The Lull – Prologue

The Lull – Prologue

I’ve been working on this – shall we say – “piece” for a while now and found this hidden away in my drafts. Any thoughts would be appreciated. In case you can’t tell, this is going to be a medical thriller, someday. Here’s hoping.

I’ve been waking up at the exact same time everyday, 3:30 AM. Sometimes I think I can hear noises, but that’s probably just my imagination. Truth is, I haven’t been sleeping well and it’s been eight months now and I know it’s not the new mattress. The clumps of hair I find in my hands every time I run a few fingers through my hair feel like warning signs. Multiple warning signs. Back in my day as a doctor at the hospital, I would see cancer patients on therapy losing hair this alarmingly. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body, but I sometimes feel like a part of me is kind of dying. And that isn’t comforting.

Who is going to take my place when I am no more?

The pain in my tailbone is bad today. I would rate it a solid eight point five. I can’t remember when it started but I can feel it intensifying. My normal ignore-it-till-it-goes-away tactic isn’t working anymore. Which is funny because it works really well when I have my dysmenorrhea. I try chamomile tea. It’s now almost four in the morning, and it’s cold, and dark and wet outside. It hasn’t stopped raining in forever. The wifi goes for a toss when thunderstorms happen and I temporarily have no access to Instagram. I like to stalk – no, keep up with – a few people when I am alone. I like to see what Rita is up to with her brand new side hustle, or what Nikkie is up to with that judgemental mind of hers, and what Tina is doing with life. These guys were my best friends in college, and then we went our separate ways and then the whole pandemic happened and all hell broke loose.

You’d think they’d check up on me, but I am someone they secretly like to call “The Dismissed”,  and they’re not wrong. I’m a has-been, a pariah, the one who threw her life away. I have no job, no prospects, and I don’t know if I would ever see my patients again. There’s a health crisis raging outside and they need me more than I need them but they don’t see that.

After all, what would anyone see in a emaciated former doctor in her late twenties who lives in a shoebox of a house, savings dwindling, with no one to turn to? I close my eyes and touch my back, that’s where they surgically implanted something so Nikkie could get away with something else.

Their life, happening.

Mine? Nothing but a lull.

A Month Gone By.

A Month Gone By.

It’s been a month and a couple days since I got married. For starters, I didn’t even imagine that someday I would be able to picture myself as a wife, to be honest. Coupled with a super low self-esteem and a total lack of reality check, never in a million years did I think I would be settling so perfectly into the role of a wife and a new daughter.

A wife. And a new daughter.

Just how crazy does that seem? Also: notice that I didn’t say “daughter-in-law”? That’s how nice my new family is. Just the other day my new pop made me upma – my favorite – he needn’t have, but he did and it was the cutest thing ever. They’ve also graciously let us stay till our house is done completely. My oh my. Let me go knock on wood a few times before I can actually go ahead and make my point.

My point being, marriage is comfortable. I’d heard a million horror stories, and I’d formed this image in my head that I would make a terrible new addition to my husband’s family too. That I would be a burden and a pain and all sorts of hell. But boy, I was wrong. Before I got married, I struggled with a lot of stuff. I struggled with the concept of acceptance and love and what both of these things really mean. But now, a month later, I can honestly tell you that it’s blissful. You’re not just sharing a home with someone, you’re also sharing headspace.

Sure, you have differences of opinions. You have tiffs. You don’t always get along, but then you don’t have to. Marriage means so much more than just photoshoots or Instagram likes or Sabyasachi lehengas or beach-facing mandaps or Pat McGrath eyeshadow – and you don’t need me to tell you this – but it’s much, much more. It’s about growth. About uplifting your spouse. About always remembering that their image is your image and vice versa. About working together to make the marriage work and at the same time, keeping it effortlessly easy.

And you thought Bengali brides look too loud. I personally think I would have easily passed as someone who were doing a gold jewelry store commercial.

This past couple of weeks have shocked me too. I had no idea my husband and I were twin souls to this extent. And that is the most amazing thing, ever. I’ve been given a whole new set of best friends – my new parents and my new brother – and I couldn’t be happier. The transition from being boyfriend and girlfriend to being husband and wife is beautiful and both my new ma and I have managed to cry our eyes out every time we’ve played the wedding and reception videos. Sigh.

So far, so good. There were very cute surprises along the way – a dreamy Gangtok trip, a Goa trip to attend a wedding, and Valentine’s Day felt super special because we both wore kurtas and went to eat at a random place and looked super boho. FUN.

Hello from my lovely mocktail.

It’s been dreamy and I just wanted to come on here and share things, while I get back to my regular blogging schedule. Hope life’s been treating you as good as it’s been treating me.

Why Does Everyone Want To Be An Influencer?

Why Does Everyone Want To Be An Influencer?

How many of us have actually thought of starting something of our own, because the nine to five job wasn’t cutting it? I’m sure you’re guilty of it too. It sucks, I’ll give you that, having to work for someone else when frankly, you’d be much happier being your own boss.

Every influencer comes into existence this way. Full-time or otherwise, influencers become influencers because they are really driven by the will (or often, the wish) to start something new. There are two kinds of people: one, that create content based off of actual talent, and two, that buy followers because brands often believe in the numbers game. Which essentially means that the more number of followers an influencer has on social media, irrespective of how much engagement they actually have, the more the recognition they get from brands. Indian brands are one hundred percent guilty of this: not naming names, but I’ve seen brands sending PR packages and handing out sponsorships to XYZ influencers because they have 54k followers, when they themselves follow only seventy people.

So when you follow a very limited number of people, but you’ve got a considerably huge following, it gives the illusion of importance.

Who exactly is an influencer?

From the Internet:

A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. resources. Discover Brand Influencers to Expand Social Reach.

So, why the sudden rise in the “Influencer trend”?

Simply put, it’s easy money, and it never asks for a degree or in many cases, talent. People with awful content sometimes end up as successful influencers because they’re really, really good at handling sponsorships.

Many influencers in fact are so good at sponsored content, the audience won’t know they’ve been taken for a ride – not until the end of the video they’ve posted. By then the views have already been garnered.

And many people are actually ballsy enough to email brands asking for free stuff so they can showcase it on their Instagram. This is a cringeworthy tactic but it’s worked for someone I know. It’s working for someone I know, as we speak.

With a rise in social media posts, and a few carefully bought followers, it’s easy to make the quick buck just by endorsing a product, a process much less tedious and way more enjoyable than a desk job that would give you headaches and backaches and too much stress.

In conclusion…

…the euphoria induced from reaching a cult-status, the fame and the brand-sponsored-trips, the power to be pseudo Twiggy and Coco Chanel, has reached a manic frenzy and it’s like this apple that everyone is dying to have a bite of. And the power to promote consumerism and to make profit from it is something of a greed, that becomes insatiable. The more you have, the more you want. The more you want, the more you push. The more you push, there’s no stopping. It’s like an inflammation that keeps intensifying. And it feels good.

The next time you see your former best friend promoting Mama Earth, remember you can shoot them an email too. Everyone has access. It’s just so easy.

Health Supplements 101

Health Supplements 101

Disclaimer: I am by no means a registered dietitian/nutritionist, but I have been into supplements for a while now. This stuff has worked for me and I thought it would be helpful to people that actually want to know about a few dietary supplements that do the job. Having said that, if you’re someone that has health issues, for example, kidney disorders, I would strongly recommend you see your GP first.

Also, major thanks to the significant other for a ton of valuable input.

Let’s say you work out five days a week. You’ve been consistent with your routine. BUT, you don’t see results. There could be a few things that you’re doing wrong – one of them would be NOT eating right. The other one would be giving your body enough break, but that’s something we won’t get into in this post. I like to incorporate a few things into my diet, and I’ll talk about them briefly below.

• L-Carnitine:

L-Carnitine, an amino acid, has strong antioxidant properties. It helps transport fat as a source of energy to your mitochondria and the antioxidant properties enable the cells to get rid of metabolic waste. It helps burn body fat and lets the cells use fat as primary source of energy instead of carbs. It was first obtained from meat extracts way back in 1905 – the name carnitine is derived from the Latin word “carnus“, meaning flesh. Since I don’t eat red meat (the redder the meat, the better in this case), I choose to take L-Carnitine.

L-Carnitine comes in capsule form which you can take post a heavy breakfast. Either take two a day post meals, if you’re working out extensively. I just take one a day.

Whey protein:

Whey concentrate has a bioavailability score of 104 (egg is your next best bet with a score of 100). The body is able to absorb it quickly and is able to transport to site of injury (muscles) to help begin repair quickly. It helps boost immune system as well. Whey is thermogenic, thereby aiding in fat loss and building up of the muscle. Whey isolate has a bioavailability of 159.

A scoop or 30 grams of whey concentrate mixed into 200 mils of chilled water post your workout routine is amazing. As you keep at it and fall into rhythm, your body will get into a habit and you’ll notice a huge difference.

Collagen:

Collagen is produced by body, but not in large quantities. The exogenous consumption helps boost collagen stores which in turn improves skin, hair, nail and joint health.

A scoop or eight grams of collagen mixed into your whey protein shake will do the job. You should see results in thirty days.*

• Fish Oil Capsules:

Fish oil is of two types – cod liver oil and normal fish oil, which has oil from an assortment of fishes. Fish oil has more omega 3. Cod liver oil is a good balance of vitamins A and D, EPA and DHA and is easily absorbed and easier to mass produce, plus has lesser mercury toxicity than regular fish oil. (This is best avoided if you’re on Isotretinoin.)

I take two capsules a day post breakfast.

• Biotin:

Biotin or vitamin B is a water soluble vitamin which helps improve the infrastructure of Keratin, the basic protein that makes up your skin, nails and hair. Biotin is available in a lot of food that you eat on the daily, like egg yolk and bananas and certain nuts, but with someone that’s losing hair faster than you could say Jack Robinson, I need my supplements.

I take one tablet after breakfast, everyday. I’m hoping to be blessed with Rapunzel-like tresses soon.

* Results may vary from person to person, obviously.

Do you take any supplements? Have you seen results?

Stuff That I Should Have Started Doing Earlier

Stuff That I Should Have Started Doing Earlier

Seeing a dermatologist.

I’m super ashamed to say I’ve never seen a dermatologist in my life. When you’re in your late twenties and you’re saying something like this, this is a major problem.

I didn’t know I would face so many skin problems – I have clogged pores that don’t go away, I have whiteheads and my skin is aging – and no amount of aloe is keeping my skin normal.

I have my very first appointment with a dermatologist on Saturday. I hope I don’t get judged too harshly.

Taking proper supplements.

In addition to eating your greens and otherwise having a diet that’s super clean, your body does need supplements. Some people overdo, and that’s bad.

I just started on collagen and biotin and other vitamins.

• Walking everyday.

I workout at home, and I follow people like Chloe Ting. And although my body is apparently healthy, I don’t walk enough. No, walking on your treadmill doesn’t count.

My health apps remind me that I need to be walking more and that never seems to happen.

I’m trying, and so far I’ve made it through Tuesday. Let’s hope I keep at it.

• Keeping in touch with only people who matter.

For the longest time, I would avoid talking to a bunch of people because I was under the impression that they were nosy.

I was wrong.

Nothing feels better than reconnecting. At the same time, nothing feels more liberating than finding out who’s going to be around when you’re sinking, and cutting off the unnecessary drama from people that never wish you well.

Sleeping better.

I’ve actually posted about the benefits of sleep on my blog before, and it’s weird to me that I never followed my own advice.

I’ve made changes now and I give my body six solid hours of sleep. Sometimes seven.

What are some recent changes that you’ve made in your life, that you wish you’d done sooner?

The Twin

The Twin

I was getting married in three hours. I’d suddenly developed this awful headache, and told my hairstylist to give me a second.

I must have fallen asleep.

Someone was shrieking rather loudly in my ears, and also shaking me persistently.

“LOU? LOU! Wake up, Louise! Oh, God!”

I opened my eyes and everything was so bright, it took me a while before I realized that I was bound and gagged, in my underwear. My mother was in tears, in shock, and a long moment passed before I noticed that we were Inside Missy’s closet.

Missy was my dead twin sister.

We had gone swimming one night, while on a family trip to Bali, and the tide had swept us in. And I had lost track of time and woken up to find Missy gone. She’d stayed gone. The’d never found a body. We had a closed casket funeral for her, with fourteen-year-old me clinging to my mother’s arm, both of us inconsolable.

It had been ten years since.

The only thing that I happened to register now, at this point, was my very terrified mother asking, “But who did Sean get married to? We all thought it was obviously you! She even called me Momsicle!” The only person – apart from me – who ever called our mother that, was Missy. Who we held a freaking funeral for. Ten bloody years ago.

Sean is – was – my fiancé. Sean was also Missy’s teenage crush. Missy and Sean never happened because of the incident. I’d never meant to fall in love with Sean – I didn’t – but fate has awful ways of meddling with people’s lives and he’d proposed to me on my twenty fourth birthday, after three years of dating.

I looked at the date – February 14 – and realized that he was probably on his way to Florence. With his new wife. Who looked exactly like me.

50 Word Story: Vanity

50 Word Story: Vanity

Her whole life had been dedicated to the pursuit of ridiculously pricey trinkets.

The day she slipped and fell off the cliff while sightseeing, she had on some Manolo heels. A good pair of Nikes would have saved her life, but she’d always loved a rather vulgar display of wealth.

Growth.

Growth.

We’d fight all the time

Mostly it would just be me

And we’d end up

Going to bed seething, so angry

There have been times

When we hated each other

I’d cry, you’d look away

You’d say I was such a bother

But look at us now

We’re doing great, aren’t we

So in love

A love that grows effortlessly

My shrink once told me

That it’s okay to fight a lot initially

Because that’s when people adjust

And you were growing to love me for me

People tried to take us apart

People said things, mean stuff

One day we decided it would be just us

And that we’d had enough

I guess growth

Only comes from within

And that’s pretty much it

It comes with a lot of accepting

Growth tells you

That when you’re in love

You don’t need to involve the world

Not even when push comes to shove

The Donor

The Donor

Donna had the personality of raw, unsalted pasta. To say that she was bland, unappealing, and completely far from being impactful, would be the understatement of the century. She’d been that accidental baby that neither parent wanted, and she’d grown up with the feeling of being unloved her whole life.

Her mommy issues ran deeper than the hatred a certain pair of adjacent nations felt towards each other.

Her daddy issues ran deeper than the Mariana Trench.

She wasn’t great to look at either. And she didn’t have brains, they said. Nor did she have a spine, apparently, because everyone she tried to talk to would ask her to grow one. Donna, for the life of her, with her rather limited IQ and her simple heart, never understood how one was supposed to grow a spine at the ripe age of twenty nine.

She was also color-blind and didn’t qualify for a ton of jobs, so she worked as a book-binder instead.

Donna would sit at home, by the window, look out at the trees that everyone said were green, and tell herself that things would be okay someday. And as each day passed, and as each time a prospective groom came home, ate her parents’ food and rejected her in front of her worried parents, Donna started losing hope. At this point, her parents were growing old, and wrinkly and everyone that came home would always talk about Donna’s unmarried status. And as Donna approached thirty on the last day of the warmest summer in history, she thought that it would be a great idea to soak in the bathtub for the last time before the clock struck midnight.

Donna filled the bath with ice cubes and heard voices.

Grow a pair.

Grow a spine.

You’re such a waste of skin.

You should be dead.

You should never have been born.

Nobody wants a girl child, anyway.

You’re pathetic.

She looked at the shower curtain and thought to herself that it was about time she did something worthwhile.

The last thing she felt was the press of the defibrillator on her chest as Donna finally faded away. The last voice she heard said something she wanted to hear since the time she’d developed a conscience, even though she had dung for brains and an IQ of less than ten.

She’s flatlined, they said.

A few hours later, a young man received a new kidney.

A few more hours later, someone else received a liver transplant.

In death, she wasn’t so useless and far from being impactful, after all.

50 Word Story: Mother

50 Word Story: Mother

Ariel was six and lived with her single mum, Ursula, who used to leave for work early. Sometimes they’d miss their meals. Sleep was often inadequate.

Eventually, things started getting done around the house. On their own.

One morning she walked in on Ursula, multitasking, with tentacles.