I am going to change the world!

musings

I needed a pep-talk. So I wrote this- too idealistic, but here I am!

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Like many others my age, as a young girl

I had dreams of changing the world

This was wishful thinking, I had not realized

To the world’s ways I was not yet wise..

 

Even as I grew up, the career path I chose

Seemed to suggest that I would be close

To changing the world, in my position

To heal patients as a physician

 

I encountered demands placed on life as an adult

My juvenile dreams were forgotten, as a result

I was in survival mode, yet the desire to bring about

A change in the world persisted throughout

 

Of course I am not famous, or influential

Large scale changes are beyond my mettle

Yet on thinking hard there are probably some ways

In which I make a positive change from day to day

 

When my child learns how to share

When he learns to be kind, I am aware

That in raising an empathetic child, maybe

I change the world at a minute level, positively..

 

I have no control over life and death, yet I try

To save lives guided by the One in the sky

When a patient, following my advice, improves

I have changed one life, this is in a way proved..

 

Many days I try to impart knowledge to students

Feeling uninspired, with a mutual lack of engagement

Yet once in a while I get a message thanking me

For teaching something that has helped someone considerably

In taking better care of patients- my efforts are validated

I am grateful then for this positive change I have created

 

Penning these words down I realized anew

How countless small things that we all  do

In our daily lives affect the world in a positive way

We all change microcosms of the world every day…

And when was life about measuring quantities, after all?

Every positive effort makes a difference, big or small!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heirloom

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Heirlooms are priceless, I think I’ve known

Away from homeland, they acquire a meaning of their own..

 

Going through the contents of my safe one day

I found the heirloom piece I had locked away

It was a necklace with beads black and gold

Family lore said it was two hundred years old

Not an ordinary piece of jewelry, this one carried

Significance of symbolizing women married

Two slender strands ending in a gold pendant

Studded with precious stones, resplendent

Passed from one generation of strong women

Of my husband’s family, connecting me to them

I fingered the “mangalsutra” that I did not wear

For its ostentation, reluctant to attract stares..

And wondered about the women who had before me

Adorned themselves with this precious beauty

Did all of them don it out of their own choice

Or was it forced upon some, who had no voice…

I wondered if the black beads had performed their duty

And saved their wearers from negative energy

It had been stolen once, so the story went

In it’s long journey, this was a significant event

On the auspicious day of Diwali it was recovered

Since then it was closely guarded, so went the word..

 

The shores of India, it left for the first time when

I brought it with me, as an article of adornment

It languished in the safe, for I could not find an occasion

That called for such splendor and ostentation

 

So I paired it with my western garb one day

Felt connected to my roots in a different way

Besides being interesting, it garnered compliments

(A pleasant side-effect, though that was not my intent)..

 

Far from home, every article that connects me

To my roots, is something to be cherished indefinitely..

(Image source:https://jharaphula.com/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I quit

musings

The more I climbed in the world’s eyes

The more my soul appeared to die…

*

At the pinnacle of success I was perched high

Yet part of me longed to bid goodbye

To this peak below which shaky was the ground

Ambivalent I felt about wearing the crown

The top, you know, is a place best defined

By never-ending stress on the mind…

*

I reached this height serendipitously 

The ascent too occurred precipitously

Leaving me without any time to acclimatize

I had become a celebrity long before I realized..

My story is Cinderella-esque, yet I complain

For fairy tales their fair share of woes contain

What began as an afternoon project one day

To flex my creative muscles in an unusual way

Over the next few months, became an obsession

I rushed home from work to “work” on my creations

Showcased them in a local exhibition at a friend’s request

Where, in a dream-come-true fashion, they piqued the interest

Of an entrepreneur, leading promptly to a collaboration

That became wildly successful, beyond imagination..

*

As business grew, multiple responsibilities I assumed

Worked hard to keep up with demands, as business bloomed

Of course I was happy my work had received such admiration

Yet stress coursed through my veins more often than exhilaration..

*

As my brand became international, busier I grew

Travel, TED talks, events were thrown into the milieu

I still had signature designs, but assisting me

Were other talented designers working for my company

*

My brand value climbed, my satisfaction plummeted

Despite tasting success, sometimes I regretted

That initial exposure that had catapulted me

Into the realm of business from my shell of creativity

I had soared higher, above my friends, leaving me

Excluded from their sphere, and lonely

The high that I used to get after a creative endeavor

Ebbed away- to the whims of the market I had to now cater

As a young female entrepreneur, I gained acclaim

Yet I did not gain happiness along with fame

*

Deeply depressed, seeing therapists, taking medications

Trying mindfulness, tai-chi, yoga, meditation-

One day I felt I could not take it any longer

Call me weak, but accepting defeat made me feel stronger

Before the inevitable decline began, I had decided to quit

In the world of business, I had never quite fit

So I sold my company and took a break extended

The broken parts of my soul I mended

*

My creative energy I now spend

On my own terms, I no longer bend

To the pressures of the market, my wares I sell

In local stores, supporting small businesses as well

The brand I created is still profitable

But removed from it, I am more comfortable

*

At the end of the day an artist am I-

Business definitely is not where my talents lie

I realized this in time, before depression

Could cause irrevocable harm to my person. 

Cafe Convention

musings

coffee

In a cafe let us meet

Enjoy coffee and something sweet

Watch people surreptitiously

And do what people have done repetitiously

In cafes around the world for centuries

Discussing ideas while sitting at ease

Maybe we would brainstorm and come up

With a brilliant idea for a new start-up

Maybe the alertness brought on by coffee

Would lead us to a new discovery

Or maybe we all would get galvanized

To create a revolution organized

While discussing issues that arouse our passion

(In a cafe started the French Revolution!)

If we did any of these things, we would be

Following the well-travelled roads of history..

 

From time immemorial cafes around the world

Have as catalysts for political change served

Fuelled by coffee, men polarized in their views

Have debated heatedly, created breaking news

Intellectually inclined folks have conducted discourses

On science and philosophy, setting into motion forces

That have changed the course of history

How cafes facilitate that is not a mystery-

A lot can happen over a cup of coffee, we know

When you have time on your hands, and nowhere to go

With company of  people who think the same way-

Coffee, time and great ideas make a perfect day!

 

On this rainy day let us all convene

In our favorite cafe, that has seen

Highlights of our lives over the last decade

We shall not let our camaraderie fade

Even if nothing earth-shattering we create

We can take burdens off each other’s plates

We shall warm our bodies with coffee, and

Our hearts with stories shared among friends…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a DREAMer

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[DREAMers: defines individuals in the U.S. who were brought to the country at an early age without documentation but have assimilated to U.S. culture and have been educated by U.S. school systems]

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Some days and moments stay imprinted on your mind

That opened your eyes to realities to which you were blind-

 

I was a straight A student, no question there had been

That I would go to college, my future path seemed pristine

I would bag a scholarship, proud would my parents be

I would make their sweat and tears count, set them free

From the tyranny of toiling away sixteen hours in a day-

They had crossed many hurdles in their way

Coming to America on a limb, in an attempt to give

Better opportunities to me, a better life to live

 

So I began the process of applying for college admissions  

And realized that through the years there had been an omission

On the part of my parents- they had not let me know

That I was “undocumented”- the news came as a blow

Suddenly my world was turned upside down

I could be deported, forced to leave the town

That was the only home I could remember

Yet, instead of leaving for college in September

I could be headed to the country which was essentially

A completely foreign land with a nearly alien language for me!

 

I could not wrap my head around the whole concept-

We were all undocumented- how, I could not accept

My parents were small-business owners, paying taxes too

And I, an American, all the way through

I was angry- at life, laws, my parents included

I thought I was American- turned out I was deluded

 

I am a DREAMer- that’s the label I carry 

I am in college now, yet the uncertainty is scary

The idea of being deported sends shivers down my spine

I would be uprooted, this country is mine-

This country has invested in me, and I want to

Invest back in it, pay back my dues…

(Image source:https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/lifestyle/7988878/what-end-of-daca-could-look-like-personal-account)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book a day… keeps the blues away

musings

Different challenges people for themselves set

Announcing them somewhere on the internet

To gain publicity, or for accountability

It is trendy to challenge our abilities..

So I gave myself a challenge, announcing on “Goodreads”

That every single day for a month, a book I would read

Now forty-five days later, forty-five books I have read

On a variegated literary diet I stand well-fed

What did I achieve? That is something I cannot explain

I was already an avid reader, I did not need to “train”

To read a book fast enough to complete it in a day

You might ask if this obsession got in the way

Of my work, of other tasks to be completed

Surprisingly, reading a book a day never depleted

My time significantly, what it did actually

Was that each book became my best ally

For the day- enticing me away from TV and shopping online

As books worked their magic, I had less time to whine

Different worlds I experienced with each book read

Some barely touched me, with others tears were shed

From stories set centuries ago to politics contemporary

My selection of books was fairly arbitrary

Browsing through collections at my local library each weekend

Became a ritual of sorts, a gainful way to spend

My time- checking out as many books as I could 

Selecting books on varied topics such that I would

Be forced to move out of my comfort zone 

My reading choices expanded, I never felt alone

As books became my companions constant

I felt happy that my time was well spent

This was a challenge, which has reached completion

Now I shall withdraw from my self-imposed competition

Still continue to read daily, though not a book every day

I have waxed poetic about it enough, that’s all I had to say!

The bottomless pit..

musings

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. –Erich Fromm

I thought from my parents I had imbibed

Through my childhood, values right

Growing up, undue emphasis on money we did not place

Life was supposed to be much more than a race

To acquire more wealth, accumulate comforts material

Our goals were supposed to be loftier, less tangible..

Maybe I was not as strong as I thought I would be

In the face of temptation, I swayed ever so slightly

At first, the lure of more money was accompanied

By other rewards, and an eager need

To be recognized in my field, which, after all, 

Had a philanthropic aspect to it, though small

So I worked harder, giving myself the justification

That there was nothing wrong in pursuing ambition

It would only be for a few years, until I was established

Then I would cut back on work, and lead the life I wished

I marvel at my naivete during those early years

I wish more powerful had been my fears

About getting stuck in the rat race 

So I could have retracted from that slippery place…

Neglecting my life at home and my family

I did not realize when the fine line was crossed by me

Between healthy ambition and vile greed

The desire for more was constantly justified as need

What’s more, productivity was encouraged and applauded

So, for my greed, I was constantly being rewarded

Therefore, ignoring migraines, heartburns and such

I worked harder to acquire more, at no point it was too much

I should have known I was headed for a burnout

The writing was on the wall, but I was too busy running about

To pay attention to it, so when I had a mental breakdown

I finally took notice, and heard the sirens sound

I then realized how the slippery slope of greed

Had robbed me of my prized possessions indeed-

Peace of mind and sound sleep at night- 

I had given up both without a fight…

That too, for nothing, because insatiable is greed

Continuously presenting each want as a need

I learnt my lesson, my greed I vanquished

Got back the life of values for which I had wished

Women speak up

musings

Board-Meeting

I think I am fairly qualified

To give an opinion on the matter at hand

Yet when I present my side

Of reasoning, they seem unable to stand

The fact that I have spoken- after all, who am I

To comment on matters important

I am expected to remain submissive and shy

To refrain from an opinion even when present

 

As soon as I have finished, I get a smile

Followed by a condescending comment

By now I have figured out the board members’ style

My ideas for them are pure entertainment

Then one of them proceeds to explain things to me

Like I am slow of mind or imbecile

Let me assure you, I am neither or I wouldn’t be

In this boardroom, in fact I have gone the extra mile

To be where I am, so I probably have qualifications

That exceed theirs’- I analyze problems thoroughly too

I should not have to give any justification

In expressing exactly what I want to.

 

I am frankly perplexed and sometimes amused

At how men continue to disregard opinions that women present

Many do it subconsciously, though they might refuse

To acknowledge any misogyny, they support equality in sentiment

From the average workplace meeting to the presidential debate

“Manterruption” appears to be a universal male trait

 

Hear me out gentlemen, I have something to say

If it came from a man, this idea would be lapped up today

So lend me your time and attention valuable

I am confident of bringing new ideas to the table

 

Border

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border

I cannot help feel a pang of jealousy

When I see a bird fly over me…

It is free to fly in any direction

No border can restrict that freedom…

 

Then I shake my head at the sheer absurdity

Of comparing myself to a bird that is free

I am a mere human, who happened to be 

Born on the wrong side of the border, you see

Where poverty, drugs and organized crime

Were making life difficult with the passage of time

My nest was in peril, unlike a bird I could not teach

My children to fly, to free them from the enemy’s reach…

 

 

Leaving home is never a decision taken lightly

The hazards of crossing the border were known to me

Yet what do you do when each day is spent in fear

Of losing the ones you hold near and dear?

I could keep existing, but it killed me each day

To watch childhood being taken away

From my children- I had to find a way to provide 

A better life for them, to venture across the divide-

We could swim across the river treacherous

Or venture through the scorching desert perfidious

We could perish, and attain salvation thus

If we made it across alive, that would be a plus

 

Yes, we survived, my children and I

We crossed the border, our hopes did not die

 

We are undesirable statistics, we are aware

We work hard, knowing life is not fair

Life on this side of the border is not easy

But my children have been restored the carefree

Childhood they deserve-that was my sole aim

In crossing the border, yes, I take the blame

 

The birds are flying south, the border they will cross

While I thank God for my gains, and mourn my loss..

Image: (Painting/”Crossing Borders”/Gwynne Duncan): https://longislandwins.com/herstory/enstories-liberation-will-walk-endescaminare-hasta-el-final/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventeen to forty

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I am young, and have stars in my eyes

I need to work hard, and that’s no surprise

I know academic excellence shall pave the way

For a better future that I strive towards every day

I should have my life figured out- I am seventeen

My admission essay should spell out what I have not yet seen-

I should have a clear vision of my future, that’s expected

Being competitive is a trait I have perfected

An Ivy league education followed by a six-figure salary

Are prerequisites to being successful and happy

Ambition and drive I think I have in plenty

A prosperous life for me they should guarantee..

**

My fortieth birthday I celebrate today

 

That ambitious adolescent has come a long way

That driven girl of yester-years did achieve

Her professional goals- what is generally perceived

As success, I think I can claim I have in hand

Yet the parameters of happiness, I now understand

Are very different from what I thought they would be

As a seventeen year old aspiring for a college degree

The competitive streak that I had in me

Was not conducive for happiness, I now see

To excel at everything I had been striving for throughout

Be it work, or being a supermom- even at the risk of burnout..

Turning forty, however, has made me evaluate

What I really want from my life, on my plate

I have stopped competing with others around me

I’m trying to focus on my passions, what makes me happy…

 

By the way, the girl who at the age of seventeen believed

Her life was figured out, at forty, is still trying to figure out her life indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compliment

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My daughter, to you I must apologize

For the compliment I gave you the other day

When I called you “pretty in your dress”, I did not realize

That years of conditioning had made their way

Into this seemingly innocuous comment of mine-

A comment that flawed perceptions did validate

Calling you pretty was an unmistakable sign

That from societal norms I find it difficult to deviate-

In that moment I thought about you in your outfit

Though you were going out for a mathematics quiz

I realized my folly soon- this did not sit

Well with me at all, therefore the self-analysis..

I let you down (and myself too)

I should have focused on your intelligence

Instead I thought about your beauty, it’s true

The wrong attribute again took precedence

To your brother I would not have said

Something similar, my comment would have been

Geared towards his mental capability instead

Yet this is the discrimination I’ve seen

Over and over again, all around me

This behavior is so deeply ingrained

For a female, we think of her outer beauty

First- before we remember she has a brain

Next time I decide to pay a compliment

To a girl- in my choice of words I shall be conscious

I shall think of each field in which she is competent

Only then on physical attributes shall I focus

This is what I shall endeavor to do, my daughter

And if I fail, give me a gentle reminder..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refugee

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I think about this every single day

Why did my life have to turn this way?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know I am in luck

I am still alive, I am no longer stuck

In the hellhole that my country has become

Fortunate to get asylum are only some

Here I am in a land that has accepted me

On its soil, albeit hesitantly

Beggars cannot be choosers, you might think

Yes, the war did bring me to the brink

Of begging for my life and freedom

To knock at doors of anyone who would welcome

A refugee fleeing from the horrors of war

I cannot believe I have come so far

From the respectable citizen I used to be

Before my country was thrown into savagery

 

Yes, I am living, and my family is well too

Considering everything my people have gone through

Yet something in me is broken, beyond repair

I find it hard to see beyond the veil of despair

I was a manager, now I work in a store

For minimal wages, to feed my family of four

Yes, I am grateful that a job I could find

Yet thoughts of despondency cloud my mind

I am afraid that my feeling of insecurity

Will continue, throughout life, to haunt me

 

Then there is the survivor’s guilt I cannot shake

From my mind, news from my country threatens to break

Me into pieces, each time I hear stories of horror

Of innocents dying, including young children and mothers

If prayers have some power, fervently I pray

For this madness to stop, every single day

 

Yes, I think about it constantly

How the senseless war has torn my country

Forcing countless people like me

To be labeled “refugees”

But I am alive, I remember with gratitude

As I set out for my job with fortitude..

(Image: The Global Refugee Mural by Joel Bergner:  https://myhero.com/action_ashe_global_refugee_2011)