I had been through some tough times that I did not want to do anything. I was told by my parents to write in my blog but I guess I needed to believe in me. How many times have you heard that nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself. I heard it. Lot of times! So why I was not believing in myself when I needed the most? I don’t know. I needed approval from others to tell myself that I am a good person. I was cranky and irritated to the extent that I wanted to punch someone if they were not obeying the rules. I was constantly angry. I was angry that I have failed myself and my family. Even though I was listening to the motivational talks and doing everything to get me happy , I was angry and jealous of everything. I was angry that I am not organised and what they will say if they see my home! I was constantly blaming myself about what I have done and I was living the past of torture.
Did somebody say something sometimes that I got hurt? I guess. But they did not want to hurt me intentionally. Right? Then why I was holding to that and ruining my life? Why I would constantly dig into my past and would dig into “similar experiences that hurt me”? And then dwelling on them and tried to ruin my “present”? It is a present for me right? I would go over things that I left in the middle and did not complete till end. And would tell myself “I don’t complete anything”, ” I just gave up in the middle “, “I am not good enough “. And that would make me so angry I could not express myself. I would think am I worthy enough? Have I taken right decisions so far? Whatever I am doing currently, is this right? What others think of me? I should be good and presentable and all should like me and always speak nice of me. Can anyone relate to that? I was constantly in tension and frown became my friend. It was my self talk that was making things worse.
Fortunately I have my friends and family around me to support. I have my greatest cheerleader Sree with me. He told me, “Deepti , you are a fighter! Whatever happens, how many times you fail in your task, just get up one more time than you fail. You are a part of Deshpande family now and you know what Deshpande’s always finish their task whether it is good or bad. It may be extreme but I am not letting you quit till you finish. So whether the outcome is good or bad, finish the task you have. Don’t care about people judging you.” My dad always say this in Hindi – हाथी चाले अपनी चाल, कुत्ते भौंके हज़ार। That means “let the dogs bark but the caravan is moving on”. And one of our mentors Kulin Desai helped me to change my self talk. He also has written a book called ” Believe and Achieve “. It is available as an e-book in US as of now.
I listen to motivational talks and read motivational books everyday. In one of the talks the person said ” don’t tell me your defeats unless you have a victory to tell at the end”. And another person said – ” If you get angry because of someone, you are letting him/her control your mind and you are the one who should control your mind”. So what if I am not acting according to what people says. I have heard people say many things about me- that I am different. I am emotional, I am not as smart as ___ is. Old Deepti might have been hurt by this but new Deepti doesn’t care.
So what if I care about environment, and being green, and being animal lover and I want people to get along well and I sometimes fall and take not so good decisions. Learning from those mistakes makes you smart. Whatever I learnt till now should be for our betterment physically, spiritually and mentally . I won’t write ,” Right ?”. Because I know it is right.. Hey I might be crazy but not stupid! 😉
This is a Maharshtrian festival that is not known much outside of Maharashtra. It is actually 16 days festival which ends on the full moon day in the month of October or November. ( month of Ashwin in Indian calendar) You can say it is similar to navratra in Gujarat or West Bengal. I am not totally sure about this festival, how it is performed but all I know is in Nagpur we used to see idols of shiv-parvati aka bhooloji and bhoolabai. I remember when I was staying in apartment complex in Nagpur, I had lot of friends of my age group. We used to play from evening till night in the small area in front of our apartment. During this festival all aunts and mom would go down their memory lane ( just like I am in right now) and enjoy their childhood games. They even tried to reach us their games which they specifically used to play in this festival. Let me see how much I remember.
It was girls festival/married women festival. All the newly wedded women would be at their parents house from Raakhi festival till Diwali festival. This bhoolabai festival would be an opportunity to meet all the friends and relatives in the evening everyday and have some fun. It would start with pooja of elephant on the first day and the pooja( offering ) of bhooloji -bhoolabai . Then games would start. At that time , they did not have any special mind games or race or competition. ( this is my interpretation) So it was kind of folk dance and it would have games of langdi( different methods of hopping on one foot), fugdi ( I can not explain it) , then playing with sticks( like navratri) and with supli .( Again I can not explain how to play with supli and what it is.) The ladies used to sing songs which would mostly say how good are my parents as compared to in laws . They are funny songs. I still remember few lines of the songs that were taught by my mom and her friends. Few that I remember are akkan mati, karlyacha vel, yadavraya rani rusun baisali kaisi, zippra kutra soda ga bai, etc. Listening to these songs still bring smile to my face. I still remember my fight with my friend Snehal over how to end the song Yaadavraya. The basic song is that everyone in the in laws come and asks the newly wed to come back to home. They offer different things but the newly wed does not want to go from her parents place. Finally her husband comes and asks her to come to “her home” and she agrees. That was the time me and Snehal would fight. She would say, if the girl is not listening, then husband is going to beat her to come home and she goes because of fear of getting beaten and my point was that husband is very nice and he says you are love of my life and as a token I am offering you mangalsutra made of pure gold. Newly wed is thrilled with her husband’s gesture and goes happily. And our fights would start. That was fun!
After playing for sometime , then it would be time for snacks. Somebody would make small snack and would keep in a box and then everybody had to guess which snack it would be . On the last day i.e. Full moon day, there would be masala doodh/ coffee with some snacks. And everybody would be staying late looking at the sky. Have you ever looked at moon on this full moon day? It looks amazingly beautiful. If you get a chance look at the sky. This year it is on 27th October. The masala doodh( spiced milk) is cooked in open space with all of the family sitting around and chatting. ( whole family not just girls/ women). It is said that those who are awake on the night of this full moon day are blessed with health and wealth by shiv-parvati. According to folk story they go around and bless those who are awake. That’s why it is called Kojagiri( who is awake). I don’t believe in it but I like the whole atmosphere created around this time of the year. It is little cold outside, there is a pot of boiling milk in the open area and all family members and chatting and singing songs. No loud music or songs. Artist in everyone would come out and there is love and laughter around . It is magic ! Special campfire I would say! And I love it till now.
Even after going to Mumbai for post graduation , we resident doctors posted in one hospital had celebrated Kojagiri at night. That is another sweet memory pearl in my memory pearl collection.
So what does it has to do with the health , you might ask. These festivals were startegically placed to enjoy and meet family members and friends. These create special bond and helps reducing stress. The folk dance also creates sense of unity and also helps in burning calories together so that one can enjoy nuts and seeds and special foods at night.
I know, I have a dream. My kids when they will go to school( yet to be conceived, even though) , I am going to invite all of their friends and their parents for Kojagiri sleepover party. I am going to teach them about these games that tests strength and flexibility and also they will know how to be together . They will know about folk dance. And I know one day my kids would say -” those were wonderful games that my mom taught me. There were fun, laughter and love all around . I love those festivals”.
Its seems like ages since I wrote something on my blog. I just remembered this story that I read about somewhere. And as if I got extra shot of energy. Here it goes.
Once upon a time, in a far far away jungle, animals and insects decided to play a football match. It was animals vs insects. Now you can surely guess , who is going to win.. Right? The match started. Insects did some goals and so animals. But the animals were winning. But of course. Insects were trying their best to score. After the interval, entered the centipede!! Are you ready for this? And that little centipede changed the game completely. He was all over the place. And the “Team Insect” won with a large difference. The centipede was a star of course. In the interview, the centipede was asked the obvious question – Where was he in the first half of the game? What took him so long? The centipede answered, “I was tying my shoes. And I came as soon as I finished tying them”.
What a beautiful story!! Sometimes, when we feel down or feel that we are lagging behind in the game, we just have to keep in mind and imagine. ” We are centipedes and we are now tying shoes. Our time is here. We are the star of our match.”
Few days ago I lost my paternal granduncle. He was 80+ years old. I was not too close to him but I had met him couple of times and he had certainly impacted my life in a positive way. He was truly a gem of a person. He had a very different style of speaking (Always helping but witty). He was active participant of RSS. I don’t know how many sacrifices he had done for his nation but all I know is he was a giver. He always thought of good about people. He would help people physically, mentally and by bringing smile to person he was speaking to. There used to be bursts of laughter around him. From past few weeks I heard he was not well. He had paralysis and he lost voice. He became like a doll in the bed. And now he is no more. This is I think 13th day since he is gone. I am certainly feeling little bit empty and sorry for him but I am very proud of him. You know why? He donated his eyes and his body for helping mankind. I think he thought of other people even after his death. Very few people do that. He donated his body so that a future doctor can learn and treat other people. My dad told me about what my granduncle did and my dad said, “Deepti, I am making my will. If something happens to me, I want to donate my body to the hospital.” I totally agreed to it. And why not? That is a noble thing to do. You can save so many lives even after you are gone. I wanted to share this with you guys to spread the noble things around and motivate other people too. I believe this is my way of offering my tribute to my granduncle and to tell my dad that I am proud of him.
There are different types of human tissue donation that can be done while we are alive and when we are dead. (I know this may not be grammatically correct, but please understand what I want to say.) I remember, in one of the annual education camps for children with diabetes and their parents, organized by JDPAI (Juvenile Diabetic Parents Association of India) one teenager with type 1DM asked me – “Why can’t I donate blood? What can I donate then? Am I not useful?”
Don’t you feel a little something in your heart when a teenager asks this kind of questions? I answered “That’s a very nice thought dear. It is true that we (people with diabetes) can’t donate blood. That is because you and I take insulin or tablets for our health, which may be bad for the person requiring blood in the emergency. But if we keep ourselves healthy; we can donate our eyes after death and we can certainly donate our body posthumously so that our skin can be useful for patients with burns and our body organs can be used by other people who need it. It also can be used for teaching young doctors about human body” and believe me that made that kid so happy and me too.
Now think this way. We are billions of people around the world. Of these many people, some are blind which can be cured with cornea transplant, many people need skin, kidneys, liver, heart, blood transplant to live. And there is always shortage of these tissues. Many need hair too. If we can donate blood when alive and organs and body posthumously we can help so many people. I know someone like me can’t donate blood. But I can donate my hair when I am alive!! I do not have to become bald for that. People need just 10-12 inches of hair. We all who have hair can donate. My sister-in-law, Smruti Deshpande is also growing her hair to donate. Sri’s cousins also did that. I am proud of them. We go to salons to have different haircuts to look beautiful. Our hair just falls down in pieces over the floor. If we can donate hair at least once, the receiver of hair will bless us…
If we can donate blood then we should at least once a year. Our body does not get depleted. And also I urge everyone to become an organ donor and have it with you all the time. I am an organ donor and I am very proud of it. My driving license says that I am an organ donor. What does yours say? Even if your license does not say, you can always keep a note in your wallet that you want to become an organ donor and a cornea donor just in case nobody in your family knows or they are not around you. (God forbid this to happen, but you never know.)
Just by writing or saying that you are a donor does not mean your job is done! We have to keep ourselves healthy so that the recipient will have healthy organs. Always think these organs are for other people and take care of them. What is the use of giving all those organs which are of no use? I know I have written on very serious topic but this is an important thing to consider and act on it. Thank you Mama Ajoba (this is how I used to address my paternal granduncle) for what you have done. I am very proud of you. You have left behind a legacy. Rest in peace.