on the closest target..the caregiver. One needs to be patient, to persevere, to look after one's own emotional health in order to cope. A tall order, but not insurmountable, nevertheless. After all, you are doing it for yourself. And its really between you and God anyway. In the end, love conquers all.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Seeing with the heart

I promise I shall post a poem soon, as my trip to the UK like the last one has been a learning experience...

I was presented this little book calld 'The Little Prince' by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and I went through the 90-odd pages during my flight back home.

This jogged my memory about a movie I had seen quite some time ago called 'Meenaxi: A tale of Three Cities' and the catch phrase was 'Jo Dikhta Hai Woh Nahi Hai, Jo Nahi Dikhta Hai, Woh Hai', which in Hindi means 'Whatever is visible does not exist and whatever is not visible, exists'...Confusing?...but so true! It was an arty movie created by one of India's most celebrated painters M F Husain and it had my favourite actress Tabu in it. Obviously the movie sank without a trace at the Indian box office, but who should watch it, but me, the appreciator of all inane but meaningful things in life?

'The Little Prince' said something similar....and what struck me is what the fox said when he parts from the prince...'It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye'.

What struck me was another piece of conversation: 'And I have no need of you. And you, on your part have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world...'

But what does taming mean between two persons?.....any definitions?

Is this love?

The past week has passed off in a whirl, a roller coaster of group discussions, strategising, brainstorming for salvaging the fortunes of a fictional ice cream manufacturing organisation called Gelati. So much so that I shall now think twice before having an ice-cream!

But at the same time, I came across this delightful article which answered a lot of questions I had on my mind, and I came out of it feeling quite contented...

An article by Isabella Kratz which describes how it is possible to have an unspoken relationship without doing the traditional time-tested rites...So here goes:

First of all, let's figure out what love is not. It's not abuse, intimidation, harassment, manipulation, physical or emotional violence. It says in the Bible that love is always kind and patient. So forcing someone to do something against his or her will is not love, it's control. And the urge to control comes from fear, a fear of being rejected or of not getting something.

The opposite of love is not hate; it's fear. When fear is present, love is not possible, because fear will block it. A lot of people are afraid to love. They're afraid of being hurt or disappointed. But rejection will only hurt you if you reject yourself. It you love yourself unconditionally, unrequited love will not affect you negatively, because you will not dwell on it. You will quickly get over it and focus on finding someone who will reciprocate your affection. Your most important love affair is with yourself. It you don't love yourself, you can't really love anyone else. So make peace with yourself today and forgive yourself for everything you've ever done.
Scientists have proven that falling in love is a chemical reaction. Hormones create confusion in your body, and you believe that you've finally found your soulmate. Your heart rate increases, you blush and start shaking when he or she talks to you. You can't sleep at night and you can't eat, which is great if you want to lose weight. Or you do the opposite and become an emotional eater, stuffing yourself with chocolate to put this person out of your mind - at least for a while.

It would probably be easier to begin a relationship without being in love, because your emotions wouldn't wreak havoc and you would keep a clear head. This chaos is not always a nice feeling, as it can bring to the surface insecurity, which can lead to pain and suffering. Being in love is mostly a sexual feeling. People are attracted to each other physically, which is normal, as we are programmed that way. But if being in love is being in lust, then according to statistics, it doesn't last. The feeling evaporates after a few years. The madness of ripping each other's clothes off becomes a memory, as well as the luxury of staying in bed all day making love.

It is possible to be in love without having sex. Platonic love can be intimate and affectionate, without being sexual. More than physical attraction, love is about respecting and understanding each other. It's about trust and accepting the other person exactly as they are. You can fall in love instantly, but will it last? Isn't love at first sight an illusion, as I only see what I want to see? Then reality hits. I'm in for a big shock, because this man or this woman who seemed perfect now has a lot of defects. And he or she probably thinks the same about me. We're both disillusioned, and even the sex doesn't keep us together any more, as the physical passion has evaporated.

Love is commitment. It grows over time, when people are there for each other. When they listen and try to understand each other. Talking is important. It's okay to have disagreements, as long as they don't degenerate into nasty fights. Too many arguments can destroy love, Even though every relationship has its ups and downs, too many arguments can destroy love. Of course, we will fall in and out of love numerous times with our partners. Sometimes the feeling of love is less intense, almost absent. But it doesn't mean it's all over. The flame of passion can be rekindled at any time. If you don't give up, you can create the love you want. Passion is a strong desire to make the relationship work, but both partners need to be willing to give it a go.

Dating someone you love like a friend means you're compatible on more levels than just the physical one. True love is similar to friendship. The important thing is to establish trust and good communication. Sex is an added bonus, as it is the culmination of your love for each other. But even without sex, it is possible to have a relationship, as long as there is affection and true understanding, and a willingness to share. In all relationships, people will eventually fall out of love over time. People who are together just because they are in love - or in lust - may realise years later, when sex diminishes or becomes inexistent, that they have nothing else in common to keep the relationship going.

A desire to give and receive love will lead us towards a satisfying relationship, in which commitment plays the biggest role. Sex is not compulsory. The main ingredients are trust, acceptance, understanding, respect and appreciation. These can be found in friendship as well, which is why friendship is the best foundation for true love.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Second home

How I love coming back to the UK. Its always with pleasure and a sense of anticipation that I land at Heathrow. Let's say, visits to this country are a bright spot in an otherwise dull life?

Its back to school for me this week and this place in Coventry, the Scarman House of Warwick conference does not lack any amenities that I can think of...the tutorial, workshops, tutor, not forgetting the catering and rooms are just superb. What more could a poor soul like me ask for? I thank the Almighty and feel blessed...

Let's say this is a lovely experience....great company and lovely weather just complete the ambience for me, so much so that for the moment, I have forgotten all the stresses that I constantly face at home. And I think I deserve it!

Once the residential MBA is over, I plan to spend a few days in London, the city I like best in the world. And of course, a very important and cherished appointment on Saturday...Looking forward and keeping my fingers crossed. Lets say, I am tipsy with life itself! Wonder if I can handle it??

So ciao till I log on again sweethearts....