Book Review: Arjun Without a doubt by Dr. Shinde Sweety

Arjun Without a Doubt is a treat for all the fans of the greatest Indian mythological epic- The Mahabharat. The book boasts of its vibrant cover that successfully catches one’s attention. Dr. Shinde Sweety clearly quotes Ayn Rand right in the preface, “The central theme can never belong to anybody else but the hero” and conforms to this throughout. The story entwining the lives of Arjun, Draupadi, and Krishn is set against the backdrop of the Mahabharat. The reader is expected to have prior knowledge of the basic storyline and significant events of the epic. With a striking preface, the story opens on the eve of Draupadi’s Swayamvar, with Arjun being reluctant to contest for the same and rather being more interested in meeting Krishn there for the first time. The tale then moves forward along the lines of the epic with the simultaneous viewpoints of both Arjun and Draupadi, focussing primarily on their story of love and longing for each other.

With lucid language and interesting dialogues, the book keeps the reader hooked to it till the very last page. The bond between the trio is beautifully depicted. I was especially delighted to read how boldly and respectfully Draupadi is depicted, not only as a wife but also as an individual. She is not portrayed as a damsel in distress sympathy-seeking, war-provoking character but as a lady of substance and in the words of the author herself, “a constructive force, the wind beneath the Pandav wings, the blazing flame that fanned their bravery and ambitions”. Krishn’s gravitas and mischievousness are aptly captured in his witty dialogues, that had deep meanings to it. Special mention for the strong writing of the Kurukshetra War scenes, I could not resist shedding tears in various paragraphs. The author’s justification of Arjun’s silences at pivotal points and his subsequent arguments is definitely the highlight of the story, as the title of the book claims.

However, what that may disappoint a reader is the absence of any and all of Krishn’s miracles and elimination of some noteworthy events, the ones those we either have seen in the television adaptation or have read in the popular versions of the Mahabharat. The role of Dr. Sweety’s Krishn restricts only to a true helping friend of both Arjun and Draupadi. Krishn despite being called God in several instances, doesn’t imply that even once in the entire story. Another point that left me complaining is the underplaying cum bashing of many other eminent characters like Karn, Dronacharya, Yudhisthir, and Subhadra. The theme not only belongs to but also glorifies and adulates Arjun alone, depicting his zero grey shades. The book is too imposing with its own ideas of right and wrong that it leaves negligible scope for the reader to contemplate and decide. I, however, believe that the mythology genre allows this liberty to the writer for almost all the myths, and facts are equally debated both by the scholars and the laymen. Truth is a kaleidoscope – it alters with perspective, states the author.

Overall the book is a fine and engaging read. It makes one smile through its nuances, admire the trio, cry through the losses and pain, ponder on the helplessness of circumstances, detest the otherwise (generally) exalted characters… but never lets you put the book down. The book is sure to increase one’s respect for Arjun manifold, motivating the reader to imbibe his qualities and strive for excellence.

My rating for the book = 3.5 / 5

Law of Karma and Destiny

Often we muse over our destiny when things don’t go as per our wish. The faction of people who believe in God either accept it as God’s will or blame him for not gracing them enough. Recently while reading the Bhagwad Gita, I came across a verse that states,

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |

मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 

English Translation of the verse:

BG 2.47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

What I could comprehend from this verse then, was that the Almighty God has carved a predestined path for all of us and we either willingly or reluctantly live by that very path in our lives. There is little or probably negligible in our control. So, we must do our best in the present moment but not expect much from the future result, as though it was our rightful due. But had God been the organizer of each and everyone’s destiny, then would not this be a perfect world? He is our ultimate well-wisher. He is the greatest and the kindest supreme being, then why is it so that some people have such blessed life while some lead their lives in never-ending hardships? Some have all the luxuries one can think of while some live in deprivation of even the basic amenities? Some have a healthy body despite not taking care of it whereas some are born altogether with handicap or chronic ailments. God is not so unfair to randomly pick and chose the fortunate and the unfortunate lot. There has to be some sort of criterion.

Then today I read this verse, that states, 

न कर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभु: |

न कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते ||

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभु: |

अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तव: ||

English Translation of the verse:

BG 5.14-15   Neither the sense of doership nor the nature of actions comes from God; nor does He create the fruits of actions. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature (guṇas). The omnipresent God does not involve Himself in the sinful or virtuous deeds of anyone. The living entities are deluded because their inner knowledge is covered by ignorance.

This verse got me thinking. The belief I created from the previous verse was now being contradicted. If I am not the doer, God is not the doer, then who is? My quest for an answer to this question, lead me to dive deep into the age-old concept of Karma. We have seen and heard this word since forever, if not anywhere then definitely in the memes! I initially defined the law of Karma in a simple old saying, “what goes around comes around”. But then, this definition makes us the sole doer of activities, abiding by Newton’s third law of motion ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. So, do our choices and free will have all the credit to how our life unfolds? What about predetermined destiny then, is it a myth?

This needed proper research encompassing all the factors and concepts. After an extensive study, I believe I have my answers now in a language that a layman understands. 

First of all, let’s get some prerequisite fundamentals for the theory straight:

  • Our identification in this cosmic universe is our soul, not our body.
  • The body is a mere costume that the soul embodies during one lifetime. The soul is eternal, it is neither destroyed on death nor created on our birth at the beginning of a new lifetime. It has been here since the very beginning and will continue to exist until it is liberated from the cycle of rebirths and deaths in endless lifetimes.
  • Everyone we meet in this life has some prior connection with us from our previous lifetimes. That can either be good or bad. The souls forget their deeds, relations, and everything from their previous lifetimes but their karma stays and travels with them till it bears fruit in the opportune time.

What is Karma?

Karma is aggregate of the thoughts we think, the words we speak, and the behavior we enact.

The Karma is broadly classified into three categories:

Sanchit Karma: The accumulated Karma of all our previous lifetimes excluding the burned-out Karma. The burned-out karma refers to the karma for which a soul has already enjoyed or suffered for, depending on if it was good or bad respectively. The Sanchit Karma is Fixed.

Praarabdh Karma: The portion of total Sanchit Karma that is allotted to this lifetime. This is the Karma that fundamentally accounts for our destiny in this lifetime. The place of one’s birth, which family is one born to, the health conditions, wealth and fame he would acquire in this life, how much the soul is likely to suffer, etc. The praarabdh karma basically sets the stage for our life i.e the overall circumstances we will have to live by. The praaarbdh karma is also Fixed.

Kriyamaan Karma: Karma through our free will in the form of the choices we make or the decisions we take. Our reactions and independent efforts stemming from our free will amidst the given circumstances (formed owing to the Praarabdh Karma). The Kriyamaan Karma is dynamic.

The free will originates depending on the proportion of Guna, i.e qualities, or attributes present in the soul at that point in time. Every soul functions with three Gunas:

  1. Sattva : Qualities of goodness, harmony, and constructiveness
  2. Rajas :  Attributes like Passion, confusion, and activeness
  3. Tamas : Characteristics of ignorance, darkness, and chaos

All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.

In a nutshell, the present life is the result of Praarabdh Karma (Fixed) and Kriyamaan Karma (Dynamic). The latter depends on the interplay of the three gunas, possessed by the soul.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF GOD IN LIFE?

As verse 5.15 of the Bhagvad Gita states that God doesn’t involve himself with our deeds while they are being done by us. Then what exactly is God’s role in our endless lifetimes?

God primarily has a three-Dimensional role in regard to our Karma and Destiny:

  1. God bestows on us the free will and the power to execute our Karm (deeds).
  2. God notes our karma (Kriyamaan karma) in the given circumstances which are formed due to the praarabdh karma. In other words, God checks that in the uncontrollable situations, how do we react depending on our three gunas (Swatik, Rajas, Tamas)
  3. God gives us points according to the Punya (good karma) and Paap (bad karma) done by us. These plus and minus points add up to our Sanchit Karma which is carried forward till the time our entire account of Sanchit Karma gets settled and subsequently the soul gets liberated from the cycle of birth-death and rebirth. This liberation of soul is known as Moksha in Jainism and Nirvana in Buddhism.

A few points to be remembered regarding this phenomenon:

  • Punya is the Hindi word for Good Karma. This earns soul positive points and leads to good luck, happiness, health, glory, wealth, wisdom, contentment, fulfilment etc.
  • Paap is the Hindi word for Sin or simply, Bad Karma. This incurs a soul with negative points and leads to Unhappiness, sufferings, deprivation, losses, defamation and overall misfortune.
  • Both the positive and the negative points will inevitably play their respective roles in the soul’s journey, either in its present lifetime or in the upcoming lifetimes. If the folklore is to be believed, they rather come back with 9 times the intensity of its original form.

i.e,  Karma = 9 * (Committed deed)

  • Both good karma and bad karma are mutually exclusive. They bear results separately and do not intervene with each other. Do not confuse the positive and negative point aspect with that of mathematics. In the law of Karma, points earned from karma never negate each other. The soul will be rewarded for the Good karma and also, will be punished for its Bad karma.

An example of this theory can be seen in Dhritrashtra, the blind king of a prosperous kingdom of Hastinapur, depicted in the Mahabharat. Again, the folklore to be believed, Dhritrashtra was a ruthless hunter in one of his previous lifetimes. He had once thrown a burning net over a tree, which was abode to innumerable little birds. While 100 of them were burnt to ashes, rest flew from the tree but lost their vision due to the scorching heat. This evil karma bore results after his 50 lifetimes, where he was born blind and had to deal with the grief of the death of his 100 sons in the war of Kurukshetra. Now, the question arises that why did it take 50 lifetimes to punish him for his karma? Well, it was because the soul had to wait for the opportune time when the balance had enough punya (positive points) in the Sanchit Karma account which could provide him the merit or fortune of becoming a ‘king’ and having 100 sons. When the Sanchit Karma had enough balance, to allow the praarbdh karma to set a table for one of his life, where both the positive and the negative points could be rightly justified.  

WAY FORWARD:

Now that we have understood the intricacies of the law of nature encapsulating the karma theory, formation of the destiny, the role of God, Soul’s free will and its reactions based on the three Gunas, one thing can be clearly inferred that we as human, in one lifetime are way too insignificant to do much for our souls that could last long.

So what is the best that we, at present can do? 

  • Think Good, Speak Good and Do Good: 

    When we think right, we attract positive thoughts. We form a healthy mindset that eradicates negativity, stress, anxiety, overthinking, depression, and several other mental illnesses that primarily originate from thinking incorrectly.  We also, manifest better with good frame of mind. When we speak well of others as well as ourselves, we generate good vibrations within us and create an aura for ourselves. People do pick up on that aura and mostly reciprocate likewise. Even if they don’t, at least you feel content of not harbouring resentment against anyone. This, in turn, it helps in developing the habit of forgiveness. When you know that you won’t/can’t speak ill of someone despite him/her falling short of your expectations, you gradually inculcate detachment and tend to forgive and forget! These two practices will naturally lead you to the third-  Do Good. When we shift our mind from negativity, it naturally gets attracted and attached to the positive. Being benevolent, helping the needy (physically, emotionally, financially),  forgiving easily, listening to your people instead of always making them listen to you, expressing gratitude for the people you have and things you are blessed with, being compassionate, controlling anger are a few ways, to begin with. Take out a few minutes before bed to reflect upon your thoughts, words, and behaviour throughout the day. Contemplate upon how could have it been better. Jot down your thinking patterns and try to change your mental script to the one you-should-be-thinking/speaking/doing.

  • Pray to God with full conviction: 

The law is as important to respect as the Law Maker himself. God is the omnipresent, formless supreme being. He is the only creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. We may call him by any name under the pretext of religion, or an eternal form of energy or simply the consciousness that lies in us, but one cannot deny his existence altogether. So instead of resisting the obvious, we must learn to accept and respect before its too late. Contemplating on the first point, its easier said than done. Our material mind is conditioned to dwell in the world of materialistic illusion (maya). There is no way one can take off his mind from it without the divine grace of God. Pray to God for gracing you with good knowledge and courage to be the best version of yourself in this life. Take out 1 hour a day for your spiritual growth, preferably the morning hour. Utilise that time to meditate upon any form/name of God. This will purify your mind, encouraging you to find happiness and mental peace right within yourself. Find time to read scripture (the Bhagvad Gita is the best option to start with) or anything that you find positive and uplifting in that hour. Try to imbibe the idea of God’s presence within you and around you in your life. I bet, you will feel the difference in your psychology. You won’t be tempted easily, your will power increases, you get to explore your inner self, your emotional quotient will increase, you will be more stoic and patient and you will find yourself in an equanimous and serene space throughout your day.

  • Perceive Adversities as Opportunities:

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change“. His quote fits our bill of changing difficulties into opportunities. Sufferings are inevitable part of our lives, especially in the contemporary age; the kali yuga. We can either behave as a victim to the unfavourable circumstances and fall for the temptation to be as evil as this world is to us, or we can control our reaction towards the stimulus. Instead of expecting, we can simply learn acceptance. Of course, you must filter out the toxicity before accepting but after discerning the non-negotiables, we can work on ourselves instead. We can not change the circumstances but our free will always remain our unique power to change our inner dialect. 

Conclusion

Karma is the Law of cause and effect where every thought, word and deed will return manifold either in the present lifetime or in future lifetimes. We all simply ‘receive what we give’. We live by our destiny, which we create for ourselves each and every moment with our thoughts, words and deeds. The only way to avoid suffering and accumulate happiness in our destiny is to do pious deeds and offer your works to the supreme being, as your service to him.

Self love

The most important relationship in Life is the one that we have with out own selves. People let us down, deliberately or not , depends! The only voice that has always supported me and i bet will continue to stand by me is my inner voice. Not that I consider me perfect, it rather means that I embrace myself with all my imperfections, flaws and mistakes. The unconditional love, it’s called maybe. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people but for me this inner voice is my last resort in any given circumstance.

Inspiration? Look inside you.

I have looked upto several people for motivation in my life so far. There are indeed a number of people who do inspire me with their tremendous work ethic, determination, courage and discipline. After idolizing that person for a period of time , there is bound to be something you don’t resonate with. Maybe any of their idealogies or way of working. We all are imperfect in some way or the other. So lately, I began looking my own self as my inspiration. Myself , in the up coming years. I can see the person I want to tramsform into. I do see every minute detail in my future being…. As successful as I perhaps never imagined myself to be. All the traits that I want to imbibe, the way I like talking, the walking style, the articulation, the hairstyle, the attire and every more or less important factor that I desire for myself is with that person. That is some really cool inspiration. Ofcourse I still pick up specific character traits from other people that I admire, I still love and respect people who are doing great work. But my future self is my ultimate inspiration. I know nobody more than me, I can’t rely on someone as much as I can rely on me, I know the person I am , I believe that I am a good person and I am worthy of all that I want in life. How can I be so sure about someone else? So here it comes down to the old saying?, “Light your own fire. You have got the matches inside you”

LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU ARE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS

It’s frustrating when the circumstances or people don’t work as per our will.. isn’t it? In the quest to plan life as per our desire, we often try to control the uncontrollables. It’s like controlling a video game character, which you are not. The simple result of your struggle will be – useless! We can’t control anyone other than ourselves in long term. We can’t orchestrate circumstances. Let alone be life, as whole.

Life is a phenomenon. One cannot do life… It is already happening on its own. One can’t plan it either. The best we can do is attaining profound experiences when life is happening to us. Live those experiences at fullest. Be gratefull to everyone who has been a part of those moments. Live happily. Work hard. Be content. Believe in the Almighty. Pay gratitude. Take care of ourselves… because honestly my friend, these are the only things in our hands. Rest everything in life is beyond our control.

When we Try To Control Life, It Mocks at us. So Don’t Plan Too Much. Be Prepared For The Surprises That Life Has In Store For You. Accept Them,  Celebrate Them. Once You Learn Doing This – Your Life will feel as beautiful as it is.

Live, love, laugh and Let go! Things will fall into place, maybe in a better way than you would have ever imagined. You got to Trust the process buddy!

Wait. Look back. Feel good about youself. Move on…

We often live our lives wishing to be the person ‘we want to be someday’ . We keep looking for that something special within ourselves oblivious to the fact that it might take 20 years of your life to live that one year that you wanted to live. Will that be easy? Nope! Will it be worth it? Well that Depends! Sometimes in the process of becoming that someone we change as a person. Our priorities change, our perception changes, our definition of success and happiness changes. When I was 5, happiness to me was finding my mom outside the school gate waiting for me. At 12, it changed to getting that ‘school head girl’ position. At 16, it was probably bunking the classes and spending extra time with my friends. At 18, it was as easy as getting a friendly smile or just a hey from that cute guy from college, who made every girl drool over him. Today it’s all about getting my dream job. In next 5 years it would be something else. Our desires never end, do they? We have the tendency to never stop chasing… Be it happiness, success, love, or anything u desire. We also tag them with our personalised custom definitions.. And we spend years and years of our precious lives to chase those labels, only to look forward to that another mountain to conquer. People would say, but that’s what life is! If only we had stopped on that one achievement or pre-defined idea of success , how would have the human species evolved since then? I totally agree to this thought. Here what I try to implore is not stop dreaming or cease chasing the dreams. But shouldn’t we allow ourselves to: Pause a little. Pause to be grateful, Pause to appreciate what all we have, Pause to give ourselves some credit for having made it so far, Pause to thank people who stood by us throughout the journey so far, most importantly Pause, to enjoy the moment we are living. Don’t forget to recall the time you had been dreaming to live a day like this. Even if when the chips are down, but you surely do have things to be grateful about. After all it’s a bad day, not a bad life. Take out sometime to reflect on your life so far regardless of whether you have made it to the destination or not.
As they say, “Life is what happens when we are busy planning other things”. Do pay heed to the perfect life in those imperfect moments.

Remember, It is all about the journey, reaching the destination just makes it sweeter!

 

You Don’t Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is The Only Option

It was my school’s final year exam. Second exam it was, Trade and Commerce. As usual I procrastinated studying until the last day to exam. It was one day before exam, I woke up late as usual, oblivious to what an ordeal that day was going to be. Till the time I had my morning tea and stressed over the next day’s exam, my home’s landline rang. It was call from my dad’s office. “Sir suddenly fell unconscious in the office, we are taking him to the hospital, reach there soon”, a man said over the phone. Both my mom and I freaked out. Somehow pulling ourselves together we reached the hospital. Dad laid there partially conscious on the I.C.U bed. Tears rolled down my eyes. A few hours later as soon as dad opened his eyes and saw me, he asked, “why are you here? Its your exam tomorrow, go study!”. Performance in exam is a non negotiable for my family. A couple of hours rolled by. We were told that my father’s blood pressure had dropped drastically which made him faint. The doctor said things aren’t that serious, but dad had to be kept under observation for a couple of days. Mom had to stay back at the hospital with dad. Then it was time for me to come back home ALONE, FOR THE FIRST TIME. Those were not the days of Uber cab’s comfort. One needs to reach somewhere, he had to figure out his commute by public transport, no other easy way home!
yes, I did commute to nearby areas on my own… but it was a new very long route altogether.. 20 minute walk, then I would have to take a public bus, then another bus, with dual stress of both exam and dad’s health. It wasn’t everyday sight for me to watch dad lying on I.C.U bed with several needles pricking his limbs. Initially I was very nervous, but then a thought struck me- I have to get back home whether fearing the unknown or moving with confidence. It gave me a strange courage. I did manage coming to home without any blunder. I was fine and had completed that long journey with negligible fear. Why? because being strong was the only option for me that time.It was 3pm till I got back home. Decided to sleep for an hour before studying for the next day’s exam. I woke up at 5pm with giddy head. My brother hadn’t returned from work. So I decided to go and grab a burger from the nearby Mc Donald’s outlet. Again, by myself alone! It was that rare moment when I went out alone of the house. It felt awkward for some reason. I remember searching my refrigerator before leaving my house, only to find it empty. Why is it so that my otherwise full refrigerator magically hides its contents when I want them to be there. I did contemplate skipping the meal altogether but I was feeling sick in my stomach. “Must be stress and hunger”, I assumed. The exam stress overshadowed all my musings about how I was feeling right then. I ate that giant double burger and opened my books. The syllabus was daunting! Charts, figures of export and import, innumerous name of countries that I hadn’t heard before and a lot of facts. Yes, that whole horrible subject was to be mugged up. A wave of nausea engulfed me. Soon, my brother returned from his work and I told that I wasn’t feeling well. But dad’s health was a bigger issue that time for him. So I went back to books. I must have studied mere 20% syllabus, when I felt extremely unwell and I decided what I always did- “I must sleep right now, I would wake up by the midnight and study the remaining syllabus comprehensively”. God knows how did I have the courage to procrastinate to that an extent! What if I couldn’t finish the important notes, alone? forget the comprehensive syllabus! My compilation of ‘important notes’ had just 15-16 long topics and around 20 short ones. Exam Questions were usually from those notes only. Still I was such a moron to let those handful notes remain untouched until the exam morning.
Coming back to the main story, I slept at 11 that night. And woke up at 1.. not out of my eagerness to study but rather because of my sick abdomen. I got out of the blanket and vomited. Then, I vomited again… and then a couple of time more within an hour. My brother woke up, saw me vomiting and went back to sleep. ‘things- careless brothers-do’!!!
As time passed, my condition worsened. I was throwing up every 10 minutes and was suffering a severe stomach ache. The exam stress exacerbated my already hopeless condition- after all it was 5 am and I hadn’t studied more than 20%. I had made up my mind to skip that exam. I had given up. Thinking about how heart breaking would it be to see my batch mates graduating this year while I would be writing the compartment exam. Contemplating different scenarios and the excuses that I could make up to cover up my absence in that exam, I fell asleep. I don’t remember the details of the following morning. My brother perhaps offered me tea which I denied, though I am not sure of this incident. What I vividly remember is what happened after this. It was 7 am when my mom called from the hospital to wish me luck for my exam. As soon as she got the hint of my intention to skip the exam, she said in a stern voice, “you better go write your exam. You aren’t that sick. You will be fine, just get moving” her words got in my head like an adrenaline injection. My mom’s authoritative tone had made it clear that I couldn’t have things my way that day. I put aside all what I was feeling, only thought in my mind was how to cover the complete exam notes in meagre time I had in hand. I did my mental math, 32 topics in 2 hours that means 1 topic in 2 minutes… What a pragmatic and feasible plan! I quickly got off the bed, brushed and got dressed. I kept reading the notes as fast as I could, while chanting my prayers silently through my subconscious brain. My brother dropped me to the college quite early that day. I read the notes through out the commute, I read while entering the gate, I read read and read… as fast as I could. It felt as if my brain was working four times its potential. And to my amazement, I had finished all my notes half an hour before entering the hall. I still wasn’t feeling any good. The nausea was building up even more with passing time. I revised the important charts and figured out the closest approximation (which in reality was not at all close) that I decided to pen down on my answer sheet. I closed my book and looked around for my friends. I found Kritika, one of my friends who had met a minor accident few days back, stood quite injured, at distance. Talking to her made me feel better that I would at least not flunk the exam alone, I had a friend who was as unprepared as I was. At least she pretended to be! I was little consoled yet very nervous. I entered the exam hall with trembling legs. The exam began and guess what… all the questions that I had studied were there, exactly as I had read in my notes. My ecstasy knew no boundaries! I swiftly commenced writing the answers. But the misery wasn’t over for me yet. As soon as I began writing, the answers those I thought I knew well were nowhere to be found in my brain’s database. It was BLANK! All the tricks and short forms that I had curated for my memory retention vanished! Jitters ran down my spine. What now??? and not to mention my bad health had also started taking toll on me. On one hand I had no sensible solid content to write on my answer sheet. On the other hand, my mind refused to help me produce a deceptive ‘i-know-it-all’ answer owing to the storm emerging from my stomach up to my head. I could barely concentrate. All my life’s bad karma planned to punish me up on a same day. But, I was determined to complete my exam that is to fill all 32 sheets. I wrote a little and then rested my head on the table to give my illness a little recovery.. somehow i managed to write all the answers with general shitty content, repetitive sentences, no highlighting and terrible handwriting. All my general knowledge pertaining to those topics were there on my answer sheet written in all the possible ways on the earth. I don’t think even I can read those answers today, given a chance to justify my degree. Anyway, although my exam was terrible and my condition deteriorating, the time-up bell gave me a sense of relief. Primarily, because I had successfully finished my exam that meant I will not fail for sure. Secondly, I had 15 days gap for the following exam so now I had enough time to recover and nail the next exam (hopes… high hopes), and lastly, I was proud of me! Not sure of why I was feeling so good about me, but that’s the only emotion I remember coming out of the exam hall. Cherry on the top, that day even my braggy friend also didn’t flaunt about how terrific her exam was and how she is expected securing above 95 in that exam. She was quiet and disappointed that day, unlike her usual pesky self, thank God. This made me more confident that the exam must have been tough and therefore the marking would definitely be lenient. This was the unsaid practice of my school, after all they cannot afford to fail all the students. With confidence in head, relief in heart, smile on lips and waves in my abdomen I walked out of the college gate. My brother was already there waiting for me, we directly headed towards the hospital to see dad. He was shifted to the hospital room. Meeting dad made me feel better. He looked fine by then and that made me feel fine too. I came back home at night, still not feeling well. Mom stayed back at the hospital again that night. And what happens when mom is not around me? Things screw up themselves to make me go through hell. As soon as I reached home, all my sickness triggered. It was 12 at night and I was there again dying with stomach ache and repetitive multiple vomiting. I almost lost consciousness with fatigue. I hadn’t eaten anything since previous evening, I recalled. My brother took me to the only doctor available at that late hour. Dr arora, the 92 year old doctor, with a very long patient line. A generous lady let me swap her patient number with me watching my plight. “Its jaundice!” Dr. Arora diagnosed after inspecting my tongue, eyes and nails. “Its triggered. Where were you till now? you need to hospitalized” these words made me feel like a superhero! I actually visualized myself
In slow-motion bottom to up shot- standing on a cliff, in the superman costume, my hands resting on my waist like a true warrior. He he he. I don’t know when will my brain start co-operating with the circumstances, I love that superman-thought though ! Disease was serious, but I wasn’t. I was like… yes yes yes! I secretly thanked God for letting this whole event be culminated with something as serious as jaundice. Had it been acidity or some ENO- curable level of indigestion.. it would have been embarrassing to be so proud of myself back in the day then… no??
I spent that night also, restlessly tossing and turning on Dr. Arora’s clinic bed, vigo drips piercing both my hands. But that’s not important. What’s important is that I did write the exam. I later secured 70 in that paper which was a pretty good score for our exam results that year. I was very ill that night, but content at heart.A couple of days later dad was also discharged from the hospital, fully recovered. Dad was on a week’s leave from work. And I was my mom-dad’s PROJECT. Their terrible-tasting concoction and undeterred efforts made me perfectly fit within a week for my next exam. Performance in exams is non-negotiable for my family, remember! I had 7 days to prepare from my next exam, that was ‘statistics’. “I am going to nail this exam” i resolved . I bought a new notebook and a new pen, as a symbol of my new life. No more procrastination was my new motto for life. “If I start studying tomorrow morning, I can easily cover the syllabus and write practice papers. I can very smoothly cover up for my last exam’s performance in this exam. I will work very hard on this.”, I thought eyeing my statistics book and new notebook.
.
Cut 2- it was one day before my statistics exam. I again woke up late. Sipping my morning tea at 11 am, the statistics book and my brand new notebook rested untouched on the very same spot where they were the night I had said, “I am going to nail this exam”.
Old habits do not let you leave that easy… right??

REWIND 2018

2018 passed in a blink. It seems like it was only a few days back when I was printing a hard copy of calendar, avoiding any further delay in my pre-planned course of action. Frankly, this year has been very fair. I have had a few good memorable moments like culmination of my Masters’ Degree. It was a superb feeling. I don’t think I will ever forget it. I felt ecstatic. Second exhilarating thing was my First Earning. Despite being a small amount, it felt great to see my own hard-earned money. This year has also been great in my health domain. I might not have attained best shape this year, yet I am grateful that I had been in pink of my health all this year. My Family too has been happy healthy and safe. I am very grateful to God for this. I began writing gratitude journal this year. Turning it’s pages in free time makes me feel blessed. This brings such a positive vibe in me. I also revived my reading habit. I am glad for this.
Then, I have had my lows as well. The chips were down most of the time during this year. Be it my college assignments and seminars where I goofed up.. and how! Adding to this, my final viva was a disaster. Then my tiff with my two close friends, resulted in me bashing them right on their faces.. which I am proud of! They had intentional or unintentionally began filling me with negative thoughts. Its good to chop off negative people out of life so I did that. Its not selfish rather necessary. This year has also brought utter disappointment to me professionally when I didn’t make it to my dream job this year. I was heartbroken. But it has also taught me that luck can only supplement hard work but cannot substitute it. God has been kind to me through out this year , the only person who brought disappointment was ME. Days changed but not my attitude. I regret being lazy and a procrastinator. I must change this , else this disappointment will gradually transform into self-loathing. I am already losing self confidence. Lately I have developed social anxiety. Some days back I returned from a party teary-eyed. Now I dread going for my cousin’s wedding that is due next month. My mom feels its social awkwardness but I know for a fact that I am not escaping the people but their questions about how I failed getting what I wanted the most out my career. I detest being identified as a person who is not doing good in life.

Year 2018 has been full of ups and downs. I am thankful for all the ups for giving me confidence and happiness and I am equally grateful to the downs for teaching me the valuable lessons of life which I would have been oblivious to, otherwise. Yes, the year has been difficult in many ways but as they say, “a smooth sea never made any skilled sailor”.

I believe, ‘Happiness is a choice. We all must Choose to be happy’. All of us are blessed and deprived in some way or the other. It’s just the outlook that makes the difference.. Right?

So, forgetting all the grudges I welcome this new year with warmth in heart and smile on face.
I agree I was feeling depressed for the past few months. Last few days have been terrible. But this year 2019 is an opportunity to amend everything that is pinching me. I know it’s tough to see other people getting to the places I wanted to be in. But I believe God has bigger, better, brighter plans for me. Hoping for the best……

Happy new year!