Writing Prompt SOCS Letter M- Mirror Mirror on the wall

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

We all have heard and read this story. Every time the evil queen asks the question to mirror expecting her name to come up, mirror takes the snow whites’s name. What follows is saga of jealousy, gaining supremacy and in the end snow white is victorious. 

The story plays out differently in our lives now. You are the evil queen as well as the Snow White. The mirror has been replaced by the social media.

We are forever clicking selfies, photoshop them to get that flawless skin, lovely cheeks and beautiful smile.  We post them and check with bated breath for the first like  and then every five minutes how many likes and comments are being received.  When you get the response as per your wish you are the Snow White and when you don’t you are the evil queen. 

The evil queen keeps looking for answer, that perfect selfie or a post. Till she gets that she throws herself in the vicious cycle of low self esteem, depression and feeling of rejection. 

Wouldn’t be the best if you try to be the mirror instead of snow white or evil queen. Mirror sees exactly what is in front of eyes, it is honest, it doesn’t lie. It is the fairest character of the story!  Be the mirror!

The Saturday prompt by Linda G Hill Stream of consciousness Saturday #SOCS starts with M . to know more visit the link below and enjoy my post


017.My Struggle As kidney Patient Part 10: Not Without Them

Reading my journey, I am sure you must have noticed the tremendous support Dinesh and I have received from our family and friends.  Difficult times are true barometer of people who stand by you in your difficult times and I am extremely lucky in this department. 

My illness got me closer to people with whom I was already close and also got closer with people who I was closer once but kind of lost keeping touch with regularly. 

Our friends became a pillar of support in the initial trying phase of my illness. While Dr. Sanjeev helped with overseeing my treatment rest of friends were taking care of Dinesh who was having hard time grasping with situation. His wife Mona was there for my transplant to make me feel comfortable and updated Dinesh about surgery. Dinesh’s other friends Dinar, Jyotsna, Satish did not leave his side, waited with him in the hospital, slept in the car in the hospital parking area and boasted his morale. They would visit me regularly in the hospital as well as home when I was little better. My friend Sarika came every day in the evening to give me and Mamata company. 

When Dinesh had to move to Mumbai, all of them were on my sister’s speed dial and would come home to help her with me. There was one instance when I was not feeling well in the night I ended up crying, Mona and Jyotsna came all the way to console me and cheer me up and left only once I fell asleep. They would take Sayali with them to spend time with their kids.

My kitty gang did not have our monthly luncheon when I was unwell and even when I was in isolation, kept me in good spirits. 

Few friends who do not live in Pune but are regularly in touch found it unusual when I stopped responding to their messages and calls. They knew something was wrong and called Dinesh and kept enquiring about me. One of my friends on my not responding to her calls went to the extent of taking out her late husbands cell, charge it and  dial Dinesh’s number. When she found out my illness, she dropped everything and came to meet me next day all the way from Mumbai. I am so touched with that gesture. 

My college gang kept calling me frequently and came to meet me which was a much needed breather in my otherwise boring existence that year. Just not my friends, even my sisters friends came to meet once they realise how grave the situation was and my sister needed comforting shoulder. 

My colleagues kept checking on me, called me and visit me. In fact in one of the annual meet ,my team recorded a lovely video message and signed a get well card and sent me. I still watch that video. 

I also got very close to my cousins. We were always close but kind of got busy once we got married with our life, work and kids. My cousin Vrushali had called Dinesh to wish him on his birthday and came to know about me. The next day, all my family members made a trip to hospital. They would cheer me up. I had lost my appetite and refused to eat hospital food. My eldest cousin Anita Tai, would cook a sumptuous lunch and send every day including a dessert which invariably was the only thing I ended up eating. 

At home, they would often come home and spend time with us. This was such a relief for Mamata, she would have someone to talk to as I would be sleeping most of the time. Vrushali who is a  Pranic healing practitioner , an alternative healing therapy, came thrice a week for that entire year during her lunch break to give me therapy. Her healing sessions would relax me and help me sleep better. When we were not in a mood of healing, the session ended up being a gossip session. 

As a family, we are much closer today compared to few years back.  In fact when Anitatai’s  daughter was getting married, we had a party for her at my place and everyone was there. It was really enjoyable. If you have ignored your family ties, don’t wait for someone to fall sick to regroup. Life is short and unpredictable. 

Just not my family and friends, our domestic helps have played a huge role. Apeksha was a hired nurse but she proved to be an outstanding support. She ensured I was taking my medication on time, reached dialysis on time. She was extremely vigilant when it came to my help. Many of the hospital staff would ask her help as she was a trained nurse. 

My driver Sachin didn’t take any leaves till I was going through dialysis, he would always come whenever he was needed. I would scold him if I didn’t want to go for dialysis but he wouldn’t listen and he along with Apeksha made sure I reached on time for my dialysis. He was among few who offered his kidney for me. My nanny Radhika who was with us for five years looked after Sayali so well. We didn’t have to worry about her school, classes at all.  Once Mamata asked Sayali in a lighter mood “who are you scared of the most?”  She said “Radhika” It was bit of a shocker for all of us but she was the one who kept her in the line. 

I have lost the count of people who came to meet me and cheer me up. So many of them have prayed for me, wished me good health and it is because of them I have been able to come out of my illness. 

If there was a Forbes list of richest people on earth on the basis of good people in their life, I would make it to that list for sure! 

Netflix Review Bad Boys Billionaires: India Disappoints Trying To portray Boys In Good Light

We see them leading snazzy lives, throwing lavish parties, fly personal planes and hobnobbing with whose who .  Then all of a sudden a small news crops up on TV about troubles brewing in their company and in no time it is blown in a big scandal.  The public anticipates that the accused will be leaving the country and they do, with government announcing they have been tricked. People who have been duped sit fuming. 

This has become a common occurrence in India and this is what you get to see in the Netflix’s new docuseries Bad Boys Billionaires: India.

The series covers three big bad boys- Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Subrata Roy. All three episodes focuses on their meteoric rise and then their fall.

Vijay Mallya came from wealthy family but Nirav Modi and Subrata Roy are rags to riches story. All three of them had shared dreams. To be the best and biggest of India. They all had a vision for doing something that no one had ever done in India and they certainly did. Then what went wrong?

Every vision needs to be supported by good business model, honest practices and most important, it needs to spearheaded by a person with ethics. All three failed in ethics.  They did not know where to stop or draw a line. The series showcases their rise, their arrogance which led to their fall and how they stopped caring for people who ultimately helped them to become “Big Boys”

It’s amusing to watch Vijay Mallya flimsily claiming “ we hire models for air hostess and serve lobsters in first class”  On asked if he is taking huge risk by opening 100 jewellery stores worldwide when world economy is slow, Nirav Modi states “Men still have wives and girlfriend to please so they will buy diamonds and thats why this is a fail proof business”. The interviewer is utterly shocked.  Poor and hard working people of India were Subrata Roy’s “investors” who earned 20 -25 rupees per day and gave his company 5 rupees to save money so they could marry of their daughter or educate their children for better life. 

Then bad business decisions turn things upside down and you get to see their real character and lack of empathy.  You see Vijay Mallya throwing himself a snazzy 60th birthday party flying Enrique Iglesias while he didn’t bother to pay salaries to his employees for six months. Subrata Roy worried about his weight and had a yoga instructor visiting him in jail. One of the interviewees aptly quotes he actually wrote a book from the jail as if he was Mahatma Gandhi.

The makers have interviewed people who were closely working with these men who seem to be hell bent on portraying the accused in a very positive light. That is quite bothersome to the extent that the series feels like PR stunt to enhance their image. There is also no reference of the political nexus that could have helped these men fled. In fact, there seems to be effort of mentioning political pressure being mounted on the accused to show the government in good light.

There are also heart wrenching interviews of people talking about their agonies and difficulties they have been facing because of the frauds committed. Hard working, poor, honest , simple people who have been duped and do not know how to ride out of it. An agitated ex employee of Kingfisher states  “Vijay Mallya is a normal criminal except he wears fancy clothes and throws lavish parties”

The series raises many questions on why there is no regulatory framework to check fraudulent activities? Why Indian government failed to locate Nirav Modi when a simple British investigative journalist could? Will they ever be brought back to India and will the people who have been wronged will get justice? 

With its drawbacks its a reasonably good watch if you like world of business.  It is a 3.5 out 5 stars from me. 

What Else You Need In life?

I was meaning to call one of my school friends for days but procrastination had better of me.I finally managed to dial her that too at a time I was sure she wouldn’t pick up. In the rush hours of morning!  I thought if she has time we will talk or else at least she will know I had thought of her and did call her. Not usual empty promises for me. 

As expected she didn’t pick up the phone but returned my call by noon. We started talking as if there was no time had lapsed. We spoke as if we will get each other and we certainly did.

After initial talk on who is doing what and where, she started talking about her life. She shared with me the crisis she faced In last few years with family, health of her husband, money and how tough things were for her. Then she mentioned now she is in a much better space with husband in good health, a son, a good house and a car , her small business and then she said “What else you need in your life? I have everything and I am happy” 

Believe me she is the first person I have heard saying that with sincerity and meant every word of it. I am so proud of her. 

In the day and age of “I want this!”  “I need that”  “I don’t have that” “I wished I had it”  it was refreshing to hear that. 

I spent most of my afternoon thinking about my life in the context of her remark. I have a laundry list of things I want to better and have complaints about – My swollen face due to steroids, my balancing issues and weaker legs due to illness, my daughter wants to be all by herself in her room all day, my inability to lose weight, I could have gone up the corporate ladder had I not fallen sick and few more.  

I have more than everything I need in my life and life has been unusually kind to me. Still, instead of being happy about how far I have come I end up beating myself for things I cant do or don’t have. So I decided to apply “what else you need?” and realised I was confusing my wants with my needs.

Two years back I was dependent and wheelchair bound and now I am physically capable to be on my own. Not being able to climb few stairs should hardly be an area where I have to feel bad about myself but I do. There are always elevators and escalators at most of the places. I am perfectly in position to reach the top floor. What else I need?

My real need was to reach the top but my want was I should do so using stairs. There is nothing wrong with the wants but they do end up impacting our well being and we miss the bigger picture. 

I am sure many of you reading this may have issues of your own. That is where “what else you need in your life?” becomes a powerful question that you should ask yourself. I applied “what else I need?” to most of my complaints and felt happy after looking at it from need vs wants perspective. I am practicing this regularly and feeling good about myself. Join in! 

My Experience Of 21 Day Meditation Challenge by Art Of Living Foundation

Few months back I did a 21 day Abundance challenge and enjoyed it immensely.  It opened up few areas of my life that I otherwise wouldn’t have ventured into.  So when I received the notification for 21 Day Meditation  challenge by Art of Living foundation I grabbed it.  

I have followed AOL foundation (Art of Living) on and off and have done few courses with them.  I also practice Sudarshan kriya from time to time. The meditations were to be facilitated by Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravishankar)  himself and that was the main attraction for me to enrol.

The timing was also perfect. 7.30 in the evening just before dinner and generally this time slot doesn’t have too many demands from lady of the house.  

There was a schedule given and each day had specific meditations. I decided to maintain a diary of my experiences after each mediation and I am sharing my observations from few particular days. 

Day 1: Meditation For Beginners: The first day was for introduction on how to meditate.  It was for 10 minutes and 10 minutes passed by swiftly.

Day 2: Art of deep relaxation:  This went on for 25 minutes but again time flew by similar to day 1. Surprisingly, I couldn’t sleep at all that night.  Instead of being relaxed I felt alert through the night.

Day 3: What the Eyes Reveal:  It involved some exercises for eyes.  It felt funny to do those and reminded me of Madhuri Dixit’s famous eye rolls from a song.  This was very relaxing for the face. Again that night I had disturbed sleep. 

Day 4: The Gift of Life:  A peaceful experience. We were asked the look inwardly and let go of any efforts. In fact in all meditations Gurudev instructed the participants to be effortless with body and thoughts  and not to try hard. I managed to do it with body on day 4.  The sleep quality was better.

Day 5: Beyond the Body: This is where the magic happened to me.  This was by far the best experience till now.  It happened on teachers day and funnily I thought of my favourite teacher from 4th grade and I also thought of the AOL teacher with whom I did my first AOL course. It was immensely relaxing experience. In fact I was in that state for most of the evening. Sleep quality was fantastic. I woke up really refreshed 

Day 7: sound of silence :  Contrary to the title, this meditation involved listening to the sounds around you as effortless as you can. In the process of listening the sounds you let go of the thoughts you have in your mind.  In normal course this is the meditation I do. I like to hear the sounds around me. 

Day 8: The fire within: It was about our digestive health. This meditation involved being aware of what is going in your body and focusing on digestive systems.  I recommend this meditation to people who have issues with digestive health. As for me I did feel lighter the next day. 

Day 10: Bouncing Awareness : This meditation had few exercises in the beginning and some new elements were introduced to experience the energy created in your body.  This was the day where I was closest to thoughts free mind and it happened effortlessly.

Day 14: What about thought?: 14 days in to meditation, I got used to the practice and I found it easier to go thought free for most of the time on this day. Meditation started getting easier.

Day 16: Improve sleep quality: –  Again I recommend this to those who have sleep problems. Bhramari Pranayam was taught during this and overall it was a very soothing experience. Sleep quality was fantastic again. 

Day 21: Manifesting Intention: We all have certain desires and goals and often confused on how to achieve them. The last meditation was about connecting with your desires and manifesting them to achieve it. I found this bit technical. 

Meditation experience is very personal. You may have a different experience than I did. Few thoughts came to my mind, sometimes I was distracted , sometimes I felt emotional and sometimes I smiled to myself.

I experienced calmness. I was going through a phase where I had disturbed sleep and meditation definitely improved my sleep quality. I also felt in control of myself. I managed to reduce my social media time, food binging which I am really proud of. I also felt energetic and motivated. 

The big one however was people, places and moments flashing in my mind in meditative state. I had my 4th grade teacher, AOL teacher who taught Sudarshan kriya, a friend whom we lost untimely and my dad smiling at me. I relived the moment when I saw my daughter for the first time after she was born. 

I enjoyed these 21 days. I looked forward to those 30 minutes.Overall I felt good. I called these 30 minutes as Medi Time. How mani-pedi is spa for your hand and feet, Medi is spa for your soul. Go and indulge yourself! 

Note: Meditations from this challenge is available on AOL site from this link https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH-0HZ0SQ_PF8YaQAGLhXN1KE-9Wg3i1Mc