Finding Comfort In Chaos

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I never thought I would write about this, but here I am trying to make some sense of it. This is going to be slightly long so stay with me.

Being in the medical field, I come across anxious and worried families of the patient all the time. A part of my job is to answer their questions, make them comfortable, ease them out to the best of my capacity. I didn’t give it much thought rather enough thought to the things they must be going through. Of course, I knew it wasn’t easy, but I naturally thought more about the patient and from a treatment point of view. And then one day, I received a phone call back in March,2018. A call that gave me the chills, gave me a different perspective and showed me what’s it like to be on the other side.

My mother had suffered a massive heart attack with multiple blockages and my fellow medical colleagues and Grey’s Anatomy fanatics will relate to this when I say we were way past the golden hour. I was away from home which made it more difficult but like my mother says by god’s grace everything went well. The first few weeks were critical, but as strong as our mothers are she fought right through it. And I told myself, the tough part is over, it was a bad phase, we will sail through it. 

Fast forward to the end of the year, both my grannies started showing similar symptoms as my mom, we rushed them for all the tests. Within a couple of days, they were both diagnosed with massive blockages and needed immediate intervention. They both got operated on the same day. One of them was badly affected and was bed ridden for a long time. It was a tough time for my family as we were juggling between them, sharing the day and night shifts and just seeing them in so much pain was very heartbreaking and overwhelming. It breaks my heart till date whenever I talk or even think about it.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a few months later my grandfather suffered from a stroke, this was his third one and got the best of him. This was followed by my brother’s massive neurosurgery, a very near and dear one’s death to covid, my father’s severe pneumonia, mom’s second big surgery and my grandfather’s untimely demise a couple of months back. Last 3-4 years have been maddening and things are still settling down accompanied with personal and professional work life balance which has been very challenging. I have been fortunate and privileged to have family and friends who supported me throughout. I wouldn’t be able to get through it without them.

Caregiver’s Stress

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It was during this period that I experienced what we call ‘Caregivers stress’. Caregiver’s stress/burnout isn’t spoken about a lot, mostly because it is difficult to recognise,  but there are a lot of studies that discuss it at length. It’s defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It often leads to development of compassion fatigue which is the stress, strain and the wariness that arises while caring for a person. Being a primary caregiver for most of my family members was not an easy task. My mom and I went through an emotional turmoil.

As majority of the medical decisions were made by me, thinking about the repercussions and bad outcomes made me anxious all the time. I was constantly overthinking and had panic attacks I would have a nervous breakdown and cry out loud sometimes. Feeling irritable, helpless, hopeless and getting angry so easily. It felt like I was slowly losing my mind and sanity. I am not writing this to impart knowledge or tell you how to deal with it. I am still figuring it out myself. But what I can tell you is that it’s okay to feel like that. Seeing your loved ones suffer is not easy. It’s okay to not be okay.

What I have learnt or rather still learning from my experience is that you need to identify it and put your needs first too. It is important to get out and indulge, be in a social environment. It is very difficult at first because the worrying never stops but it is one of the most important things and needs to be done.

Talking about it or writing it down helps too. It wasn’t easy for me to write this all down but the more I thought about it the more I realized how important it is to speak about it. Maybe it will help someone going through something similar, maybe it will just create an awareness. Acknowledging it is step one. Therapy sure did help too. On my tough days, I looked up to my younger brother who gives me so much strength and inspires me to do better each day. He encouraged me to take some time off for myself and always pushed me to move ahead.  My mom has been my anchor all this while and I am forever grateful for that.

Things have been slightly better than before; we are being hopeful and keeping the faith. This story is unfinished, there is so much still happening, and I am not waiting for a happy ending or for all my problems to disappear. At this moment, I am looking for anything good, big or small, that life has to offer.

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A Broken Friendship

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I write words I cannot say,

I feel emotions I cannot portray,

There’s a sadness by the end of day,

A karmic price I’ve got to pay.


A better friend I could’ve been,

A few more thoughts I should’ve given,

But at life I could never win,

For I never loved myself from within.

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Something was always missing,

Something was always off. 

You weren’t always the friend that I needed,

I too wasn’t better than subpar.


It sucks that things ended this way,

They shouldn’t have gone so far.

I’m sorry that I fucked it up so bad,

Only regrets for this time apart.

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PROLOGUE

They got out of the lift and entered the basement. It was dark and a light was flickering in the distance, like in any horror movie. Somewhere between entering the lift and getting out of it, Agastya and Ruche came close and held hands, almost as if out of instinct. Neither of them spoke nor did they want to do anything to acknowledge the fact that it was their final day of seeing each other as they had over the last 6 weeks.

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They started walking towards the car, still not having exchanged a word since they bid adieu to some colleagues and promised to meet the others at the bar. Agastya stopped in his tracks and squeezed her hand. Ruche, who was walking a step ahead, looked back to see his pale face, devoid of any emotion. He was hurting. Obviously not physical, but his heart was burning, there was a pit in his stomach, a lump in his throat and his eyes were moist. 

Ruche could almost feel his pain within her. By now, she knew him well enough to know exactly what was going through his head. Somewhere deep down, she was hurting too. She’d obsessed about this moment just 24 hours ago, talked to Agastya about it for over an hour and yet eventually, neither of them could make any sense out of it.

The seminar was over and it was time to say goodbye. However, they were still going to be in the same city. They still lived and worked within an hours drive from each other and could always catch up post-work or over the weekends; and yet, this goodbye felt like an emotional anchor – but for good reason.

The seminar had been like an alternate dimension altogether. In many ways, a vacation – being able to spend hours together every day over a long period of time without without having to explain or give excuses to anybody about why they saw each other everyday. No excuses for making post-seminar plans and coming home late or for holding hands in the car and driving around pointlessly while listening to soft should touching music or for going to secluded places and stargazing while sipping on some hot-chocolate. They knew now, that their honeymoon period was over and it was time to go back to reality. Back to facing unpleasant bosses and clients, long work hours, curious parents and other daily drama. 

She walked towards him, not letting go off the grip, squeezed his hand and rested her idle hand on his cheek. She graced his cheek delicately, looking straight into his eyes. Her gaze was soft, but stern. Sad, but passionate. She came closer. He could feel their breaths sync in rhythm and in the next instant, she just wrapped her hands around him and hugged him reassuringly. 

They stood there for a few seconds, neither of them making an attempt to move. Agastya could feel Ruche’s breath on his neck, her perfume that he’d come to love and the scent of her washed hair. He did not want to let her go. But at the back of his mind, he knew he did not have much time. Their colleagues had already left for the bar and as had been the unsaid agreement between them, they did not want to raise any eyebrows. He slowly loosened his embrace and Ruche got the hint. They looked at each other again only this time, Agastya planted a light peck on her cheek. She could feel the smile on his lips.

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They straightened themselves and took a deep breath, as if readying to go to battle, and walked towards the car. Like clockwork, they threw their bags on the back seat, Agastya loosened his tie, Ruche took her blazer off and took control of the aux. Agastya turned the ignition on, one hand on the steering and other on the gear and waited patiently, until Ruche rested her hand on his. That had been their thing for weeks now. Agastya smiled amidst that security and drove off towards the bar.

Both Ruche and Agastya sat silently, trying to fully comprehend what had just happened. They’d held hands and hugged before, but this was unlike anything from the past. The magnitude of those flowing emotions was so strong and alien, that they couldn’t find words to explain it. And if they could, no words could ever do justice to how they were feeling. But soon enough, as they drew closer to the bar, the vibe in the car changed. A long – wild – alcohol filled night awaited them, as they got off the car and headed towards the bar, now maintaining a platonic level of distance between them. 

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The Wish

This year for my new year wish I ask,

A little more luck and a little something from the past.

I want that girl who sat at my side when I drove,

I want the girl whose laugh made my day whole.

 

Every one of those exchanged smiles from across the room,

I want those moments back that got our friendship to bloom.

Its still just as effortless to remember those days,

Brings the widest smile to my face your peculiar ways.

 

I’m always going to be here cheering you on,

I promise to be by your side from dusk till dawn.

I’m always going to be in your corner for every fight,

Remind you of your Herculean might.

 

So here I am asking you to grant me this wish,

Turn this friendship into a uniquely assembled dish.

For I loved those fifteen days and I hope to live them again,

For you’re the one I miss each time it starts to rain.

Someone

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I just want to have someone around,

A person who’ll pick me up when I’m on the ground.

Someone who longs to see me as much as I long to see them, 

Just a person who treats me like a gem.


A person who makes you their number one priority, 

Someone who can command over you their authority.

You don’t have to be around all the time or be stuck to my hip,

But maybe once in a while a milkshake you could whip.


Could be a lover or maybe a friend,

Or maybe just a colleague who’d have some time to spend.

All I ask is for a few minutes out of your day,

Share a phone call or some texts or exchange thoughts about Hemingway. 


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Eternity & Beyond

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I wish I could have you here with me,

Hold your hand as and when I please,

Hug you tight when I feel incomplete,

A life without complications is all I plead,

Things would be so easy indeed.

 

To love and care for you is all I seek,

Be your go-to person at any time during the week,

Hold your hand and hold you tight,

Never ever let you out of my sight.

 

I feel I’m perfect for you and no one else is close,

I’d love you with all I have and this nobody can oppose,

I think what stops you is the fact that I’m not your type,

But has any other guy before been worth the hype?

 

What I think you need is someone who makes you feel loved,

Someone who makes you realize what you’re worth,

Someone who puts an effort in you and your wellbeing,

Someone who makes you realize you’re worth cherishing,

Someone who will never get tired of all your cribbing,

Someone who adores you and your fussy eating.

 

I adore you so much it makes me insecure,

Cause I know it’s not going to be long before someone figures out your allure,

People don’t see it now cause you’re in a carbon state,

Put through some tests and it’ll reveal your diamond ways.

 

Sometimes I feel the dark and repeal the light,

No vision in my deemed eyes,

Lost in thought so scared inside,

Wishing you were here to hug me and say it’s alright.

A Story

What if I start reciting to you a story,

Starting with ‘once upon a time’,

Revolving around a captivating human,

And their actions since their very existence.

 

You hear my words with great interest,

And resonate with every sentence I say.

Slowly it dawns upon you,

That I am simply describing your way.

 

Would your interest slowly change to wonder,

As I brush across each word.

Would you be surprised by the strength I hold,

About every truth that I know about your world.

 

Would your view of life be different,

Would it shock your insides,

The things that you thought defined you,

Can all be summed up in 2 lines.

 

Would you be proud of your actions,

Would your head lower down in shame,

Are these the actions you’d own,

Or deny them in regret.

 

As I go through the pages of this story,

And all the places it’ll lead,

Would you wonder about the pages left,

And vow to change how the story further read.

-The Travellothoner

Skipping – The Next Best Thing To A Bodyweight Cardio Workout

I have been a staunch believer in body weight workouts, especially since the COVID19 pandemic struck, which has forced the entire globe into quarantine. It is during this period that I realised how easy it is to get fitter at home and skipping is one of these workouts.

Skipping is great for your overall fitness, whether it’s part of a warm-up or included in your main workout. If you’re looking to push your calorie burning, fat-busting HIIT workouts to the next level, you should start skipping.

If you haven’t picked up a rope since your elementary school days, never fear: This isn’t just a kid’s toy. The mindless, simple activity of your youth is actually one of the best ways you can take your HIIT workout to the next level. Skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises around, per a study that found just 10 minutes a day with the rope was comparable to 30 minutes of jogging.

Skipping is very beneficial as it works your whole body. Skip for about a minute and you’ll start feeling the burn in your arms, especially your deltoids. You could even proceed to using a heavier rope if you want to a more intense burn on your arms, or a lighter rope for doing double-unders or simply picking up pace.

Regular skipping also significantly improves the muscle tone in the legs and lower body especially your calves, since they primarily get flexed during any kind of jump movements. It is also very time efficient. You can skip for up to 15 minutes before you start up your day and the workout is for your entire body. For the whole day. Skipping is an underrated cardio exercise, the best at that.

Here are some incredible benefits of skipping:

  • Skipping is said to burn about 15-17 calories a minute. Running goes upto 12. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile.
  • It helps muscle toning.
  • Works the whole body.
  • The most inexpensive form of exercising.
  • It is time efficient.
  • Skipping can be done by anyone and everyone.
  • It can also be done anywhere, even in small spaces.
  • It helps improve bone density.
  • Just like any workout it helps improve the skin.
  • It helps attain balance.
  • You can skip in just anything.
  • It helps with your footwork, agility and coordination.
  • It engages and improves the hip flexor muscles (something we don’t consciously work towards).
  • All it needs is a jump rope. Precisely why it is ideal even when you’re travelling.

This form of exercise should not be boring at all. You can skip along with your friends, colleagues and/or family.

Have a skipping competition.

Implement other exercises into your skipping, say for every 10 skips 3 squats, or you can include double-unders in your normal skip routine.

Change your skipping style. There are various types of skipping styles:

1.The Criss-Cross

criss-crossA simple variation where you cross and uncross your feet each jump. Don’t always follow the same patterns. Sometimes I will cross my feet with my right foot in front three times and left foot in front only once. This improves your coordination and focus. See image below for better clarity.

Foot patterns for criss-cross. Follow steps 1 to 4. Make sure you stay on your toes the entire time.

2. Single Leg Hop

These are great for strengthening the legs separately. You can do five, ten, twenty or as many as you like from one leg and then switch to the other. It adds to your core and hip stability, and overall balance. I often mix these with 2 right and 2 left steps and continue for a minute.

3. Running in one spot

I use this skipping rope exercise to finish all of my skipping workouts. Each skip of the rope is one step. You’re basically running in one spot with the rope. When I do this combination it feels as if the rope is going a hundred miles per hour. It’s great for cardio training and improving the muscular endurance in your arms. I often utilize the side rope swing (see next) to relieve stress from my arms.

4. The Double Under

This is a movement that requires quite a lot of practice. So don’t get demotivated if you don’t get it in the first 10 times. The basic movement is to actually to skips in one jump. It would require you to jump higher, as well as move your hands faster. One thing you can do is, switch to a lighter rope so that you can move the rope quicker. This is quite common and a favourite amongst cross-fitters, runners and other kind of athletes.

Boxers use this variation most often (in fact, some of them only skip using double jumps). This one will take a while to master but it is worth the effort.

5. High knees

This is a great exercise to incorporate into a dynamic warm up. It is similar to running in one spot except after each step you will be bringing your knee up high to your chest. The objective is to bring each knee up as high as you can to activate your hip flexors and extendors as well as your abdominal musculature.

6. Split Jumps

This is a rather challenging variation because your balance and coordination have to be spot on. For each skip, alternate one foot forward and one foot back (on your toes). Your pace will naturally be slower because your feet have more ground to cover. Don’t get discouraged with this one. It looks easier than it is. I’m still working on improving my split jumps.

split-jumps

Foot patterns for split jumps. Alternate between positions 1 and 2. Remember to stay on your toes the entire time.

7. Two-by-two combo

This is one of my favorite one-foot-jump combos. I simply jump twice on my right foot and twice on my left foot and I continue alternating. I’ve done this skipping exercise so often that now I can get a very fast pace going. I often tend to make this a three-by-three combo or a five-by-two combo (I’m usually all over the place) to keep my body guessing.

8. Jumping Jack Jumps

This is something that I am not sure has another name, but this is how I put it. In terms of footwork, it is the same as jumping jacks. And the movement is the same as normal skipping.

As you can see, skipping is all about being creative. I’ve tried countless combinations over the years and am surprised by how many new ideas keep popping up.

 

-The Travellothoner

Best Wishes

Someday we’re going to come at a crossroads,

And things aren’t going to be the same.

Maybe you’ll reciprocate the way I feel,

Or maybe we’ll go our separate ways.

 

All I’d like to tell you irrespective of what happens,

Is that you’re always going to be special to me.

I have nothing but enjoyed your endless chatter,

And really hoped, wished and rejoiced the idea of a we.

 

You should know you’re super talented,

And your aura is excessively magnetic.

You should know you’re perfect in your own unique way,

You’re smarter than most on any given day.

 

And one day you’ll believe in yourself the way I do,

You’ll see your worth like I already do.

“Endless potential” is the way I’d always describe you,

One of the best human beings I ever knew.

 

I think you understand why I have to see this through,

My feelings for you are pure and you know that’s true.

I have been meaning to do this for a while but I have been so afraid,

Cause losing you seems unbearable and it’d kill me to see your memory fade.

 

But I’ll always be around keeping an eye on you from the shadow,

I’ll cherish your success and enjoy as you bloom like a rose.

I promise I’ll be there for you whenever you need me around,

But for now I have to go cause I know I let you down.

 

In conclusion I’ll say I wish you the best,

Open your eyes woman, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THE REST.

-The Travellothoner

To A Special Someone

You came into my life like a breath of fresh air,

Lit up my world and for me you cared.

It was so beautiful in the beginning this new found light,

It rejuvenated my life and gave me a reason to fight.

 

But soon the same thing happened like I always fear,

I started acting crazy thinking my light would disappear.

I tried so hard to hold on to you doing all things necessary,

For I feared if you left, a little part of my soul I’d have to bury.

 

I poured my heart out to you and cared for you deeply,

Little did I realise I was writing the end to our story so neatly.

Amidst all this my insecurity took over,

For I always thought you’d never pick me for as long as you are sober.

 

I’ll describe for you my situation and tell you why I did what I did,

Sometimes I feel it would have been better if my feelings for you I kept hid.

I thought my relationship with you was similar to that of the earth and sun,

The former wouldn’t exist if the latter stopped to burn.

 

And soon when this light began to fade,

I believe it was a price to Karma for my actions I paid.

I don’t know what our future will be and all my hope is dead,

Cause I know you’ll go away the day I confessed.

-The Travellothoner

The Confession

I will be honest with you though cause I feel you I owe you that,

You are the best thing that’s happened to me and that’s a fact.

I want to be a better man for you cause you deserve the best,

And I’m going to work hard to ensure I’m better than the rest.

 

Thanks to you I realized I have an ability to write,

To express my thoughts and feelings in words and to do what’s right.

Thanks to you I realize what it feels like to love,

A feeling you’ve redefined for me which earlier was as extinct as a dove.

 

Being around you also made me realize I have a serious problem,

And I promised myself to seek professional help for it and avoid a similar burn.

I hope one day you’ll forgive me and we can start fresh,

For you’ll always be special to me and better than the rest.

 

In conclusion I’ll say I’m sorry cause I never wanted to hurt you,

For you’re as special to me as a handful few,

Thank you for everything and I wish you nothing but the best,

I have to go away now but I’ll always keep an eye out for you and try to protect you from the rest.

-The Travellothoner

Becoming By Michelle Obama

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I thought I’d get an insight of what it was like living in the White House and what it was like to be the First Lady. But this book is so much more than that.

Celebrity memoirs are often like fondant-covered cakes, laboured to blemish-free visual perfection, but dry and claggy on the inside. In Becoming, ‘Michelle Obama’ can sometimes be accused of the same, but where she is ‘Michelle Robinson’, the young black girl growing up in the rough and tumble of Southside Chicago, she serves up an account so honest and raw, that the book can only be compared to a Christmas pudding — rich, deep and authentic. While the latter part of her life is fairly well known, the first third of the book honestly explains who she is, anchoring her to the role she will eventually play.

This book is Michelle Obama talking about her life right from when she was born in the South Side, Chicago all the way upto the end of President Obama’s second term. To begin with, this book talks heavily about how family, friends, her job, etc. have had an influence on the kind of values the author possesses. It is easy to notice how having loving, respectful and open minded parents contributed into her being the woman that she is.

She talks extensively about being a black woman being born in a black community and locality, the cultural changes she faced as she changed schools or jobs, her experience with racism, etc.

A woman who was driven by her thirst for knowledge and excellence and who wanted nothing from her folks except a hot meal and money to travel to school. Her grounded upbringing and responsible attitude are further highlighted when she sails through her career or takes up projects as the First Lady.

Further, the book talks about her first meeting with Barack Obama, her first impressions of him and how he was a human being. She talks (almost boasts) about his extraordinary wit, how he is as a partner and lawyer, and how he handled his way through political campaigns and presidency.

This book is nothing but an example of what happens when hard work, grit, determination and talent are channeled in the right direction. I personally cannot help but feel inspired and learn from the author, of how every big or small incident in her life encouraged her to learn and grow.

-The Travellothoner