Gone Too Soon

Today I’m writing about something that shook me to the core. I am writing about this after more than a year as I wasn’t ready to spell out those moments yet. I am not sure if I’m ready yet, but recently I read somewhere that we just have to begin it – however hard it may seem. I lost someone and I was grieving, and I’m still grieving over the loss but I have started to accept the loss. There are moments when I wake up at midnight with a cold sweat, hearing her voice in a dream, like she was alive and well and laughing out loudly – my little sister. I prefer to call her my sister and not reduce the hurt in anyway by spelling out ‘cousin’, because we were actually sisters who just happened to be born to different mothers.

My sister was a rebellious soul. She was the cowboy in our group of 4 sisters. She used to be the loudest one and the roughest one when it came down to fights or sports or whatever. The fact that me and her elder sister purposely left her out of our games used to be funny for me, but its not funny anymore. There are things I wish I had told her, when I had the chance. She was loved, pampered and cared for by everyone in her family, and she was her mother’s favourite child I secretly believed. Whatever she wanted, she fought for it and got it. Generally, she was the type of person who speaks out her mind, to whomsoever it may concern. My whole childhood up till the age when I got married, I had spent most of my vacations with my cousins in their home – running around, playing and when we grew up, we had discussed about boys and gossips and what not. I thought we had all of us figured out, we knew each other, we knew our paths, our dreams and aspirations and I believed that till this happened. I learned the hard way that we don’t know what is going on in other people’s minds; however close they are to us.

The last time I saw my sister was on her wedding day. I waved goodbye to her as I left her wedding reception – she was looking beautiful and happy and she was holding hands with her husband. That is the image I want to hold on to. The beautiful bride, the lights and the music and feeling of joy. I want to believe that she slipped and fell from the fifth floor, because it is too painful to think that she did it herself. Its too painful to know that she might have been alone, or battling through something which I couldn’t help her through, or the fact that I haven’t checked on her as much as I should have. My pain is absolutely NOTHING in front of what her parents are going through – they have no escape from the pain, and it hurts more when I see them, the hurt and the frustration of not having any answers. I wish nobody would have to go through this pain ever. Earlier, I wouldn’t have understood this, but now I am a mother and I would literally die rather than living after the loss of a child.

Life goes on. People will start to heal; time will heal the most difficult wounds. But I don’t believe there is a cure for what her parents are going through. There is a voice note in my phone which she sent telling about the tapioca dish she made, and I listen to it often. To hear her voice, to remind myself of the pain, to NOT forget the hurt and the loss. Each day I remember her at least once – I don’t want her to be forgotten – EVER. Whatever happened, I don’t know and maybe I will never know. But I want her answers, so I believe I will meet her when my time comes, and I will give her a whack on the head for leaving us so early without meeting my little girl.


How long do we stay in?

This question has been in my mind for the last one year. Exactly for a year after COVID-19 started spreading its waves of destruction across the world, I was the perfect mother hen. I ordered everything online, didn’t go out unless its absolutely necessary, and even if I did go out, I doused myself in sanitizer and handwash and a full bath on top of it all in order to ward off this uninvited virus guest. All in the fear of whatever happened in Italy, in some parts of North India – unable to breathe – that is a really scary way to die. What’s even scarier is watching your loved ones suffocate. Even though my taste buds dreamed of hot Fulka rotis and spicy Chilli Gobi (occasionally they dreamed of McDonald’s burgers and French fries), we never risked our favourite thing to do on weekends – eating out. We kept vigilant, reading the news and keeping ourselves informed of all the gory details of things happening in the world.

Things started changing a bit when I got pregnant and there was the absolute need of going to the hospital for monthly check-ups. First time we went to the hospital, I was too scared to be near other people – I was literally warding off corona virus with my imaginary wand by running away from crowds. That thing is not completely possible when I am visiting a doctor in a big hospital, I started saying to myself. Slowly we started having a tea and snack from the hospital cafeteria and later we graduated to a nearby vegetarian restaurant. Slowly I began enjoying the hospital visits and began to wait for the next check-up eagerly. Its true that man adapts, heals and overcomes anything – whatever fear or trauma. We were slowly progressing to how things were before COVID when the second wave started. Around the same time, my third trimester started.

Work was a very good distraction; I could lose myself in my work – finding out bugs for an application that is going to be used somewhere in the US. But the morning news was always increasing my anxiety to the peak. Thousands of people dying, everyday I could see at least one pregnant woman’s news of death following delivery complicated by COVID. I imagined my children without a mother, my husband slowly moving on in life with another imaginary woman and my children living life miserably. I hated myself for going to pregnancy when there is a pandemic going on. I was absolutely terrified of leaving my elder son. I was often in tears after reading the newspaper everyday (mostly due to hormones as I say to my husband now), and my husband told me not to read news everyday if I can’t control my fears. Anyway, the second wave started waning slowly and we were still safe. I gave birth to a baby girl, becoming a mother for the second time. Honestly, I was still worried when the doctor and nurses touched me or the baby, the fear of contracting COVID-19 seemed to have taken hold of me by roots. After one week from getting discharged, we didn’t contract the virus, thanks to Almighty. That seemed to boost up my confidence so much.

After postpartum rest, so many days of remaining indoors with an infant and a toddler, I got vaccinated and that seemed to inject me with a new found courage to venture out from home. I started going to supermarkets, textile shops etc (warily though). After one month, we even started going out with our 3-year-old, and he was so excited that we just had to take him out again. For the child’s sake, we took him to parks, less crowded shops and even restaurants. Generally, we all got a confidence that things are going well, no need to be worried about going out if we are careful etc. Even our parents started coming out with us sometimes, that was the absolute reminder that things are slowly but surely coming back to normal. We celebrated Christmas by going out with both kids (the younger one now 5 months old), ate outside and still we were good. Naturally, we went outside on New Year’s Day also. The next day, my daughter woke up with a stuffed nose, by evening my son had a runny nose and by next day he developed a fever and I also had a cold and blocked nose. We never suspected anything COVID related, such was our confidence. Gone were the days when I used to lose sleep when my husband sneezed or my mother-in-law had a cold and I wondered if it was COVID. Yesterday night, my head was almost ready to explode with headache and I asked my husband for some pain balm. He brought something and applied on my forehead. With a sudden jolt I realized that I am not getting any smell. Warning bells rang non-stop in my head and I started trying to smell different things – soap, shampoo, perfume, baby wipes, Vicks, Dettol and even kerosene. Nothing. My mind went blank – in shock or fear or some divine sort of courage, I don’t know.

Guilt took over in a few minutes. I cursed myself for going out with an infant and a 3-year-old to restaurants. My husband was lamenting over how we were going out more nowadays. My brain was planning on how to manage two kids who are sick and myself without taking help from asymptomatic family members which included elderly and weak ones. At the same time my brain was chewing over the disastrous things that might happen if something happened to me or kids or anyone, and how I can live (or die) with that. My super multi-tasking brain was giving me courage at the same time – people have endured worse; children are less affected and we are also normal human beings who are NOT immune to COVID like others. Somehow, we waited till morning and got tested. As I sit here, contemplating whether I am having COVID-19 (which took millions of lives around the world) or just usual blocked nose, I couldn’t help but think that I can’t stay indoors any more. Even if I got the virus or not, I simply can’t live in fear and waste moments of precious life. My son’s happiness as he runs around a park, or the look of wonder when my baby girl sees moving cars for the first time, or the sparkle in my husband’s eyes as he eats his favourite masala dosa from his favourite restaurant – all these are more important than fear of the unknown. Casually but with caution, we will step out. Will you?


Have you ever wondered about evolution? I’m not talking about Darwin’s theory, rather I’m talking about our own evolution from a scrawny teenager to the man or woman you are today. Its always a great timepass for me thinking about the changes that happened in me over the years. Right now, as I’m counting the months till I’m into 30, I am thinking about my own evolution very often. Recently, I met a school friend after so many years. In fact I met him for the first time after school. We saw a few times afterwards, and after the first day of awkwardness it was heartwarming to find that the wavelength still exists, we were those scrawny teenagers at heart.

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My friend casually stated how much I have changed, from the girl who used to come to school with oily hair and big glasses to lipsticks, contacts lenses and fashionable/presentable handbags. Later that night, I thought – is it the appearance only that changed? Hell no! I am a completely different person now. I’m not sure if many people feel so, but thinking back I never liked the old me. Apart from bad fashion choices, I made a lot of bad choices at that time which very badly affected my education, career and life paths. Even though I turned up not so bad in life there are times when we regret making certain life choices – that train of thoughts starting with ‘If I had done so then ‘. Even though I loved my school life, I don’t miss that life. I’ve seen so many people getting nostalgic about their school life, but the only thing I miss about being in school was the ample time we had for doing things we love, the music practice sessions, the teachers. But friends – No. I know it sounds strange, but its true. I don’t miss my school friends. Sounds pretty messed up, right?

As I analyse this strange phenomena I find out there are two reasons. The first one is that I never indulged in fun activities with my school friends like playing games (I wasn’t a sports person..still not), going for movies (parents didn’t allow till I was older), or any others. The second reason – I was that studious girl who felt all these were a waste of time from studies and the only real friends I had were my Harry Potter books. I do have very few school friends who keep in touch, but I guess I wasn’t popular among the famous guys and girls. As I moved from school to college, things changed as I met a whole bunch of new friends who didn’t have any pre-judgements and I made friends fast. The first year of engineering college was so awesome, and I got the taste of what fun real friends are. There was still so many restrictions from my parents’ side which dampened the spirits, but still I was having fun.

Somehow things changed again as so many things happened and again I pulled back from many good friends. Now when I look back, the decisions and choices we make before 20 years are completely stupid. So my real friends for life time came only later – when I was in Hyderabad for GATE coaching and later when I joined for Masters in Engineering. These two phases were real game changers and I still can’t emphasize strongly enough how much I value those days. I realized how much a person’s life changes when they start actually living with friends, away from parents. Had I been in a hostel from my graduation days I’m sure things would have been different. I became more sharing, caring and responsible. Late night talks, gossiping, doing laundry together, cooking together, a whole new family is being created for us and how beautiful those memories are. I’m so happy I evolved into a person with very less friends to a person with some best friends.

Through all the years of my infamous evolution, there was one person who faithfully stood by me through thick and thin. Now when I look back, the only real friend I had throughout was my brother. We were not the filmy type brother-sister duo where brother would cry seeing sister hurt. In fact ours was a more equal relation where he never quite pampered me (though I wish sometimes he had), treated me like an equal, fought with me, made me do my own things. We never kept in touch continuously, but I know when I need him he will be there, whatever happens. Also if someone hurts me, he will encourage me to kick their ass instead of doing it himself. So, whoever I am today, I have evolved the hard way through heartaches, heartbreaks, real friends, fake friends, special friends and rock solid support from family. Quite lucky, aren’t I?

PS: Image source: Google

My Little Teacher

Today I’m writing about the things I learnt from my son, a 20 months old toddler. Often we overlook these tiny humans, but watch closely and we can find so many things to learn from them. The life as a mother is taking its toll in many ways I agree, but its all worthwhile, believe me.

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1. Staying happy

The first and foremost thing I learned from my baby is that you can be happy ALWAYS. If we observe a toddler laughs loudly atleast 10 times in an hour. The giggles, cute little snorts and smiley faces are making the people around them also happy. No matter if they fell and cry, show them their favourite toy and they start smiling through the tears, get engrossed in their play and in a few minutes they forget all their pains. How many of us have tried this? Next time you’re hurt just take up your favourite hobby / favourite show/ call your favourite person/make your favourite meal. Get engrossed and forget the pain. The trick is to distract your mind which keeps focussing on the hurt. You just need to re-focus onto things you love.

2. Perseverance

Often I see my boy trying to pull open that cupboard which is locked with a key. I try to reason with him, saying it can be opened with a key only which I’m not going to give you. Still he tries to open with his whole strength. Seeing his effort, I offer him the key which I know he won’t be able to insert properly in the keyhole. He is happy with the result that I gave him the key. He tries again with full energy. Sometimes he loses interest, leaves the key and goes off. Sometimes he throws the key away in frustration. But he always come back, tries and within days he succeeds in inserting the key properly. The same continues in turning the key and opening the cupboard. Its amazing that the small kid has so much perseverance while we adults are disheartened by our first failure. Keep the fire burning, always come back with full energy. The result will be fruitful, although delayed.

3. Love unconditionally

As a parent, I have disappointed my baby in many ways. He cries when he wakes up and doesn’t find me near. He cries when I don’t give him my mobile phone / TV remote / other costly items that may get damaged. He cries when I don’t let him spoil freshly laundered clothes. He cries when I scold him / pinch him for beating / biting others. In a day there are so many times when he throws tantrums and the reason behind the tantrum is me. Still he loves me unconditionally. The minute I pretend to cry, he comes running to my arms and showers me with kisses. At night he needs me beside him to sleep no matter how much I have made him cry unintentionally (No mother in the world wants their child to cry deliberately…situations!). His face blooms like a flower when he sees me first after waking up. I cuddle him up in the morning soon after waking up. Now I ask myself – Are we adults this much forgiving? How many days we build up anger before finally forgiving small mistakes? Even after days/months we keep pricking the old wounds. Be like a baby – love without conditions, forgive and be happy in the smallest of things!

4. Curiosity

The one big change that happened in my life after the baby was born is that I began observing nature again. Just a crow on a tree outside keeps my little one engaged and happy for so much time. Slowly I began observing nature through his eyes and good lord, we do live in a beautiful world. In the mechanical monotony of home – office – home routines its been a while since I paused to smell the flowers in my garden, or noticing anything beautiful. Nowadays I’m astounded in the variety of birds around us, and the different sorts of chirpings we hear everyday. Its like I’ve suddenly tuned into a new radio channel. All these beauties I have been ignoring. The child finds all this so entertaining and in turn the curiosity needs to be developed in us also. From my baby I learnt this lesson – I’m now enjoying our nature more, which soothes my mind.

5. Compassion

I truly believed that good manners, kindness all these are to be taught. Turns out most of the people have some of the seeds of compassion and other good traits embedded in them by birth. From blowing kissies to kittens in the cartoons to offering food to crows, they do have concern and love for other living beings. May be they learn from others, maybe its their goodness. When was the last time we hugged our friends? or family members? When was the last time we said ‘I love you’ to the people that matters? Lets learn it from toddlers, lets hug and kiss people who love us ( after the covid-19 pandemic passes of course!) and not take them for granted.

Apart from this, I’m still learning so much from my little one, in fact he is teaching me new lessons of patience, how to curb your frustrations etc with all sorts of mischief and a cute little face. In fact I’m growing along with him – as a mother, as a friend, as a better human being. And I’m cherishing each moment to the fullest because as they say, very soon our homes will be less messy and a lot quieter and the little ones will no longer fit into our laps and we are going to miss them terribly. More like sand in our fists, their childhood will drizzle past, and can never be regained. So be like a baby (pun intended)!!

Dealing with the Monotony

When you watch a happy family enjoying shopping or watching a movie , we may feel like ‘Wow, look at them. They are so happy’. Often we feel the same about ourselves too. Like we are good. We are making some good memories. And in those happy moments, we may feel so proud of the lives we have created for us and our family. The thing about happiness is they just don’t last. Cruel isn’t it? Even a little jape made by any outsider or by someone in your family may spoil the whole balance of your family. And when there is no external factor, sometimes our own inner turmoil may affect the happiness of the whole family.

Dealing With Monotony - Guest Columnists - Parshah

Mostly, the inner thoughts impact women more. This indirectly makes women the problem-makers in a family. The main reason being women are over-thinkers and more sensitive. Another factor being the fact that women are providing more in a family – be it in raising children or cooking or cleaning – in addition to regular jobs in case of working women. These are ingrained deep into the minds of people and that cannot be changed, even though some positive changes can be seen nowadays. Most women never complained in the older generations like our mothers and grand mothers, but today its not the same. Some call it equality, others may call it feminism. The same way a loving husband who helps his wife in household chores is seen as the ideal man by some, and a good-for-nothing-fella by some others.

Coming back to the topic, over-thinking in women may just strike a chord unexpectedly. You are perfectly happy in your life, doing all your chores responsibly and even your husband is contributing as much as he can. All of a sudden you feel as though he can do something more right? Why is the child being so un-cooperating? Why should I be the one to solve his/her tantrums always? Why am I supposed to solve everything for everyone? Its like I’m living for making others’ life comfortable? Who will make my life comfortable? This saga of thoughts may continue to result in fights between couples who were perfectly in love an hour ago. For some it may dangerously lead to thoughts like ‘I am so worthless. Nobody loves me. Why should I keep on living? ‘ . The one thing about our minds – its a dreadful master and a faithful servant.

Most of the women dealing with depression came all this way. I think we just need to show the red signal to our thoughts when it goes down that dangerous path. Its difficult, I know. But definitely not impossible. Atleast we need to divert our thoughts – take up some of our old hobbies, read a book, hum a song. Take a piece of paper and jot down the things around you that make you happy. List out the name of persons who genuinely loves you, even though you may feel like they don’t. Take a break from all the chaos when it becomes too much. Go shopping alone, go to a beauty salon and get your hair done – You’ll definitely feel better. When nothing works, go hug your mother. It all becomes better then. Now you know how your child feels when he/she clings on to you. I’m sure you’ll feel double the energy in doing all those tiring things for your child. Also remember how much your husband cared when you were having the baby. That alone will erase all the hard feelings for him. Converse with love and I’m sure everybody will understand you.

Just put all the negative thoughts that monotony brings into a hypothetical trash box and throw it away. All these are fool proof methods – tried and succeeded by so many people. So, its all about your mindset. Nothing about life is monotonous, we just need to add the colors ourselves. Colors of love, passion, happiness and gratefulness.