Friday, 1 June 2018

My first chapter with Cholangiocarcinoma- Life, death and faith

There are times when we cannot unravel many truths of life.  Fear and anxiety are our expressions. Courage, patience, resilience go far away when a disease suddenly strikes us or our very dear ones. The initial reaction to a terminal illness is a shattering heart, collapsed strength and a sudden expression of denial. We are humans, no technology still boasts to regulate our emotions with a button, emotions could have been graded from 1-6 and we could have closed our minds to zero.   

The trauma of seeing one’s loved person going through all the medical complexities is in its own way mortifying. It could bring one closer to a few philosophies about life, truth, and the inherent power within us.  The insight to handle things in a very different way which could have been unimaginable otherwise.

Dad was feeling weak past few weeks. A normal cough and cold, few visits to the local medical store and some capsules eased his general feeling of uneasiness. A normal healthy man who had never been through much medication, he had never even fallen ill for more than a week.
Managing everything on his own, he was all about living an independent life which involved a lot of hard work as he believed work keeps us going, it helps us to build our immune system and also keeps the faith alive. Work is worship.

3 weeks later he has an irritable condition of acute itching. Crèmes, lotions, oil, bathing twice a day, soft clothing, mild water compression, and light food …no, they did not help much. A local medical shop prescribed him some allergic tablets. For the day he was fine but allergies don’t stay more than a week. Dad was having insistent itching which never stopped.

Weeks later, hospital room, ward number, white sheets tucked tight, sanitized hands, potion bottles, a silly side table that had nothing but various sized needle packs, smell of hope or the fear of sorrow all compressed hard in that small room

The senior consultant hands us a big fat file, biting my lips I moved my eyes, the husband stood tall, holding my hands tight, …it was warm, strength meant a hug that time and a  word that he was all good..  But there was another chapter of my life which had begun ‘Terminal Cancer’ it was last stage.  

It was an aggressive cancer we had never heard about “Cholangiocarcinoma” which was also termed as Bile Duct Cancer. I had the reports with me, my hands were shaking, I felt breathless, and my  feet lost a ground as if they pleaded me to make them calm. The Gastroenterologist said “One of the most rarest cancer an unfortunately an aggressive one”
In summary, cholangiocarcinoma is a devastating cancer. Its incidence seems to be increasing around the world; it presents late in its course, is difficult to diagnose accurately and early, and most cases cannot be cured.

Life had come to a halt. Dad lay awake like a little child in room No-102. He is with me. He has no severe symptoms. But I never saw him so pale, so dim. My Dad who had the invincible spirit to strike back lay there on the bed, his eyes half open. We are all fighters. 

The reports were all piled up in one file.Typed words showed the the word “Malignant” Carcinoma …few of those words have ghastly effect.

A thousand storms and a new awareness of understanding what Cholangiocarcinoma is?

We are unaware of ailments, the reasons behind them, the different stages, the methodologies of diagnosing, and the treatment methods until we be a part of it. And most important is the coping mechanism, the behavioral aspects.

The Senior Consultant had few words, a glance, comforting gesture and reality checklist “I am not God, it could be 3 months, it could be 6, it could be more or it could be less”

A new start, a new beginning. Setbacks take us a little closer to hopelessness,  trial, pain but yes having said that life had some countable days with our beloved also opens a big door in a different way.
The door which stood behind, a sudden flash back of all the moments lived, of all the times which we  had slipped, the dispirited stages, the brief time which we harboured in our minds but never could cling to, the unknown aspirations, the wandering goals, the unspoken words, the dreams, the hopes, the willingness to rewind the times, all came swirling around me.  Did I ever say “I love you” seeing into his eyes.
In these times of hopelessness, pain, struggle, heartache, there was a new me. Somewhere there was a mind which unconsciously broke the patterns of what I was.  My attitude towards life started changing.
It was new journey of hope against hope,
  • Perseverance
  • A new vision
  • Commitment towards a deeper goal

And taking away those little gray spots in life’s book, holding on to the sunrise, lighting many candles and coming out of the comfort zone. The stark reality of understanding that as long we breathe, we live, our aspirations live, our willingness to survive leads us, our journey holds us, we can work upon many path, we can break rules to smile, we can make a deal with life, we can count our blessings, we can walk towards the sunrise, we can enjoy the sunset, we can live with our defeats, we can enjoy our victories, flawed, perfect, cynical, saintly we are better as humans.

So here begins my first chapter of a different trial of living with my Dad’s terminal illness, Cholangicarcinoma, a slow approaching devastating truth but on the other hand it is a new beginning for a better understanding about life, coping up with stress, fear of death and being injected with a new spirit of fighting back, enjoying every moment and living to the fullest with Dad. 

"Increasing awareness of cholangiocarcinoma is the first step in helping to fund research to find a cure. Do what you can to help fight rare diseases. Too many families are like ours; wishing their sons and brothers and loved ones had the chance to live lives without this deadly disease."

Monday, 21 May 2018

My perfect shot

This is written for #mobiistar for Indiblogger

A selfie a day keeps forgetfulness away

I have a lot to say to Dad. He had little. He just smiled and I clicked. Dad had many expressions without even saying those, I understood. A quiet bond, wordless, …a thousand words we shared.
With old age, with life not being an immortal tale, there were those rough patches of life where one reflects about the reality of life. Joys and sorrows both shall come, neither of them are permanent, but as humans we long to hold moments, freeze time, stop the watch, mute the uncanny horizons and take a shot of the beautiful flashes of the fleeting moments.

Hold it, grab it, squeeze it, or it might slip away.  People, places and  time  fly fast.
It was at Suraj Kund mela, Dad was unwell but we still managed to take him out, at a corner, escaping the crowd, I felt the urge to capture a precious moment…me and Dad….time was running by, the crowd was pushy but as he walked down, I kept my fingers and there I took this beautiful gem.
Technically I don’t know whether it’s the best shot or not but if you ask me what it means to me… I can only say…’s priceless…as he lays downs now on bed, a little pale, a little weak, a little fragile…I cherish my moments with him…of colors, of joy, of a lovely afternoon, of clarity, of everything I wanted, of everything I desired to capture and hold.… we stole some time …Thanks

Friday, 30 March 2018

My encounter with Kebab

What’s in a food?

The food stories all over the world bring many hidden facts, details and gospels about a culture, their food habits, their living and their moods. The colors of dishes, the aroma and the taste of a food can actually make a foodie live and live longer. The desire to live suddenly augments by the sudden fantasy or thought of a food. A food libido

Chelo Kebab Peter Cat

And what’s in a Kebab?

A non-vegetarian can glorify 100 romantic tales attached to the charm, the color, the softness, the succulent tone and pitch from a  Kebab plate.

Ibn Battuta, the famous Moroccan traveller had mentioned that Kebab was an integral part of regular diet of the Royals in 1200 AD
Thanks to the Afgan plunderers and invaders, now it’s  more of a familiar face in the Indian.
Then it was the Mughals, they came, they invaded and the Kebabs who danced in rustic tunes so far suddenly started being a bit subtle, soft, gleamed and paired with  the yogurt and number of aromatic, flavorful spices and enjoyed  dry fruits sprinkled on the top.

As quoted “If you look at the political boundaries and collaborate it with history, the trail followed by Changez Khan's army transecting Mongolia, Middle-East and up to Spain and around, saw the evolution of kebabs in various forms. Though we have Yakitori in Japan and Satay in Indonesia and Malaysia, but in sauces and spices they cannot be compared with kebabs" adds Sikka.

The signature dish at Peter cat 'Chelo Kebab' had almost the same story of the 'Kebab'…Peter Cat in Kolkata and Chelo Kebab goes hand in hand. Located at  heart of Kolkata, the upscale dining place of the city surely tempts you to peep, hold on your breathe and march towards  the table without looking at the menu, the signature dish, few minutes and then it's all about a plate of history, of stories and of Kebabs,  accompanied by rice, Chicken Tikka, , dollops of butter, baked tomatoes and lots of hidden flavours. 
The glutton starts her journey, inserting her fingers, tickling the kebab,  the chilled Beer smiling at the side knew about the Kebab's fate, it was all cut into pieces, eaten with glory, the plate was all empty, the Kebab was all in the safest place;) The encounter ended:) a little burp, a stroke in the tummy and rest is happiness... That's food for me:)

It was all about a Kebab story that day.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Essential tips to teach new skill sets to a child

We all need a passion to survive. The passion to fly a kite, the passion to bake bread, the passion to create a thing, the passion to pursue life, life skills to the best of ability.

Passion towards learning new skills in life depends on the attitude towards adapting new skills. The 5 essential key points to teach a child to have a better perspective towards learning.

5 essential tips to help a child learn new skills sets and life skills


The child has a mind of his own. He may make an abstract clay dough art or he might collect those little matchsticks to create a tower, your observation helps him to hold on to the abilities in a better way.  The child imitates steps from dancing competition or repeats lyrics, his skills should be monitored regularly.Here the power of observation comes up, exploration and learning comes as a consecutive spin-off. Observation of the child gives you an edge and a better view of assessment of the child’s skills and talent. Observation is the first step to understand a  child.


We as humans thrive on good words, better words, and Best words. A child has a natural tendency to blossom completely  if he has words wrapped in  appreciation. Display of appreciation through gratitude works marvel.  Those golden words of concern, care, thankfulness goes a long way in developing his skills and abilities.

Simple phrases to use in daily life
  • Thank you so much
  • It is wonderful, how do you do it
  • I wish I could make a rainbow like this
  • You are a star

Helping hand

A nodding head, a helping hand, inquisitiveness in the child’s passion makes the child venture into new territories without inhibitions. Confidence and assurance helps the child to experiment, explore new things in better ways.

Talking it out

A child learns most of his skills by listening and communicating. To talk out, to communicate, to discuss, to understand and to help the child to explain often accelerates the first step of exploration.  A child feels secured to discuss about his ideas, chisel it with the help of parents and also get exposure to learn the skill in a better way either at home, through school, at a specific learning center or through teachers.


Positivity is the robust step to encourage, inculcate, stimulate and chisel a child’s talent, skill set, passion and bring out the best.  A negative or despised look, words, action, reaction, expression goes a long way as a positive, considered, well cared expression. It paves the path for future behaviour and confidence.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The world was our home, separated by rooms

This post is written for Why do you love the World for Lufthansa #SayYesToTheWorld

I was a small town girl, living life in the narrowed lanes; school was few miles away from home. The only exposure to the world was through those lanes, running parallel, the world was all about rooms bypassing one another, the world was all entrapped in those square shaped books, and pages, faintly printed pictures of Egyptian Mummies to Aborigines from Australia , the face of a Pygmy to the African tribes. They were only pictures and I had elaborately written about their ways, that part of the globe to get a perfect score. The world meant that much to me...

The world was our home, separated by rooms

Days passed by, years went away, the window shield looked beyond the mountains. Mrs. Schmauser came up with a little tray, a glass of milk and an elaborate German breakfast,  she smiled,  handed me the fork and knife, I kept aside my hands, empty stomach from last night could feel a peculiar sensation, responded well to the love, starved, hungry in a distant land, I started feeling a bit like home. They spoke differently, but they weren't aliens. The night was cold ….. I was invited to be a part of the day long festival that morning. A folk festival, thousands of people rejoicing to tunes, an important festival of Bavarian culture, I started feeling the joy of the festival as I did back home. The core essence was to come together, one and all in joy, in spirits. We too had festivals with the same motive back in our country. 
Beyond shores, the world had the same message

Faces were unfamiliar, smiles were unknown, they even stared back, they laughed in a better way, they stretched hands, I was hesitant to hold it back, they  winked, I smiled, they knew my gesture, I understood their expressions, I opened my arms, we spoke without a word. I finally broke the fence. We danced to the tune, we drank the beer, we cheered aloud, we made a new road….a new path where the barriers were broken. I gave away something that day, my narrow lens.
The world wasn’t all that I had perceived. My vision had sketched a different story while I read but here the world was all embracing. I felt Goosebumps; I loved the world for the first time. I fell in love.

I travel ed, another destination, another route, the ocean roared in different way, the mountain smiled back, I was hesitant to wave back, the language spoken did not match my level of understanding.
They spoke words, I could not understand. I had to hear it, over hear it, move my ears to and fro, read their lips, it was frustrating. But then suddenly he moved his head, searched for a   pen and paper, a prop, hands started moving in action, eyes were all moving in a different stroke to make me feel comfortable, to explain me. I started to understand, nodded, stammered, we both laughed out loud, we came up with two different things though, he was talking about a tooth brush, I was talking about a pain killer medicine…  we did not understand the  language but his simple act of kindness was quite evident. He was a French, I was an Indian, that day we went to Louvre,I found Mona Lisa,  she smiled in the same way but I could feel her smile that day, she smiled back to me. We belonged to the same world.
She spoke with her eyes and smile, the world could connect

I roamed countries, once I exchanged my lunch box with my fellow passenger, she  shared some homemade Apple pie, her granny was a better cook than my sister, and I admitted, we laughed out. We spoke on many subjects.
 A Doctor from Africa knew exactly how to combat a mosquito disease, a traveller from Spain taught me how sausages were made for real. A Pakistani girl asked me to read her story which she was writing; her story had many characters who just breathed like us. The world had so many stories just like us.
I realised we belong to the same species, the world was our home, separated into many rooms.
Beyond the boundaries- Feelings still had the same expression

And then I met an old man, from a distant place, faraway from my country, he spoke about his wife who had died few years back … a rare kind of ailment had taken  his beloved, my Dad has been diagnosed  with the same, we speak the same language of feelings, emotions, which we felt in the similar way, it hit us in the same pitch, his helping advice, his do’s and don’ts to help Dad feel good, his mails about life, his concerns, complemented mine. We shared the same words, the same world suddenly… he belonged to another part of the world yet we connected, bonded  by an emotion, an emotion which cannot be expressed through confines of faith, religion, language, the pain of loss, the pain of losing, the joy of understanding , the language of tears, the dialect of humanity existed, the world was bigger, the world was broader,

I am in love with this new found love. The world is a better place. I love the world now as I have started seeing things beyond. The world belongs to me, I belong to the world. It's all in the mind, open the little chains and let it all go. We are all 'one'

 Pic -Google

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Memoirs of a caged bird

She sang long lost melodies
Of blue sky, of sun-soaked clouds
Of the wooden boughs
Of lost battles

Of victorious warships
Of forlorn hymns
Of mother’s lullaby
Of the red vermillion sunset
Of purple moonlit night
Of the past glories
Of the unchained kites
Of the merrier faces
Of smiles of liberation
Of the glories of civilization
She sang songs of freedom
Of the redness of blood
Of her unstitched heart
Of her bold territories
She still breathes
She still sings
Of songs of melancholy
Of verses soaked in pain
Of tattered bones
Of writhing wings
A dead soul.
A carcass
A Corpse

The caged bird
Sang songs
Of freedom
Memoirs of a caged bird
The master fed her golden grains

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Some of the better things about our country…

71st year of Independence ....does that make me more patriotic? Does that make me think a bit more about my country? Does that make me go on an introspection mode? Does it all make me turn on the pages of those books which have always glorified my shelves with so many names, so many events, post colonisation, pre independence, freedom struggle. I ultimately run my hands over that little book; I remove the dust, open my eyes wide and gently press my fingers to turn on the page.

Patriotism has been confined in those little spaces , yes I do spell it for my daughter, I also make her write paragraphs and  I ask her to sing that ‘Anthem'on the special day, we make a flag together, fill those tri colour spaces, colour the chakra with the specific colour and symmetry . ....the rest I tell her “This country is unique” still....

I pick up all the shady attributes, dark analogies, anarchic lingos , deranged slogans, lawless  images, confused emotions, turbulent undertones  from Cows to chaos, potholes to dog poo’s, sadhus to tabooed sex, jet speed carts to noisy honks, anarchic government offices to a tomato starved nation, choti cutter to ‘khule mein shauch have it all .....Life, sound, fury....India I still feel alive every time I see you.....diversified, splendid, colourful, utterly unpredictable.

I found yellow, I touched orange, I lived green, I saw red  and wherever my eyes turned I could see all those splendid colours unite together...utterly chaotic yet life peeped from every corner
I saw a dog, a bull, and an elephant on the little by lane, each living in harmony, who said we can’t.
I had no one to talk, I was lonely the last evening, I made a cup of tea for myself and the one who looks after our house, we chatted for a while, she had 4 kids, she also worked the whole day but she still smiled, we shared a joke and she asked me “How was it to travel in an aeroplane”, she never knew the word “spirit” but she had it.

My neighbour makes the best “kheer” she also keeps a bowl  for us, sometimes she gifts me flowers from her maternal house.

I still sniff the oil soaked ‘bhature’ on the roadside dhaba, I still hold on to “tea cups” at the “chai ki dukaan” and talk about my “Nani” with a Stanger. That's my "India"

I wake up every morning and walk on the wet ground, my feet touching the soft mud, the chaos sets in, I get ready for another hectic day and the faraway music, I hear a faint sound coming from the nearby loudspeaker “Sare jaha se accha, Hindustan humara”, I knew with all its vices, I still belonged to this country, my chaotic land.... I was a free being, I felt thankful! 

pic -Google Images