Finally it hit close to home…

Calamity seems distant until it comes to you

The theoretical risk you ignore, this is something you can do

Tragedy has struck many times, but far removed from it were you

So you shrugged your shoulders, forgot about it promptly too

You told everyone not to worry, these incidents were isolated

Somewhere someone unhinged had gun violence perpetrated

You live in safe areas, your children go to a school private

Shootings do not happen there, you would state

You expressed sympathy for victims and were grateful secretly

In believing that gun violence was not something you would see


Then, in a private religious school children were shot

You were a bit unnerved but you brushed aside the thought

That life was unsafe, then someone fired

In a doctor’s office, when he did not get the medication desired

As a doctor, you were a bit shaken, and resolved to be

Extra cautious with patients behaving badly..

Oh in between you also decided that extra care you would take

To never step foot on a stranger’s property by mistake…


You live in a safe, upscale suburb of a diverse city

You often go to outlet malls for a shopping spree

Some people you know live close to the mall

Where the latest shooting occurred, you frantically call

People you know to see if they are safe or not

Now real danger has been in your orbit brought….

One story at a time..

I try to read the printed word and imbibe

Greater understanding to survive

In a world that is changing in unpredictable ways

A world headed to the future, but clinging to past ways

I pour over books, lose myself for hours

Books wield over me that kind of power

In the author’s narrative myself I immerse

Sometimes with the author I converse

In my imagination, trying to understand completely

What the author wishes the readers would see

There are many books with opinions that are quite

The opposite of each other, neither one is completely right

Or completely wrong- I try my best to read

Books representing both opinions indeed

I do not want synopses or summaries

I distill my knowledge from detailed stories


One story at a time, my knowledge I expand

With each story, the world I better understand

Should I speak up?

Whenever I speak up, into overdrive my inner voice goes

Asking me to make sure I’ve not stepped on anyone’s toes

To try to ascertain if I have not out of turn spoken

Ensure there are no unwritten rules that I have broken

My gender and immigrant status exclude me

From membership of the privileged majority

As long as I modulate my point of view

And show deference to those in majority too

I do fine, apart from facing some condescension

But when I put forward strongly my opinion

Invariably I hear something to put me back

in my place,

Sometimes it is a subtle hint, sometimes a slap in my face


I know what some people would say-

That this is my paranoid perception- I hear this every day

It took me a while to recognize the covert discrimination here

I used to chide myself for being dramatic, I would fear

That I had made an error irrevocable

By bringing my opinionated self to the table

But now the power dynamic I comprehend

To state my opinions confidently is my intent

Listening to stories as a doctor..

As I grow older as a practicing physician

I move into the privileged position

Of having had a glimpse into lives of thousands of patients

Of having heard stories full of emotions intense

Of having had more encounters with mortality

Than I would have wished to see

Of having learnt from stories, skills that are hard to define

Of having developed a gut instinct, a sixth sense fine

That sometimes lets me piece together diagnoses subliminally

Without straining my higher faculties, I am working instinctually


To make sense of life, stories are what you need

I am fortunate to have amassed many stories indeed…


We are taught to take pride in being busy

We feel validated when people see

How much we work, how little we sleep

Being busy allays insecurities deep..


There is a downside to being a busy-bee

Constant work is an obstacle to creativity

For most people, their “Aha” moments seem

To reveal themselves when they daydream


Daydreaming has such a negative connotation

We are embarrassed when caught in a situation

Where we have spaced out, or been caught

Daydreaming, or lost in our thoughts

We discipline children who daydream away

We reprimand them when attention they do not pay

A daydreamer is a slacker, an individual unproductive

Not expected to have any role in society constructive..


Yet in daydreams people often find

Creative solutions to problems in their wandering minds

There is a merit in keeping your mind occupied

And a merit in letting it wander far and wide

Travelers to India..

I have heard travelers to my homeland say

They either hated India or loved it all the way

Being in India evokes strong emotions

There is no middle ground, no moderation

Of opinions- India saturates your senses

With its juxtaposition of clashing experiences

The loudness, the vibrance, the traditions-all in your face

The disquieting lack of physical and emotional space

Counterbalanced by the warmth of family ties

Resourcefulness that takes you by surprise

In a land where resources are few

The breadth of culture is bewildering too


In the congestion, pollution and noise, one can get caught

And hate India because comfortable it is not

For those who go beyond the annoyances and see

The incredible face of India in its authenticity

Are the ones you would see loudly proclaim

That they love India, and not just in name!

Falling in love with ideas…

Life sometimes seems to drag you down in monotony

All you want is a distraction, something new to help you break free

From the drudgery of your life, then you serendipitously find

A new idea, a new stream of thought to stimulate your mind

Sometimes you get obsessed with an idea new

To expand it further is all you want to do


I must admit I have a weird propensity

To fall for ideas with surprising intensity

Once an idea is lodged in my brain

I have to explore it further to keep myself sane

But life seems exciting, creative juices flow

For a short while, I am basking in the glow

Of newly discovered passion, I feel energized

In expanding it further, I am completely galvanized


All passions fade with time, mine do too

Then I wait to be swept off by an idea new

Stages of meditation

I sit quietly and close my eyes to meditate

Thoughts crowd my mind, my mental state

Is akin to a thundering waterfall, and as I commence

Deep and slow breathing, from a cascade intense

My mind changes to a rushing stream, the flow

Of thoughts has acquired a rhythm more slow

I focus on my breaths as much as my mind would allow

My mental state resembles a meandering river now

Gradually my mind is cleared of most thoughts, and I

Feel calm like a placid lake under a cloudless sky..

I sit quietly and close my eyes to meditate

Thoughts crowd my mind, my mental state

Is akin to a thundering waterfall, and as I commence

Deep and slow breathing, from a cascade intense

My mind changes to a rushing stream, the flow

Of thoughts has acquired a rhythm more slow

I focus on my breaths as much as my mind would allow

My mental state resembles a meandering river now

Gradually my mind is cleared of most thoughts, and I

Feel calm like a placid lake under a cloudless sky..

Cancel “cancel culture”

Certain words used in a particular context

Are perturbing to me and leave me vexed-

One of them, increasingly popular in its use

Is “canceling someone”- why would one choose

A word applied to things inanimate

To describe how people can eliminate

Support for someone for perceived transgression

And go after them with hostility and aggression

It is easy on social media to call people out

Unlike real life, on the internet one can shout

At complete strangers, without repercussions

There is no need for discourse or discussions..


While social media etiquette remains a topic contentious

I wish we all would make an effort conscious

To not cancel those who live outside the confines

Of our echo chambers, we need to draw some lines

Whose history is it?

Delete a line, change a few words here and there

The changes are subtle, it’s difficult to be aware

That there has been a change in the narrative

A completely different impression does this now give

The first time reader would now interpret

In a completely opposite manner the text

Thus historical facts are altered to bend

The narrative to fit what those in power intend

History is distorted, historical figures canceled this way

The truth may not see the light of the day

How do you teach impressionable minds, how would they learn

In an unbiased manner, history’s valuable lessons

You cannot judge which narrative is right, which one accurate

Without taking into account the political climate

History was written by those in power, its true

It can be distorted by those in power too

Don’t fight every battle

There seem to be infinite battles to fight

As most of us women try to get everything right

Holding ourselves to standards immeasurably high

At home and work, we strive to be perfect, to reach for the sky..


It is an exhausting endeavor indeed

As we struggle to fulfill the needs

Of everyone in our orbits, selling ourselves short

When able to take care of everyone we are not


Maybe some days we should give up the good fight

Let others figure out how to make things right

Maybe we should just relax, sit back and see

How the world runs when we are not supervising closely


I intend to relinquish control ever so slightly

And see if the ship still sails without me

No matter how things turn out and what I find

I would at least have unburdened temporarily my mind

Age into relevance

Aging seemed to have a negative connotation, but then I realized

That this was a misconception I had internalized

I wanted to achieve much in my younger years

With age I would fade into irrelevance, I feared

In my twenties I was exuberant, but little did I know

Into a more multilayered person I would grow

Throughout my thirties, acquire new skills and poise

Even that was a prelude to finding my voice

In my forties- I was afraid, truth be told

Of a midlife crisis I thought would unfold

Far from falling into a crisis, I am actually thrilled to find

I can finally say what is on my mind

I articulate my thoughts better, I do not fear

Judgment as I did, I do not succumb to pressure from peers…


Now I’m excited for my what my fifties would bring

By then I would have further expanded my wings

At the pinnacle of my skills, confidence and experience

I would probably be at my moment of greatest relevance!

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