Everything Else

When eating becomes a sin.

At some point of time in our lives, we all have felt that a dress or a shirt would fit us better if we were a little skinny. We like to think that our entire personality, very well including the way we look would improve if we lost a few kgs. This line of thought is so very common but for a few, it turns into an obsession. Eventually leading to many diseases, the most prominent being an eating disorder.

We all love to eat but more than that, food is a necessity. Now, imagine having a condition where you eat excessively and then feel bad about it, where your image about yourself is so deteriorated that you think you can never be pretty unless you lose weight . Eating becomes a sin and everytime you feed yourself, you feel so bad that you induce in self-purging or excessive exercise or sometimes both. This condition is called bulimia nervosa. It is a life threatening disease which has affected people all over the world.
Bulimia is not just related to food but also to self-image. A skinny person who thinks that they are a little overweight can also develop bulimia. It causes an obsession with the body shape and weight and the fear of gaining weight takes up mostly all the spacbulimiae in their heads.
Bulimia is not just a mental disease, but it can also physically exhaust the body to such an extent that a person starts developing other health problems some of which include dehydration, heart problems, dental problems and anxiety and depression.
Many times since my childhood, I’ve felt that I was a little overweight and that people judge me because of it. Being called fat, even as a joke affected me a lot. Even today I buy almost all my clothes keeping in mind that I shouldn’t appear fat in them. Many people might have felt the same way. Our society promotes such unrealistic body images that it becomes unhealthy. Sometimes such feelings combined with comments or even looks can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Not just that, today we see all these “perfect figures” that make us feel insecure. All these factors can lead to someone happy and carefree develop bulimia.
What I feel is that we all should love ourselves for what we are for our body may look whatever way but what really matters is how we are inside. I would rather be a fat person with a good heart than a thin person with no heart.
Bulimia is a serious disorder and needs to be brought to attention. If you feel that someone around you maybe suffering from it or be on the verge of it, help them see that there is much more in life than fitting into society’s notions of beauty.

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Precaution on the post trauma.

Psychology is the science
that helps us to be able to connect to other people in a better manner. It teaches us about perspective. Where the whole world watches one thing in a different manner, perhaps, like accusing an individual as mad, a psychologist can rationally detect the condition an individual goes through. One such disorder is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is a syndrome that develops after a traumatic event (in childhood or during a scary or shocking situation/accident). A body releases flight/fight response during a stressful situation and helps an individual cope with the same. The people who are unable to do so suffer from what is referred to as PTSD.

The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD might begin as soon as (roughly) three months after the event or as late as a year. To be diagnosed with PTSD one must showcase a series of symptoms for at least one month. At least one re-experiencing symptom like a flashback or bad dreams/thoughts, at least one avoidance symptom like avoiding places, events, losing interest etc., at least two arousal and reactivity symptoms like feeling tensed, difficulty in sleeping and at least two cognition and mood symptoms like negative thoughts about oneself, distorted feelings or loss of interest are a must to be detected with PTSD. Even children showcase such symptoms in a different manner like wetting the bed, forgetting to speak, being clingy etc.

Not all people who go through a traumatic event experiences PTSD, in fact most people, do not get the disorder. Even people who get PTSD do not need to go through a traumatic event. We often mistake people who suffer from PTSD as mad. A term which is ndownload (1)ow refrained to be used by professionals. Our generalization discourages such people to come out and face the world and perhaps that is one of the reasons why the cases detected are so less in number. It is important to be sensitized to such cases rather than being judgemental about them. A few years back, during the days when I had my board exams I came across a friend who had a lot in mind. He could not concentrate, he could not express but he wasn’t always the same. Turns out he had undergone a trauma where he lost a few of his loved ones. The pressure was so high on his mind that ultimately the guy committed suicide because he couldn’t bear the pressure and he had almost no one to understand it too!

There are various treatments and therapies used for curing a patient undergoing PTSD. One of the most important being the psycho-therapy. Proposed by Sigmund Freud, the treatment can only be used by the professionals over a long period of regular sessions. The most studied medications for treating PTSD include antidepressants, which may help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Antidepressants and other medications may be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Exposure therapies are other way where the patients are exposed to their fears. Cognitive restructuring is a psychological way where people figure out what happened in a realistic manner.

PTSD is a disorder which is less known about. It is because of this lack of fame that no one really adheres to the fact that they might be affected by it. We should be able to spread the awareness by being informed ourselves. We should be sensitized towards the possibility of the occurrence of the disorder and be alert about it too!

“You Can’t Patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid”  – Anonymous

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Tips and Tricks for Basic Self Defence

From all the life lessons I have ever heard, the most common is “Expect the unexpected”. And it doesn’t really make sense most times. It has always sounded like something of a paradoxical statement, I mean, how do you expect something, if it is going to be unexpected? But it took a few experiences for me to understand the true meaning behind this phrase, experiences that I never saw coming, the same experience that taught me, that this phrase was simply telling me to prepared for anything in life.

One such thing to be prepared for is to protect yourself from harm, mental and physical. In this run down society, it’s each one for itself, and you need to know how to protect yourself. And protecting yourself physically is an equally important. You need to be prepared to defend yourself when you’re walking down an empty or shady street and you’re all by yourself, because these streets are filled with all sorts of dangers. And these dangers will be a part of every city, every state, every country. Even the most sophisticated and developed countries have muggers, thieves and other predators targeting the weak.

Being attacked by a stranger Is neither the most uncommon nor the most unimaginable scenario in our current lives. Yes, it’s scary that we live in such a world, but it is true. And being scared won’t help you, being prepared and being able to defend yourself will help you.

Here are a few things to help you protect yourself in such a situation.

  1. Be loud and create a disturbance, so that you can attract someone to help you. Being loud doesn’t mean just making a lot of noise, it means making coherent exclamations, for e.g. saying “Back off”, or “Get away from me”. These statements let the others know this isn’t just a brawl between two people.
  2. Aim for those parts of the body that are easy to target and can harm relatively easily. Go for the eyes, neck, knees, nose, etc. The groin is the best part to go for if your attacker is a male.
  3. To attack, use your own body parts carefully. Use your elbows, head and knees.
  4. If you have a set of keys, you can hold it between your middle and ring fingers and use it as a defence mechanism. Other things that you can use include a deo or perfume spray; target the yes when you use this.
  5. If you’re in an elevator with someone who seems suspicious, press all buttons for all floors. If the elevator stops on every floor, there are lesser chances of someone attacking you.
  6. If you’re attacked in your house, say by a burglar, rush to the kitchen. You’re the only person who’ll know where all the dangerous weapons such as knives are, and it’s good to use that knowledge to benefit yourself.
  7. Keeping the hair tied, for girls is a good technique, because the attacker may catch you by your hair.
  8. Consider joining a basic self defence class

These are just a few things you can try. Trust me when I say this, being able to protect yourself is something you will never regret.

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Take Me Somewhere

Take me somewhere, somewhere where no one’s ever been seen,
where the sea is languid and the knolls are a different green,
where the glittering night sky is the only guide,
and where chasing fireflies helps in your stride.
Take me there, there where the sand is ivory white,
where at night to warn the ships, yonder the house shines its light,
where not a soul nor a heavenly spirit roves,
and the hues embellishing the heavens has been an amalgamation of mauves.
Take me anywhere, anywhere where the roads run long and the climb is steep,
where the shanties are abandoned and the sun makes you crawl and creep,
where solitude and desolation fill you with a new ecstasy,
and never did you dream or draw and have such a fantasy.
Take me someplace, someplace where the cherry blossom trees never end,
where time seems to stop no matter how much time you spend,
where the dappled sunlight and the azure of dawn,
makes your heart want to stay and never be gone.
Take me this place, this place which lingers in my dreams,
where the snow-caped mountains melt away in clear gushing streams,
where the scenery is speckled with black and white sheep,
and harvesting just ceased, to behold piles of stalk in a heap.
Take me any place, any place where no one’s ever set foot and its serene,
where water-falls fade into a glistening mist so pristine,
where peacocks and larks dance in jubilation,
and the spirit wanders away unaware of consternation.
Take me away, away where the winds run astray,
where the conifers and prayer flags mark my way,
where solace and zen are all I seek,
and somewhere above my Lord contemplates on a peak.
Take me now, now because I’ve packed my bags,
where hurry is no word and I’m tired of the nags,
where the sun never sets and nature never hesitates to be an inspiration,
and there’s no money on me, but that’s no impediment to reach my destination.
– Trisha Sharma
This poem is symbolic of the desires of a young child whose life is confined to the four walls of his concrete world. His life is numbed with the plague of bland surroundings and a humdrum routine which he does not fancy anymore. He yearns to let go and break free, to shun away all his responsibilities and run away from all the chores he has to fulfill to do justice to his role in the society. Yet, that’s not what his heart calls out to do, his spirit wants to roam free, breathe the sunlight and chase the wind and experience the world beyond with all it’s magnificent treasures. He wants to run away, as far as possible from humanity and the “over-technological world”, to brace the earth in its rawness and pristine wonder. It doesn’t matter to him whether he has any money with him or not, as far as he is concerned, its not the material aspects during the journey that he wishes to conquer, rather the beauty of nature that he wishes to seek. He wishes to live in the lap of God’s natural gifts and his soul aches to roam the bounties of surroundings that he does not see everyday. He wishes to break the chains that tie him and escape away into the infinite places that await him, greedy in wanderlust and craving for adventure.
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Mrs. Mehta

jalebi

Father had called him in the morning but their conversation had been awkward and stilted. Abhay hadn’t know what to say to him and father hadn’t known what to say either and Abhay had quickly put down the phone with the excuse of his roommate’s early morning excursions.

He supposed he should be angry, should have screamed and shouted at him for ruining everything they had built together as a family. However, if Abhay was being truthful with himself, and he so rarely was, they had not been much of a family to begin with.

“Is everything alright?” His roommate shouted at him from where he was battling evil under lords, equipped with only a game console.

“I guess—” Abhay rubbed the back of his head, still not sure what he was supposed to feel, “I guess I have to go back home.”

***

“Ah, you’re back,” The kindly, old face of the man who had been both mother and father to him split into a wide smile, “Have you been studying hard?”

“You know I can’t concentrate when there’s so much more to do, kaka,” Abhay murmured as he gathered up the old man into his arms and squeezed, “I’ve missed you.”

“Now, now,” Hari kaka patted his back soothingly, “You’ve just come back from Pune, you must be tired and hungry. Go wash up and I’ll fix you up with something nice, maybe your favourite prantha.”

“No, I—,” Abhay pulled back, uncertainty once again surrounding him, “I’m not really hungry. I…I just…where is she?”

Hari kaka’s face smoothened in understanding, “She’s in her room.”

Abhay stared down at his feet, “Is she…okay?”

Hari kaka shrugged, “As good as can be expected.”

When Abhay didn’t say anything, Hari kaka threw him a sharp look, “Your mother is stronger than she looks, babu. Give her some credit.”

Abhay wondered how he could stand a head above this slight, frail old man and still be made to feel like he was only three feet and caught red handed with his hand inside the cookie jar.

Abhay tried to smile but it came out more like a grimace.

***

He had never liked his childhood home. It was big and cold and the way his voice echoed in the hallway sometimes reminded him of ghosts and loneliness.

Big and broken as it was, it was still home.

He pushed the door to his parent’s bedroom open and was immediately assaulted by darkness.

“Mother?” He called out hesitantly as he stepped inside and almost stumbled against a wayward chair, “Mother, are you here?”

“Abhay?” The raspy, surprised voice of his mother rang in the silent room, “You’re back?”

Abhay spread his hands in the air and blindly groped around the wall for a light switch, “Yes, I wanted to see you, see if everything was—”

Light flooded the room and Abhay saw that the room that had once been was so neat and pristine was now a mess of clothes and saris. The curtains were shut tightly against the window and a fine layer of dust had settled on all the pieces of furniture. His mother lay on the crumpled bed sheet, eyeing him with a face that was splotched and matted with make-up that hadn’t been washed for days, hands clasped tightly around something.

“—alright,” Abhay finished lamely, averting his eyes to the floor. His mother had always been the picture of elegance and beauty, hair coiffed to perfection, pearl necklace glittering against a silk sari that was never seen twice. Now, looking at her pulling her dressing gown and the last shreds of her dignity to her thin body, Abhay felt uneasy and wronged.

“Oh, I’m fine!” His mother replied in a cheerful voice that was almost painful to hear, “It’s been quite a shocking few days, that’s all. Enough about me. How are you studies? Kaka told me you that you were having trouble with chemistry, do you want me to appoint a home tutor—”

Abhay didn’t know what came over him at that moment.

“Your husband has left you,” He bit out venomously, hands clenched to his sides in anger, “So you can stop pretending. There’s no one here except me so just…please…stop.”

His mother stared at him in shock and betrayal and Abhay wondered what she must be thinking. Her marriage was breaking apart and her quiet, shy child was suddenly speaking out and confronting her. The world, as she knew it, was changing.

“Please stop,” Abhay repeated, closing his eyes.

They stood in silence, facing each other, for what felt like years. Finally, his mother said in a quiet, thoughtful tone, “I’ve forgotten what jalebi tastes like.”

Abhay whipped his head up, startled, “What?”

His mother threw him a quick, nervous look and Abhay had the sudden realisation that though they had been mother and son for all his life, they might as well be strangers, “You…you told me to be honest. That was all I could think of.”

“You’ve forgotten what jalebi tastes like?” Abhay asked incredulously.

His mother shrugged, “I remember that it was thick and syrupy and sugary…” Her voice faltered,”….I’ve even forgotten what sugar tastes like.”

She looked at him and he saw that her eyes were filled with tears, “Isn’t it funny?”

Abhay didn’t say anything.

“I have tried…”His mother took in a deep breath and began talking, “I have tried to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother. I’ve made sure that Rohit never had to be embarrassed by anything that I ever said or did. I made sure that you got the best education and facilities possible and that nobody out there,” His mother pointed viciously to the window, “Could call me anything less than perfect. I…I even tried to be p-pretty.”

Tears dropped down her cheeks silently, blackened with mascara and regret, “But in this bid to be perfect and just right, I forgot…I forgot,” His mother let out a heartbreaking sob, “to be a g-good wife and mother.”

“You are a good mother,” Abhay protested feebly. His father had been distant, more of a name than a person but his mother, his mother had tried.

She smiled at him through her tears, “Thank you.” Tottering forward a few steps, she reached out a hand and brushed a trembling hand against his cheek, “You’ve become really big and mature, haven’t you? Mommy didn’t even notice.”

Abhay did the only thing he could. He bent down and hugged his mother for the first time in years.

She stiffened in his arms, unused to physical affection of any kind. Soon, however, she relaxed and bony hands reached around his waist to clutch at his back hesitantly. Abhay looked down to what she had been holding so tightly in her hand and saw that it was her visiting card, Mrs. Mehta embellished on it with a cursive, gold script.

Abhay stifled the sudden, hysterical urge to laugh.

“I’m so confused,” His mother said in a tired, exhausted voice after a while, “What do I do now? Where do I even…begin?”

“It begins—” Abhay said as he broke apart from her and fished around in the pockets of his pants, “when you stop trying to be Mrs. Mehta or the mother of Abhay Mehta and just try to be Meera instead.”

He held out a half eaten piece of chocolate to her, edges gnawed on and silver wrapping torn into little pieces.

Meera smiled.

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