The Way of life…

::Indian Spinal Injury Centre, Vasant Kunj (ISIC)::
A state of the art and a super-specialty hospital situated right at the heart of New Delhi, India.
A home for all the wheel chair bound sufferers and a pantheon for all those who still fight to get back on their feet.  Being a paraplegic myself, this hospital feels nothing less than a home away from home and hence, It goes unsaid that I am a regular at this place.
Post Injury after my surgery, I was sent here for my rehabilitation. I  spent around two months as an in-patient, i.e. until I could be deemed independent (well, almost) . All thanks to the amazing environment at the rehabilitation department and  awesome staff at the centre, I could do my time with a smile on my face. Here, everybody from the ward boy to the other gentlemen high up the ranks thrive on comforting us, the patients.
specially the ones on wheels  😉

::2nd of July::
A mellow Monday, must have been 11 in the morning. As per my prior appointment, I was at the hospital to sort out my physiotherapy schedule and it took me precisely 15 minutes to do so. I was asked to wait until noon so that I could get a confirmation about my new schedule. So, there I was with 45 minutes to spare in this huge place.
Usually, I would have preferred to indulge in a regular chit chat over a cup of coffee with my friends, but that day for some reason I chose not to. When I say friends at the hospital, It doesn’t necessarily mean fellow patients. Many of my pals are therapists and many of them are the regular hospital staff members (Which also include those, ‘not so coy’ nurses).
So, obviously I had more than one reason to frequent that place. 🙂

With not much options to choose from, I finally chose to visit the cafeteria all by myself. The one which was situated at the other end of the hospital and  bang opposite to the emergency ward.

Everything seemed so perfect there  – Freshly mopped floors, air-conditioners running at full blast, no signs of the usual hospital clamor, cafe serving my favourite espresso with brown sugar and pink floyd singing to me through my sennheisers. I was loving it. I ordered my piping hot brew and started looking for a cosy corner to park my wheelchair. A nice spot adjacent to a huge glass window, overlooking the lovely garden outside seemed just perfect. I moved there, parked  my ride and tried to make  myself comfortable.

One thing is certian about coffee…. Wherever it is grown, sold, brewed, or consumed, there will always be lively controversy, strong opinions, and deep thinking.

With every sip that I took, the trance that I was in kept getting deeper. Funny, how a cup of coffee and amiable background music could make you day dream!? (Then I realised that it’s  floyd that I am talking about.)
Things couldn’t have gotten better.
Until…..

::The Van Arrived::
After 10 to 15 minutes of random gazing through the window, I saw a white ambulance darting towards the porch right next to our wing. The atmosphere suddenly felt intense, floyd lost it’s transcendental effect and my coffee lost its stiff flavor.

Ambulances don’t go well with me!

Being an emergency / trauma center nearby, ward boys and nurses were quick enough to rush out and proceed with preliminary preparations. Seconds later van’s door flung open and a panic striven gentleman could be seen yelling at the staff to rush things up. His loud cry trembled with agony, speaking volumes about his feebleness. The hospital staff were quick to immobilize and transfer the  patient to the stretcher and there on some random people helped the staff to rush the stretcher to the emergency room.
Even-though, I had no clue about what was happening, I had that empathetic alter ego of mine gravely praying for the victim’s well-being. I had that sinking feeling which kept advising me against inquiring more about the sufferer but it was too weak to  abstain me. Overwhelmed with my curiousness and concern, I got rid of the coffee and moved my wheelchair to the aisle separating the emergency ward from the main hallway. I kept going till I came across people waiting outside the emergency ward. They, with clasped hand and moist eyes looked emotionally crushed. It felt as if they knew that the damage was done and were eagerly awaiting a miracle. People were pouring in and the atmosphere reeked of agony.

I was very much unsettled by then…..

Learned Helplessness is the giving up reaction, the quitting response from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter 

Everybody, but the little kid waiting outside the ward, looked exasperated. The little kiddo was busy gaping at my wheelchair. I must have been the first ‘guy on wheels’ for him. Slowly walking pass the distressed people queued outside the emergency room, he came to me. With that bewildered look on his face, he asked me a question, “Hello, why does your chair have wheels?”. Humored by his sheer innocence all I could come up with was, “because, I find the chairs with wheels better looking than the ones without them.” Little did I know that this question of his was only the tip of the iceberg . He was baffled by the idea that a person can have a chair with wheels. After answering his couple of more angelic questions, I finally managed to ask him, “why are  you here?”
Pointing towards the emergency room he said,
“My mom is in there…pretending to be asleep. She doesn’t want me to go to my friend’s house and hence is pretending to be asleep.”

I was taken aback by what he said and my heart skipped a beat, unaware of the situation and not knowing what to say all I could come up with was , “Don’t worry she will get up in a while and take you to your friend’s place.”

::The Mourning::
While talking to the kid I noticed same old panic striven gentleman, whom I had seen earlier rushing things up near the van, walk towards the visitors lobby with moist eyes and shattered look on his face. His eyes were fixed on  the kid next to me, his son. My fear came to life when I heard a loud cry from the room and the husband who was by his wife’s side all-throughout was now silently sitting in the lobby with tears in his eyes. It was clear to me that the lady had crossed over. The once silent room now echoed of  ‘deep mourning’…It was heart wrenching and the kid next to me still couldn’t figure out that he just lost his greatest admirer in life.

What I heard next, haunted me for weeks. It was the husband, talking to his father in law on his phone with a broken voice:

“Dad your daughter is no more…she has gone, leaving me and adarsh alone…I am finished”

::Misery::
His voice still echoes in my head…making me realize that life has it’s own twisted way of carrying on . For a person who has just lost a life partner, life loses it’s charm and becomes a burden. The pain that one goes through is un-parallel to what we can imagine. You got to go through it to know it..

No amount of pacifying could console a shaken soul

I moved out of that aisle as soon as I could. I did so because I did not have the courage to look into the eyes of the kid. I felt uncomfortable seeing so many lament. I felt miserable  but strangely, only for a while…that feeling of misery died off as soon as I reached home and cuddled with my dog.

I have learned that life has weird ways of imparting knowledge. It teaches us to move on and to never look back.
This Ability, to move on and to not dwell in the past could take us miles professionally. But, sadly when it comes to our own life, things don’t go down well with us. Loosing a loved one could emotionally crush you but it doesn’t last forever. No matter how close the relation is or how big the loss is, the emotional trauma eventually takes a back seat.
Something, that none of us could change.

Sad but true
That’s the way of life… 

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~Axe your Sufferings~

Pain as we all know it, is nothing but an unpleasant feeling which everyone would love to be deprived off. It is capable of making it’s presence felt at both, physical and emotional fronts of life.
I truly believe, it is much too complex a word for one to decipher and scrutinize but it sure does pack a punch..it teaches us a very simple lesson in life.

One just can’t dodge sufferings…they are always lurking around waiting to catch us off guard. Hence, learn to bear it and get over it.

Its so funny, pain has been with us since the inception of mankind and it still took our profound “wise-men/scientists” to burn the midnight oil just to measure and quantize it. It actually took them years to come up with “Dol”, the unit of measuring pain, which by the way is still debatable. Also, not to forget that the idea of quantifying sufferings still remains a mondo mystery!!

I, unlike many, believe pain plays an important role in everyone’s life. Enduring pain brings out the best in a person. The great acts of struggle, perseverance and courage are often an outcome of intense pain and sufferings. Maybe, that is exactly why we often volunteer to endure it. For e.g. Nothing feels better than having a bloody thorn pulled out.

Pain is nothing but like a leech which sticks on to you until you make an effort to get rid of it!

Thanks to our modern medicine, we have learned to trick our mind and physical pain can now be easily conciliated, at times be totally expunged. It is the emotional suffering which still traumatizes us and needs to be dealt with. Pain when experienced at emotional fronts of life is like a whole different ball game. Sadly, It has the might to trap us in the labyrinth of our own sub-conscious darkness and make us grieve endlessly. This kind of trauma is totally different from physical pain and could be difficult to deal with.

 It is such a secret place, the land of tears.

Pain endured without purpose, however, and especially pain inflicted upon us without cause or reason, is the one responsible for emotional agony; and unless removed through a process of acceptance, understanding and forgiveness such pain can fester and grow until it reaches the crescendo of brutality and literally consumes our entire state of being.

There are many ways to get over emotional pains. One of the most highly recommended way is to observe our emotional pains and allow them to flow through us without letting them consume us. By doing so it can help us understand why we are experiencing these negative emotions in the first place. The more we understand our negative emotions, the easier it is for us to release them. By releasing our negative emotions, we might free ourselves from pain and sufferings.
This sounds pretty fancy and may even work for someone. But, It definitely ain’t my cup of tea!! This theory doesn’t qualify for my kind of pain.
I prefer the other alternative, or should I say the other “simple yet great” alternative :  “Believe in the word Hope.”

Hope
I feel, “Hope is the feeling you have, that the feeling you have, isn’t permanent” and to believe in it you have to be a believer.
Hope is like the painkiller for our soul, the so called soul-charger, it has the strength to help us over come any kind of emotional distress.

You may be one of those people who need to see a vision of something positive to help you achieve it. If you hold hope close in your heart, you can almost envision yourself achieving the thing that you are hoping for.

The human spirit is remarkably strong and one of a kind. It seems to run forever on nothing but a morsel of hope. Without it, you have nothing. With it, nothing else matters.

In depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer. Wouldn’t have been possible without believing in it.

Axe your sufferings, never let go off Hope.


And the Journey continues…

                                                                                                              
All my life i have been busy pursuing my preset goals!
Well…most of them were set by the likes of this convoluted society we live in. For e.g, excelling in academics has always been mandatory and everyone’s top priority. While goofing up academics shall by default brand one as a social stigma!
All you had to do is somehow earn the privilege of using predicates like…“is an outstanding all-rounder / athlete/ sportsman / singer /dancer / orator and you shall be entitled with a little halo on your head, making you an apple of your daddy’s eye and a social role model!!
Hence needless to say, I chose the second alternative and devoted my entire childhood to a single minded pursuit of such goals.
As i now recall, success often knocked at my door but for some reason instead of embracing it, I was more fixated on my ill-fated efforts and relinquished targets. I guess that’s what human behavior is all about.

From my kindergarten to my workplace, It has been like a never ending journey.
The goals kept changing and i kept chasing!!!

October Blues
It was last October when i met with an accident and my indefatigable chase came to a stand still. For once, I felt that there is more to life than just chasing your boundless materialistic goals. I had the time to think about my life as a whole.
Back then, life sure did look a little bias and unfair, but I guess it gets to you when you spend a couple of months on a hospital bed! (Not to forget: Sad Looking nurses only add on to your miseries)
Thankfully it did not last long and hence, I don’t feel the same way anymore. What now matters most is my connection with myself, being present and feeling blissful.
Thanks to my October blues, I have developed an insatiable hunger to learn more about life, faith and karma.

One hard fall and i realize,
It is not length of life, but depth of life.

The Quest?ons
Being idle for 5 long months, i was compelled to analyze, evaluate, appreciate and question various aspects of life. Frankly speaking, one can’t do much about it…this habit of constantly thinking, kept me away from sulking and self pitying.
Which in the long run turned out to be one hell’ova time killer!

By the end of my 5 months I was full of questions,
Few of them which still remain un-answered are:

Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

What is our purpose of existence?

 Why are you, you? 

Why isn’t there any guide to live a perfect life?

Thanks to my post accident sedentary lifestyle, i had all the time in the world to ponder over them.

Tranquilizing After Hours
Waking up early in the morning had always been a disdained problem since my childhood. Being a Sikh by religion and an Army officer’s son, I was constantly reminded about the importance and sanctity of early hours of the day. Hence, I tried my best to make an effort to exploit the goodness of sunrise, but seldom succeeded.
Instead, i developed a fond liking for the after hours. I found it to be rather soothing and pacifying. It had a weird atmospheric effect creating an aura perfect to introspect and find solace. All i had to do, was to dream with my eyes open!  Thanks to those thought provoking nights, I have evolved into a better human being.

All my questions were answered using three words!
FAITH ~~ KARMA ~&~ ACCEPTANCE

What i had come to learn with time is that,
The very reason for our existence is our “Karma”…it acts like a link to a never ending cycle. Everything from our birth to our heavenly abode, is governed by it.
I truly believe there is a lot of unexplained stuff waiting out there to be toyed with, but we the common people refrain from doing so. Ignorant of karma, we blindly believe in delusive beliefs such as fate and luck.
It is really amusing to see  a guy winning a lottery applauding his luck while a guy caught stealing blaming it.

I guess life has its own mysterious ways…

New Found Religion!
We the tamed masses are divided into believers and non believers. For the non-believers or the masses who don’t believe in karma or the supernatural, faith happens to be the religion.

Faith is something which exists in heart of every living being by default. Our subconscious mind is driven by it.
Every night we go to bed setting an alarm for the next day, this is nothing but an act of faith.
Being unaware of what is en-stored in near future, we comfortably enjoy a pleasant present. This again is nothing but an act of faith.

Life is nothing but a fiddle..and faith happens to be the bow!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My journey of still goes on..and I intend to make the most of it.
I am glad, I rediscovered myself.
Honest Karma, True Faith & Power of Acceptance has made me stronger than ever!!  

The Mid-Course Correction

::Who decides our fate::
I know fate is defined as predetermined course of events which according to our science and literature is independent of our actions. Yet, when things don’t go as per planned or when one gets cornered in life, one can’t help but ponder about it and the above mentioned definition of fate tends to look a little farce. One starts questioning the path chosen and often asks oneself, “Who  decides my fate, If not me?”. I too belong to such a band of abashed souls, hopefully trying to seek an answer.

::God n Fate::
I have always wondered about the existence of a supernatural entity governing the cosmos. The one, which would hold us accountable for our deeds irrespective of our cast and creed.
I am not at all an atheist and hence don’t deny gods existence. Rather, i do believe in him but prefer being called an agnostic-theist as i personally can not prove his existence. Since we do not decide our fate, i am guessing it should be this supernatural entity or the so called “God” governing our life.
This random belief makes me all the more anxious to know various parameters on which our deeds are adjudged..and..the various factors which aid god in deciding our future or our so called fate.

::The Unexplained part::
Fate is something which doesn’t have a specific timeline and is dynamic in nature. Hence, It is right to say that a mans fate changes every second or that a mans fate is revealed to him second by second.

I have asked a lot of random people to throw some light on my queries and i have come across various views and explanations.
Some of them were really enlightening, but i guess adhering to them or believing in them is more of a personal choice. Few of my favorites explanations and approach are:

  • Men’s fate and nature are governed by their stars. It is the pattern and layout of the heavenly stars that play an important role on deciding the course of events in ones life. There is a pseudo branch of science (Astrology) which studies the effects of planets and other celestial bodies on human beings.

Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.           ~E.M. Forester

  • Fate is a resultant of Karma. Karma means action. It is also the reaction that follows on an action. The process of compensation for any given feeling, thought or deed is completely automatic. Karma, however, is ones unrestricted power of choice, and it makes sure that for every choice one makes there will be a just consequence. Hence, the law of karma is often expressed with the quote: “As you sow so shall you reap”.

Men are not punished for their sins, but by them.
~Elbert Hubbard

  • There is nothing as such as fate. Life is nothing but an autobiography and hence every person has his/her own version citing different experiences. Everything that happens in ones life is purely an aftermath of series of actions. These actions could be direct or indirect. It could be expressed as “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

There’s much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.
~Diana Trilling

  • Fate is nothing but a path chosen for us by the almighty. It is his own mysterious way of making one wiser. It is this reverend almighty who holds us accountable of our deeds and hence makes us tread the necessary path in life called ‘fate’. Hence, every second of our life that we have lived is fate accompli.

You know that saying, that when God closes a door he opens a window, well, sometimes out of nowhere he’ll do you one better and he’ll kick a whole wall down.
~Ryan Murphy

::My take on it :: The Mid-Course Correction::
All of the above mentioned points are nothing but point of view of random people. Hence, everyone of them holds true for its own believer. It is not justified to outcast a particular person just because he has a different bent of mind or just because his views seem blasphemous to someone. With all respect to everybody i am not trying to be judgmental about the right approach. I respect and honour every one of them.

As nothing is proven, i intend to incline myself towards the most optimistic approach. Which happens to be the last of the above mentioned explanations.
I too have now started to believe that we are treading a path chosen by the almighty and every obstacle that we face only makes us wiser and hence, gives us a chance to correct our measures for a better future.

For e.g:  A ship is flagged off from a port with the required set of directions regarding its course. Say, after covering 100 miles they unexpectedly come across a big wave which is heading towards them. It is then entirely the Ship-Captain’s decision to either take a detour or to make a correction in its course to avoid the impact. This is what is called as “The Mid-Course correction”.
Similarly, in our lives god seldom give us chances to make such mid-course corrections. In order to steer our life in a positive direction we need to make the most of it. God has his own mysterious ways of imparting wisdom.
Like the smart people say, “There is always a catch”. We just need to decipher them.

In the bout of life:
fate is like a tough opponent who at times strikes real hard,
face him and learn from him so that next time you give him a good fight anyhow.
~ Me