Love at the end of the tunnel..

This is a poem about postpartum depression- an underrecognized and undertreated illness.

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Time and again she was told, it would be natural

From within her would spring forth love maternal

Nights without sleep would have no adverse impact

All her fatigue would be vanquished, in fact..

By  gazing lovingly at the countenance

Of her bundle of joy- everyone said this with confidence

She pictured her baby tucked in the crib she had decorated

In the final weeks, breathlessly the baby’s arrival she awaited

**

The idyllic picture she had in her mind

Was soon to be distorted, as she would find

Childbirth was not smooth, roadblocks she encountered

Coming home with the baby, her confidence floundered

She felt weak, infirm, inadequate in every way

To take care of a new life, night and day.

**

She thought she would be naturally endowed

With the ability to feed her baby, yet progress was slow

Frustrations were many, opinions abundant

Perfectly well-meaning folks made her feel incompetent

Colicky cries made her days and nights worse

Was this a boon, when it was shaped like a curse?

Isolated at home, exhausted beyond all measure

She felt that motherhood gave her no pleasure..

What should have been fun added to her misery too

Like the newborn photo-shoot, which she had to do

It was de rigueur among her acquaintances

Costly though it was to keep up appearances..

She teared up easily, but misconstrued were those tears

To be  borne out of love and exaggerated maternal fears

How she felt, how she was coping were of no concern

To anyone- all the attention the newborn seemed to earn

**

As she sank deeper into an abyss, yet another blow appeared

She needed to go back to work after three weeks, as she had feared

If she thought meeting colleagues would help elevate

Her mood- she was wrong- her feelings it did not alleviate

In fact, trying to burn the candle at both ends

Left her more depressed, more despondent

In a sleep-deprived stupor she seemed to operate

Walking around in a disheveled state

How could she share her state of mind with anyone?

She expected neither empathy nor comprehension

Added to the mix was constant guilt

Why was she not like a mother built?

**

It was not until the breaking point was near

That someone noticed,  by this time she feared

Harming herself, or worse, the baby some day

Getting professional help was the only way…

Tongues wagged, she felt stigmatized 

For being a “bad” mother- yet she recognized

That the help she found was invaluable

She shuddered at the potential for harm incalculable..

**

Time did fly, as it does always

With the right therapy, better were her days

Her feelings of depression had made a retreat

Finally she could taste motherhood sweet.

 

(Image source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1361022)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, Ganga

Ganga is the life-blood of India, venerated as a goddess, but shares the dubious distinction of being the sixth most polluted river in the world).

I originated on Earth, deep in the high mountains,

You concocted that I had from heavens descended

I surged ahead, through hills, valleys, plains

To the eastern sea- in the subcontinent I subtended

An area vast, nourishing forests and pastures green

You settled on my banks in your earthly pursuits-

Through the history of this nation,  I have been

A silent witness while you have enjoyed my fruits

From birth to death and everywhere in between

At  fairs, festivals, weddings- my name is invoked

You lighten your burdens, consider yourself clean

Of your sins- once your body in my folds has soaked…

**

You built me up from the start, my status was elevated

To a goddess at times, at times a mother

I believe with all this respect I should be elated

For I hold a distinction unlike any other

River, lake, sea, mountain on this earth

Yet I have a grievance I need to air-

Of complaints I have heard, there’s been no dearth

So I should say something, it is only fair…

**

I have been soiled, polluted, desecrated

Increasingly by you, over the years

Even though my name is venerated, 

My waters are not, I fear..

I have given life, but life is being drained

Out of me slowly- I am forced to mourn

The loss of fauna that I have sustained

In my waters, the flora that I have borne

You invoke my name, yet you know

My waters for consumption are not pure

You take a dip in my waters that flow

But why do you expect salvation any more?

Sullied by your ambition, tainted by greed

Tormented  by your indifference am I-

I continue to provide redemption to those in need

Setting souls free, swallowing mortal remains when you die..

Existential angst

magnolia

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

Later,

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

*

Later, 

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..

*

Later,

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

*

Later,

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.