Sleep vs. stimulation

NaBloPoMo 2021

I’ve had a long day, now what do I do?

I am exhausted, with a short fuse too

I think I have no brain power left to spend

I am sure I have no energy left to expend

On any activity remotely classified as productive

The idea of snoozing on my couch is seductive..


Maybe in another era that’s what I would have done

If I were exhausted, to my bed I would have returned

But with gadgets around, I don’t do that now

Relaxation means aimlessly surfing somehow

The world wide web, accessible even in bed

The stimulation is addictive, therefore instead

Of taking a short nap which infinitely more refreshing would be

I surf the internet on my phone mindlessly

I search for funny videos, gorgeous sights, fashion and more

I am still tired but more stimulated than before

I don’t know what direction my stress levels have taken

By stimulating my mind and eyes, precious sleep I’ve forsaken


Cognitively I know this is the wrong thing to do

Yet I repeat this folly everyday, it’s true

Unable to fall asleep despite being tired

I stay sleep-deprived, my poor brain constantly wired…


Enough said, now to my bed I shall retreat

Leave my phone elsewhere, prop up my tired feet

Close my eyes and not let in blue light

I’ll let my senses be taken over by the night..

Can I cure you?

NaBloPoMo 2021

I cannot help but feel, to some extent, helpless

In the face of your aggressive disease process

Since you were afflicted all of a sudden

You hope for recovery, the full scope of the illness hidden

From your eyes, and your comprehension

You don’t get sick easily, so you envision

A short course of symptoms, that would go away

With a simple drug, or procedure, soon you would be on your way

To feeling better, you lead a healthy lifestyle after all

This is merely a stumbling  block, you don’t expect to fall

I see that hope in you, if only the same I could share!

Having treated this condition, I am painfully aware

That in the next few minutes your optimism I shall crash

No matter how I word it, your hopes would be dashed


I do this often enough, usually detached I remain

From the patient’s emotions, to stay calm and sane

But sometimes the buoyant optimism of a patient

My carefully practiced equanimity threatens

If only, somehow I had a magic one step cure

I wish a miracle drug I could conjure..

Then I remind myself- that is an audacious thought

I am a student of science, a magician or messiah I am not

This disease has no cure, but I can offer relief

I can always try to comfort, that’s my firm belief

So I explain the disease and its prognosis, in an empathetic voice

To encourage shared decision-making, I go through each available choice


There are days when I feel invincible at work, and then

There are days like this that remind me I am a mere human

With a special skill, not a gift divine

As I treat my patients, I must keep that in mind

Attacked by my body

NaBloPoMo 2021

This poem is a humble attempt to give a voice to millions of people living with autoimmune illnesses. There is so much more I wanted to say, but for now this is all I have.

That time when I felt normal, completely alive

Seems a memory distant, I’d have to take a deep dive

To recall when things were “good”, before a laundry list

Of symptoms appeared, and I started my tryst

With the medical system, seeing a motley crew

Of specialists, many kinds of tests they would do

On me over the years, prescribe medications

That grew more expensive each year, without giving an indication

Of improvement in my condition sustained

No matter what I did, my symptoms waxed and waned

I had flare-ups at times most inconvenient

They followed no schedule, I could not prevent

A flare-up when it threatened its ugly head

Hoping to improve next morning, I would go to bed

Wake up disappointed, in discomfort and pain

Hoping for a remission to follow again

Each time nervous that the disease activity

Was here to stay, at a worse new baseline I would be


Pesky steroids, immunosuppressants and more

Fear of infections shaking me to the core

Each common viral illness leaving its mark

With new symptoms, some subtle, some stark

Any kind of stress sending my system immune

In to overdrive, from which I would not bounce back soon

All kinds of restrictive diets I have tried

When nothing worked, myself to sleep I’ve cried

Then the pandemic came, to derange life even further for me

I worried the virus would challenge my immunity


Why could my body not learn

To love itself, not attack it, I yearn

For a life free of worry constant

Even though I manage well to an extent

There are times when gourmet food

Unleashes a torrent of symptoms that intrude

On my ability to live from day to day

Normally- then I have to remind myself in some way

“This too shall pass” because flares come and go

Tomorrow may be the best day, I never know!

Happy Thanksgiving

NaBloPoMo 2021

To give thanks is an expression with meaning profound

To take nothing for granted, to be grateful for the abundance around

To remind ourselves of our good fortune

Because from adversity none of us is immune

To rejoice with family, in collective gratitude

For the warmth of relationships, celebrated with food

To remind ourselves to cherish moments together

Because good times and good fortune may not last forever


This Thanksgiving is a time for collective thankfulness

Making it through a worldwide pandemic is a success!

What did I see?

NaBloPoMo 2021

I see beauty profound

Fiery fall colors abound

The vista that induces rapture

I wish to permanently capture

So I try to take pictures from angles different

Make videos to preserve the moment

Even wax poetic about how I feel

The impact of the scenery on my senses I want to seal


The present I tucked away for future reminiscence

But in doing so I daresay I forgot to experience

The actual moment unfolding before my eyes

Now, just a few days later, I happen to realize

That I cannot recall details of that day

What the cool breeze smelled like, I cannot say

Whether my skin was warmed by the dappled sunlight

I do not know, I missed feeling that outright

Did I feel a sense of calm or tranquility

In the presence of breathtaking beauty?


Most of what I remember is based on the photographs I took

In seeing through my lens, with my eyes I forgot to look..


NaBloPoMo 2021

Increasing excitement of anticipation

As we approach the destination

Carefully planned, down to the last detail

(Because the best laid plans can fail)

We expect a vista of unparalleled beauty

When finally the advertised place we get to see

After all, millions of visitors go there Millions of instagram pictures they share

That look amazing, granted filters are applied

Still the place has to be beautiful inside..

This is a much awaited vacation and we

Are looking forward to being awed endlessly


Braving throngs of people and long queues

We are at the place with supposedly stunning views

The reality is quite different from expectation

We are disappointed, the best part of the vacation

Has proved to be average, how would the rest

Turn out to be, we wonder, with dampened interest


The next day of vacation has been reserved

For a lesser known attraction, this is well preserved

Because the ravages of tourism have not

Marred it yet there are not a lot

Of ratings on trip advisor, therefore

There are fewer people, we are able to explore

This place, as beautiful as the named attraction

Without long queues, flashing cameras and other distractions


This scenario plays out in our travels frequently

The road less traveled is the one that appears to be

More attractive than the popular tourist destination

The hype around it builds up excess anticipation

Hopes are dashed when it does not turn out

To be as majestic as we had heard about

Gradually I am learning to keep an open mind

To be a traveler, not tourist, and hidden gems find

An Immigrant’s Dilemma

NaBloPoMo 2021

I wish years ago I had a crystal ball

When, young and audacious, I heeded the call

Of adventure- I wanted to explore

Therefore I left my homeland’s shore

To settle in a new country, lured by

The promise of freedom, the hope of flying high

Backed by the unwavering support always

Of my anchors at home, I was confident in those days

That the physical distance was just a number to know

In the connected modern world, freely we could go

From one country to another, this would not be

An issue at all, I thought confidently

Family responsibilities I did not have quite yet

I had no idea how complicated life could get..


More than a decade later, well-settled I am in this land

With a young family of my own, now I understand

How complex it becomes when you have to navigate

Between two countries that thousands of miles separate

Raising young children and building a career here

Guilt of leaving parents back home to steer

Themselves alone through aging and illness

The conundrum gets harder to process

To uproot them and ask them to adapt in a country new

Making them live a life they did not choose, seems selfish to do

Immigration laws, pandemics, travel restrictions can interfere

And complicate the situation, there is a constant fear

That physically meeting each other in a time of need

Could prove to be quite difficult indeed..


I am successful and contented with the life I have made

I cannot help wonder if I would have stayed

In my homeland if a crystal ball I had seen

How different would our lives have been?


NaBloPoMo 2021

I want to love the things I possess

They stand as testaments to my success

To work hard and earn, every day I strive

I’m grateful to the powers above that I thrive

I know that I have more than enough

Yet I feel compelled to buy more stuff

As new and shiny objects I obtain

I add more things on my list to maintain

Sometimes the distinction is unclear, you see

Whether I own my stuff or my stuff owns me

On my limited time it encroaches, it’s true

Keeping things in order takes energy too

Time and energy that could be better spent by me

On work, with family, or exploring my creativity

Instead I use my free hours to declutter and arrange

Obscene amounts of stuff, it almost seems strange

That all the gadgets and stuff equated with affluence

Need delicate handling and careful maintenance

If I had less possessions to preserve

My energy for social interactions I could conserve


I heard something that gave me an epiphany

“Use objects, love people” resonated with me

Material possessions are means to an end

If they occupy time that I was meant to spend

With family, friends, pets, colleagues, and more

I need to evaluate my priorities to the core

I shall start with curbing the urge

To buy more, and then I shall purge

My home, my social media accounts and my mind

Of extraneous stuff, to the hazards of which I was blind

I pick me up

NaBloPoMo 2021

When life throws you down, for an anchor you search

Sometimes help arrives, sometimes you are left in the lurch

Then that anchor you have to conjure

Somehow, out of thin air, you have to ensure

That a way to pull yourself up you find

Create a fictional anchor in your mind

Pretend someone is giving you a hand

Take that proffered help, and then stand

You do have support, it lies within you

Whatever the hurdle, it will carry you through


You are your own support system, your own

Cheerleader, you can traverse this journey alone

If someone comes along, enjoy the companionship

Depend on yourself though, don’t let your inner support slip

As you help yourself, the universe will conspire

To make you succeed, you will yourself inspire

To take on challenges new, clear hurdles many more

Keep swimming, the current will take you to the shore

The Taste of Home

NaBloPoMo 2021

Where is home, I wonder again?

The walls I grew up in no longer remain

The world I left behind has been

Transformed, everything here I’ve never seen

The sky is less clear, the river more muddy

I jostle my brain as the landscape I study

High-rise buildings familiar landmarks hide

If they still exist- the urban sprawl has swallowed wide

Everything that with home my memories associate

Has gone, I look hard for something to which I can relate


Familiar faces are nowhere to be found

Twenty-five years have changed everything around

I don’t remember the jarring ringtones

That now emanate from myriad cellphones

Too many layers have given a patina new

To the old town I grew up in, the place I knew

I cannot say there is anything aesthetically pleasing

All available corners the new growth is squeezing..


Lost in my reverie I do not realize

When it starts raining, it was not wise

To travel without an umbrella on a day

That had 100% chance of rain anyway

(Growing up, the weather forecast was wildly inaccurate,

I’d subconsciously ignored weather prediction for this date)

Getting soaked, I darted for protection

In to the nearest tea shop- on inspection

The place did not quite my hygiene standards meet

But I was cold, wet and hungry, I needed to eat

So I ordered milky tea and jalebi drenched in syrup too sweet

The smells of cardamom and ginger were for my senses a treat

And the memories I had been trying hard to dig through

Came back to me, tea and sweets held the clue

To unlock golden days, transport me home at last

Tea served in earthenware was a cherished relic of the past

The sweets were prepared in the exact same way

As decades ago, my emotions they could sway

My eyes moistened, as memories I began to taste

My heart had returned home, my journey was not a waste..

Should I Quit?

NaBloPoMo 2021

I read somewhere that about one in five healthcare workers has left medicine since the pandemic started. This is a poem highlighting the predicament of someone who is thinking about quitting.

Who would I be if this I could not do

My sense of identity draws heavily on it too

Where would I be if not within these walls formidable

Working inside the confines of which I am comfortable

The life-sustaining machines’ hums and beeps

Those sounds would haunt me when I try to sleep

Where would I look for the rush of adrenaline

Except in handling the kind of medical emergencies I’ve seen

How else would I find despair morph into hope

How would I comfort aggrieved people, help them cope

Where would the triumph of science I celebrate

Where would I witness miracles modern medicine can create


Tough the path had always been

But the pandemic brought challenges unseen

Defeat more often than success

Death, too excessive to process

The hope from vaccines that loomed large

Appeared to turn into a mirage

Overburdened, exhausted, under-appreciated

Nothing at work leaving me satiated

My cup was emptied out long ago

How to channel motivation, I do not know


I want to quit, my breaking point is here

I am losing my raison d’être, I fear

My pesky little inner voice chimes in

Raises the arguments I gave in the beginning

Thus, back to square one I go

I’ve gushed at the highs, with the lows I’ll flow

Big Bad World

NaBloPoMo 2021

The world is a scary place, and I

Fear for you, my children, that’s why

I’ve been teaching you all along

To be careful, so that nothing goes wrong

I want to protect you from all the ugliness

That exists in the world, I want to impress

Upon you that you need to be vigilant

Danger can in many forms be present

I worry about physical and mental harm to you

I worry about bullying and school shootings too


It is only lately that I have become aware

Instead of just expressing how much I care

My anxieties I am projecting on you

Helpful this is not, that much is true

I want you to be strong, but when I say on repeat

That the world is a bad place, that goal I defeat

I make you too timid, too anxious, to try

New adventures, to fly too high

So go about the world with eyes open wide

With optimism and caution running side by side

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