Existential angst



If  a passive observer were to observe in detail

His life- I can tell you they would certainly fail

To identify any source of unhappiness gross

He had sailed through life without suffering a major loss

Had checked all the boxes, fulfilled every expectation

That one might have from someone  in his situation

Found a well-paying and challenging profession

Married the right woman, had two children in succession

Both were easy to raise, good health graced everyone

What more could one ask for under the sun?


Life appeared to move along at a fast pace

He was one of the frontrunners in the race

Yet he felt unsettled, more so every day

Harbored thoughts of moving away

From everything he had- he wanted to achieve

Something more, he wanted to believe

That something special he was placed on earth to do

Not knowing what it was, he felt increasingly blue

Existential angst had invaded his life near-perfect

Leading to a profound negative effect..

He read and researched everything he could find

To ease existential thoughts away from his mind

Nothing seemed to help despite hours spent

Searching for answers, to any great extent.


Missing from his life was the notion

Of spirituality or organized religion

Praying was a waste of time, he thought…

Religious intervention was the last thing he sought

Then, one day, he stumbled upon by mistake

A congregation in a church, for courtesy sake

He sat with his hands folded through the service

Listened carefully, in these matters he was a novice

The realm of spirituality that he found

Had a calming effect on him profound

He discovered the powerful effect of prayer

There was no looking back from there

His existential dilemmas faded away as time passed

He had found salvation in  prayer at last.














Own Your Voice


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What would you like to own, that is truly yours?


I hope you own everything you wish for under the sky

But ownership of material objects rarely does anyone satisfy

You might own your business, your precious venture

That you invest yourself in, with pride you nurture

But external forces beyond your control or vision

May sometimes your prized business threaten

You might own a pet, but no one can fully own

Another living creature- you might find yourself left alone

If you own someone’s trust, that is good for you,

I sincerely hope you can carry it through


So coming back to the original question posed by me

What could you possess and make yours, actually?

I think the one thing we all should strive to own

Is our unique voice, the one that belongs to us alone

In a world that distracts us with its ever- increasing noise

We need to work harder to find our voice..

There is something for all of us women to remember

When we own our voice, we own our power

Then we can expand and help others find

Their voices too, so we all speak our minds..


Just own your voice if nothing else you own

Armed with it, you can venture into the unknown.














Immigration, integration


When someone calls me an immigrant I am confused

Not knowing in what context the word has been used-

Maybe it is just an observation about me

Because I look and pronounce words differently..

I must confess here, though, that I am insecure

What my immigrant status signifies to someone, I am not sure

Some actually mean to compliment the industriousness

That they have noted in immigrants who garner success

Yet I am afraid when I am thus identified

My efforts at assimilation are intensified

I know it is difficult for any group to include

An outsider- I definitely do not want to intrude

There maybe some who look at me

With some degree of anger and animosity

I do not know if anyone has been deprived

Of a livelihood because of me, I have not contrived

To do any such thing- in fact, as far as I know

I obtained a visa only after my employer could show

That a citizen of this country suitable for this position

Could be found- those were the grounds for my immigration


My immigrant status is a shadow lurking in the dark

Sometimes it stays hidden, sometimes makes a mark

I am grateful to live and work here

Yet I wish my alienness would disappear..

The enduring attribute of my immigration

Would be my life-long attempt at integration.

Musings of a physician


doctor greece


All unfinished patient charts I will complete

Documenting in detail is no small feat

I’ll try to coherently word my impression

In a sea of irrelevant information

When boredom and fatigue creep in late at night

With some more caffeine, I’ll put up a fight



I’ll answer work e-mails that number a million

Some of them asking for completion

Of yet another test or course that is required

To avoid suspension, or worse, getting fired

Often requiring me to use my credit card-

Proving competence as a physician has to be hard..



To the insurance company I shall place a call

Plead my case for my patient, likely hit a wall

Denial to approve every test, every medication

Often without any valid justification

Seems to be the new norm these days

Medical care is denied to patients in creative ways



I’ll call back the referring physician

Who needs to have an urgent discussion

Regarding a mutual patient- this one

Would be my first call, once I am done

In the ideal world, a colleague should not have to wait

But, whether I should be interrupted is a matter of some debate


All these matters that clamour for my attention

I shall willingly disregard, for this thirty-minute session

Where you, at your most vulnerable, in a state of apprehension

Tell me your story, expecting me to patiently listen

This undivided attention undoubtedly you deserve

Let me tell you also that this is the only time reserved

For me to do what I was meant to do at the end of the day

This interaction with you is my rai·son d’ê·tre in every way

While the business of medicine often leaves me disenchanted

Listening to, and examining you brings me back to what I wanted

I have many things to take care of, but they can and shall wait

You come first for me, this I shall emphatically state. 

(Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_medicine)


















Sorry..not sorry


There was a time when I would try to rationalize

Every aspect of my behavior, I would apologize

For every perceived infraction, every breach

Of  “lady-like” behavior, I would try to reach

The exalted pedestal of morality set for me

And berate myself when I failed miserably..


Somewhere along the line, a habit it became

To say sorry even when there was no blame

Assigned to me- I would begin any question

With an apology for the interruption

I apologized each time I expressed an opinion

As if encroaching on someone’s dominion

At home, at the workplace- each time I apologized

I undermined myself- something I did not realize

Without being aware,  I was giving an impression

Of underconfidence in every interaction

No wonder I felt left behind despite my diligence

In the professional world there was no room for diffidence..


This is how I would have continued in oblivion

Had I not read an exquisite poetic expression

Woven around the word “unapologetic”-

Penned by a woman, it was a signal emphatic

To me to discard my apologetic ways

And an unapologetic stance embrace


So here I say, loud and clear

I’ll stand for myself without any fear

My beliefs, my attitude, my views

Are for me alone to choose

Different though they may be

I owe no one an apology

For being who I am, thinking the way I do

Unapologetic I stand finally, before you.

There are days when you wake up

With a spring in your step

Energized, ready to take the world on

By its proverbial horn

A lot you accomplish in that day

You think such days would pave the way

For you to aim higher; more achieve

You are invincible, or so you believe


Then there are days when life drags you down

You shuffle your feet, your forehead has a frown

When all you wish is to crawl in your bed

Yet put one foot in front of the other instead

You manage to get work done somehow

Using as little energy as your body would allow


I used to think that that the days that made a difference

Were the ones full of energy and exuberance

Yet, with passage of time I’ve made this observation-

Sleepwalking through slow days just for self-preservation

Is equally important- it is the ability during such days

To put one foot before the other along the way

That propels us forward, for such days are many more

Plowing ahead during tough times ensures

That eventually the destination is reached

Your goal you have finally achieved.


A Beautiful Woman


Who is the prettiest little girl in the world?

The one whose charm is unparalleled

She has a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye

Asks questions constantly, she is never shy

The beauty of the world is for her to explore

Her wings are intact, high above she can soar

The tentacles of society have not reached her

Under her parents’ guidance, she sprints without fear


Who is the most beautiful young woman that you see?

She combines wit and charm effortlessly

Sitting with her beau on a dinner date

Her opinions on grave matters she states

Science, politics, sports- she can discuss with elan

She is more erudite than her man


Who is the most beautiful mother, you know?

She is there for her children through every high and low

Their strongest supporter, their biggest fan

She teaches her boy how to be a man

Respectful to women, while her daughter she leads

By example, making her independent for her needs


Who is the most beautiful grandmother, can you say?

Her uncanny perception on any day

Gives her a radiant confidence

No lies or excuses work in her presence

Worldly wisdom is packed in those wrinkles

Her wit charms all, her eyes still twinkle


She may be at any stage of life, but for me

The one thing that gives a woman her true beauty

Is the confidence that she exudes from every pore

She is a true gem, down to her core.

The Collaboration



I. The aspiring writer

She toiled away at writing, without being inspired

To be a published author was what her heart desired

Words she could arrange, but she had no story to tell

Without a strong story, all ideas fell

Down the route of wishful thinking 

She despaired, she saw her dream sinking..

Her life was too mundane, too ordinary

To be an inspiration for a capital story

Nor was she blessed with fertile imagination-

All this hampered her creative expression


II. The Woman with a Past

She looked around furtively, out of habit old

Walked with her collar turned up, though it was not cold

Then reminded herself that there was little to fear

The danger of genocide no longer lurked near

Nor was she in fear of displacement now

She was as safe here as her skin color would allow

Having escaped death, lived life in countries seven

Each worse than the other, by the time she was ten

Being a refugee in the United States was being kissed by fate

She was grateful, she knew she was fortunate..

Yet who knew here, who could understand

The pain of being driven away from your land

Especially from Rwanda, a country obscure

That she was a Tutsi mattered here no more

She was a freshman in an Ivy League university

She was grateful to her sponsors for this opportunity

Yet there was that constant, queasy pain

Lodged in the deepest recesses of her brain


III. The Meeting

She switched up her routine looking for inspiration

Hoping people-watching at the park would fire her imagination

Instead,  every day a striking young woman intrigued her

She walked with small quick steps, as if in fear

She longed to make an acquaintance of her, and one day

The perfect opportunity for small talk came her way

She learnt more about this young woman, and wondered

Where she was from, what had happened to her..

One day she asked after much deliberation

About her past, and received a reply after initial hesitation

She had heard vaguely about Rwandan genocide

She realized the young woman had scars inside..


IV. The Collaboration

An unlikely friendship blossomed between the two

For the first time, she opened up about her trauma too

One day she confided that she longed to tell her story

To purge herself, to dig up from her memory all details gory

She had found herself unable to write about it all these years

Trying to do so only exacerbated her fears..

Our aspiring writer realized this might well be

The Eureka moment for her, if she could write this story

Soon it was decided our young refugee’s gruesome tale

Would be authored by the older woman, this time she wouldn’t fail


V. Success and Healing

The book was completed in two months, and became

Wildly popular, both of them acquired fame

The young woman spoke to varied audiences about this,

And in the process received a satisfying catharsis…

Our writer was approached promptly

To write yet another biography

Thus they found success, she found healing too

It was time to forgive and begin life anew..

Image: Eternal Flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center















“Change is the only constant in life.”


I convinced myself not to jump in

Careless folks almost never win

I talked myself out of every opportunity

That presented itself, full of uncertainty

I told myself since I was in a safe place

Any change could imperil my comfortable space


Thus I went from day to day

In a controlled, comfortable, boring way

Yet the yearning to achieve something more

Rankled in me, leaving me discontent to the core

That comfort zone of mine had become a bubble

Imprisoning me, I should have sensed impending trouble


Things stagnated, then began to deteriorate

As change in my life was not allowed to circulate

Now from the other side clearly I see

How fear had held me back constantly

I clung desperately to the crumbling status quo

I was irrationally petrified of letting go

Just when I was on the verge of being able to take no more

A new opportunity knocked at my door…


This is real life, the opportunity clearly golden was not

Yet it had a silver lining, prompting some thought

Of leaving my current situation to embrace

The challenges of inhabiting a different space

After sleepless nights and intense vacillation

I took a leap of faith, into the new situation

It was a difficult task to let go of fear

To leave behind everything I had held dear


I have no spectacular success story to narrate

Yet I feel much more in control of my fate

When finally change I embraced

I realized my hidden fear I had faced

I must say that by placing my trust in Providence

I actually regained my lost confidence!

Creative void


I feel in my bones, I feel in the air

A creative void, I am quite aware

New ideas have been prevented

From germinating, from being presented

To the surface of my conscious mind

Life’s endless details rob me of time to find

Space to think, space to daydream

Mundane tasks occupy all my time, it seems

No wonder I forget that I am alive

To get back in the groove I need my drive…


So I sit here trying to pen down some lines

Despite a paucity of ideas in my mind

I hope this is a warm-up, soon I would see

Creative juices course through my veins freely

I am waiting for things to work in reverse fashion

Where ideas create time for me to chase my passion


As I write, I can sense a transformation

Coming over me, I can feel a sensation

Of time slowing down, a wave of relaxation

Washing over me, relieving my vexation

Over not indulging in endeavors creative

I smile to myself, I am beginning to live

Again- the world is brighter, the way

It is supposed to be each day…


This verse is a rambling of a bored mind

Yet is is significant for me, it has helped me find

A way to break the void within me

A way to tap into a well of creativity…

Thou shalt not compare on Facebook


In my life I think I need

A new serenity prayer indeed-

I need serenity, courage, wisdom- all three

To set my soul from bondage free

An unhealthy sense of competition I’ve acquired

In the vicious circle of comparison I am mired

To everyone else around me, myself I compare

At their achievements on social media I stare

Then wallow in self-pity because my life, you know

Has nothing interesting going on, worth a show….


As I scroll through instagram feeds and facebook timelines,

There comes a point when despondency fills my mind

Protective instincts kick in to prevent further distress

I shun social media, stop tracking others’ progress

Freeing up more time, to do things that are worthwhile


When I do something interesting, I post it under my profile

Of course then I check out every notification as well

And I am back in my self-created hell

Of comparing others’ highlights to my

Behind-the scenes life- believe me, I try

To avoid these comparisons, but stop short

Of deleting social media accounts- I cannot

Be a recluse in the virtual world, that scares me

So I continue to go through cycles of misery….


I think a new commandment needs addition

To the Ten Commandments for the millennial edition

“Thou shalt not compare yourself to others on the internet”

Maybe that will have, at least on me, the desired effect…