Monday, July 22, 2013

The True Way to Travel

Most of us travel to various places. We arrive, find accommodation, stay for a definite period, check out tourist destinations, click some photographs, do some shopping, relax and return happy and content. That is, usually this is what we would do.

Adam Shepard, the author of the best selling book, Scratch Beginnings, has come up with a book which has got me thinking. Called "One Year Lived", the story has been narrated by a seventy year old man (author) who reminisces how he spent the 29th year of his life travelling to various places.

Yes, travelling for one year at a strectch! Crazy as it may sound, you would agree that it was worth it when you read the book. The author gave up his job and embarked on a journey on his own terms with some savings of his own. This journey is his alone mostly, except when he falls in love and is accompanied by the young lady during the later part.

This was not a race to tick off items on a "must see" list. Instead, it was about being part of the place he visits, stay for some time, join some voluntary services, participate in the local activities, and try to contribute to the society. Shepard highlights some social issues whose existence we know about, but never give a second thought.

I have liked this book and storyline. The language is simple, but it connects effectively with the reader.

If you wish to read the book, join me on Facebook and leave your e-mail id.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Eighty Three at Sixty Three

My Dad is 63 - retired and old.  He has scored 83 out of 100 in a course in Spanish language! I am more excited than him, it seems.

After retirement, Dad enrolled himself for the course mainly to keep himself occupied. It had been his long time wish to learn a foreign language, but with family and professional commitments, he could not.

Dad was faced with the challenge posed by his age - "My brain is not that sharp anymore", he says, "and I find it difficult to study".

His classmates were much younger - perhaps our age or even less than that. Plus, when you head the family, you have to take care of so many things - be it home supplies, social commitments, taking care of my mother and his (my Granny), paying bills, and much more. Studying inspite of so much is a very very steep climb indeed.

"It was difficult", says Dad, as he caresses his certificate, "but I relished every bit of it." He did not give up when faced by adversities and wrenched out time to study between various activities. He is not very computer or internet savvy yet, but he got the cable operator to broadcast a Spanish channel on television. Now, that was innovative!

Isn't that awesome? Congratulate him here!

We are inspired by you, Dad. Love you.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fighting the Invincible

A continuous shoulder pain led to a MRI scan and the results revealed a depressing fact: its not some
posture related or stress related problem it was suspected to be. It was cancer.

The very mention of the disease shakes your spirit. What is the condition of the patient, who is barely in her late thirties, a mother of two, has loads of dreams, when she is told that her disease is in an advanced stage and there is no known cure for it?

Shaila sat stunned as her doctor explained the implications of the spots that showed in the scan reports. But when she emerged, she was a woman of steel. 

She shared her predicament with her near and dear ones, but refused to let them be flustered. 

"It was no use being tensed about something out of one's control", she said, "Let's fight it out".

Chemotherapy sessions, medicines, bouts of illness, draining of savings, contradictory statements from various sources - it was a situation very difficult to deal with. Shaila stuck to her resolve, terming it as a challenge that life had thrown for her. 

There is a saying that you should not let the disease get into your mind. Shaila lived life like a confident woman, playing her multiple roles as a daughter, mother, wife, professional and more. She stuck to her medical commitments diligently. Today, more than 15 years after that dreadful day, Shaila lives to tell her tale. "Albeit few restrictions, I've faced such a scary disease head on, and have relished fighting it out." 

"Its awesome to be alive", she says, and hopes that her story shall be a source of inspiration for all cancer patients.