I walk on a road lush with dreams,
a road of forgotten and veiled dreams,
sometimes slowly, sometimes gaily,
sometimes lost, sometimes profound,
I walk a road of unknown mysteries,
fervently finding my way through the endless path.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

In search of the unknown...

My husband grabbed me by the arm and said, "Come with me, I have something to show you."

It was 1 A.M and his sudden voice pulled me away from my peaceful sleep. 

"What happened?" I inquired in a sleepy voice filled with concern.

"Just come with me."

He took me to his favourite place of our house - his workshop in the garage. His favourite, but I just abhorred it. It was the place where he worked night and day to fulfil his 'dream project'. We had been married for 13 years and his day began and ended in that very place for most parts of the year.
During the initial days of our marriage, I did show up my disappointment in the form of anger or irritation but as years passed, I became wise enough to realise that his 'dream project' was a mistress I could never get away with, so I simply kept silent about it. Moreover, with the kids, my job and a household to run, I had a lot on my platter to handle as it is.

So, today when Mr. Hubby dragged me for this unexpected meeting with his mistress, I was quite surprised. 

But what followed next was even more astonishing. My husband had finally completed his dream project apparently.

My eyes saw a magnificent aircraft in silver and blue. It looked powerful and quite appealing. I stood there in disbelief and silence. 

"LUFTHANSA", I finally spoke out what was written in bold blue letters. 

"Yes, I have named it Lufthansa - the majestic bird gliding through air." 

"Waste no time, I want to take you on a ride." My husband gestured as he moved towards his muse. 

With disbelief and bewilderment, I sat beside him. 

He smiled reassuringly and I could make out from his face, how excited he was. 

"Where are we going? Is this for real? Will it fly?" I blabbered out my confusion in the form of questions one after the other.

"Relax. And get ready for a magical and thrilling journey"

Before I could even embrace my mental chaos, we were flying through the clouds in our brand new Lufthansa!

Titanic - The ship of dreams

"Look below my Rose" my husband pointed. 

I shook my head in disbelief. We were flying over this gigantic ship, oh no! It was 'The titanic'.

It looked so mesmerising. I wish I could have words to describe what I felt at that moment. 

Soon enough, we landed just next to this:

picture courtesy

"Remember the day, during the first year of our marriage when you had expressed a desire to watch the movie Titanic with me? And I walked off to my workshop?"

I was too overwhelmed at that moment but of course the day came to my mind swiftly. I had lost all desire to watch movies after that day I guess.

"This is but a little gesture to make up for that", my husband smiled and hand in hand we went inside the magnanimous ship.

The unsinkable ship as it was known, was a place I could only dream of visiting. Standing in the midst of this vessel and admiring the corridors and deck, totally unplanned instilled in me a love for this world.

It is said that RMS Titanic was the world's largest passenger ship when it entered service and the largest man-made moving object on Earth at the time. Facilities on board included a gym, pool, Turkish Bath, a squash court and even its own on board newspaper- the Atlantic Daily Bulletin. (source: here)

But, as they say, man proposes and God disposes. 

Sometimes, perfectly planned journey like Titanic end up being a tragedy.At other times, even unplanned, random journey turn out to be an unforgettable enriching experience.

The highlands of Scotland 

I was engrossed in my thoughts, when suddenly Lufthansa landed in front of this colossal castle

Hollyrood Castle - Edinburgh, Scotland

"What place is this?" I asked my husband.

"It's the Hollyrood castle in Edinburgh"

"Edinburgh. You mean Scotland?"

I couldn't believe my ears and eyes.

"You had planned our first anniversary destination to be Scotland but I had ruined it, remember?

I had not been able to say a word. This unplanned trip was so much more enthralling to experience.

I continued to explore this unknown place. It was lush green. 
I had forgotten to carry even my phone, so I just continued to capture the beauty of Scotland in my mind and soul.

Scotland has a dramatic and diverse landscape. Scotland has about 300 castles and is also Europe's top haunted destination!

Edinburgh, the capital city is built on seven hills just like Rome, Moscow and Madrid. (source:here)

A glimpse of lush green- Scotland through my eyes!

I couldn't help but mull over the fact that how disappointed I was when 13 years ago this 'planned trip to Scotland had failed to materialise'. We always believe in travelling after creating a detailed itinerary but it was only today that I realised random trips can help us explore the world in a very unprejudiced way. All you need is to be open minded enough to #SayYesToTheWorld.

Rebecca's Manderley - The mysterious Gothic estate

Our next destination turned out to be a place which was a part of my all-time favourite thriller novel 'Rebecca'. Through the words of Daphne Du Maurier (author of Rebecca), Manderley had become so tangible that visiting it was like words painted to reality. 

I remembered the opening lines of the book "Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again" and felt no less special than the second Mrs. De Winters!

The Mysterious Mansion of Manderley

Sitting beside this Gothic mansion, I wondered how much our world had to offer. Not just what was tangible and viewable through our eyes but also, all that which was a part of our imagination and perception.Through our thoughts, we could explore and unlock so many untrodden destinations and submerge in their pristine beauty...

"What happened, you seem so pensive. Aren't you having a jolly good time?" My husband Inquired.

Enjoyment was not exactly the word I wanted to describe my experience with. It encircled beyond the realms of enjoyment. 

I wondered what inspired a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson who set foot in North America and established a settlement about 500 years before Christopher Columbus did. (sourceOr, Sir Edmund Hillary (first person to climb Mount Everest) apart from rest of the world?

They were open minded enough to #SayYesToTheWorld and travel with #TheBlindList  , ultimately filling it up and creating a bucket list for the rest of us. Their quest for unknown and unplanned is something that has kept the a step ahead from other inhabitants of the same world!
don't you think so? 

I expressed this desire to my husband to travel to a place which none had seen or set foot on. It might have been a weird desire or a distant dream but as Eleanor Roosevelt  said "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." 

.... And so begins my journey and it shall continue. Gliding through the known terrains and paths to find what remains hidden and waiting to be discovered by yours truly!

I begin my journey to a land unknown
it is lush green, trees swaying in the wind
my path is unfamiliar, a virgin land
discovering it, I have found myself
a journey I shall be oft repeating
a blind love for the mysterious world....

This post has been written for #TheBlindList contest hosted by Indiblogger and Lufthansa. For more details, check Lufthansa's page here and also their video below

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A blind date with a war land!

After completing my medical education I began working in a hospital. It was a corporate hospital, salary was good, working environment was sublime yet I was not satisfied.

So, after about a year, I switched to a government setup in the hope of earning the satisfaction I wanted to achieve while serving others. I was able to save lives and help people but something within me still felt unsated.

Months went by; I carried on with my work of serving the humanity as a doctor. Often, I would question myself, do I want to limit myself to only this? How and where should I find the higher purpose of my existence?!

I desired serving those who needed me the most. I didn’t want to be confined to a singular geographic location. I wanted to reach out to the world, to heal across borders and countries. To heal the world. To serve, irrespective of race or nationality. To #SayYesToTheWorld of new possibilities, endless serving, of exploring the world, a thrill that would shake and make the ground realities of my beliefs.

 It was an evening of June 2011. After my daily rounds, I sat in the cafeteria sipping a cup of a strongly brewed latte, casually scrolling through my mail-box. A job offer jumped out at me. It was from an international medical NGO (non-government organisation) which works in countries afflicted by war and endemic diseases. They call it Médecins Sans Frontières - ‘Doctors Without Borders’.

The feeling of being able to provide aid in areas affected by war and calamities overwhelmed me. I remembered words of the Hippocratic Oath taken at the time of graduation

“I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, gender, politics, socioeconomic standing, or sexual orientation to intervene between my duty and my patient..”

It took many months to convince my family and friends. Finally their opposition dampened on seeing my desire to be a humanitarian instead of a doctor. I had found my way and I was not willing to give up on it at any cost.

In 2011, a civil war broke out in Libya. A year later, after the war was seemingly over, I was deployed as a field doctor there along with a group of 40 other people which included doctors like me, nurses and other paramedical staff.

For those who do not know, Libya is a country in North Africa bordered by Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. source : here

I packed my bags and the next thing I remember, I was standing at a place I had absolutely no clue about.
The place was Tripoli, capital of Libya. It is one of the oldest cities of the world, formed around 7tth century B.C. It had been under the rule of Romans, Muslims, Spanish, Ottomans and Italians through centuries, so a mix of all these cultures was quite evident. Desert forms major part of the terrain and temperature can be extreme in most of the areas. source : here

Mitiga International Airport at Tripoli, capital of Libya. Picture source:  HERE

 In my heart, I felt exhilarated and anxious at the same time.

I had said yes to a world full of mysteries. It was a blind date, not build out of mushy romance or pleasant evenings.  This blind date was built on rubble of a war land and evenings soaked in blood and turmoil.

Whenever we go on a trip we ensure of all things that would make our stay comfortable and luxurious and here I was on a trip to a place facing the after-math of a civil war, of lives lost and epidemics waiting to break out.
My stay in Libya lasted for about 8 months.

Each day was a mystery. War had literally destroyed the lives of the inhabitants of this lively land. So many people had lost their lives and those who survived were so traumatized that their tales were lost in the sound of blast and red of the blood. Majority of them suffered from what is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and Depression.

MSF staff (Primarily psychologists and psychiatrists) at work in Libya.
Picture source : HERE

Their mental health was severely compromised. Their experiences were raw and pain is but a trivial word for it. Each morning, I would sit in my camp and try my best to help patients. They needed not just medicine but solace and assurance of safety.

There were also patients who suffered from complications of various injuries afflicted during the war time.
I remember, one afternoon a patient arrived in our camp. He was almost torn to pieces by one of the bombs that had dropped near his house previously. Now, his sutures were infected and he could die of septic shock any moment. His breathing was faint so our team frantically started  working on him. Giving blood, I.V fluids, cleaning the wounds, trying to get the fever down to normal.

After 3 hours, we were finally able to stabilize him! I can never forget how happy I felt at that moment.

When I landed in Libya, I was a complete stranger. I had no idea what those eight months would bring to me. There were dangers of a war breaking out again, of people attacking us. Also, I did not understand the language of people, I was unfamiliar with the roads (which were mostly rubble by then). But they still were the paths that had brought me there and had the potential to take me somewhere.

I saw and treated numerous patients, conversed with their attendants but it was a teenager ‘Lizbah’, who actually showed me the soul of Tripoli. She made me realize that even after a war, Tripoli had so much to offer and that tragedy had added to the history which began in the Roman ruins of 7th century B.C.

Lizbah’s father had died in the civil war bombings and her mother was suffering from Depression. A mental health personnel was helping her mother cope up with the loss. Lizbah used to accompany her mother. She became my friend after a few conversations we had during her camp visits. We did not understand each other’s language and a translator from our organisation helped us communicate.

Through the eyes of Lizbah, I saw not just Tripoli but the whole of Libya. She was a student of history at the University of Tripoli which provides free education to its inhabitants.

I happened to visit a few museums located in the city which narrated in vivid detail the historical era of Romans, Ottomans and Islam. I particularly liked the Red Castle museum.
Lizbah also took me to the 'Bazaar' and I was amazed and impressed by the way the locals had rebuilt themselves after such a catastrophic war.

The silver writing in Arabic reads: The Museum of Assaraya Alhamra.The name Assaraya Alhamra means "The Red Castle" or "The Red Fort".

The day before I left for India, Lizbah invited me to her house. It was heartening to see that her mother was coming out from the clutches of Depression and had cooked a savory Libyan meal for our team.

Their hospitality, warmth and respect will forever be etched in my heart.
I had gone to Libya as a complete stranger. Unknown of what was to unfold. This trip to Tripoli transformed me completely. On most days, at that camp in Tripoli which did not even have bare necessities, I slept in peace. Some nights, when I lay awake remembering my life and loved ones back in India, I felt achieving the satisfaction I had yearned for. 

This journey to Libya had been more than just another enriching experience. It was a journey of self exploration and self fulfillment.

From my departure to my arrival, I had completed a full circle. To call this trip a blind date with #TheBlindList would be quite apt. An unfamiliar destination had become my most memorable experience till date. I fell in love with Lizbah, her mother’s hospitality, unshakable strength of the people of Libya, my team mates who taught me selflessness and hard work, patients who showed the zeal to get back to life and work.
 Humbled and proud of serving as a ‘Doctor without Border’, I came back home a few months ago.

But, Libya has aroused a love for the world within me that is undying. Next week, I will be saying yes to another part of this enchanting world.
 It will be Mexico this time, where we will be helping people who have been victims of extreme violence, torture and ill treatment.

The bucket list? To serve, heal, inspire and explore!

This post has been written for #TheBlindList contest hosted by Indiblogger and Lufthansa India.

For more details, check out this link : Lufthansa India and this beautiful video:

Note: Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), an International humanitarian medical organisation has been present in Libya since 2011. They are providing assistance to areas affected by the Libyan conflict, including the city of Tripoli. ( read here). 
    This however, is a work of fiction and the writer has no association with MSF.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More people, more selfies, more enjoyment - mobiistar!

I make your happy times last forever
a nostalgia so deep
a reminiscence so tangible
I make every moment, a memoir
untouched by time or distance
looked on ever so fondly
like a precious soul of princess
embedded in a silhouette of a queen
a twin sister, a bond
an omnipresent friend 
I am priceless yet so precious
I am a selfie!

A happy memory can warm up one's heart even on coldest of days. Every memory is precious, some more than others. The ones we capture through our phones are indeed more dear to us because they are more vivid, having a story, an incident hidden in those colours and expressions. 
Like this one :

A happy, happy selfie! This one is from my college days when I was graduating to be a doctor. 
Contrary to the popular belief that medical college students are bookworms and nerds, we medicos believe in enjoying every moment to the fullest. After all, who can appreciate life more than us?

No wonder, a selfie a day keeps forgetfulness away!

As Joseph B, Wirthlin once said 'some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heart-warming'.
I feel the vividness lies in the details. In those smiling faces, in those expressions of trying to shrink and fit in the frame. As I said, every selfie narrates a story of the time that went by when it was taken. 

This one was of a friend's birthday party and we were all trying to fit in. I am the one in pink scarf. Some of us could snug in easily ( like me;)), others had to manage with only a part of them, a few others after trying too hard to fit in, had to compromise on only their shadows being a part of this memorable moment. 

While taking the selfie, one of us joked,  'yar hum to aa nahi rahe, haath upar kar lo, attendance lag jaegi! ( We are not able to fit in the frame, let's just raise our hands to make ourselves present like we do when giving the attendance) 

This was the selfie that followed

So many raised hands and ghost faces! I luckily managed to grab a major chunk of screen space once again! 

No wonder, this will always be a memorable photo for me. Reminding me of how we enjoyed our colleges days in spite of being neck deep busy with duties, patients, diseases and books. 
But, I so wish that we could have clicked a better selfie, so that those ghost faces too could become a part of this saga and complete the story. 

Haven't we all at some point of time, wished the same? If only we could sneak in a few more of our loved ones? Or if only we could get a clear picture? Why can't our phones be like our memories,incorporating every single one of those cherished souls and all of their enthusiasm and zeal? The struggle is real and it deprives us from having a great selfie experience. 

Fortunately, this era of technology and development hears us and our concerns. 

Mobiistar, a Vietnamese brand comes with a vision to 'enjoy more'.  The mission of Mobiistar is to expand the horizons of mobile technology adoption by providing affordable and uncompromising user experience to consumers.

It basically aims at giving users like us a more enjoyable and meaningful selfie experience.
It has front, dual selfie camera that captures a 120° wide-angle shot. So one can now click selfies without the worry of leaving anyone behind.

I wish we had a Mobiistar during those days, so that my poor friends wouldn't have to trade-off by raising their hands and marking their attendance, instead they could be a part of the complete picture.

But better late that never, making memories is a life long process and there are millions of them still waiting to be created. 

With mobiistar, there will be no more ghost faces and incomplete stories. Just memories, many more, as vivid and accommodating as they are unforgettable. 

With mobiistar dual camera, we could have incorporated those flying caps :)

A selfie that captures all!

To know more about the phone or the brand check out their website : @mobiistar.
Can't wait to make those lively colourful, wide angle memories? ( me, neither!) mobiistar and flipkart have joined hands to launch series of smartphones in India. You can keep a check here :

It's time to take more selfies and enjoy more!