When Hemoglobin Bani Low

Around mid-March, this year, I started feeling breathless when I walked short distances or climbed a few stairs. I thought this must be due to the pollution in NCR. Afterall I did have weak lungs, thanks to the TB of glands that I suffered in 2013.

On April 5th, 2018, my novel #WhenPadmaBaniPaula debuted on Amazon.in

This was a dream come true for me. A newbie, with no formal training in writing, no literary connections whatsoever managed to churn out a solo novel in a short span of 4 years. I was delirious with joy and somehow my breathlessness and niggling pains didn’t seem to matter. Almost all the forums that I wrote for were very generous in their support for my debut novel.

As I got busy with the promotional activities, I developed a severe ache in my right hand and my back. I could barely lift my right arm. Most of the time I was on pain-killers. I grit my teeth and tried to march along and soon I barely managed to get any work done.

A dear friend Amar suggested physiotherapy. The doctor checked me up and suggested corrective measures. Shortly, I left for Hyderabad to meet with my parents.

First four days were spent catching up and eating. Soon I met with my mom’s doc for increasing aches. The moment he saw me, he ordered a slew of tests.

And then the biggie was dropped via the test results.

My Hemoglobin level was at 5.6 g/dl.

Hemoglobin levels (7 – 8 g/dL), according to new clinical guidelines from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) is treated as critical often needing a transfusion. Here I was merrily scamping around with a 5.6. Luckily for me, I tested negative for Sugar, therefore, Diabetes, Thyroid. My Liver and kidneys hadn’t been affected so far, BP was fine though pulse remained pretty high.

The Doctor said I now needed a Hematologist working with a reputed hospital for the next steps. But this new doctor had no appointments till July end. We called in another standby doctor who suggested immediate drip with a series of injections spread over 10 days. The whole thing was spiraling out. Panic was setting in. To think I had come to Hyderabad to chill, meet pals and do a round of bookshops selling #WhenPadmaBaniPaula!

As we were mulling our options, we turned lucky. Almost immediately, we received a call from the hospital. A slot had opened up as a patient had canceled his appointment.

The Hematologist suggested an immediate drip with an injection to absorb the medicines that would be pumped in. The top layer of my digestive tract was gone and hence I could stomach only barely seasoned food.

I still remember the horrible night after the drip. My system took time to this new medication. I had a fever, acute gas attack and my back had given away. I spent the whole night standing and howling loudly.  But in a couple of days, I was on a path to recovery.

All because of my family. My wonderful parents and my loving husband with the support of my Darling_Dotty (and Sonny’s calls). I couldn’t have recovered this fast otherwise. I owe it to them entirely.

Before I left Hyd, I met the Doc again with the tests redone.  My Hemoglobin level now was at 7.9 g/dl. I have to undergo tests every month for the next 4 and I am on medication for at least 3 months.

Now you might wonder dear reader why do I bore you with my medical troubles.

The good doctor said I had been functioning at 30% of my capacity. That boggled the living daylights of me. I could do more if I turned fitter.

Most of us Indian women have a terrible Hemo reading. It has become an accepted norm sadly. Our needs come last. Our health is tended to once the family has been looked after. A Healthy Us is paramount for the smooth running of our family and their greater achievements. Because we are the focal point of our tiny kingdom.

Take your tests today before it becomes dangerous. Invest in yourself. You owe it to self!

And today I climbed 6 flights of stairs and I was barely breathless. Very Happy!!

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 10.53.03 PM

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Kadam Chhota, Change Bada!

Let me at the very outset confess that I wasn’t going to participate in this.

What could I add that hasn’t been said already? But the recent events in my own small sphere have been instrumental in my penning this post.

Scintillating_Sonny has been interning in a new city. A packed semester left him very little time to finalize a place to stay in his chosen city. Scintillating_Sonny was to stay with his seniors from college for a couple days and then move into his own quarters.

As parents of grown-ups, we are simply expected to stay back and watch the scary proceedings while flaunting a benign understanding smile, with tsunamis exploding in our stomachs. Plus transferring the money as and when required. The itch to set things right is so overpowering that your knuckles turn white because you are holding onto the chairs to control yourself and avoid saying ‘I told you! But you just don’t listen to me!“.

Thanks to GyaaniGoogle, we knew all about his trysts with destiny. I think my hotline with God worked because Scintillating_Sonny soon found a place to stay, where all the checkboxes were ticked. (Well Lord Supreme had to respond. I was buzzing him non-stop, 24/7)

During his stay with his seniors, Sonny made the breakfast every day. As luck would have it when he was vacating the seniors’ house, there were no flatmates present. My boy cleaned the entire kitchen, washed the dishes, restocked the fridge, cleaned up the bathroom too. Like a typical mom, I wailed away singing, “Badi nazo se pali Hamara Banna“. It was Hmm_Husband who brought back some needed clarity. “We should be proud of the way we have raised him. Self-sufficient and highly responsible. Take pride in that and stop moping! He is a survivor!

Bhale hi mere Kadam Chhota ho, yeh Change Bada hi hai!

Because Sonny is completely house-trained. Countless times he has rustled up food for the family while I was busy with my own work. Washed the dishes when the maid didn’t turn up.  Hmm_Husband has been the pusher here, saying everyone needs to contribute to the efficient running of a home.

Right now, in her summer holidays, Darling-Dotty is being trained to look after the morning routine of the kitchen.

As a family, we may not be bringing in the revolution. But we are making a small change in our own sphere, where there is no gender associated with chores and all four of us are equal entities making a beautiful whole.

In the FB group (SeniorSchoolMoms) that I admin, Moms query freely and frankly about the educational options ahead for their children and seek assistance for their teenagers’ troubles like cyberbullying, peer pressure, relationship issues.

 I am happy that I have been able to create a supportive and an idea-sharing platform where Moms could be free of harsh judgments.

My ‘Happy Hours’ are 5-7pm when I tutor teenagers of the condo. No topic is taboo enough. We discuss everything.

I often say that Rational Thinking should be the only religion because increased Misogyny is the vile by-product when misplaced machismo gets heralded as exemplary.

When we raise sorted, rational, fair children, unburdened by the narrow schisms of society, we would have contributed to nation building.

The change begins with me.

Let us keep walking.

Every change begins with a small step, whether it’s a change within your family or the whole country! India’s hero, Padman, had its digital premiere on ZEE5, on 11th May. Don’t miss this inspiring true-life story, on ZEE5. Download the app and subscribe nowFor every subscription, ZEE5 will donate Rs. 5 towards the personal hygiene needs of underprivileged women.

From a Blogger to an Author

 There are many writers who are looking to make the transition from a Blogger to an Author.

How does one go about that?

Typically a blogger is someone who writes about anything that inspires. It could be his/her own experiences, observations, opinions on events of the world. The blogs are individual articles which are short and reflecting a core purpose, like a cookery blog, fashion or a lifestyle blog. These are expected to be updated periodically by the blogger. The blogs typically have images and links to other related websites with all the relevant trending hashtags.

With an individualistic content that attracts eyeballs, a blogger can easily build up a dedicated reader base.

An Author is a composer of a literary work, who can pen a novel, a poem or an essay.

Your novel is a reflection of what you observe, learn, imbibe, execute, implement, give and receive in your life’s journey.

Writing a book tests not just your skills or passion but also your discipline and dedication because it is always a long-term project. Most importantly, it is a herculean task to balance the right ingredients in your book and get it published.

So how does one make the transition? What are the things to keep in mind when one makes the move from a blogger to an author?

1) You should be a storyteller first – An intrinsic one at that. The passion to tell your tale has to come from the gut. Because writing a novel involves stretching a larger canvas, stitching it with a deeper concrete theme.

2) Just as bloggers have networks and platforms to showcase their write-ups, there are enough storytelling platforms with churning discussions. It is a good idea to participate in competitions held by these forums across various levels to assess and hone one’s skills.

3) The harshest truth is that there are more writers per square inch than readers. How does one catch the eyeball? Innovating is the key. Tackling different themes or retelling an old tale on a different scale are some of the methods.

4) Give yourself the vital push needed for being a storyteller. Write at least 500 words every day. Add layers and experiment across genres.

5) The ability to develop a keen perspective on life’s twists and turns helps because your story should convey a point either subtly or bludgeon the same in.

6) Being creative is paradoxically all about continued discipline. Because one needs to be diligent and extremely patient during the multiple iterations that your story undergoes – either due to editor’s or publisher’s suggestions.

7) Editing a book is vastly different from editing a blog simply because blogs are shorter and easier to manage. Editing book spanning thousands of words involves great levels of concentration and effort from the writer.

8) One needs to be open to critique and criticism. Sporting a pachyderm helps when someone dissects your heartfelt tale.

9) Have a support system to fall back on in times of self-doubt. Connect with beta readers who will truly tell the worth of your work

So go ahead and take the leap of faith. Get that story out and get published.

#FreeWebinar – I, Anupama Jain, author of ‘When Padma Bani Paula‘, will share with you my experience as a budding blogger to a published author.

 on Sat, May 26, 2018, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM IST @juggernautbooks 

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 9.10.15 PM

Featuring in the Top 100, Hot New Releases in Contemporary Fiction, since its debut. 

Pick your copies on Amazon.

When death comes calling

love3I had been very restless since afternoon.

Apparently, one’s sixth sense warns you when something terrible is about to happen. I couldn’t quite put my finger to it, but I knew, all I had to do was to wait for the Tsunami to unleash its expected destruction.

I haven’t made my introduction yet have I?

I am…Why go into names? I am one of those thousands of brides whose husbands have gone back to the war front to guard the nation or to war-torn nations to earn some much-needed moolah, after impregnating us.

So that I’m not alone in his absence. I have someone to tend to, attend to.

How many tearful and sleepless nights had been spent clutching the cold pillow for comfort?

How many festivals went by praying for his safety, while every inch of my core pined for his smile, the twirl of his moustache whenever he saw me eyeing his broad back surreptitiously?

One fateful day, he became a mere statistic for the government. They declared him, ‘missing in action’.

And my reality came crashing down and an ambivalent paradise became my escape.

The rest of the world got on with its business while I oscillated between prayers and pathos!

Was he there or not? Am I a wife or a widow? With every turn of the calendar, our memories together started getting hazier. A vigil was all I had. I barely remembered the timber of his baritone. He even smelt and looked different in my dreams.

I was angry with myself. I wasn’t even loyal or devoted to the idea of my missing-for-long-husband.

What had I become?

The mounting debts, growing kids, whining elders and reducing income had robbed me of my softcore.

************************************************************

And the Tsunami came as silently as possible but with an unforeseen vengeance.

A clinical declaration by the powers-to-be said, my husband had been shot dead. And the body hadn’t been found yet.

But the mourning by all had started almost immediately.

The depressing wailing was soon seeping into the muddy crumbling walls whereas I just wanted to sleep.

A painless sleep. A dreamless sleep. A contented sleep.

I sat with the wailing mob, watching them beat their chests, watching the evening shadows make patterns on the closing-in-walls.

I thought of running away from this morbid courtyard but I still participated in the proceedings wordlessly.

My eyes were totally dry. Why wasn’t I crying?

My aching breaking body gave out a huge sigh of relief.

I realized I didn’t have to tend to his memories anymore.

I could exhale. I could breathe. I could restart from where I had paused my life. I could move on.

Oh, Lord! Why was I turning out to be this monster? Why wasn’t I grieving?

I then understood, because I loved him so, his death shouldn’t be my sentence.  He was in a better place and I was too.

I had punished myself enough by vacillating between hope and despair. Now I had a closure.

It was time to let go. It was also the time to cherish him and grieve too.

And I crumpled up and bawled away.

****************************************

39 lives!

And so many interconnected dependent lives

Pregnant Dreams and Hopes on pause

Now a mere mirage of 4 years of relentless, restless wait

Cruelly wiped off with a mere declaration.

Will there be closure? Even peace?

When you have a family to come back to You are one of the luckiest on Earth!

 

/* For those who lost their loved ones in the line of duty. A loss is tough to deal with but the uncertainty is even tougher*/

Pavan – My Bro

We, as a family, are currently undergoing a little rough weather as far as health parameters go. Mom had to undergo an emergency corrective surgery while my sister-in-law stares at a terrible situation where, in this immediate year, both her parents may…My brave Sister-in-law has been in India, tending to her ailing parents while Bro has been gallantly been managing his home and office, single-handedly.

So far he has been doing splendidly.

He has learnt to braid the daughter’s hair 😀 by looking at the youtube videos.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-07 at 22.35.42

He has managed to set the curd 😀 My bro hates the very smell of Dahi but for the sake of the apple of his eye, learnt the Nuske to make sure the curd doesn’t curdle. He can now cut and cook Bhendi, and fry Aloo to a crisp nicety. He has rustled up Methi Aloo, Dal, Schezwan Tofu with Sriracha sauce.  Dinner is a fantastic one-pot affair.

In a nutshell, Bro manages home, picks and drops his kids and also attends to office affairs, from home, while the kids splendidly horse around. Laundry is sorted.

Just as we denounce bad behavior by an uncaring spouse, when a man stands by his woman and steps in, it is also time to heap praises.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Pavan – My Bro! Extremely proud of the great work you are doing now.

God bless you Sis-in-law.

Keep walking Tall!

Padmavati – The Queen tells her story

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 11.49.17 AM

Take a break, read something nice and enjoy a whole new world of literature!‘ Thus exhorts @Readomania.

I did so and read ‘Padmavati – The queen tells her own story‘.

This epic tale has been superlatively penned by Sutapa Basu, who has a thirty-year old professional career as a teacher, editor,  author, poet and publishing consultant. Sutapa Basu describes herself to be a compulsive bookworm and an irrepressible story teller.

Most of us have read this story in our childhood. When so much is known, yet unknown about Padmavati, how far can a spinner stretch the same, within the fettering limitations? That too, without letting the readers’ interest sag? Sutapa Basu manages this difficult feat, adroitly.  Her infinite writing experience, comes to the fore, in making this literary outing, a tour de force. The tale is peppered with intricate details. With its vivid imagery, the setting almost becomes a fourth protagonist along with the loving king and husband Rawal Rattan Singh and the depraved Khilji.

For example: ‘An oval emerald, snugly nestling in tiers of frothy white lace, floated in the crushed silk of turquoise seas. It was the enchanted island of Singhaldweep, off the eastern coast of Bharatdesh.’

‘The fort of Chittor was laid out on its escarpments. Roughly oval in shape, it looked like a fat fish.’

The sensitivity with which Jauhar has been handled, gives the reader, an ample hint of what to expect.

In the centre of all the chaos, only one figure remained serene and motionless. As the gold, saffron and blue blaze made rings around her, rising higher and higher, slowly enclosing the New Queen, she was like a sculpture, absolutely still. Nothing seemed to touch her; not the torment, not the grief, not the fear. It defied all principles of logic. Where did a girl find such strength, not garnered even by the meditation of ascetics, to tolerate the torture of being burnt alive? Her dark silhouette, in lotus pose, palms folded, was a sublime sight.

Though Sutapa says her novel is a work of fiction,  Padmavati’s psyche has been explored so deeply, that she breathes out as a gentle and thoughtful soul.

We live in troubled times, where anything and everything could be termed as offensive and an affront to dignity. That’s why it makes more sense to read this, where the writer stretches at her creative horizons and yet remains true to the saga, adding a veneer of intellect, blended with divine grace to Padmavati.

Therein lies the beauty of this tale.

As Sutapa Basu says,

‘The jauhar took hardly a few minutes to extinguish Padmavati’s living mortality but gifted her with indelible immortality; a significant niche in the history of India. Time could not dim her charisma nor age wither her stunning beauty. For centuries to come, the supreme sacrifice of this legendary Queen of Chittor would attain a place of undying pride and honour in the hearts of all her country’s people.’

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 11.48.47 AM

The tale is narrated to Mrinalini, a cynical journalist who doesn’t believe the stirring saga – Will she come away convinced?

This question forms the crux of this absorbing tale. 

Wouldn’t you want to do the same? Find the Answers?

A Blessing in Disguise

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 11.20.47 PM

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-am

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

“You will have to do this for me Rupa! For the sake of our friendship! You know, I consider you, more of a friend than my cousin, right? Moreover, I cannot trust anyone with this. I haven’t told any about Raj. You know, how conservative everyone around here, is!

“Still, Simi Didi, asking me to go and tell your boy-friend that you have moved on and are getting engaged today to a hotshot NRI, is a bit too much to ask of me. Why can’t you do it? Call him, break the news and cut. Then clean up your digital footprints.”

“Arre Rupa! It is not that easy. Raj can be very clingy. He is an emotional sorts. He might even come home and create ruckus. You know then, what tsunamis will be unleashed. And I kind of like this hotshot NRI. I will have a much better life in LA. Then I will find someone for you too. For that to happen, the old ties have to be broken. Please help me Rupa.”

“I don’t need any of your matchmaking skills. Where should I go? And how does he look? Show me, his pics at least, Simi didi!”

“Arrey, I just cleaned my phone.”

“What about FB/SnapChat/Viber”

“Uffo! So much cleaning! Forget all that, I will show you on fb, before I unfriend and block him. Please make sure he is OK, na. Don’t want him to hurt too much. We are supposed to meet today, at the Starbucks, in Mega Mall, at 6:30, in the corner booth. Today is Friday right? He will be in Red. Tall, wavy hair, well built..”

“That is most of the men folk Simi didi. Show his pics!”

The bedroom door opened and Mother burst in, cooing excitedly.

“Simi! The groom’s party is here!”

“Already Mom?”

“Their Pundit told the Boy’s Mom that the auspicious hour will be over in the next ten minutes. Thank God, you are ready” Mother then grabbed Simi and marched out, while Simi gesticulated to Rupa wildly, to go and do the deed!

Rupa sighed wearily and walked out.

***************************************************

She soon found the corner booth, with its occupant. Wonder of wonders, reading a book! With his mobile on silent, savoring his coffee, in a Red Polo. Rupa took a deep breath and found her courage.

“Raj?

“Yes?”

Words gushed out of Rupa’s shapely mouth, in a breathtaking pace. The man in question, looked at her stupefied, which Rupa mistook to be stricken.

He then gesticulated for her to sit. This time Rupa, took her own time,  conveying the grave news, all over again, all the while, patting Raj’s hand, giving comfort. Over cups of coffee, they talked.

**************************************************

Raj never told Rupa, that he had been sent, by the original Raj, to convey the news to Simi. That the Original Raj had found his golden girl who was loaded. And that the original Raj was getting engaged that very same day.

The Duplicate Raj had found Rupa so enchanting, that truth got a quiet burial. He simply confessed, he was a different Raj.

What a blessing in disguise, that mistaken identity turned out to be!

Today it is their tenth anniversary. They are the ideal couple, who fill in each other’s sentences and worlds.

Paradise!