A perfect day

(Inspired by catherinechengmd.com)

With immense gratitude I end today

It was a perfect day, I must say!


The first question is how I would define

A perfect day- nothing happened to blow mind

But the day was smooth, the hundred little moments

In which things could go wrong did not present

Any obstacles, for which I am grateful indeed

Days not spent extinguishing fires I need..

Time together as a family we spent

Without any drama (to a great extent)

I felt centered, calm and in control

It was a day of rejuvenation for my soul


Yes it was a perfect day because I did not

Feel at the end of it that I had fought

A battle against time, or will

I had time and autonomy to fill

My cup that unfortunately stays

More empty than full most days

It is my sacred responsibility now

To go to sleep so that I can allow

The next day to start off perfectly as well

Tonight on pleasant thoughts I shall dwell

I don’t know…

It takes courage to admit you do not know

Rather than feigning confidence to show

That you are in control when you are screaming inside

Afraid of your ignorance and wishing to hide

Projecting false confidence works to some extent

But the eventual solution to your predicament

Is to actually learn what you do not know

Find answers on your own or to a mentor you go

Acknowledge gracefully your ignorance

Forget about faking it, give up your false pretense


Even if ignorance is perceived as weakness

By bluffing you cannot achieve success

In-depth learning has no substitute-

This is a fact you cannot refute

Travel on the road less traveled..

I check off my list another destination

The reality does not match the expectation

Of visiting a tourist spot world-famous

Braving long lines and crowds enormous

We finally spend a few moments in admiration

Of the vista which is different from my imagination

Then it is time to leave this crowded place

Where irritable tourists are jostling for space

The entire experience is not very pleasant

I console myself that at least I have fulfilled the intent

Of visiting a place on my bucket-list, finally

To be well- traveled is important to me…


There are the weekend impromptu trips that we take

To nearby towns, beaches, mountains and lakes

That are known to the locals, but not well-publicized

We frequently end up being pleasantly surprised

By hidden gems- both natural and man-made

In the least expected places- I think I would trade

The joy of finding a unique spot for a place well-known

And relish a quieter place with a charm of its own

Such places may not on my bucket-list be

But they are no less suitable for photography..

We explore at a leisurely pace, take pictures unhurriedly

Isn’t that what travel is supposed to be?


Travel to fulfill a bucket list checks boxes of a different kind

But travel on the road less traveled energizes my mind

The former fits the persona I want to create

The latter, my passion for life satiates..

Those familiar follies of the past..

I keep trying to turn over a new leaf

I want to let go of my old, limiting beliefs

When I am happy, I am motivated, I make progress

But when I am perturbed, into old habits I regress

The old patterns of thinking and doing things happen to be

Etched deeply, ingrained within my psyche

When I need comfort inadvertently I gravitate

Towards the past, towards a familiar state..


When I evaluate my past objectively

Many flaws in my thoughts and actions I see

To overcome them, conscious efforts I make

But those old ways are familiar and all it takes

Is one roadblock on my new path to make me

Relapse into the addictive pull of familiarity..

I’ve come to realize that this is how, unfortunately

I make the same mistakes repeatedly….


Now that I know where the problem lies

I shall navigate my path with wide open eyes

And when I find myself drifting towards past toxicity

I shall try to turn around immediately

Well done, my child!

Each time you do something I should pat you on the back

Shower praise on you for staying on the right track

Every accomplishment of yours I should celebrate

Applaud you for each activity in which you participate

Tell you repeatedly how awesome you are

With positive reinforcement in life you should go far..


As your mother I think you are fabulous

But I must not spoil you, I should be cautious

That I do not create in your mind the false impression

That you are unique, extraordinary, or better than the competition

I must encourage you, but be stingy with my praise

At every small effort of yours, I do not want to raise

A child who is discouraged easily, who gets upset

When praise for each endeavor he does not get…


I want you to succeed with all my heart, I do

But I want you to have realistic expectations too

The rest of the world will not see you with my eyes

And as you grow up, I hope you would not be surprised

When your efforts go unnoticed, your achievements uncelebrated

Both praise and criticism in your stride you would take

And I would know in parenting I’ve made one less mistake…

The imperfect artist

This poem reflects the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi that emphasizes the beauty of imperfection, asymmetry and transience. I have included one of my sketches from Mother’s Day which shows clear (glaring?) imperfections..

So you think you can’t be an artist, think again

Breathe, and let your imagination take the reins

Look at the natural world around you and get inspired

Then start creating, no prior experience is required..


What are you afraid of, that your lines would be

Misshapen, haphazard or replete with asymmetry?

Or that when you paint, your colors would escape

Outside the margins, or that the clay would not take shape

In the impeccable mould of your imagination

When you try to configure your pottery to perfection?


Creating art is not an all or none process

Every line, every swath of paint represents progress

Each imperfection in your work you embrace

Remember that this universe has enough space

For all art, you are an artist when you create

Immerse yourself in creating and celebrate

Your art, there is beauty to be found

In imperfection- this is a truth profound

Pursuit of Purpose (Ikigai)

Your passion and purpose should be aligned

Sounds good in theory, but it is hard to find

An overarching purpose in life, at least for me

Even as I try to pursue my passions fiercely

It is a question of nature existential

I am searching for what is essential

For me to live, to thrive, to leave an impact

Something I was placed on earth to do in fact..


Sometimes I feel that finding a singular purpose

Is a lofty goal, an endeavor ambitious

Can purpose be fluid as you transition

Through different stages of life, your vision

Changes with the phase of life you are in

In a different way at each stage you find meaning

Learning, raising a family, and giving back to the community

Are the realms in which you find purpose through life’s journey..


Let me pursue my passion with tenacity

And hope to see with some clarity

The purpose of my life at this stage

And an even stronger purpose as I age

Let the printed word be free

Let the library remain a safe space

Where books of all genres find a place

In all libraries, let the printed word reign

Let the right to choose a book not be restrained

Let books not be restricted based on political will

Let books be shelved so that they instill

The value of free thought and free expression

In impressionable members of the younger generation..


These days when I search the internet

An echo chamber for my thoughts I get

Information that is presented to me

Confirms my biases quite freely

I feel validated in my beliefs, can stay comfortable too

Within the narrow walls of my world view

But when in my local library books I browse

There are plenty of books that arouse

My curiosity, they are written from a perspective

Quite divergent from the one with which I live

Books are laid out before me to choose

What piques my interest, there is nothing to lose

By trying to read something that causes discomfort

Trying to understand the opposite viewpoint is worth the effort


I hope the printed word remains free

Within the hallowed walls of a library

Start with your heart..

This is a topic close to my heart and one that I do talk about as a cardiologist. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, above all kinds of cancer and causes one in three deaths among women each year. Symptoms of heart attacks in women are different from those in men, therefore many women do not seek help in a timely manner. This poem may be too heavy to read but has a positive end.

She tells her self, it must be something I ate

Ignoring the weird feeling- there is much on my plate

That I need to accomplish, that’s why my forehead

Feels a little sweaty, maybe I’ll just go to bed

And start tomorrow, an antacid I should take

I have so much to do, early I must wake


She is tossing and turning, she cannot lie down

Why do I feel like I’m about to drown

Sitting propped up in bed, she has strange aches

It must be my anxiety, she thinks, but cannot shake

The feeling away, the night seems interminable

In no position can she get comfortable


Is something wrong with me, she wonders now

I must see my physician soon, I must find time somehow

Tomorrow my husband leaves on a trip, my child

Has a test, I have a presentation…why does my heartbeat feel wild…

Why can’t I think clearly, what is happening here..

(The last feeling she would remember is that of profound fear…)


She wakes up in the hospital, she has survived

Sudden cardiac death, been successfully revived

What she had was a massive heart attack

As is true in women, typical symptoms she did lack

She is a lucky survivor, proud owner of two stents

To pay close attention to her health is now her intent

The family for which she was trying to ignore

Her health, had been in danger of not having her anymore…


Months have passed, she is now an advocate

For women’s heart health, she is passionate

About spreading the word in the community

The numero uno cause of death in women, heart disease happens to be

Reframe success

For a while it has appeared to me

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

That I go from failure to failure constantly

Hoping against hope that I shall succeed

One day- this is what helps me proceed

Each day in my endeavors, despite making little progress

But I worry I would lose motivation and regress

The major benefit of succeeding, I would say

Is the positive reinforcement it brings your way


A thought-provoking quote I came across

Stumbling from failure to failure without loss

Of enthusiasm is the true measure of success

If that is true, I should continue the process

Of moving from failure to failure and reframe

My thinking to give my endeavors a different name

I should consider myself successful since I have not

Quit completely- let me take a moment to internalize this thought

Self-care advice

I know I must practice self-care

It’s my responsibility, I am aware

But self-care is the buzzword new

Everyone is hopping on this bandwagon to

Tell you how to practice self-care

From celebrities to your friends, everyone wants to share

Tips to make you more relaxed yet productive in your day

But such advice sends increasing stress my way

Because it is unmanageable with my schedule

And I feel like I am failing at yet another societal rule

Which tells you relaxation and self-care need

Specific activities to be included to succeed…


My self-care routine does not include

Yoga classes, spa days, massages- my mood

Is not elevated by things that require me

To be away from home more than I need to be

Reading a medical journal would not count as self-care, but for me

Having the time to learn something related to my career can be

Profoundly uplifting- learning counts towards self-care

As I keep myself well-informed and aware..


Enough said, the bottomline that I want to stress

Is that self-care is a highly individualistic process

Expecting busy women to do it a certain way

Is just adding more items on their “to-do” list every day

Not just gossip..

Enough has been said about women congregating

To gossip about each other, it has been labeled a habit “irritating”

By men over centuries, building an image negative

Of “idle” women with boring lives to live..

When women get together, they share

Everything under the sun, no topic they spare

In doing so they support each other and find

Sisterhood profound, to heal their wounds and energize their minds

In a society that does not give them much space

To air their grievances, to solve the problems they face

When women get together they commiserate

Over the myriad responsibilities on their plate

Sometimes they try to satiate vicariously

Their secret desires, they discuss other women they see

Doing what they cannot, unfortunately it is interpreted thus-

That they are gossiping, being mean, or being vicious…


When women in solidarity come together

Their sisterhood is a force that any storm can weather

The bonding among women, do not trivialize

Hidden within gossip is more than meets your eyes….

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