Monday, December 31, 2018

Bidding goodbye to 2018! *Gratitude Circle*

2018 has been a mixed bag of sorts. But I guess, every year is like that – a little sweet, a little sour. Looking back, I realise that true happiness is not about having everything your way but being thankful for whatever you have, no matter how much! It is always the little things that count – small, yet bringing us unbridled joy!

I’m thankful for all that caused my cup of happiness to overflow – some despite bringing sadness and grief.

Here’s -

To New Beginnings!

It took more than a nudge and a push from two of my staunchest cheer leaders – my sister, Aarti, and my son, Shusrith - to put me on to the track to new beginnings. I’m grateful to have these two indispensable gems in my life. They seem to believe in my capabilities more than I do, they know how to shake me out of my slumber and do and say (scream at me, if need be!) whatever it takes to propel me to act. If it were not for them, I’d probably still be deliberating my every move without acting on any! Thanks to their encouragement, I’m gainfully employed doing something that gives me immense satisfaction. A job that doesn’t feel like a job but rather like an extension of myself – something that I was born to do!

To family and love!

Dad celebrated his 70th birthday this year. I’m grateful to my entire clan for showing up for the celebrations! More than three generations of the family, from different parts of the country, gathering under one roof to show their love to us, was more than overwhelming. In this day and age of digital communication, it was heart-warming to have the family take time out from their hectic schedules and to be present physically to share in our happiness.

Bheema Rathi Shanti homa!

To Friends!

I’m grateful for friends who are my backbone. Friends, who didn’t keep count of whose turn it was to call. Friends, who kept listening to me even if I managed to chew their ears off with the same beaten track over and over again. Friends, who ensured I stayed sane even in the midst of insanity. Friends, who I've turned to at any time of the day or night. Aparna, Smitha, Ajay, Deepthi, Deepak, Sanchita – thanks for being there! You rock and I love you all!   

To sickness and health!

Two extended family members got diagnosed with the dreaded ‘C’, but I’m grateful that they stayed strong and fought back. I’m grateful that they came out victorious. The will they showed to stay positive in the face of adversity, the grit they exhibited while dealing with the pain of the disease and the treatment, became a source of inspiration for all of us. They did not let themselves or others feel sorry for them. It was truly a lesson we all needed to learn.

Hubby turned diabetic, I had turned obese, but, I’m grateful for the support and strength we found in each other to get fit. We walked together, pushed each other to eat healthy, (sometimes, literally!) but by the end of the year, I’m glad we made a happy turnaround and how! I lost oodles of weight, hubby has his sugar in control and now we do happily splurge on an occasional treat!

To grief and loss.

I’ve lost far too many dear ones this year. Yet I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to know these wonderful people. I’m grateful they were a part of me growing up and had a role in making me what I’m today. Two of my dearest - Giri Dodappa, and Doctor Upadhyaya - you will be missed but thank you for being a part of my life.   

I’m grateful for the people I have in my life today. I’m grateful for those who keep me in their prayers every day. I’m grateful for their unconditional love and hope they know I love them as much. I’m also grateful for the ones that have slipped away. They must have come into my life for a reason, they taught me what they had to and left when the lesson was learnt. I’m grateful for opportunities and things that fell into place like a huge jigsaw puzzle! 

To conclude, here's a quote from Zig Ziglar, that I find to be quite true!


How has 2018 treated you? What are the things you are grateful for? Do share in the comments below.

Wish you and your families a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2019!  

Friday, December 7, 2018

Book Review: The Fisher Queen's Dynasty by Kavita Kane.

The Plot:
This mythological tale by Kavita Kane is set at the beginning of the Mahabharata and traces the life, the history, the ambitions, and the travails of the woman who is the grand matriarch of this epic story. It is an extraordinary story of Satyavati and how the lineage that originates from King Bharata ends up being carried forward by her alone.  

The story:
Mahabharata is not an alien subject for the lover of mythology but the story of the Fisher Queen Satyavati sure is to many. I had read about her in a passing reference in most books but never a complete book devoted to her. The story of Satyavati and her meteoric rise from the daughter of a chieftain to the queen of the most powerful dynasty and later the realisation of how all her ambitions and struggles have been in vain form the crux of the story. Whether you love her for being a strong woman and a person who fights to get the best out of her life or you hate her for being the beginning of the end, you sure cannot ignore Satyavati. Her story needs to be told and to be read, for it holds a mirror to the modern day dynamics of purpose, prestige, and power.

What I liked:
The author has an innate sense of language that is delightful to read and satisfying to devour! Her choice of words are immaculate and her characters are strong with a mind of their own. The research is exhaustive and it is amazing to see how far back the author has travelled to make this account truly belong to the woman she wishes to chronicle. Many parts of the story were new to me and I had not heard of some of the characters. At the same time, the familiar bits of the story were delivered in a fresh package making this novel a page-turner.
What I also liked about the story is that the author makes no attempt to judge any character and leaves that decision to the reader. To not lead a reader to the conclusion you have in mind can be very tricky and it is commendable that the author manages to stay away from shaping your thoughts for you.   

What I would have liked:
It can be quite a balance to not let research look like it, but the strain of the research did start to show in certain parts. I found myself unwittingly skipping few passages which seemed to stretch too long. Other than that, the narration was flawless.

Final words:
This is a beautiful story, with an great portrayal of a not-so-well-known mythological character. I have read all of Kavita’s previous books and have become a huge fan of her writing. Strong female characters and adept retelling of familiar tales are her forte.
I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story, not just of mythology. Go for it!

The Blurb:

‘I learnt to love like a man—to love without feelings. And I shall never forget this lesson.’

Matsyagandha, Daseyi, Yojanagandha — the queen of Hastinapur, Satyavati. Abandoned as a baby, preyed on by a rishi, she hardens herself, determined that the next time she is with a man, she will be the one to win. And win she does: the throne of Hastinapur for herself, and the promise that her sons will be heirs to the kingdom. But at what cost?

In a palace where she is disdained and scorned, Satyavati must set aside her own loss and pain if she is to play the game of politics. She learns to be ruthless, unscrupulous — traits that estrange her from everyone around. Everyone, except the man she cheated of his birthright.

A piercing, insightful look at the grand matriarch of the Kuru family, the woman who set off the sequence of events that ended in the bloody battle of Kurukshetra, The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty will re-align your reading of the Mahabharata.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The end of an era...

Today marks the end of an era…if I may call it so. 

Our ‘family doctor’, Dr. Upadhyaya, passed on to the other world leaving a void that will remain unfulfilled for eternity.

In this day and age, the concept and idea of a family doctor might sound ridiculous and even sneer-worthy, not so in those days. Today, we have specialists and super specialist. Someday we might have super ‘super’ specialists who would specialise in your left nostril alone or the cornea of your right eye! But no sire, not in those days! The family doctor would be a specialist for every part of your anatomy, every age, and gender. And we did pretty well together, without ever having the need to visit a specialist!

Every family would have a family doctor – a doctor, friend, philosopher, basically, a know-it-all person whom they’d trudge to in sickness and in health. Yes, in health too! Someone who would know you and your entire family inside out. To whom we would happily pay a visit should we be sick. A person who would be by your bedside regardless of the time of the day or night. A person who would attend your family functions like a family member.

Dr.Upadhyaya was our family doctor. He has treated me since I was a three-month-old baby. We never called him doctor, he was always doctor uncle to us. He would always know what ailed us. He would know if our problems were due to stress, hereditary, real or imagined. He would offer us much more than medicines. Sometimes, it would be a friendly advice, sometimes a joke shared over a cup of tea, and sometimes a sterner warning to follow what he prescribed. The one thing that he had was – time! Time for us…time that he would spend with his patients. Time spent talking to them.  Time, that was rewarding in more ways than one.

I remember the night my mother suffered an acute attack of abdominal pain. It was 11pm when my dad frantically rang up doctor uncle after debating whether he should disturb doctor at that time of the night. Doctor uncle had just reached home after wrapping up a busy evening. But unmindful of the distance and time, he drove straight to our home and attended to my mother. What simple times we lived in!

When my granny passed away, he chose to counsel my mom instead of administering her antacids for her acidity. She was cured without a single dose of medicine! He knew that her misery was due to stress.

He knew our birthdays and we knew his! He never forgot to wish me even after I had shifted to Bangalore. And I never forgot to wish him or pay him a visit whenever I’d go home. His association with my parents has been over 4 decades long! He was not just a family doctor to us but to all our family friends too! Can such associations be even imagined today?

With his demise,  the era of family doctors has come to an end. As much as I tried, I haven’t found anyone like him.

You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace doctor uncle. Om Shanti.

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