Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sometimes LOVE just ain't enough

I thought he would care. And I know he did. For a while. 

But we are back to square one again and I'm in a quandry. I've shed tears that I now know were in vain. I am heart broken no doubt. I am also so worried. What in the world can I do now? I've exhausted the best 'shastra' I had in my kitty and it did not work. 

This rambling does deserve a background...and here it is:

My hubby smokes. A lot. There was a time when he would contain his ciggarettes to three or four a day. These days, I've lost track because he refuses to tell me how many. But I know its a lot because a few years ago he used to buy 'singles' and now he buys a pack.

I am worried. I always have been. Initially I laid down many ground rules to discourage it such as turning our home into a 'No Smoking' zone. Ever since he turned the balcony into an 'adda' I thought asking him not to smoke there would contain it. No such luck! He now goes to the Parking lot to smoke. Going down three flights of stairs is no mean task, but he is willing to devote that much time to the activity.

I've watched him smoke. He is never in a hurry. He actually 'enjoys' it. It is like meditation for him and that worries me more.

I grew up watching my brave mother struggle with hospitals, cardiologists and all the stress that goes with it, since the day my dad, a smoker, first went to a hospital with a heart attack when I was barely 11. Dad still smokes, despite his Bypass surgery! 

I spent a great deal of my growing years attending to relatives in hospitals (dad, gran' dad, gran'ma) so hospitals don't really scare me. What upsets me is the trauma the family goes through, waiting outside ICUs, getting snippets of information from Doctors who consider you incompetent to understand the scope of the problem so you never really know what is happening, being at the complete mercy of the hospital staff....and managing your emotions, your children etc.

I consider my mother to be the bravest person I know because I have witnessed her struggle as dad lay covered by tubes, handling our school routines and the home.

So when I saw that my hubby's smoking had gone up a lot, I thought I would adopt the 'black mail' method since all my pleading, reasoning, nagging, threatening over the past decade or so had fallen to deaf years. 

I did what I could do best. I am a hypertensive and my daily pill is the sole reason I pull through a hectic day. Without it I experience severe symptoms of a rise in the Blood Pressure. 

Since I forget to take it everyday, he is in the habit of reminding me. One day I revealed that I'd given it up....until he quit smoking. He was aghast and pleaded with me but I was adamant. For over two weeks I suffered the headaches, swollen ankles, water retention etc. 

I was hoping he would stop this lethal addiction. 

He did not smoke for about a week and promised me that this would be the norm.  

Three days later, the ciggarette is in his pocket again. 

This song by Patti Smith - Sometimes love just ain't enough - reflects the feelings of my heart

But there's a danger in loving somebody too much,
and it's sad when you know it's your heart you can't trust.
There's a reason why people don't stay where they are.
Baby, sometimes, love just aint enough.

Now, I could never change you
I don't want to blame you.
Baby, you don't have to take the fall.
Yes, I may have hurt you, but I did not desert you.
Maybe I just want to have it all.

It makes a sound like thunder
it makes me feel like rain.
And like a fool who will never see the truth,
I keep thinking something's gonna change.

Am I really the fool? Or is love really not enough?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Teacher’s Day wishes

Recently I started teaching at a Mass communication Institute at Pune.

After my first guest lecture, (which turned out to be a roaring success…apparently the students gave me an excellent feedback), I was inspired to join the Institute as a Guest Lecturer taking an important subject called Media Management.

Today was my second class.

I took two sessions back to back and was dog tired by the time I was done. My mood was elevated as the class dispersed and I stood gathering my belongings from the table….and almost every student in class came up to me and wished me “Happy Teacher’s Day Ma’am”….

I was elated! I know that the feedback for this session will be as good as the first one.

Reached home and as we picked the children from their day-care in the evening, my daughter gave me a card for ‘Teacher’s Day’.

Surprised? So was I!

And this what her colourful hand-made card said:

I love mom because she is a writer and a college teacher. You are the best mom and teacher. All the teachers shout at me for nothing, but you are only a teacher who doesn’t shout for anything.

I love you very very much. Please never leave me and support me always.

A poem for you –

Roses are red

Violets are blue

But nobody has a mom like you.

Her brother gave me a card too. 

Oorja's Card

Abhir's Card

Please forgive me if I am gloating today. I think I earned it!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dard ki nai paribhasha - A new definition for PAIN

Sometimes you meet people who inspire you to lead a better life than you’ve lived so far..to find ways and means of giving back to society, in the smallest manner possible.

Sometimes you meet people who shock you with their radical thinking or lifestyle, or bewitch you with their ability to ‘live their dream life’ every single moment, or cross the barriers of gender and distance and become friends you’d want to cherish.

Sometimes you meet people who have incredible pain in their lives; pain that makes you count your blessings and look inwardly, scanning every pore of your own being with a microscope to check if you have the right ever EVER be in a position to judge another.

Last evening I met one such family. I got their reference for a Medical Insurance story I am doing for DNA, Pune Edition. Needless to say they were an aggrieved party, cheated at the hands of an Insurance company, until the court gave them a respite.

But that’s not what this is about.

The gentleman I was to speak to was on a ‘moun vrata’ (a vow of silence) taken for 4 months. For 4 long months he would speak not a word, just communicate through writing and gesticulations.

But that’s not what this is about either.

After I ‘interviewed’ him (basically asked him the questions and then peeped into his note pad to see his replies) and was having a lovely cup of tea made by his wife, I heard someone call out “amma, amma” from an inside room.

The lady promptly got up and was soon helping a disabled man walk out. It was clear that he had trouble walking even with the walking stick he had.

After she sat him down she disclosed, “He is my second son. He has an incurable disease.”

As she went on to relate the ordeal of the young man, she further disclosed that her ‘older’ son was also afflicted with the same disease. While the younger one had symptoms since birth, the older one was afflicted after the age of 28.

I researched and found this about the condition.

Cerebellar Ataxia - It is an umbrella term for disorders of the nervous system which cause unsteadiness and a lack of co-ordination

· Its name comes from the word cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and co-ordination

· There are genetic forms of the disease. In addition, some cerebellar ataxias can be caused by brain injury, viral infections or tumours

· However, in some cases it is not known what causes the condition

· It is a progressive disorder. And, while it is not fatal in itself, it can place unbearable stress upon the heart

· Cerebellar ataxia can develop at any age

· It is a very rare disorder without a cure

· However, the disease normally develops very slowly, and it can take years for a person's condition to change

· Walking can become increasingly difficult, and it may eventually become necessary to use a wheelchair

· People with the condition can become incontinent

· Other symptoms can include difficulties with swallowing and slurred speech

· Sight and hearing can be affected. In rare cases, they can be lost altogether

· However, intellectual faculties are not affected

I sat there trying to gulp down the hot cup of tea that suddenly seemed too hot and stubbornly refused to cool down, tongue tied and so at a loss for appropriate words.

The description reminded me of Muscular Dystrophy and I know two people afflicted with it, bravely trying to lead a normal life. I took a guess that this condition must be genetic too. The father wrote on a sheet on his scratch pad, words that I will never forget “No cure any where in the world. No medicine. No stone is unturned – medical, spiritual. It is a very rare disease. Our bad luck. Things cannot be cured have to be endured.”

The vow of silence he has taken is a prayer for his children.

Through the course of my interactions with people, I have seen underprivileged children struggle for existence, their survival dependent on the mercy of others, I have witnessed people going beyond their call of duty and listen to the voice inside their hearts, I have seen angels….

And yet, when I am struck with ‘pain’ I forget all the things I’ve experienced, all the people I’ve known.

What is pain? The going away of a loved one for prolonged durations, their absences, lack of luxuries, unsatiated never ending desires, losing a loved one, letting them go….?

NO. What I saw on the faces of the parents was PAIN.

How ridiculous my own experience of pain seems in the light of their tragedy?

As I was leaving, he gave me a laminated picture of Sai Baba of Shirdi to keep in my wallet (to bring you luck, he wrote). I, a complete non-believer, have it safely tucked in. Somehow I hope that his act of affection (wishing me luck) towards a complete stranger brings HIM good luck. For that, I’d be willing to keep any insignia anywhere, anyone proposes...if it removes their PAIN.