Monday, May 25, 2009

Out, in the open!

We’re sitting by the river Satluj. My cousins, my aunt and I. We’ve come to this exact same spot by the river on my last trip a few months ago. And since then, we’ve longed to come back. On this trip we’re trying to relive the same excitement. If life were a formula…we’d attempted to do all the things from our previous trip…taking pictures, playing Dog and the Bone, Kabbadi…a lil trek. But for some reason…it just isn’t as much fun as the last time. Formulas don’t work for real life.


We’re now sitting by the river. Dipping the bottle of warm Mountain Dew in the cold ripples of the Satluj. The water is so cold..that we’re bound to enjoy a cool beverage if we wait a while. The exact opposite is happening with the bottles of water that we’ve carried…that have frozen in the ice box! The water is frozen…so can’t be drunk…the mountain dew too warm. In time, they’ll both be just right.


To kill time we eat the junk food we’ve carried. Some chips and peanuts. This is no time to count calories. Carefully carrying back the wrappers with us. My cousins have a little spat and the boy takes some time out to go sit alone. It’s  my job to go get him. He comes. Minutes later he hits his sister like he often does. She cries. She’s consoled…the game is back on track. My aunt is sitting on a big rock. Her pink outfit against the dark rock. The digital camera and the zoom on keeping her amused.


Then it happens. I ask Daisy, my cousin if she wants to chant here. By the river, in the open, under the blue sky…the sand beneath us. She agrees, a little more readily than I’d have imagined. Soon we’re all chanting….my cousins, my aunt and I. And it is amazing! I’ve never chanted in the open before this. Certainly not by the river with a rock face so big…that we feel ridiculously small. We’re down about a hundred feet from the main road. The sound of our chanting is very easily drowned by the roar of the river. No contest. But six heads, sitting upright with their hands clasped looking towards nothing…catches the attention of two truck drivers. They stand and watch for a few minutes. Amused, but not amused enough to stay too long. They decide to move along. So do we.


The trek back up is fantastic! We’re walking up a dried up waterfall. The rocks are amazing. The thorns are not. I have a few scratches on my legs. Some war wounds and blood stains to earn bragging right back home. We’ll all embellish our stories when we replay the incidents to my grandmum. And if you happen to hear this from my grandmum, don’t be surprised if there’s a crocodile thrown into this story for added effect!


I love it here. I really do. I’m so grateful that I get to take time off whenever I want. And that when I do, I have people to share it with. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

C for Cancer

One in 28 women has breast cancer.
Men can get breast cancer as well.
 Club that with the fact that all of us ALREADY have cancer cells in our body...and its enough to make you get seriously worried. In some people these cells mutate. In some others, they decide to not go through all that trouble. You can try the antioxidant diet, green tea, regular workouts and a thin frame...but it doesn't necessarily guarantee that the Big C won't catch you. 

Here's the good news though. For everyone one of these facts that had my brain working overtime...there was the reassuring smile of a Nigerian lady called Peace.We were shooting with her for one of our last episodes for the NDTV Good Times show. She's an ad film maker. A mother of two and had to break the news of her cancer to her family. ..As opposed to the other way around. It's been eleven months since she first noticed a lump on her breast and realized she was already on stage chemotherapy is over, her hair is growing back, she's considering a breast reconstruction surgery and is throwing a reeeeeeally big party when she goes back home. Her spirit will move you...and if that doesn't give you strength...really nothing else can!

Unfortunately for me, I'm a hypochondriac. If I hear of a new disease..I think I have it. My organs conspire with my brain to make me feel some severe pain in and around the organ that the disease attacks..and I'm instantly imagining the worst! You can imagine my surprise then, when I was listening to Peace...asking Dr Sarin, who's a cancer surgeon about how bad chemo is really..and telling myself...'its no cakewalk..but it doesn't mean the end'.

Really, as an anchor, this isn't a show I'm proud of. This show hasn't provided me with the opportunity to just be..and have a ball and use my mind. What it has done teach me so much about medicine, see surgery..and get over the fear of these big fancy sounding diseases. I know that everything will always be fine with me and my body...but if shit hit does the fan...I know i have a mop ready!

Monday, May 4, 2009 new friends!

You travel alone to a new city, the trick though, is to leave with a lot of friends!

Sure, it means having to stretch out of your comfort zone a wee bit...but that's the thrill of it! My month long stay in Delhi has only been fun because of people I've met completely out of the blue! And when I was talking to a friend about all these new additions first to my phone book...and my life, we were quite amazed!

From a young french student who jumped in when I was ordering a juice by saying 'that one no...good..try pineapple....' to the coolest plastic surgeon in the country and his family ...that I so feel a part of, to an Afghani interpreter who volunteers with ailing patients explaining to doctors what they need, to an 18 year old pilot incidentally the youngest one for kingfisher airlines from Delhi (he got his flying license BEFORE his driver's license!!) trip has been so cool! 

I've had a gym friend who took me out till the wee hours just because I said Delhi was fuck boring....and by 3 am I was begging to be taken back to the hotel because it was all TOOOO alive for my taste! Can you imagine...if I hadn't been shooting, or gymming, or just buying path would never cross theirs and I'd never have learnt all the stuff that I have!

Here's what I reaaaaly like about meeting random people and making friends..See, if you and I were working together...we're thrown into a situation. We might get along great...or not. But that relationship (sweet or sour) comes out of that situation. It wasn't voluntary when it began. On the other hand..when you walk up to a total stranger and start a conversation...they have no obligation what-so-ever to continue the chat, humor you, or even keep in touch! Now, THAT'S what I love! Isn't it great to know that you can form a bond with just about anyone instantly....!

I love it. Think about it. It means you're ALWAYS surrounded by just dont know them yet!! Make it happen ;)