To write or not to write!

  • Penned after Nov 6, 2016, as I sat on my sofa day in and day out…

Now that I have ample time on my hands, it would be best to make a memoir of my free time without a job, but with my right foot in an Aircast and only my thoughts or the TV news and shows in North America.  I began to write a few days ago when my foot was still in its normal version of being!  And, since I was still mobile (I am even now, as promised to the world around me, but excruciatingly slow and painstakingly bumpy), I fell out of inspiration to write anymore.

Well, I am back today.  I feel as if I am in full force at least at this moment.  So, instead of continuing my journey of writing and going further on what I started to pen down (or bang away really, on my keyboard) a few days back, I think I will put down my thoughts and experiences of my stay in Calgary this time around.  Why? Because it has been quite momentous in many ways!

First, I came here in June to attend a conference in Atlanta in the States and after a few days, fly back to my mama in India. But as it happened, one day after I arrived in Calgary, I received an e-mail from my university that they want to speak with me the next day.  I knew it!  I knew that the axe was falling on me as it had been falling on many of my colleagues over the months.  Yes, that is what happened- as of 3 weeks from then, I was to be work-free! That was one big event of my stay.

Next, I enjoyed a few weeks of Atlanta hopping (all my expenses would be paid for the conference by my university; God bless them!) and my new- found freedom during which one of my off-springs bought us a great holiday in Vegas.  Unfortunately, the story in Vegas must wait for a bit until I have literally spilled all the beans of my visit.  Then, I started to look for online jobs, thinking they would be easy to find and I would return to Kolkata to be with my mom and work on one or two small online teaching jobs. But that proved to be tough!  Meanwhile, my mommy informed me that she did not want me to return as there were many cases of Dengue being discovered in Kolkata and I could easily catch the infection since I was protected by a powerless Canadian immunity now (chuckle!).  That was followed by the diagnosis of another 2 -3 types of illnesses in Kolkata and rest of India due to the sultry hot weather.  So, what did I do here? Sent out my CV and cover letter galore – you name it and I sent them.  No job yet!

Okay it wasn’t so blah all the time!  It was dandy actually!  My fam took a quick trip to Banff, I invited my friends over for a dinner, and I met friends one after another for lunches and dinners.  I went for photo-shoot to a renowned New York style photographer (courtesy, my daughter) and to the club with my friends (courtesy my daughter) while I plugged away also at the gym, taking care of the other aspects of my being.

The situation in India, primarily in Kolkata, was still very grave with Dengue, Chikungunya (I had not even heard of the latter mosquito borne infection before September 2016) and Foot, mouth and hands disease.  So, I was banned from returning to Kolkata by my indomitable mom once again.  Well, I do understand her sentiments and caution!  But, do you know how many times I booked my flight and ignored my booking or changed them or cancelled them without buying the tickets?  Perhaps about 15 times from June to November!  My son proclaimed that had he been my travel agent, he would have blacklisted me!

The final doozy came when I planned to have these special prayers in the house for the happiness, health, success, and contentment of the family.  I postponed it once because it seemed that my children where going to be all over the place and would be available that day but would have been very exhausted anyway.  And since I was not flying back to India very soon any more (remember the 3 kinds of infection scenarios in Kolkata?), I postponed the date for the prayers by a week.  Well, that is when this doozy happened.

I broke the 5th metatarsal of my right foot…  Yes, yes, you have read the ‘chronicles’ in my previous blogs.  I will spare you the agony of perusing the details once again; no worries!

Ta da until next time!

  • jagjit
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Feeling blessed

20160809_214133T’was a night before Diwali and 2 nights before Halloween.  Sitting by myself in my living room, I was caught reminiscing about my life and how grateful I was for this very calm and comfortable existence.  My son had gone out of the city for a 10-day retreat of sorts and my daughter was out for some pre-Halloween fun that evening.  Well, my reminiscing started even before I found myself alone in my living room.

Driving back from the gym after an hour of rigorous cross-trainer and spin cycle cardio work and stretching, I was wondering how I would occupy myself that evening when my daughter would leave with my car to meet her friends.  I looked at the sky above and cars whizzing by and felt overcome with emotion at what God had provided for me.

I felt overly content and blissful at the thought that God is kind.  I had just turned an undisclosable (not a word, you say?) age, had just sort of left my rigorous online teaching work, and had 2 beautiful children who were working and sharing their life with me.  I have a beautiful mother who loves me so dearly, a loving and doting father in heaven, who we miss very much, a comfortable life and home in India where I go every now and then, and a fine healthy body and mind (this was written before my fracture J).

I felt the urge to pen down my thoughts that evening. I was happy, I was grateful, I was at peace.  Not that everything in my life was peachy-keen, though.  This existence would be too boring and taken for granted if we had everything that we ever needed, don’t you think?  We would feel entitled and would possibly not even remember that there is a higher power looking down on us and vouching for us.  Nevertheless, I knew that I would feel productive and satisfied if instead of watching the Trump/Clinton circus or a movie or two on TV, I would express my utter love for all I have, in writing.

I am thankful, through the events and struggles and reflective months and years gone by, that I have grown to be a persistent hopeful and consistently (almost) positive individual.  Why? And most importantly how? I don’t know!!

Suffice it to say that the many years of my personal down time forced me to assess me and everything I stand for, and to pray for strength, courage, determination, intelligence, calmness, and faith.  I found that slowly but surely, I gained the strength I desperately needed and the confidence to stay in tune with my goals.  I have matured, I think, although I do have some amusing expectations of life that I will opt not to pen down here.  Simply stated though, there is still a young woman inside of me that wants fun, laughter, dancing, friendships, outings, travel adventures, a caring hand on my shoulder, and bear hugs to come and go, among other things on my bucket list!

But, I cannot simply go through a day and night without the thought that I am truly blessed.

Don’t we all have something to be grateful for?  It’s a case of glass half empty versus a glass half full.  Just staying positive, ahead, and cheerful creates a present that is worth living and working hard for- whether in terms of love or money, spirituality or thought.  A peaceful country to live in, a good family to belong to, a healthy intelligent mind to be productive with, a usually calm demeanor that keeps your mood in check, loving friends to share your idiosyncrasies with, a comparatively strong body to ward off evil (!), despite the other not so happy accompaniments (like my recent fracture and loss of job), are somewhat overwhelming truths about us that we must be thankful for.  In my case, even the loss of job I considered as a gift because now I have something very interesting to pursue and my fracture made me realize that I have to slow down.  It also made me appreciate what I have and what I had.

Without a doubt, a glass half full is a better perspective than that of a glass half empty. If my short note here on feeling blessed inspires even one person out there to be positive, I will be thrilled!

Cheers, everyone!

For the first time

Yes, it was the first time.  The first time in many respects. It was the first time that I turned (?) years old (not disclosing) and closer to that date, I proclaimed to my kids that for another 10 years, I want to do things I have never done before.  Things I probably would not have even thought of doing many years ago.  Time flies when you are having fun, right?  And time has flown for me, slogging with work, burning the midnight oil, and caring, loving, scolding, cooking for, yelling at, but definitely cherishing all these times I spent with my kids.  Hence I wished to kick it up a notch and collect some exhilarating memories as I grow wiser.

So, to come to the ‘firsts’. I do have a list of ideas in my bucket, of which some were conceived by my daughter.  So, I went for an exciting photo-shoot, to visiting a couple of clubs in the city, to having massage from a professional well-trained masseur, which were all fun firsts and arranged by my illustrious daughter. Then, was the highlight of falling to a fracture of the mid-shaft of the fifth metatarsal on my right foot with displacement of about 3 mm! If that is not the most paradoxical first, even though it is not exactly pleasurable, then I don’t know what is!   Aside from setting me back a few months already and not wanting to budge from it’s very stubborn state of non-healing, my fracture is quite painless.  That makes it that much more odd!  I just wanted to get this out there so that you don’t start feeling toooo sorry for me.

Yes, it is painless.  It did not swell up like a ball that others have complained about their fractures, neither does it nor did it pain.  So, is it really a fracture?  This is what others have asked me.  Yes, four X-rays in a span of 2 months have confirmed the broken state.  3 mm displacement- you got that, right?

Anyway, because of it, I had been mostly house bound in Calgary for two months after the fracture day, other than the occasional outing for a doctor’s appointment or restaurant for dinner or coffee.  The third appointment with the hospital surgeon was a disaster just as the previous two times had been.  In the second appointment I was told to refrain from using my crutches– as if that was easy to do.  You see, because I was hopping all around the house making my tea and toasting a slice of bread and getting peanut butter to spread on toast and then stretching my hardest to sit down comfortably, and so on, I was actually burning a lot of calories and was very proud of the fact that I was losing weight.  But I paid heed to the advice of my surgeon. In the third appointment, since I had no pain, I was urged to wean away from the Aircast within a week. There was no evidence of even the start of healing, hence no soft callous and consequently not even the hint of hard callous forming. My foot was a little swollen but had come some ways from blue black bruising to weakening of that color.   I was asked to return in 7 weeks because the healing had not budged.  We were buying time…. But what the jeepers! Almost 2 months more of waiting?

This was it!  I knew it was time to let my wings get me to India; I could not wait any longer.  So, I booked my flights and decided that it was time to hop in the car and drive somewhere even with my fractured foot to do some last minute shopping.  Now, that was first too with a fractured foot, for me at any rate!

At the Vancouver airport, I had the utmost fun and glee riding on a wheel chair and then an airport buggy (like a golf cart). That was a first too.  Sitting with a friendly driver of this cart, Michael, with a couple at the back, off we went speeding through the lanes of Vancouver airport to my gate to get me to Hong Kong.  The little girl in me popped out as I sat in excitement devouring the scenes of the airport.  At Hong Kong airport, I was shown into a wheel chair and the friendly Lam took me to gate 503.  I even took pictures of these two happy people.

There’s quite a lot to be said about sitting in a wheel chair and everything being taken care of.  I was in and out of lines in a jiffy, security check was taken care of partially by the wheel chair attendants, and I was among the first to board and about the last to deplane. Anyone seeing me with the austere cast made way for me, asked if they can accompany me to wherever I had ventured to walk up to, or asked if they could get something for me.

But I have one thing to say.  I had to swallow an ego-reducing pill to be able to do this.  My children had severely instructed me not to be foolhardy to try to walk and carry my bags on my own, but to take help in the airport and aircraft as needed.  The second point I want to make is stemming from what I have heard about wheelchair access.  I am appalled that some people may be just lazy and thus ask to be wheeled between gates at an airport. I had taken my hospital reports with me in case authorities at the departing airport wanted to see evidence of my fracture and need for a wheel chair!  Needless to say, that was not needed.

Well, I should end here on some of my firsts in the past few months.  Enjoy!

Perhaps you can write about your firsts and start posting on your blogs…. Cheers!

-Jagjit