Friday, March 27, 2015

Taking care of that Smile: A dentist's job

"Open wide and say 'Aah'. This won't hurt, I promise."

How many of us have heard those words and shied away from visiting a dentist? Too many of us, I am afraid. Yet, we rarely make the effort to take care of that smile that we proudly flash at friends and strangers alike. It's probably why we face issues such as root canals, impacted wisdom teeth and dental treatments with some amount of anxiety in our adult years. 

I remember my dreadful fall last March which necessitated an emergency visit to the dentist, a family doctor whom I trusted to do the right thing. Within minutes, he had diagnosed the intensity of the impact on my teeth, done an emergency procedure to reduce the pain and recommended a root canal a week after the incident. I still think of him with gratitude today when I take a bite into a pizza!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#LookUp- A lesson from unexpected quarters

Yesterday was Ugadi, a festival to herald the New Year, celebrated by two regions in South India- Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. As it turned out, it was also NavRoz for the Parsi community, Cheti Chand for the Sikhs, Gudi Padwa for the Maharashtrians and Sajibu Nongmapanba for Manipur.

One of the things I cherish about growing up here in India and bringing up my daughter here is the myriad festivals we are exposed to, at every turn. I sincerely appreciate our living in a gated community with a cosmopolitan population that celebrates every festival from Sankranthi in January right up to Christmas in December in a wonderful way, including children and adults alike in the festive mood. To me, this symbolises our unity at a very basic level. We may be different in our beliefs, our political leanings and our personal faiths, but we come together as a community in situations like these.

Photo copyright: Shailaja V

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Together through a crisis

Every time someone asks you to recall something memorable that happened to you, it is assumed that you will recall something pleasurable, because it's the good things that we try and retain. Interestingly, though, some of my most powerful memories of togetherness have been a mixture of sadness and happiness. Why is that so? Is it because we try to look for the good even in the negative? Or are we grateful for the moments of pain that eventually led to pleasure?  

 I am reminded today of an incident, which happened back in 2005. We had just moved into an independent house in a quiet, residential location in North Bangalore. The house was tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac and the previous tenants sang praises about the many years they had spent there.

Three days after moving in, I was busy setting up the house, arranging furniture, putting up curtains and lining my kitchen shelves with paper to arrange all my crockery. The time must have been around 5:45 in the evening. I heard a sound from upstairs and paused since I was the only one at home, what with V being at work. I shrugged, thinking it was my imagination. Five seconds later, I heard a pounding on the terrace door which led directly into the house and I froze in shock. It took me a whole minute to realise that someone was trying to break in. Warily, I inched forward towards the staircase and looked up to see that someone was trying to break the door open with a crowbar and had already managed to lift the base of the door by an inch.

Terrified, I ran to grab my phone and dialled V's number. Words refused to form and when he picked up the phone he knew something was wrong. In shock, he urged me to get out of the house, yell my head off and rush to the neighbour's house for help, while he dialled the cops, even as he raced to get to me as quickly as he could.

Panic had gripped me so tight that I could only scream continuously. In record time, V was there, having rushed through traffic. He ran into the house, grabbed me and hugged me tight as I sobbed against his chest in a mixture of fear and relief flooding through me. In the meanwhile, the neighbours had raised the alarm and scared the miscreants away.

An hour later, as I sipped on a cup of tea V had made for me, he looked at me and said, 'I think we should move.' 

In response, I told him that I felt better now and that we had just moved in, so let's give it some time. Then, he said and did something I will never forget. He reached out for my hand, looked me in the eye and declared, "We are in this together. I cannot go to work everyday and think about the possibility of coming back and not seeing your face. I need a home with you, not a house."

In that moment, I knew for sure that we were meant for each other, together and forever. Would I ever want to find myself in that situation again? I can honestly say 'No'. But it is in the rawness of those moments that our humanity, our optimism and faith emerges and we know, trust and value the relationships we hold dear to our hearts. With him by my side, I can be sure that facing life's struggles become easier.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hands free- A life lesson

It must have been a week ago that my daughter said, 'Can you tell me a story?'

As always, I was either fiddling with my smartphone or my laptop, answering texts, responding to blog comments, moderating groups or checking e-mail. So, I glanced up briefly and said, 'Yes, go to bed and I will be there in five minutes.'

She turned on her heel, paused, then looked back at me, saying in an apologetic tone, 'I mean, only if you can take a break from blogging. I don't want to disturb you.'

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